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starship-design: FW: SpaceViews -- 1999 June 15

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                            S P A C E V I E W S
                             Issue 1999.06.15
			       1999 June 15

*** News ***
	Delta 2 Launches Globalstar Satellites
	Long March Launches Replacement Iridiums
	July 20 Tentative Date for Next Shuttle Launch
	Advocacy Groups Split on TransHab
	Photos Give First Glimpse of Chinese Manned Launcher
	Japanese Lunar Mission Delayed
	Lockheed Martin, Boeing Continue Launch Investigations
	Another Asteroid with Earth Impact Probability Discovered
	SpaceViews Event Horizon
	Other News

*** CyberSpace ***
	Yahoo SETI Club Team
	The Starpages

                             *** News ***

                Delta 2 Launches Globalstar Satellites

	After two days of weather-induced delays, a Boeing Delta 2
successfully launched four Globalstar satellites Thursday morning,
June 10, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

	The Delta 2 lifted off at 9:48 am EDT (1348 UT) from Pad 17B
at Cape Canaveral, in the first of two launch windows available for
Thursday's launch.  After a smooth countdown the rocket successfully
delivered the four satellites into low-Earth orbit.

	Launch officials chose to try the first window, rather than a
later one at 12:35 pm EDT (1635 UT), because weather forecasts showed
a higher probability of acceptable weather with the earlier launch.
Boeing could only try one of the launch windows because of
limitations regarding the liquid oxygen propellant on the booster.

	The launch is the first of four scheduled through mid-August
to deliver one-third of the Globalstar constellation of low-Earth
orbit comsats. Three more launches, each carrying an additional four
spacecraft, are planned for July 2, August 6, and August 16.

	There are now twenty-four Globalstar satellites in orbit.
The first eight were launched on two Delta 2's in early 1998.  After
the failure of a Zenit 2 in September that destroyed 12 Globalstar
satellites, three Soyuz launches in February, March, and April
launched 12 replacement satellites.

	Globalstar rearranged their launch schedule after the Zenit
failure to use the smaller, but more reliable, Soyuz and Delta 2
boosters.  After the series of four Delta 2 launches is completed in
August there are three more Soyuz and one more Delta 2 launch planned
by the end of the year that will place the full 48-satellite
constellation, plus four on-orbit spares, into orbit.

	This summer's launches will put enough satellites into orbit
to allow Globalstar to start offering limited commercial telephone
service as early as September, company officials have previously

               Long March Launches Replacement Iridiums

	A Chinese Long March rocket launched two replacement Iridium
communications satellites Friday afternoon, June 11.

	The Long March 2C/SD lifted off at 1:15 pm EDT June 11 (1715
UT, 1:15 am June 12 Beijing time) from the Taiyuan launch site in
eastern China, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.  Two Iridium
satellites were placed in low Earth orbit by the booster.

	The launch had been scheduled for June 7, but was delayed;
the Xinhua report gave no reason for the delay.  The launch was to
have occured in March, but was delayed because of technical problems
"on both sides", a Chinese spokesman said then.

	The two satellites will serve as on-orbit spares for the
Iridium system of 66 satellites.  Iridium has been providing global
phone and pager services since late 1998.

	The LM-2C/SD booster is an upgraded version of the LM-2C
designed specifically for launching Iridium satellites.  The LM-2C/SD
is similar to the older version but includes an improved upper stage,
called the Smart Dispenser (SD), capable of placing 2,800 kg (6,160
lbs.) into low Earth orbit.  There have been six past launches of the
LM-2C/SD, each carrying two Iridium satellites.

            July 20 Tentative Date for Next Shuttle Launch

	NASA shuttle managers have set up a plan to launch the next
shuttle mission as early as July 20, thirty years to the day after
the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, the space agency reported
Tuesday, June 8.

	The announcement comes one day after the shuttle Columbia was
rolled out to pad 39B in preparation for the launch of mission

	The July 20 launch date is tentative and the earliest the
shuttle could launch, if all goes well.  A firm launch date will no
be announced until after the launch readiness review meeting planned
for July 8.

	The launch of STS-93 has been delayed by nearly a year
because of various problems with its primary payload, the Chandra
X-Ray Observatory.  Most recently, the launch was pushed back by at
least two weeks while an investigation continued into the failure of
an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) on a Titan 4 launch in April.  An IUS
will be used to boost Chandra into its elliptical Earth orbit.

	The relatively brief mission -- just under five days long --
will be commanded by Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a
space shuttle mission.  Jeffrey Ashby will be pilot on the mission,
with Catherine Coleman, Steven Hawley, and Michel Tognini from the
French space agency CNES serving as mission specialists.

                  Advocacy Groups Split on TransHab

	Various space advocacy groups are taking different positions
on the fate of TransHab, a proposed module for the International
Space Station which may be cut by Congress.

	H.R. 1654, a NASA authorization bill passed by the House of
Representatives last month, prohibits NASA from spending any money on
the inflatable TransHab module as a replacement for the planned
habitation module for ISS, on the rationale that TransHab would cost
more, adding to ISS's overall costs.

	That plan has met with strong opposition by the Mars Society,
who supports TransHab for its potential use as a habitat for future
human Mars expeditions -- the original purpose of its development.
The Society has started a major campaign to drum up support for the

	A recent Mars Society bulletin targeted Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
(R-CA), chair of the House Science Committee's space subcommittee and
author of the TransHab language in the authorization bill.
"Rohrabacher wants the program cancelled because he believes TransHab
represents progress toward sending humans to Mars, a goal he
opposes," the bulletin stated.

	That language has put the Mars Society in conflict with one
of the members of its own steering committee, Rick Tumlinson, who is
also president of the Space Frontier Foundation.  While not opposed
to the TransHab concept in general, he is opposed to developing
TransHab as a government built and run facility.

	"A government purchased facility attached to ISS does not
enhance our chances of using inflatables for Mars, maintains the hold
of the two major firms and NASA bureaucrats on all human activities
on the frontier and in fact ties Mars in a negative way to the ISS
tar baby," Tumlinson wrote in an e-mail message published with his
permission on the NASA Watch Web site.

	"Although on the surface the call to fight for this right now
and in this form sounds good, it is based on a shallow interpretation
of the facts and a misunderstanding of the big picture in opening the
frontier," he added.

	Other space advocacy groups have staked out different
positions, or said nothing at all on the issue.  In a message on the
Mars Society site Lou Friedman, executive director of the Planetary
Society, said his organization will mobilize to support TransHab, but
as of yet there have been no public pronouncements from the group
about the project.  The Space Frontier Foundation and ProSpace have
made no statements about TransHab.

	The National Space Society, seeking a middle ground, issued a
press release supporting the development of inflatable module
technologies in general, but not a government-built TransHab module.

	"The complexity of this issue... defies a quick and easy
solution," the NSS noted in its press release.  The NSS's Policy
Committee recommended that NASA not develop TransHab on its own and
said that the NSS should endorse the concept of
commercially-developed "supplemental habitation" for ISS.

	The NSS board earlier considered a statement that would have
more strongly supported TransHab.  However, the measure failed to
garner the minimum number of votes from NSS's board of directors at a
May 30 meeting during the International Space Development Conference,
despite 2-to-1 support for it by the limited number of directors in

	The issue is likely to heat up later this summer, after the
Senate considers its version of the authorization bill, which
currently does not include any language about TransHab.

         Photos Give First Glimpse of Chinese Manned Launcher

	A set of images released on the Internet this week appear to
show a new version of the Chinese Long March booster capable of
launching humans into orbit.

	Despite considerable speculation that the photos may have
been faked, at least one expert on the Chinese space program
considers the images to be "almost true."

	The images, posted anonymously June 9 to an online forum
devoted to discussions of the Chinese military, purport to show a
rollout of a variant of the Long March booster complete with a manned
capsule on the top.  The images, said to come from a brochure of an
inner Mongolian construction company, were taken in May 1998 at the
Jiuquan launch site.

	The images are the first look at a new version of the Long
March booster, designed "CZ-2F" in the photos, speculated to be in
development to support China's developing manned space program.  The
images clearly show a payload shroud similar, but not identical to,
the one used on the Russian Soyuz, consistent with reports that
China's "Project 921" manned spacecraft is similar in design to the

	Unlike other Chinese launch sites, where the booster is
assembled at the pad, the new site at Jiuquan features an assembly
building similar in appearance to the Vehicle Assembly Building at
NASA's Kennedy Space Center.  After assembly the booster is rolled
out vertically to the launch site.

	Chen Lan, editor of the "Dragon in Space" Web site and an
expert on the Chinese space program, has examined the photos in
detail and concluded that the photos are "almost true."

	"I believe, at least, the photos contain some 'truth'," he
wrote in an article on his site. "That is, the photos are true, or
they are 'composite photos' based on true models, or even modified
'true photos' to avoid 'secrets leakage'."

	Chinese officials have made claims that the first launch of
this system, either unmanned or with a crew, could come as early as
this October, to mark the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic.
However, officials have released to details regarding the booster or

	"Fortunately, it will be made clear soon," Chen concluded.

                    Japanese Lunar Mission Delayed

	Technical problems have delayed the launch of Japan's first
mission to the Moon by at least three years, project officials
admitted last week.

	The Lunar-A spacecraft was scheduled for launch later this
year on a mission to go into orbit around the Moon and deploy the
instrumented penetrator probes into the lunar surface.

	However, tests of the penetrators performed last year in New
Mexico found that the penetrators were damaged as they slammed into
the ground, requiring the probes to be redesigned.  Project officials
are now planning a launch some time in 2002.

	The mission, conducted by Japan's Institute of Space and
Aeronautical Science (ISAS), would place the main spacecraft into
lunar orbit.  Its two penetrator probes would be deployed over the
course of the month, with one landing near the lunar equator on the
near side as seen from Earth, and the other on the equator on the far

	The probes would hit the surface at 250-300 meters per second
(560-675 mph) and burrow 1-3 meters (3.3-10 feet) into the surface.
The probes contain instruments to measure the lunar heat flow and
measure seismic activity.  The main spacecraft, meanwhile, would take
images using its onboard camera.

	Lunar-A is the second ISAS mission to run into technical
problems in recent months.  Nozomi, formerly known as Planet-B, was
successfully launched on its mission to Mars in July 1998, but when
extra propellant was consumed during a December flyby of Earth,
mission controllers delayed its arrival at Mars from this October
until December 2003, when a more favorable trajectory will allow it
to enter orbit around the planet using less propellant.

        Lockheed Martin, Boeing Continue Launch Investigations

	While Lockheed Martin announced the initial results into its
investigation of April's Athena 2 launch failure, Boeing has created
a blue-ribbon panel to look into ways to improve the quality of its
expendable launchers.

	As previously reported in SpaceViews last month, Lockheed
Martin officials said an electrical problem prevented a signal that
would have initiated the jettison of the Athena 2's payload fairing
several minutes after its April 27 launch of the Ikonos 1 satellite.

	An "open circuit condition" kept explosive bolts from firing
that would have split the cone-shaped fairing in half and cause it to
fall away from the booster.  Instead, the 518-kg (1,143-lb) fairing
remained in place, and that added mass kept the payload from reaching

	Lockheed Martin said in a statement that the investigation
into the Athena 2 accident, including plans to correct the problem,
was ongoing, and made no mention of when the booster would return to
flight status.

	Last month, however, an official with Space Imaging, the
company that owned the Ikonos 1 satellite, said the booster could
return to service as early as this summer.  The company hopes to use
another Athena 2 to launch Ikonos 2, a twin of the destroyed Ikonos
1, as early as next month.

	Meanwhile, Boeing announced June 8 it has initiated a
"Mission Assurance Review Team" to look into ways to improve the
reliability of its Delta, Sea Launch, and Inertial Upper Stage (IUS)
expendable boosters.

	The panel will be chaired by Sheila Widnall, an MIT
aeronautics and astronautics professor who recently served as
secretary of the Air Force.  The panel consists of high-ranking
former members of NASA, the military, and industry, including former
astronaut Frederick Hauck and retired Air Force General Donald
Kutyna, who served on the Rogers Commission that investigated the
Challenger accident.

	"We expressly selected team members with a broad range of
senior-level systems experience in aerospace -- from satellites to
academia to launch vehicles," said Boeing Space and Communications
president James Albaugh. "The technical knowledge and breadth of this
independent panel, as well as its extensive background in mission
assurance, will be invaluable in strengthening our reliability."

	Boeing has been hit by failures in the first two launches of
its new heavy-lift Delta 3 booster as well as a failure of its IUS
during a Titan 4 launch in April.  Separate investigations into those
accidents, as well as other reviews, will continue while Widnall-led
team meets.  In addition, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will continue to
participate in the overall review of the nation's launch capability
ordered by President Clinton in May.

      Another Asteroid with Earth Impact Probability Discovered

	For the third time in a little over a year, astronomers have
found an asteroid that has a very small, but non-zero, probability of
impacting the Earth next century.

	Astronomers believe such impact probabilities as the one
found for 1998 OX4 will become more commonplace in the future,
though, as stepped-up search efforts turn up more asteroids whose
orbits bring them close to Earth.

	Italian astronomer Andrea Milani and colleagues reported the
impact probability at the end of the IMPACT conference in Torino,
Italy, earlier this month.  They found that 1998 OX4, discovered last
year at the Spacewatch telescope in Arizona, has a 1-in-10 million
chance of hitting the Earth in January 2046.

	This probability of impact is considerably less than the
probability of an impact in any given year by an undiscovered
asteroid 1 km or greater in diameter, so the discovery is of little
more than academic curiosity.  Moreover, Milani and colleagues note
that this probability has yet to be confirmed by other researchers.

	The discovery makes 1998 OX4 the third asteroid since last
March which has been found to have a small impact probability at some
point in the future.  In April asteroid 1999 AN10 was found to have a
1-in-1 billion chance of hitting the Earth in 2039.  Later analysis
changed that probability to 1-in-10 million while uncovering another
possible impact with significantly greater odds -- 1-in-500,000 -- in

	In March 1998 asteroid 1997 XF11 was briefly thought to have
a small possibility of impacting the Earth in 2029.  However, within
a day of the public announcement new data eliminated the possibility
of any impact in that year.

	The astronomical community has debated the best was to
disseminate information about impact threats.  Any such protocols
will likely be needed much more in the future, some believe, as
increased asteroid searches turn up new asteroids with similar impact

	"In contrast to XF11 and AN10, however, the vast majority of
these PHAs [potentially hazardous asteroids] will no longer be
newsworthy due to their minuscule chances of actual impact," noted
Benny Peiser, moderator of the Cambridge Conference Network, an
electronic mailing list used by asteroid researchers.  "[P]ublic
interest will only arise in exceptional cases which prove to have
significant impact risks."

                       SpaceViews Event Horizon

June 17		Proton/Blok DM flight of Astra-1H comsat at 9:49 pm 
		 EDT (0149 UT June 18) 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 (NET)	Delta 2 launch of NASA's Far Ultraviolet 
		 Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission from Cape 
		 Canaveral, Florida at 11:36 am EDT (1536 UT)

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

June 26		Proton launch of Russian Raduga comsat (and initial 
		 flight of the Breeze-M upper stage) from Baikonur, 

July 2		Delta 2 launch of four Globalstar satellites from 
		 Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:05 am EDT (1305 UT)

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

July 16 (NET)	Atlas 2A launch of the GOES-L weather satellite from 
		 Cape Canaveral, Florida (under review)

                              Other News

Mir Fundraiser:  Two Russian cosmonauts have started a grassroots
fundraising drive to keep Mir alive.  Cosmonauts Vitaly Sevastyanov
and Gherman Titov announced the existence of the "People's Charity
Foundation" as a way for ordinary Russians to contribute money to
keep the station operational after this August, when Russian
government funding ends. "To sink the station would be a crime
against posterity," Sevastyanov told the Associated Press.  The
charity would have to raise a minimum of $100 million to keep Mir
operational for an additional year.  Current plans call for the Mir
crew to leave in August and the station to remain in orbit unoccupied
until it is deorbited early next year.

Ganymede's Dust Cloud:  A very tenuous cloud of dust around the
Jovian moon Ganymede, discovered by the Galileo spacecraft, may
provide scientists with new insights into the formation of planetary
rings.  The cloud is likely formed by the impact of interplanetary
dust particles with Ganymede's surface.  Such impacts on smaller
moons may be sufficient to generate the thin dust rings seen around
Jupiter.  While the cloud is too thin to be seen optically -- there is
only one dust grain per 8,000 cubic meters (288,000 cubic feet) --
the data from Galileo's Dust Detector System gives scientists the
information about particle speed and direction needed to understand
the dynamics of its formation not otherwise possible.

Another Kind of Space Sickness:  The stress of spaceflight may make
astronauts more susceptible to viruses, NASA researchers have found.
In an article published in the magazine New Scientist, Johnson Space
Center's Satish Mehta found that levels of one kind of relatively
benign virus were elevated in saliva samples collected from
astronauts in shuttle missions by as much as a factor of 40 over
those collected before and after missions.  The stress of busy,
hazardous spaceflight is the likely cause, Mehta believes.  Antiviral
agents could help combat this problem on future long-duration
missions.  Additional advice from Mehta:  "Don't kiss an astronaut."

European Rocket Spat:  France and Italy, two major members of the
European Space Agency, do not see eye to eye on the development of a
new launch vehicle, Reuters reported June 14.  Italy is interested in
developing the Vega rocket for launching small payloads while France,
the traditional leader in European rocket development, has expressed
its doubts about the commercial viability of such a booster.  While
both countries are supposed to cooperate in the development of Vega,
Italian officials have said that if Franc continued to oppose the
project, Italy would pursue Vega separately.

Cassini Protests:  An estimated 50 people gathered outside the gates
of the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida June 12 to protest the
Cassini mission to Saturn, which is scheduled to fly by the Earth in
August.  Protestors expressed their concern that an accident could
scatter plutonium into the Earth's atmosphere, as well as their
belief that Cassini represents an "icebreaker" for future
nuclear-powered missions.  "Part of the problem is that Cassini was
an icebreaker to get the public used to plutonium being sent up into
space," protestor Maria Telesca-Whipple told Florida Today,
apparently unaware of the many previous missions that have used
radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs).  A similar protest
outside NASA Headquarters in Washington the previous day attracted
only eight people.

Briefly:  Longtime CNN anchor Lou Dobbs shocked many last week when
he announced he was leaving the network to join an Internet space
news startup.  Dobbs, who was president of CNNfn, the financial news
spinoff of CNN, will now devote his time to Space.Com, a venture
capital-funded startup that will provide space news and other
information starting July 20.  "I truly believe space is the biggest
story of this century and the next, and I really wanted to be part of
it," he told the Washington Post... Our condolences to the friends
and family of actor DeForest Kelley, who passed away June 11 after an
extended illness.  The 79-year-old actor was best known for his role
as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the original Star Trek series and six
subsequent movies.

                          *** CyberSpace ***


	The HobbySpace web site is an effort to answer the question:
"What fun space stuff can you do?"  This site provides information on
a wide range of activities that the average space enthusiast can take
part in, from model rocketry to satellite observing to space
activism.  Each of the 30 sections of the site contains information
about the activity and a comprehensive set of links to other
resources online.  If you've always wanted to somehow get involved in
space, this is place to turn!


                         Yahoo SETI Club Team

	If you're participating in the SETI@home project to help
process SETI data on your home PC, you've probably wished you could
process data faster.  If so, check out this site, which features over
two dozen tips on how to speed up your SETI@home efforts, ranging
from software tweaks to hardware upgrades.  There's also information
about joining their team and a link to the SETI club at Yahoo! (hence
the name of this site) which features discussion and more information
about SETI@home and SETI in general.  (Be sure to also check out the
SETI@home mailing list at talkSpace
(http://www.talkspace.net/mlists/setiathome.html), a partner of


                            The Starpages

	The Starpages is an online astronomy-oriented yellow pages.
The site is split into three components: StarWorlds, with more than
6,000 entries of astronomy organizations, institutions, and the like;
StarHeads, with more than 5,000 entries of professional astronomers
and related scientists; and StarBits, with 130,000 astronomical
acronyms and abbreviations.  Each section is searchable, so you can
easily locate information about the desired person, institution, or


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