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Minutes of June Meeting
Oklahoma Space Alliance met at Earl’s Rib Palace in Moore on June 11, 2016. Attending were Steve, Karen and Bryan Swift, Russ Davoren, Kay Fiel, Jasmine Kendricks, Claire and Clifford McMurray, Dave Sheely, Rosemary Swift, Rebecca Tate, Sue Taylor, Stephanie Thibodeau, Dennis Wigley and Syd Henderson.
There was a launch of the Delta IV rocket on the morning of June 11, too late to make last month’s Update. This is the most powerful rocket we have, at least until SpaceX launches its Falcon 9 Heavy in a few months. We watched video of the Delta Launch.
The Lynx spacecraft is being shelved by XCor, which will result in employees being laid off. They will be building rocket engines for the United Launch Alliance.
We watched the Falcon 9 launch of Thaicom satellite and the subsequent landing of the first stage on a platform at sea. This was their third sea landing and fourth landing overall.
The Bigelow Expandable Module attached to the International Space Station has indeed expanded. There was some delay at first. This module has the advantage that it is covered with several layers of Kevlar, which protects it from micrometeorites.
Antares flights resume on July 6.
Claire and Clifford McMurray went to the International Space Development conference in Puerto Rico. Oklahoma Space Alliance won a special merit award for outreach. The next ISDC is in St. Louis.
NSS Chapter coordination is being reorganized so each organizer has about the same number of chapters to correspond with. [I hope this takes into account the physical size of each region.]
We have $1078.83 in the checking account and $267 in cash.
Steve is undergoing medical treatments that will leave him incapacitated for a while, so Dave Sheely will have to preside over the next meeting.
We watched a video on Economic Basis of Interstellar Flight by Robert Zubrin. Since the cost is a thousand times that of the Apollo program, he estimates we would need a GNP 200 times that we currently have.
Syd Henderson and Clifford McMurray will be on space panels at Soonercon. Claire McMurray will also be on panels, but they won’t be on space. Syd suggested we might consider a space track on Mars at the next Soonercon.
--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson
Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson attended Soonercon and were on some of the panels. Clifford and Syd were on "Colonies by the Canals: is a Martian colony even a good idea?" with about a dozen people in the audience (which is why I’m writing about Mars later in the newsletter). Clifford also gave his slideshow on asteroids to an audience of five, and Syd was on “Space in 50 Years” with an audience of eight (not counting the four panelists). Claire was on a couple of panels on filksinging (which is the sf fan’s equivalent of folk singing).
“Space in 50 Years” was rather free-form, since we were moved into a room without tables, so that the panelists were mixed among the audience. My fellow panelists were planetologist John DeLaughter (moderator); Karl Gallagher who worked on satellite orbits and trajectories (and also wrote a novel Torchship) and Joey Rodman who is a writer and astronomy geek. My belief was that we will probably have intermittently manned scientific stations on Mars but likely not permanent settlements and permanently manned outposts on the Moon (possibly speaking Chinese). We will be exploiting near-earth asteroids, and likely will have sent astronauts to the asteroid belt but probably not settled there due to problems of radiation and adapting to zero-gee. This, however, does make some of the larger asteroids appealing, especially if you can increase their rate of spin so that you can live on the inside and substitute centrifugal effects for gravity. See the Syfy channel show The Expanse on what this might look like.
Mr. DeLaughter asked us what we thought the priorities might be among the Moon, Mars, asteroids and oceans. I think in the short run, it’s the Moon, near-earth asteroids, Mars, oceans and the asteroid belt, but in 50 years, the asteroids will be first because we will be exploiting them for raw materials.
DeLaughter posited the next space race will be China vs. India, but I’m a little skeptical about the scale of that race. I think that there’s going to be a rivalry among commercial space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin for actually getting people and robots to places where they may actually make a profit.
I’ll be discussing the Mars panel later. The panelists for that were Clifford McMurray (moderator), Mr. Delaughter, sf writers Cary Osborne, Gorg Hugg and Jackie Kramer.
Larry Nemecek had a presentation on the Enterprise in Space project, which is to launch a small space satellite packed with experiments created by high school kids. This project also includes a virtual personal tutor Ali (as in Alison, I think). The idea is to inspire kids’ interest in science through hands-on projects, and having your experiment sent into space should certainly do it. For information, visit http://www.enterpriseinspace.org. The National Space Society has agreed to be part of this this and you can find information on their blog.
This was the largest Soonercon since its 2005 revival and possible altogether. There were conservatively eight hundred people there and likely more.
More on Enterprise in Space from an NSS press release:
National Space Society's EIS mission includes many important 'firsts:'
Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray.
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
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