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starship-design: FW: SpaceViews -- 1999 June 8

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From: owner-spaceviews@wayback.com [mailto:owner-spaceviews@wayback.com]
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Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 1999 8:06 AM
Subject: SpaceViews -- 1999 June 8

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                            S P A C E V I E W S
                             Issue 1999.06.08
                                1999 June 8

*** News ***
	Shuttle Completes ISS Mission
	Current Mir Crew to Be the Last
	NASA Confirms Plans for Lunar Prospector Crash
	Power Glitch Cause of WIRE Satellite Failure
	Roton Tests Proceed Slowly
	Complex Europan Life Unlikely
	NEO Searches Require Funding, Cooperation
	SpaceViews Event Horizon
	Other News

*** Articles ***
	Space in the Next Millennium: The 1999 International Space 
	 Development Conference

** NSS News ***
	Upcoming Boston NSS Events

                             *** News ***

                    Shuttle Completes ISS Mission

	The space shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space
Center, Florida, early Sunday, June 6, bringing to a successful end
the first resupply mission to the International Space Station.

	The shuttle touched down at the Kennedy Space Center's
Shuttle Landing Facility at 2:03 am EDT (0603 UT), ending the nine
day, 19 hour STS-96 mission.  The night landing, only the 11th in the
shuttle program's history, went smoothly.

	The landing came less than 24 hours after the shuttle
completed the last major task of the mission.  In the early morning
hours of Saturday, June 5, the shuttle deployed the small educational
STARSHINE satellite from Discovery's cargo bay.

	Although the satellite is only a little larger than a
basketball, the 900 mirrors on its surface will reflect sunlight and
allow students on Earth to track the satellite.  The satellite was
already widely observed in eastern North America just after its
deployment, as it flew in formation with the shuttle and ISS.

	The shuttle undocked from ISS at 6:39 pm EDT (2239 UT)
Thursday, June 3, a little more than twelve hours after the
seven-person shuttle crew closed the hatches separating the shuttle
with the ISS's Unity module.

	After the hatches were sealed, the shuttle used its thrusters
to raise the orbit of itself and the ISS by about 10 km (6 mi.), to
an altitude of 397 km (246 mi.)  NASA estimates that ISS's orbit will
slowly delay to an altitude of 358 km (222 mi.) by the time Zvezda,
the Russian-built Service Module, is launched by the end of the year.

	The undocking brought to a successful close the first shuttle
logistics mission to ISS.  While the two spacecraft were docked the
crew of STS-96 transferred over 1,620 kg (3,565 lbs.) of material to
the station, including water, clothes, food, and computers.  Shuttle
astronauts Tamara Jernigan and Daniel Barry also mounted an
additional 300 kg (660 lbs.) of equipment to the exterior of the
station during their eight hour spacewalk May 29-30.

	The next shuttle mission will be the long-delayed launch of
the shuttle Columbia on mission STS-93 to deploy the Chandra X-Ray
Observatory.  Shuttle program managers have tentatively set a July 22
launch date for the five-day mission, although that date is still
under review.

	The next shuttle mission to the International Space Station
will likely not take place until the end of the year, when the
shuttle Atlantis launches on STS-101.  That launch will not take
place until the Russians launch Zvezda.  That launch may take place
as soon as September but is not expected until at least November.

                   Current Mir Crew to Be the Last

	The three-man crew currently aboard the Russian space station
Mir will be the last to occupy the station and will leave the
orbiting facility in August, Russian Space Agency officials announced
Tuesday, June 1.

	Mir will remain in orbit unoccupied after the crew's
departure until it is deorbited in early 2000, barring a last-minute
infusion of private funds, officials said.

	The announcement was an acknowledgment by Russian officials
that efforts to raise private funding to keep the station in orbit
have failed and that the Russian government is unwilling to continue
funding the station beyond August.

	"We can't keep the station aloft, because we have no money,"
RSA spokesman Sergei Gorbunov told Russian television.  The Russian
government has been under American pressure to devote its limited
funds to the International Space Station.

	Under the current plan, the three-man crew on Mir --
commander Viktor Afansayev, flight engineer Sergei Avdeyev, and
French guest cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Haignere -- will remain on Mir as
previously planned until August, then return to Earth.  Before
leaving, they will install a new flight computer on the station that
will allow it to be more reliably controlled from the ground.

	Rather than deorbiting the station immediately after the
crew's departure, controllers will allow Mir's orbit to slowly decay
until it can be deorbited in early 2000.  The delay will allow
Energia, the company that operates Mir for the Russian Space Agency,
to make one final effort to raise funds to keep operating the

	Energia had made several efforts to raise funding from
private foreign sources, but those efforts fell through.  Most
recently, Energia claimed that British businessman Peter Llewellyn
would pay or raise $100 million to fly to Mir in August.  However,
Llewellyn apparently did not raise the money and he was dismissed
from cosmonaut training last month for reportedly being too tall to
safely fit in a Soyuz capsule.

	"This station is unique and it can continue serving Russia
for quite a long time," Gorbunov said. "All cosmonauts agree that
it's a great pity to abandon it."

            NASA Confirms Plans for Lunar Prospector Crash

	Lunar Prospector's mission will come to an end in late July
when the spacecraft is deliberately crashed into a lunar crater in an
effort to observe water ice, NASA confirmed Tuesday, June 2.

	Lunar Prospector, whose extended mission was set to end this
summer, will be targeted for an impact in a permanently-shadowed
region of the crater Mawson, near the lunar south pole, on July 31.

	Scientists hope the impact will throw up a plume of material,
including water ice, that will be visible from telescopes on Earth.
Based on estimated concentrations of water ice in that region, up to
18 kg (40 lbs.) of water or byproducts like hydroxyl ions will be
thrown into the plume.

	The plume, which will last only a few minutes, will be
observed by the Hubble Space Telescope, the McDonald Observatory in
Texas, and potentially other observatories, such as the powerful Keck
telescope.  Water molecules may also be detected in the Moon's very
tenuous atmosphere for several hours after the impact.

	The odds of detecting any water are thought to be rather low,
based on the limited energy of impact from the small spacecraft to
uncertainty on the impact location.  However, with Lunar Prospector
set to crash into the surface anyway at the end of its mission, NASA
officials and outside scientists agreed the deliberate impact would
be a good test.

	"While the probability of success for such a bold undertaking
is low, the potential science payoff is tremendous," Gunter Riegler
of NASA's Office of Space Science said.  "Since the implementation
costs are minimal and the mission is scheduled to end anyway, it
seems fitting to give Lunar Prospector the chance to provide
scientific data right up to the very end of its highly successful

	The impact was first suggested by David Goldstein, an
aerospace engineering professor at the University of Texas, and was
later peer-reviewed by a scientific panel.  While defending the
experiment, Goldstein notes that the impact is a "long-shot
experiment," with about a 10 percent chance of success.

	Lunar Prospector has indirectly detected the existence of
water ice on the Moon through its neutron spectrometer.  The
spectrometer detects hydrogen, which scientists then infer to be
water based on the observed concentrations and locations.  "A
positive spectral detection of water vapor or its photo-dissociated
byproduct, OH [hydroxyl], would provide definite proof of the
presence of water ice in the lunar regolith," Goldstein said.

	The impact would not be the first time the demise of a
spacecraft has been used for scientific purposes.  At the end of its
Venus-mapping mission, the Magellan spacecraft dipped into the
planet's dense atmosphere to test aerobraking techniques using the
spacecraft's solar panels.  The results of these tests have been used
on later missions, like Mars Global Surveyor, that have used
aerobraking to change their orbits.

             Power Glitch Cause of WIRE Satellite Failure

	A brief power glitch in a minor electronic component is
believed to be the cause of the failure of a $80-million NASA science
satellite, investigators reported Friday, June 4.

	A board of investigation at Utah State University (USU),
where the instrument for the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE)
satellite was built, concluded that a power surge in a $2,000
integrated circuit led to the failure of the mission in March.

	Engineers at USU's Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) found that
the telescope experienced a power surge lasting just 1/40th of a
second when it was first turned on.  The surge was powerful enough,
however, to prematurely blow the explosive bolts on a sunshade used
to protect the cryostat, a container of solid hydrogen that cools
WIRE's instruments.

	With the sunshade gone, the solid hydrogen began to sublimate
and vent out of the spacecraft, spinning the spacecraft up.  By the
time spacecraft engineers were able to bring WIRE's attitude back
under control all the hydrogen had been lost, effectively ending
WIRE's planned scientific mission.

	The power surge was an undocumented feature of the circuit
not seen in tests, USU/SDL officials said.  "The circuit that caused
the problem is very commonly used. We've used it many times before
and it hasn't been a problem in systems for computing and other
tasks," WIRE program manager Harry Ames said.  "The anomaly occurs so
intermittently and fast that it went undetected during multiple tests
at SDL, and Goddard Space Flight Center before the launch."

	However, Ames and his lab did not shirk responsibility for
the failure.  "As the program manager and an SDL executive, I don't
believe SDL should rely on anyone else ensuring that we're doing our
job correctly," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "In that respect, I
personally accept accountability and responsibility for this

	Ames said the lab will bolster its parts selection and review
process to reduce the chance of a similar problem cropping up on a
future mission.

	The USU report is not the final word on the failure of the
WIRE mission, which was to perform observations at long infrared
wavelengths of everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies.
A NASA report is expected later this year.

	While the loss of the hydrogen prevented the spacecraft from
carrying out its scientific mission, the rest of the spacecraft is
now working well, engineers report.  WIRE is now being used to study
ways to control and maneuver satellites.

                      Roton Tests Proceed Slowly

	The first prototype of Rotary Rocket's Roton reusable launch
vehicle (RLV) has yet to make its first flight test as ground tests
continue, three months after its rollout, the company reported this

	When the Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) was rolled out
to the public in a ceremony March 1, plans called for the first
low-level atmospheric flight tests within several weeks.  However,
according to a May 31 Rotary Rocket press release, the company did
not begin full ground testing of the ATV until early May.

	Those ground tests, which verified the ATV's rotors and other
vehicle systems, led to an "all-up" ground test on May 22, with a
two-person crew in the ATV performing a limited test of the vehicle,
which was tied down to prevent it from taking off.  That test ended
prematurely when a sensor in the rotor failed.

	Company engineers are now making unspecified inspections and
checks to the ATV before performing another tie-down test.  A series
of tie-down tests, which will conclude with a full-throttle test of
the rotor, will precede an actual flight test.

	The ATV is designed to test the low-level, low-speed flight
characteristics of the Roton RLV.  The ATV lacks the rocket engines
that will be used to propel the Roton into orbit, but does have the
rotor system, including small rocket thrusters on the tips of the
rotors, that will be used to land the vehicle like a helicopter.

	Fundraising, a major hurdle for most launch vehicle
start-ups, has not slowed down testing of the Roton ATV, company
officials said.  "While space funding clearly represents a bigger
challenge than space technology to RRC and the other nascent space
companies," said Geoffrey Hughes, vice president of sales and
marketing for Rotary, "we have more than enough funding in-hand to
complete the flight test program and continue on."

                    Complex Europan Life Unlikely

	Future spacecraft missions to Europa may uncover simple life
forms swimming in the Jovian moon's subsurface oceans, but are
unlikely to find more complex life, Caltech scientists reported last

	In a paper published in the June 4 issue of the journal
Science, a team of Caltech geobiologists concluded that Europa lacks
the heat sources needed to provide the energy required for the
development of complex multicellular life.

	Unlike the Earth, where sunlight is the most significant
source of energy for life, even those living deep in the ocean, life
on Europa would have to rely on the heat generated by the moon's
core, as the moon's ice crust would prevent sunlight from reaching
the underground ocean.

	"One must be careful when doing comparative planetology,"
said Eric Gaidos, lead author of the paper. "It is not a safe
assumption to use Earth as an analogy. A liquid-water ocean on Europa
does not necessarily mean there is life there."

	The energy available in the assumed Europan oceans would be
enough to support simple, single-celled life forms, Gaidos and
colleagues believe, but would hinder the evolution of more complex
lifeforms that require additional energy sources.

	Alternative energy sources for Europan life forms do exist,
Gaidos notes, such as the possibility of deriving energy from
oxidized iron -- rust -- that may be found in the ocean.  "But we are
talking about very simple organisms that can live on these energy
sources," Gaidos said. "These are not multicellular creatures."

	Any spacecraft mission that would be able to detect life of
any kind in Europa is still many years in the future.  NASA is
currently planning Europa Orbiter spacecraft for launch in 2003 that
would go into orbit around the moon three to five years later.  It
would be able to measure the thickness of the ice crust and discern
any subsurface ocean, but would not be able to directly detect life.

	NASA has informally discussed follow-on missions to Europa
Orbiter that would land on and/or penetrate the ice crust, including
submersibles that would navigate within the Europan ocean.
Additional planning has taken place outside NASA, from a group at
Cornell University to an Internet-based group that has discussed the
basics of such a mission.

              NEO Searches Require Funding, Cooperation

	Astronomers involved in the search for near-Earth objects
(NEOs) stressed the need at an Italian conference last week for
greater funding and international cooperation to improve their

	Scientists attending the International Monitoring Programs
for Asteroid and Comet Threat (IMPACT) conference in Torino, Italy,
representing a large fraction of the NEO science community, worked on
a number of recommendations to pass on to the International
Astronomical Union.

	Key among the recommendations generated by scientists was the
need for greater cooperation among the various national research
programs to look for NEOs.  Participants called for the creation of
national "Spaceguard" centers that would work together with the
international Spaceguard Foundation to coordinate searches and
follow-up efforts.

	Such cooperation is seen as necessary as the number of NEO
search programs grows.  However, even with all the new programs, it
is uncertain whether they will be able to reach Spaceguard's goal of
detecting 90 percent of all NEO's more than 1 km (0.6 mi.) in
diameter in the next ten years.  In addition, followup observing
programs, as well as efforts to observe smaller objects, will require
more and larger telescopes.

	Participants also made recommendations on the best way to
communicate reports of potentially hazardous objects, including the
use of a "hazard scale" to more effectively describe the risk of
impact by an NEO.  The specifics of those recommendations will be
finalized later this summer.

	Conference members also called on more efforts devoted to
followup searches and compositional studies of asteroids to determine
their true nature (although such studies will require the use of
large telescopes) as well as new search programs based in the
Southern Hemisphere.

	The final recommendations from the IMPACT conference will be
passed on to the IAU and published in July or August.

                       SpaceViews Event Horizon

June 8		Delta 2 launch of four Globalstar satellites from 
		 Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:22 am EDT (1422 UT)

June 12		Proton launch of Russian Raduga comsat (and initial 
		 flight of the Breeze-M upper stage) from Baikonur, 

June 16		Proton/Blok DM flight of Astra-1H comsat at 8:48 pm 
		 EDT (0048 UT June 17) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

June 18		Titan 2 launch of the NASA Quikscat Earth science 
		 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 
		 California, at 10:15 pm EDT (0215 UT June 19)

June 23-24	First U.S. Space Tourism Conference, Washington, DC

June 26 (NET)	Atlas 2A launch of the GOES-L weather satellite from 
		 Cape Canaveral, Florida (under review)

June TBD	Long March 2C/SD launch of two Iridium satellites 
		 from Taiyuan, China

July 15-16	Lunar Base Development Symposium, League City, TX

                              Other News

Iridium Extension: Iridium has gained an extra month, until the end
of June, to restructure its finances and avoid a possible bankruptcy
of the first global satellite phone company.  he financially-troubled
company had faced a May 31 deadline to deal with $800 million in
loans due to various creditors.  The extension gives the company more
time to restructure the debt in a manner agreeable to both creditors
and investors.  Under terms of an agreement made with creditors
earlier this year, the company was to have at least 27,000 customers
by the end of May.  However, by the end of March, the latest data
available, the company had barely 10,000 phone and pager customers,
with a growth rate too small to allow the company to reach its goals.

Mars Microbes: Scientists at the University of Arkansas have
succeeded in growing one kind of microbes in conditions similar to
those on the surface of Mars. Biologist Tim Kral tested how
methanogens, microbes that exhale methane and can exist in harsh
conditions on the Earth, grow in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide,
hydrogen, and water.  To simulate Martian soil they used ash from an
Hawaiian volcano, whose composition is similar to what has been seen
on Mars.  Kral found that the microbes continued to live in the harsh
Mars-like environment, based on emissions of methane.  Even when the
amount of water was decreased to nearly zero the microbes continued
to thrive. Other potentially-hazardous aspects of the Martian
environment, including oxidizing soil chemistry and ultraviolet
radiation, were not included in the test.

Rotary/ASR Agreement: Applied Space Resources (ASR) has signed a
letter of intent with Rotary Rocket Company to launch its Lunar
Retriever I spacecraft on Rotary's Roton launch vehicle, ASR company
officials report.  The five-year letter, beginning in 2002, sets a
fixed price for the launch that was not announced.  Lunar Retriever I
is planned as a mission that will return over 10 kg (22 lbs.) of
lunar samples to the Earth for use by scientists as well as for
commercial sale.

Mars Plane Work Begins:  NASA is beginning in-house development of an
airplane that will fly on Mars in 2003, Space News reported in its
June 7 issue.  The Langley Research Center will develop the aircraft,
rather than private industry, as the space agency sees this as a
technology development project that could aid future missions.  The
exact design of the aircraft is still being debated, with a number of
different designs being considered.  Engineers will work closely with
scientists to maximize the limited payload for scientific instruments
on the vehicle, which will be no more than a few kilograms.

TransHab Debate:  Strong words are being exchanged in the space
activist community about the fate of TransHab, an inflatable module
that could be used on ISS and Mars missions, but whose funding was
prohibited in the NASA authorization bill passed by the House of
Representatives last month.  Mars Society president Robert Zubrin
claimed in an editorial in Space News (reprinted as a Mars Society
alert) that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) opposes TransHab because he
opposed manned missions to Mars.  Not so, say others, including Keith
Cowing of NASA Watch, who notes that Rohrabacher's opposition to
TransHab has noting to do with Mars.  Rather, Rohrabacher favors
commercial development and procurement of ISS modules, rather than a
NASA-developed TransHab.

Briefly:  Watch out, John Glenn, someone may be gunning for your
title of oldest man to fly in space.  The Xinhua news agency reports
that 80-year-old Yang Jiaxi, a renown Chinese aerospace engineer,
would like to fly in space on one of the first manned Chinese
launches, which may take place as soon as late this year... The space
history community is mourning the death of Maxim Tarasenko, a young
Russian space history scholar who died in a traffic accident last
month.  To financially help Tarasenko's wife and two children,
American space historian James Harford has created a memorial fund.
Checks made out to the "James Harford-Tarasenko Account" can be
mailed to Harford at 601 Lake Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.  Over
$3,000 has been raised to date.

                           *** Articles ***

                    Space in the Next Millennium:
         The 1999 International Space Development Conference
                            by Jeff Foust

	Participants at the 1999 International Space Development
Conference (ISDC) last month had an opportunity to both honor the
past of space exploration and get a glimpse at what the future of
space exploration and development holds.

	Several hundred space enthusiasts attended the 1999 ISDC,
held May 27-31 in Houston.  At a meeting that fortuitously coincided
with the STS-96 shuttle mission, attendees learned about everything
from the past of space exploration to cutting-edge technologies and
commercial endeavors that may open the space frontier for everyone.

Remembering "The Forgotten Apollo"

	The 1999 ISDC was held almost exactly 30 years to the day
since the Apollo 10 mission, the "dress rehearsal" for the successful
Apollo 11 landing two months later.  All three Apollo 10 astronauts
-- Gene Cernan, Tom Stafford, and John Young -- were in attendance at
a gala dinner May 28 to honor the anniversary.

	"Apollo 10 is sort of the forgotten flight of Apollo," noted
Cernan in an emotional address towards the end of the evening, when
he shared the podium with Stafford.

	Cernan called on NASA to involve younger generations,
including teenagers, into the space program.  "If we can send a
77-year-old into space, why can't we send a 17-year-old?" he asked,
saying that such a flight would give kids a greater "ownership" of

	Young, who spoke earlier in the evening before returning to
Johnson Space Center to monitor the ongoing shuttle mission, looked
instead at the future, including sending humans back to the Moon and
on to Mars.  "It will happen," he confidently said.  "We'll make it

	To make it happen, though, Young said we need to better
educate the public on the importance of such missions.  "The only
'war' we have to be successful on is the war on ignorance," he said.

Life on Mars: An Update

	Everett Gibson, a leading member of the team of scientists at
the Johnson Space Center who announced evidence of possible past life
in Martian meteorite ALH 84001 nearly three years ago, provided an
update on their team's research.

	Gibson said that despite repeated challenges to their
conclusions, their initial conclusions are still valid.  "All four
legs [aspects of their work that support their conclusions] are
standing today, and are standing stronger," he claimed.

	Gibson said initial claims by other researches on a variety
of fronts, including reports of terrestrial contamination, high
temperature formation of carbonates, and the small size of the
nanofossils and magnetite crystals, have upon further scrutiny ended
up supporting claims that the meteorite supports evidence of past
Martian life.

	Gibson also discussed new evidence from two other Martian
meteorites, Nakhla and Shergotty, which also show evidence of
primitive Martian life.  Nakhla, in particular, shows evidence of
nanofossils and "biofilms" of organic material, and the isotopic
rations seen there are consistent with a biogenic origin.

	The new findings lend support to the belief that life on Mars
exists today: while ALH 84001 is 4 billion years old, Nakhla is just
1.3 billion years old and Shergotty a mere 165 million years old.
"There have been no major events in the last 165 million years to
keep life on Mars from surviving to this day," Gibson said.

New Paths for Commercial Space

	While some focused on the past and present of space
exploration, one track of the conference was devoted to plans for
commercial development of space, including some relatively
unconventional paths to space development.

	Given the lack of low-cost access to space currently, it
might seem premature to consider developing space hotels.  However,
Greg Bennett of Bigelow Aerospace -- a new division of the Bigelow
Development Company, owners of the Budget hotel chain -- said that's
precisely what his company is currently planning.

	We're just now beginning to see the "seeds of space tourism",
he said, but tourism worldwide is the sending largest export industry
in the world, behind only oil.  He said that billion-dollar luxury
cruise ships are being built every year, and filling up just as
rapidly, indicating the growing market for tourism.

	Bigelow is looking at plans to build the space equivalent of
such cruise liners, such as a ship that could carry 150 people on a
6-day round trip to the Moon.  Bennett said that while the company is
just starting up, its plans are well past the stage of "just an

	Although the conventional notion of commercial space involves
the development of spacecraft or launch vehicles, Charles Chafer of
Encounter 2001 discussed that there may be far easier ways to make
money and involve a larger portion of the market.

	Encounter 2001 is developing a spacecraft to be launched in
late 2001 that will carry the records of up to 4.5 million people,
who will pay $50 each to fly a personal message and a sample of their
DNA into interstellar space.

	By marketing to a far larger audience than the typical "space
geek" community, and by eschewing investment capital, "we're not
perceived as a commercial space company," Chafer said.

	The company also recently completed a project called the
Cosmic Call, where people paid $15 each to transmit a brief personal
message to four Sunlike stars 51 to 71 light-years from Earth.
Chafer said 45,000 messages were sent in this transmission, with two
more planned in early 2000 and 2001.

	"That ain't something you do in a typical space geek
approach," Chafer said.

	The company is ahead of projections on sales for its
Millennial Voyage spacecraft, and has signed a contract with
AeroAstro to build the spacecraft.  Chafer said the company is
willing to work with NASA to fly scientific payloads on the
spacecraft, which will launch as a secondary payload on an Ariane 5.

	Cities, in addition to state and federal governments, may
also have a role in promoting commercial space, noted Rob Todd, a
Houston city council member whose district includes the Johnson Space
Center.  A city the size of Houston has over $1 billion in pension
funds to invest, he notes, some of which can be used to support local
aerospace startups.

	"Even if 9 of 10 fail, the one that succeeds can more than
make up the difference," Todd said.  City governments can also
provide mentoring and small business support services, he noted, as
well as create "incubators" for startups, such as one he has proposed
for Houston's Ellington Field.

	States are also playing a role in the scramble to propose
spaceports for VentureStar and other reusable launch vehicles,
according to former Apollo astronaut Walt Cunningham, who leads the
Texas Aerospace Commission.  He said that 18-20 states have submitted
proposals for spaceports, but "some make more sense than others."

	In Texas along, Cunningham said, there have been 13 proposals
submitted, although those have been self-selected down to three, one
in Pecos County in west Texas and two in eastern Texas.  Both Kistler
and Space Access have expressed an interest in these sites, in
addition to Lockheed Martin's VentureStar.

NSS Awards

	The National Space Society handed out a number of awards in
its annual awards ceremony, emceed this year by actor Bruce
Boxleitner (Captain/President Sheridan of "Babylon 5" fame), a member
of the NSS Board of Governors.

	Space Pioneer Awards went to former NSS president Charlie
Walker for Activist of the Year; actor Tom Hanks for Mass Media; and
former astronaut and senator John Glenn for "Wide Media".  In
addition, NSS gave the biannual von Braun award to Robert Seamans Jr.
for his work on the Apollo program.  None of the award recipients
were present, but Seamans did provide a videotaped acceptance.

	Chapter excellence awards were given to Oregon L5 for its
research into the use of lava tubes as potential lunar habitats, and
Wichita NSS for its numerous educational outreach and other
activities.  Other chapters earning awards included Boston NSS,
OASIS, Western Spaceport, NSS Atlanta, Austin Space Frontier Society,
Orange County Space Society, and the Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation
Society.  The U.S. Air Force Academy chapter was recognized as the
most promising new chapter.

	The ISDC will move out west for the next few years, with the
2000 conference to be held in Tucson, Arizona, while the 2001 meeting
will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

                           *** NSS News ***

                      Upcoming Boston NSS Events

Thursday, June 10, 7:30pm

"There's 'Real Science' on Gore-Sat: 
The Triana Satellite Plasma-Mag Solar-Weather Instrument"
by Dr. Alan J. Lazarus, MIT Space Plasma Group

	Dr. Lazarus will discuss The Triana Satellite "Faraday cup,"
a sun-viewing instrument to measure the solar wind at the L1 orbit
and how to use this data to detect Solar flares.

	The AP reports: "Solar flares may add to Y2K trouble, Expect
energetic January sun."

	Can we provide rapid warning of solar flares and other
extreme solar events to allow utility companies and satellite
operators timely and effective warning?

	Triana carries a sun-viewing instrument to measure the solar
wind (Faraday cup) and a magnetometer, the data can be used to
provide early warning of solar events that might cause damage to
various electrical devices (e.g., power generation, communications,
and satellites).

	Meetings of the Boston chapter of the National Space Society
are held in the 8th floor "playoom" of the Laboratory of Computer
Science, 545 Main Street (Tech Square), in Cambridge. The building is
located just past the railroad tracks on Main Street, near the
intersection with Vassar/Fulkerson Street. Free parking is available
in the parking lot adjoining the building. By T, take the Red Line to
the Kendall/MIT stop, then walk up Main Street (away from Boston)
about three blocks to the building.

	More information is available at
http://www.spaceviews.com/boston/ .

	This has been the June 8, 1999, issue of SpaceViews.
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