Exploration: August 2010 Archives

Learning From The Past

Summoning the Future By Remembering the Past, Dennis Wingo

"Almost exactly 100 years and nine weeks before the famous speech by President Kennedy at Rice University calling for what would be known as the Apollo program, the U.S. Congress, in the middle of a war for the life of the nation, passed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. The "national" railroad as it was called was chartered by the government had as its core purpose to bind the nation together in commerce and open up the frontier to economic development. The government picked the route, set standards for its construction, and paid milestone payments to each of the two railroads (Union Pacific in the east and Central Pacific in the west). The government provided further incentives in the form of huge land grants on either side of the tracks that could be resold by the railroads at a profit. Another note is that the railroad paid back the government at a six percent interest over 30 years, resulting in a direct profit to the treasury."

The Moon: Creating Capability in Space and Getting Value for our Money, Paul Spudis

"Of all the possible destinations in space, the Moon offers the proximity, accessibility, and materials necessary to learn how to use what we find in space to create new capabilities. Harvesting the resources of the Moon will allow us to make what we need in space, rather than carrying it with us from the Earth's surface. The model currently used to pursue our national interests in space - design-launch-use-discard - restrains opportunity, affordability and capability. We can break the limits imposed on all of these factors by learning how to use the resources of space."

Apollo's Urban Legends

Exploding the Myth of Popular Support for Project Apollo, Roger Lanius

"Because of the on-going dispute over the future of human space exploration, I have been reminded of the longstanding perception that in the 1960s NASA's Apollo program enjoyed great public support. That is a misconception. The belief that Apollo enjoyed enthusiastic support during the 1960s and that somehow NASA has lost its compass thereafter still enjoys broad appeal . This is an important conception, for without the active agreement of political leaders and at least public acquiescence no exploration effort may be sustained for any length of time."

What's missing from the bold plans for human spaceflight, editorial, Washington Post

"But with the funding for NASA set around $19 billion and not likely to change, bold plans for humans in space are simply not feasible. Something must give. If the administration and Congress truly want human spaceflight, they need to fund it adequately. Piecemeal funding that dooms programs to failure is a waste of money -- especially when so many truly vital space functions, from the satellites that supply maps and communications to the telescopes that allow us to glimpse distant worlds, could benefit from such support."

Desert RATS 2010: NASA and Challenger Center Hardware Interface Tests (photos)

"Two power interface tests were conducted today at NASA JSC between the GSW7000 solar/wind generator system and NASA's Habitat Development Unit (HDU) and Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). The SEV and the HDU, along with the GSW7000 will all participate in the Desert RATS 2010 activities later this month and into September."

NASA Desert RATS 2010: Challenger Center Hardware Arrives at JSC (photos), earlier post

NASA Desert RATS 2010: Challenger Center Hardware Arrives at JSC

"As was the case in 2009, Green Trail Energy has partnered with the Challenger Center for Space Science Education to provide logistical and technical support for Education and Public Outreach to be done at NASA's annual Desert RATS activity. The GSW7000, whose utilization is being donated to this activity by Green Trail Energy, can provide 2.4 KW of wind power and 4.4 KW of solar power. With its extendable 110 foot tower, it can also serve as a cell phone node and provide WiFi and WiMAX connectivity. This unit can be deployed by one person and be operational 30 minutes after arrival at a remote location. The entire unit compacts into the volume of a standard shipping container and can be pulled by a 1 ton pick up truck."

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 August 2010

"Time again for Skvortsov & Yurchikhin for recharging the Motorola Iridium-9505A satellite phones located in Soyuz TMA-18/22S (at MRM2) & Soyuz TMA-19/23S (docked at MRM1), a monthly routine job and Fyodor's 2nd, Sasha's 4th. [After retrieving the phones from their location in the spacecraft Descent Modules (BO), the crewmembers initiated the recharge of the lithium-ion batteries, monitoring the process every 10-15 minutes as it took place. Upon completion, the phones were returned inside their SSSP Iridium kits and stowed back in the BO's ODF (operational data files) container. The satphone accompanies returning ISS crews on Soyuz reentry & landing for contingency communications with SAR (Search-and-Rescue) personnel after touchdown (e.g., after an "undershoot" ballistic reentry, as happened during the 15S return)."

Keith's note: I hope these phones work better on the steppes of Kazakhstan than they did at Everest Base Camp (lots of big mountains in your face). Scott Parazynski and I used to have phone conversations with our families back home via our Iridium phone (that I smuggled into Nepal since no one knew how to give me a formal permit) albeit in 2 minute increments interspersed with 5 minute intervals of silence while another satellite popped into (and then out of) view. That said, Scott and the Singing Sherpas did manage to sing Happy Birthday to Mike Barratt on the ISS via an Iridium phone at 21,500 feet on Mt. Everest.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from August 2010.

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