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

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Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 4:05 PM
Subject: SpaceViews -- 1999 July 15

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                            S P A C E V I E W S
                             Issue 1999.07.15
			       1999 July 15

*** News ***
	Former Astronaut Pete Conrad Dies
	Kazakhstan Lifts Ban on Baikonur Launches
	Near-Earth Asteroid No Longer A Collision Threat
	NASA Confirms July 20 Shuttle Launch Date
	Mir Air Leak Not Serious
	Delta Launches Globalstar Satellites
	X-38 Completes Fourth Drop Test
	Teledesic Moves Ahead
	SpaceViews Event Horizon
	Other News

*** Book Reviews ***
	The Last Man on the Moon

*** Letters ***
	Your Thoughts on Space Tourism

Editor's Note: We are in progress of adding a new section to our Web
site dedicated to the Moon.  Rather that duplicate those sites
marking the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, the SpaceViews
section will include information on current lunar exploration (Lunar
Prospector's mission will end at the end of this month) and future
prospects.  Check our Web site (http://www.spaceviews.com) in the coming
days as well as future issues of SpaceViews for more information about this

                             *** News ***

                  Former Astronaut Pete Conrad Dies

	Former astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad, the third human being
to set foot on the Moon, died in a motorcycle accident in southern
California Thursday, July 8. He was 69.

	Conrad was riding a motorcycle with friends when he ran off
the road near Ojai, California, northwest of Los Angeles.  He was
taken to a local hospital, where he died several hours later.

	Conrad, born in Philadelphia in 1930, joined the astronaut
corps in 1962 as one of the nine members of the second astronaut
class.  He first flew in space in 1965 as pilot of Gemini 5,
commanded by Mercury veteran Gordon Cooper.  Conrad went on to
command Gemini 11, the next-to-last flight of the program, a year

	He was probably best known as commander of Apollo 12, the
second lunar landing mission.  He and lunar module pilot Alan Bean
spent nearly eight hours on the surface of the moon in two spacewalks
in November 1969.  Conrad's precision flying of the Apollo 12 lunar
module set them down just a short distance away from the unmanned
Surveyor 3 spacecraft that had landed there several years earlier.

	Conrad stayed in the astronaut corps after the Apollo 12
mission and was assigned as commander of Skylab 2, the first manned
mission to America's first space station.  That flight turned into an
emergency repair mission when Skylab was damaged during launch.
After Conrad and crew members Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin repaired
the station, they spent nearly a month there.

	Conrad retired from NASA and the Navy after Skylab 2 and
later joined McDonnell Douglas, where he worked for 20 years.  During
his time there he was involved with the Delta Clipper Experimental
(DC-X) project, including remotely flying the small prototype for a
single-stage to orbit launch vehicle from the ground.

	In 1995 Conrad formed Universal Space Lines, a family of
companies involved with developing a commercial space infrastructure
ranging from launch vehicles to ground stations.

	"He embodied the 'can-do' spirit of NASA, taking on problems
and dealing with them without a lot of fuss," NASA administrator Dan
Goldin said in a statement.  "America has lost one of the great
aviators and explorers of the 20th century."

	Conrad will be buried ar Arlington National Cemetary in a
ceremony scheduled for July 19.  Several Apollo astronauts are
expected to attend the ceremonies.

              Kazakhstan Lifts Ban on Baikonur Launches

	The government has lifted a ban on most launches from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome, clearing the way for a  critical launch later
this week of supplies to the Mir space station.

	A Kazakh government official told Reuters that the government
had lifted the ban it imposed last week on all launches from Baikonur
except those using the Proton booster.  Proton launches are still
banned while the investigation into a July 5 crash of a Proton

	Russia had lobbied heavily for the ban to be lifted so it
could launch a Soyuz booster carrying a Progress-M cargo spacecraft
to Mir.  That launch, originally slated for July 14, is now likely to
occur on Friday, July 16, or Sunday, July 18.

	The Progress carries food, water, and other supplies and
equipment to Mir, including a new guidance computer for the station.
Russian officials said earlier in the week that if the Progress was
not launched by July 20, it would not be able to reach Mir with its
current cargo because it would have to expend extra fuel to reach the

	The supplies will allow the Mir crew to remain on the station
until late August, when they plan to return to Earth.  Before leaving
they will install the new guidance computer, which will permit Mir to
remain in the proper attitude while left unmanned.

	Russian Space agency officials had warned that if the
Progress was not launched, the crew would have to evacuate the
station.  Moreover, Mir would have lost its attitude control,
complicating its planned reentry early next year.

	Russia reportedly offered to pay over $100 million it owed to
Kazakhstan for rent of the Baikonur launch site, as well as
compensation for the Proton crash.  Terms of the agreement were not
announced by Kazakh officials, though.

	The lifting of the ban should also clear the way for the
launch this month of a Ukrainian Zenit 2 booster, carrying the
Russian-Ukrainian Okean remote sensing satellite.  That launch,
originally planned for July 8, was delayed when Kazakhstan imposed
the ban on all Baikonur launches June 6.  No date for the Zenit 2
launch has been announced.

	There was also no indication on when Kazakhstan would again
permit Proton launches from Baikonur.  Russian officials had said
earlier this month that they expect to wrap up the investigation into
the Proton crash, which has now been linked to an explosion in the
second stage of the Proton about four and a half minutes after
launch, possibly linked to a sudden temperature increase in one of
the second stage's engines.

	NASA officials are carefully watching the Proton
investigation, since a Proton is scheduled to launch the Zvezda
service module for the International Space Station in November.

           Near-Earth Asteroid No Longer A Collision Threat

	The discovery of a 44-year-old photo of a near-Earth asteroid
has all but eliminated any possibility that the object could hit the
earth next century, astronomers reported July 12.

	Two German amateur astronomers, Arno Gnadig and Andreas
Doppler, located a pre-discovery image of asteroid 1999 AN10 that
dates back to 1955.  The image, taken as part of the first Palomar
Sky Survey, dates back to when the asteroid was making a close
approach to the Earth and visible high in northern skies.

	Asteroid 1999 AN10 attracted attention earlier this year
shortly after its discovery, when astronomers computed its orbit and
discovered a billion-to-one chance that it could collide with Earth
in 2039.  Later analysis discovered another possible impact with
500,000-to-1 in 2044.

	Those predictions, though, were based on only few months'
worth of observations and thus had large uncertainties.  The
discovery of the 1955 image allows astronomers to tie down the orbit
with much greater accuracy.

	The refined orbit essentially eliminated any possibility of
an impact in 2039 and 2044.  In fact, Brian Marsden and Gareth
Williams of the Minor Planet Center note that in 2044, 1999 AN10 will
be on the opposite side of the Sun, more than 320 million kilometers
(200 million miles) from the Earth at the time of the
previously-predicted impact.

	The improved orbit also adjusted a close approach the
asteroid will make to the Earth in 2027.  Instead of passing as close
as 32,600 km (20,200 mi.), the asteroid will pass at around 390,000
km (242,000 mi.), or about the Moon's distance from the Earth.  The
asteroid will not pass close to the Earth until 2076, when it will
come no closer than 1.2 million kilometers (745,000 mi.) to the

	The revised orbit underscores the need to not only ramp up
current searches for near-Earth objects, but to dig into archives to
look for images that include the object prior to its discovery.

	The discovery of the impact potential for 1999 AN10 was
publicized in April by Benny Peiser, moderator of a mailing list used
by the near-Earth asteroid research community.  Peiser generated some
criticism for publicizing the earlier impact probabilities, but he
notes ironically now that the whole affair could have been avoided,
since the pre-discovery image is included in the publicly-accessible
Digital Sky Survey.

	"It is quite astonishing that the teams involved in
calculating impact probabilities for 1999 AN10 apparently failed to
check this data before going public," he said in a message on his
list July 13. "After all, they could have avoided announcing a
short-term 'problem' right from the start."

	"Unless we can improve this astronomical data base [of facts
and observations] substantially," he added, "we will have to rely on
short-lived and highly speculative probability statistics which begin
to look like a game of pure gamble."

              NASA Confirms July 20 Shuttle Launch Date

	NASA officials made July 20 the official launch date for
STS-93, the second shuttle mission of the year that features the
launch of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the first female

	In a Thursday, July 8 briefing, shuttle managers confirmed
that STS-93 was on track to launch at 12:36 am EDT (0436 UT) July 20,
at the beginning of a 46-minute launch window.  July 20 has been the
unofficial date crews had been working towards for a month prior to
Thursday's announcement.

	The primary purpose of STS-93 is to deploy the Chandra X-Ray
Telescope (formerly the Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Observatory, or
AXAF).  The crew will deploy Chandra and its Interial Upper Stage
(IUS) booster engine from Columbia's cargo bay seven hours after

	About an hour after deployment the IUS will begin a series of
burns that will eventually place Chandra into an elliptical orbit
between 10,000 and 140,000 km (6,200 and 87,000 mi.) above the Earth.

	Problems with chandra have delayed the launch of STS-93 by
near a year.  Most recently, a failure with an IUS used on a Titan 4
launch caused about a two-week delay while the Air Force, NASA, and
IUS builder Boeing worked together on an investigation.  The results
of that investigation have not yet been released.

	The rest of the mission will be devoted to a number of
secondary experiments.  These projects range from studies of plant
growth in microgravity to tests of a new lightweight solar array
hinge to an ultraviolet astronomy experiment.

	The focus of the mission, though, will be on its crew, and in
particular commander Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a
shuttle mission.  Collins has attracted considerable attention since
she was first named commander of the mission in a White House
ceremony in March of 1998.

	At a July 7 press conference, Collins said the selection of a
woman as a shuttle commander was "a long time coming," noting the
role women played to pioneer aviation early in the century.

	Collins said First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was
considering attending the launch, a possibility confirmed by White
House officials.  Collins escorted President and Mrs. Clinton when
they attended the October 1998 launch of STS-95, featuring John
Glenn's second spacefight.

	The other members of the STS-93 crew include rookie pilot
Jeffrey Ashby and mission specialists Steven Hawley, Cady Coleman,
and Michel Toganini, representing the French space agency CNES.

	Assuming an on-time launch, Columbia will return to the
Kennedy Space Center for a landing just after 11:30 pm EDT July 24
(0330 UT July 25.) 

                       Mir Air Leak Not Serious

	A small loss of air pressure presents no danger to the crew
of the Russian space station Mir, officials said Saturday, July 10.

	Officials at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center told the
Interfax news agency that the atmospheric pressure on Mir has been
dropping slowly over the last two weeks.  Sources say the loss of
pressure has only been about 1 mm of Hg per day, amounting to only a
couple percent of Mir's air pressure overall.

	"We are not treating this as an accident or an emergency, and
there is no need for panic," an unnamed official told Reuters.  "They
[the Mir crew] have plenty of oxygen supplies."

	The cause of the air pressure decrease is unknown.  Engineers
originally hypothesized that changes in temperature in one of Mir's
modules was causing the air pressure change, but they acknowledge
that air could be leaking out through faulty valves or cracks in the
module's hull.

	Officials have recommended to the three-man crew of Viktor
Afanasyev, Sergei Avdeyev, and French astronaut Jean-Pierre Haignere
that they close all internal hatches and monitor pressure as a way of
isolating the location of the pressure loss.

                 Delta Launches Globalstar Satellites

	A Boeing Delta 2 successfully launched four Globalstar
satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Saturday, July 10.

	The Delta 2 lifted off from Pad 17B at 4:45 am EDT (0845 UT).
No problems were reported to the launch, and the Delta 2's payload of
four Globalstar satellites were successfully placed into orbit.

	The launch was originally scheduled for July 8, but delayed
on two successive days by high upper-level winds.  Those winds
subsided to permit Saturday's launch.

	The launch is the second in a series of four Delta 2 launches
planned for this summer to place one-third of Globalstar's
48-satellite constellation.  The first took place June 10, with two
more planned for July 24 and August 14, both from Cape Canaveral.

	With Saturday's launch, 28 Globalstar satellites are now in
orbit, 16 from four Delta 2 launches and 12 from three Soyuz
launches.  Three more Soyuz and one more Delta 2 will be used this
fall to complete the constellation plus fly four on-orbit spares.

	Globalstar plans to offer a limited version of its worldwide
phone service this fall after the series of summer Delta 2 launches
are complete.  It will offer full phone service after the
constellation is completed late this year.

                   X-38 Completes Fourth Drop Test

	The X-38, a prototype of a future crew return vehicle for the
International Space Station, successfully completed its fourth test
flight Friday, July 9.

	X-38 vehicle #132 was dropped from a B-52 at an altitude of
9,500 meters (31,500 feet) Friday morning.  The X-38 flew free for 31
seconds, the longest free flight yet, before deploying a new drogue
chute and gliding to a successful landing on the lakebed at Edwards
Air Force Base, California.

	The flight was the second for this X-38 test vehicle, and the
fourth overall.  Vehicle 132, which has better control surfaces and
instrumentation than the original test vehicle, first flew March 5.
Flights were delayed after that until a new drogue chute, capable of
flights at higher altitudes could be tested.

	About four to five test flights of this X-38 vehicle are
planned for this year.  Future test flights will raise the drop
altitude to 13,600 meters (45,000 feet) with longer flight times.

	At the end of the year it will be joined by the original X-38
test vehicle, used in the drop tests last month and in March 1998 and
currently undergoing a refit.  A full-scale version of the X-38
should also be available by early next year.

	The X-38 is designed to serve as a crew return vehicle should
a medical emergency or other accident require the crew to evacuate
the station before a shuttle or other spacecraft could arrive at the
station.  The spacecraft is also being considered for other purposes,
including use as a ferry vehicle launched atop a European Ariane 5

                        Teledesic Moves Ahead

	Teledesic announced contracts July 9 with Motorola and
International Launch Services for the assembly and launch of its
constellation of low-Earth orbit communications satellites.

	The contracts, plus word that the company has raised $1.5
billion in funding, provide new momentum for the broadband
communications provider that had appeared to stall out earlier this

	Teledesic said it reached an agreement with Motorola to serve
as the prime contractor for the Teledesic network. Motorola will
handle the engineering and construction of the satellite

	Teledesic also signed a contract with International Launch
Services, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Russian
aerospace firms Energia and Khrunichev, to launch the satellite
constellation.  Teledesic purchased three launches each on the
heavy-lift Atlas 5 and Proton M boosters, with options for five more
launches on each vehicle.

	No date for the first launches were given, but since both the
Atlas 5 and Proton M are in development the launches are not expected
for the near future.  Lockheed Martin says the first flight of the
Atlas 5, an upgraded version of the Atlas 3, is not expected until
late 2001.  The Proton M, an modernized version of the Proton K
currently in use, has not yet flown.

	Missing from the announcement were technical details about
the Teledesic constellation.  The Teledesic press release noted that
the company's contract with Motorola depended on a successful final
technical review, due in the next three months.  At that time, the
company said, details of the Motorola contract and a description of
"the enhanced system design" would be publicized.

	The last publicized version of the constellation called for
288 satellites, plus spares, in low Earth orbits.  However, recent
speculation indicated that the number of satellites had gone down, to
perhaps as low as 120.

	Teledesic also announced that it had raised $1.5 billion to
date to develop the system.  This includes a $150 million investment
by Motorola, which joined the Teledesic effort in May 1998 when it
abandoned Celestri, its own broadband satellite constellation it was

	However, Motorola, which is also a key investor in the
troubled Iridium satellite communications system, appeared to grow
hesitant about Teledesic in recent months, pulling a group of its
engineers off the project for a time.  Some subcontractors also
followed suit.  Those workers will likely return to the project, as
Teledesic paid Motorola $250 million as a down payment for its work
as prime contractor.

	"We have savvy investors who understand the unique merits of
our business plan, including the differences between our services and
markets and those of others," Bill Owens, co-CEO and vice chairman of
Teledesic, said. "They also have a global perspective and understand
that this is a long-term undertaking that will help serve an unmet
worldwide need for broadband services." 

                       SpaceViews Event Horizon

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

July 16?	Soyuz launch of the Progress-M 42 cargo spacecraft to 
		 Mir from Baikonur, Kazakhstan

July 20		Launch of the shuttle <I>Columbia</I> on mission 
		 STS-93 (Chandra X-Ray Telescope deployment) at
		 12:36 am EDT (0436 UT)

July 24		Delta 2 launch of four Globalstar satellites from 
		 Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 7:33 am EDT (1133 UT)

July 24		Landing of the shuttle <I>Columbia</I> to end mission 
		 STS-93 at the Kennedy Space Center, at 11:31 pm EDT 
		 (0331 UT July 25)

July 31		Pegasus XL launch of 8 ORBCOMM satellites from 
		 Kwajalein (Pacific Ocean)

July TBD	Zenit 2 launch of the Okean O-N1 satellite from 
		 Baikonur, Kazakhstan

August 4	Ariane 4 launch of the Indonesian Telekom-1 
		 communications satellite from Kourou, French Guiana.

August 12-15	Mars Society 1999 Conference, Boulder, CO

September 23-26	Space Frontier Conference 8, Los Angeles, CA

                              Other News

Solar Wind Discovery:  Scientists using data from two spacecraft have
figured out how the solar wind reaches speeds of up to 800 km/sec
(500 mi/sec), NASA announced July 8.  Solar wind ions "surf" on waves
in the magnetic field lines of the Sun, accelerating them to the high
speeds that are twice as fast as predicted by theory.  "These
vibrating magnetic waves give solar wind particles a push, just like
an ocean wave gives a surfer a ride," said John Kohl of the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  The vibrating magnetic
fields, discovered by the SOHO spacecraft and the Spartan solar
science satellite deployed last fall on the STS-95 shuttle mission
that features John Glenn, solve a mystery about the speed of the
solar wind that had existed since the early 1960s.

Ariane Launch Schedule:  Arianespace plans an aggressive launch
schedule for the rest of 1999, the company announced July 13.
Arianespace plans eight Ariane 4 and 5 launches from August through
December, starting with the Ariane 4 launch of the Telekom-1
satellite August 4.  There have been only two Ariane launches this
year, and none since early April, because of delays delivering
satellite payloads to Ariane.

Plesetsk Launch:  A Molniya booster launched a Russian military
communications satellite July 10 from Plesetsk, Russia.  The
satellite, also called Molniya, was placed in an elliptical,
including orbit that better serves high latitude locations than
geosynchronous satellites.  The launch was the first of the year from
Plesetsk, which had not seen a launch since two flights in December

GOES-L Delay:  The newest weather satellite, GOES-L, will remain on
the ground until at least mid-October, officials with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced July 12.  The launch
has been delayed because of concerns about an RL-10 engine used in
the Centaur upper stage of the Atlas 2 booster that will launch
GOES-L.  A similar engine apparently exploded during a Delta 3 launch
in May.  The repairs will not be completed before late August, when
the fall eclipse season for geosynchronous satellites begins, as the
Earth blocks the Sun for up to 72 minutes a day.  The eclipse season
ends in mid-October, and NOAA and Atlas builder Lockheed Martin will
then work to schedule a launch later in the month or in November.

NGST Contracts:  Two aerospace companies were awarded contracts by
NASA last week to begin preliminary designs of the Next Generation
Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.  Two
teams, one led by Lockheed Martin and the other by TRW and Ball
Aerospace, received 30-month contracts of about $15 million each to
come up with preliminary designs of the NGST, which will feature an
8-meter (26.4-foot) mirror, several times larger than the one in
Hubble.  One of the designs will be selected in 2001 for
construction, with launch planned in 2008.

Briefly:  Scientists in New Zealand are on the hunt for traces of a
meteor which exploded over the country's North Island on July 7.
Astronomers have narrowed down the path of the meteor to a 100-km
strip partially over water, the New Zealand Herald reported July 12.
No traces of the meteor, whose original size is unknown, have yet
been found...  Ehud Barak, the new prime minister of Israel, wants
the United States to set a date for the first flight of an Israeli on
the space shuttle.  Two Israeli pilots have been training in the
United States but have not been assigned to any flights.  Barak told
an Israeli newspaper than he hopes the U.S. will set a date during
Barak's upcoming trip to Washington... Through all the concern about
the fate of Mir, it's a little surprising a historic anniversary was
relatively ignored recently.  July 11 marked the 20th anniversary of
the reentry of Skylab, America's first space station, as it burned up
and scattered debris over portions of the Indian Ocean and Australia.
That reentry was relatively harmless, so we can only hope for the
same next year when Mir's turn comes around...

                         *** Book Reviews ***
                            by Jeff Foust

The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race
in Space
by Eugene Cernan with Don Davis
St. Martin's Press, 1999
hardcover, 356pp., illus.
ISBN 0-312-19906-6

Buy this book at Amazon.com:

	Gene Cernan holds the dubious distinction of being the last
person to walk on the Moon, as commander of Apollo 17.  Of course,
it's not his fault that he was the last, but how he got to command
the final Apollo landing mission was an interesting story of
determination, fate, and luck both good and bad.  Cernan tells the
story of Apollo 17, along with his career as an astronaut, in "The
Last Man on the Moon".

	Cernan's book is a memoir that starts with his childhood days
outside Chicago, through college life at Purdue and his early career
as a naval aviator, though his selection and career as an astronaut.
The book includes vivid depictions of events such as Cernan's Gemini
9 spacewalk, which was fraught with trouble and danger, as well as
the Apollo 10 "dress rehearsal" which nearly ended in disaster for
Cernan and commander Tom Stafford.

	Cernan minces no words in his account of his astronaut
career: he lets you know whom he liked and whom he didn't.  In
particular, he includes several sharp barbs about Buzz Aldrin,
deflating Aldrin's claims to have revolutionized spacewalks on his
Gemini flight and criticizing Aldrin's grandstanding to be the first
to walk on the moon, an opinion Cernan said was shared by other
members of the astronaut corps.

	There's little in the book about life after Apollo other than
a brief account of his departure from NASA for private industry and
his divorce and remarriage.  However, Cernan's first person account
of the Gemini and Apollo programs gives timely new insights on NASA's
efforts to put a man on the moon, and how astronauts like Cernan
helped make it possible.

Totality: Eclipses of the Sun
by Mark Littmann, Ken Willcox, and Fred Espenak
Oxford University Press, 1999
softcover, 268pp., illus.
ISBN 0-19-513179-7

Buy this book at Amazon.com:

	Get ready for another case of eclipse fever.  In August a
total solar eclipse will be visible from Europe through the Middle
East into India, with million gearing up to view the last total
eclipse of the century and millennium.  (This is true whether you
consider 1999 or 2000 the last year of the century: there are no
total eclipses in 2000.)  Just in time for this latest eclipse is the
second edition of "Totality", an excellent book solar eclipses.

	The book, written by a trio of eclipse experts and
experienced observers (one of whom, Willcox, tragically passed away
earlier this year) starts with some basic information about eclipses
and early myths associated with them.  The book then moves to more
modern eclipse accounts, including how scientists today use eclipses
to learn more about the Sun.  Later chapters cover how to safely
observe and photograph eclipses.

	One chapter of the book is dedicated the August 11 total
eclipse, and another covers eclipses that will occur over the next
half-century, making sure this book will not be easily outdated.  The
authors manage to cover a wide range of topics -- from photography
tips to the complicated nature of eclipse cycles, or "saros" -- at
varying levels, and do so well.  "Totality" is a great resource for
both the experienced eclipse chaser to the beginner eager to learn
more about eclipses.

                           *** Letters ***

                    Your Thoughts on Space Tourism

[Editor's Note: These letters are in response to our July 1 article
about the recent space tourism conference in Washington, accessible
online at http://www.spaceviews.com/1999/07/article1a.html. Letters
can be sent to letters@spaceviews.com.]

	Possibily without intending to, Wolfgang Demisch, one of the
conference speakers, identifies the biggest problem in financing
space tourism today: given the current level of our tecyhnology, it's
pretty nearly impossible to create a credible business plan that goes
gradually. Everything is running on the ragged edge of disaster;
investors and insurers tend not to like that.

	It's worth remembering that the Wright Brothers built their
first plane on the back of almost half a century of glider and engine
technology. Moreover, flight technology was further fast-tracked by
two world wars, yet it took the best part of six decades before air
tourism to really become something the masses might seriously aspire
to. Air tourism also had the advantage of international agreements
which expressly limited the compensation payable to victims of air
accidents... a extremely useful luxury that space tourism ventures
are highly unlikely to have. Under the circumstances, the development
of tourism-friendly launch vehicles may not be travelling as slowly
as some dreamers claim.

Robert Clements

	The biggest problem facing space tourism is the red tape. The
licensing and insurance required to try it are taking over twice the
effort, and cost, as the engineering. The regulations for certifying,
licensing and even getting waivers to fly private space craft are
daunting.  No one has any clear idea of the requirements or how to
answer them.  Not other, larger, aerospace companies, not lawyers,

	The science, engineering, physics and chemistry? They are the
easy part.

Jim Hill
Cerulean Freight Forwarding Company

	The article on space tourism ignores the news article
"Explosion Cause of Delta 3 Failure" in the same issue.

	Public awareness of the real risks is a significant limit to
the market. Tourism advocates don't seem to recognize that as a
significant issue.  Even in Apollo, where dollar cost was not really
a consideration, there were accidents and loss of life.

	The high mission loss rate reported in the news article
reflects the higher risks associated with today's cost driven
environment.  Commercial operations can afford the risks when it is
just hardware and money.  But most people want better odds before
risking their lives.

Michael McGuirk

	Routine space tourist launch services, for a reasonable price
per flight, require new, completely reusable launch vehicles. The
turn-around time for these vehicles must be short, which means
aircraft-like operations. Furthermore, safety must be high, at least
comparable to that of "extreme" sports such as skydiving. For this a
high reliability and extensive abort possibilities are required.

	No such space vehicle exists today. The Space Shuttle is only
partly reusable, has a turn-around time of several months and is much
too expensive to operate. Low-cost, reusable launch vehicles with
short turn-around times are only now under development by NASA
(VentureStar), ESA (FESTIP), NASDA and several private companies.
These vehicles are intended to lower launch costs for satellites. For
tourism these vehicles will still be rather expensive and safety is
too low for launching tourists: even a reliability of 99% (which is
high compared to current launch vehicles) means that of 100 launches,
1 vehicle does not make it to orbit. Imagine that in every 100
commercial aircraft flights one crashes or has to make an emergency
landing, that would mean several airplane emergency situations per
day! Rocket motors are still not even nearly as reliable as jet

	Vehicles for space tourism could be the next generation of
reusable launchers, but first those now under development will have
to prove that routine, low-cost, safe operations with fast
turn-arounds are possible for regular satellite launches. Only then
will investors see the possibilities these kind of vehicles offer for
space tourism and be prepared to put any money into it. It's just too
early for space tourism; the market is there but the technology is
not (yet).

Michel van Pelt

	I'm a 38 years old dentist who lives and works in Brazil.
I've visited the U.S. for 5 times.  I've visited Cape Canaveral in
Florida twice and I love all subjects related to space science and
exploration.  My dream is at least see one launch of the Space
Shuttle.  But if I could go to space even for a few hours it would be
the most beautifull dream of my life.  The risks are insignificant
when compared with such a wonderful idea.

Leopoldo Andriao Junior

	This has been the July 15, 1999, issue of SpaceViews.
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