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OUTREACH September 2008

September Meeting (Note change in meeting date)

          Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 13 at the Koszoru house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. [Directions below agenda.]


          We talked last month about doing something for Space Week in October but weren’t able to settle on a date. Space Week runs October 4 – 10, but October 4 seems to be out since several members will be unavailable. In fact, Claire and Kip will be gone the entire week. Last year we did a table at TrickConTreat, which this year is October 3 – 5. I’m planning to go but I don’t know if anyone else in OSA is or whether tables will be set up again.
          To get the meeting either: (1) Take the Robinson Street west exit off I-35. Proceed west to 36th Street where you will turn left, and go south until you turn left on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side, or (2) Take the Main Street west exit off I-35, proceed west past the Sooner Fashion Mall, and turn right at 36th Street, and go north until you turn right on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side.

Minutes of August Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance met on August 16 at the Koszoru house. In attendance were Claire McMurray, Tom and Heidi Koszoru, Tim Scott and Syd Henderson.
          Syd has added the e-mail addresses for the people who signed up at SoonerCon. We only had a couple of people sign up at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory dedication and only left their physical address. Claire corrected Gerald Burton’s e-mail address since his e-mail was bouncing.
          Tim still needs to send money to the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club for the platform we donated.
          Tom and the lady at the 99ers are playing phone tag.
          George Whitesides has been sending out e-mails on space solar power satellites. John Strickland is well versed in the subject.
          We will not be doing Yuri’s Night 2009 at the Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex).
          Space Week 2008 is October 4 – 10 and commemorates the flight of Sputnik 1. We should ask the 99ers whether we could have it there. October 4 is a road game, but it is also FenCon, which Claire and Clifford McMurray are going to, and is also during the Okie-Tex Star Party. (It is also during TrickConTreat in Oklahoma City.) October 11 is OU-Texas weekend.
          The usual date for the September meeting falls during the Winfield Music Festival which Claire and Clifford McMurray are attending. We’re moving the meeting up to September 13 so we can have a full complement of members.
          Tom wants a manual on how to set up a NSS chapter on SecondLife. This could thereby be an international chapter.
          No, we are not going to raise dues.
          Upcoming cons: Claire and Clifford McMurray are going to FenCon, then go to the night launch of the Space Shuttle on October 8. (This is the launch of the servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.) Claire and Kip want to get press credentials. Kip has written for the NSS magazine Ad Astra, Could Claire be from Norman Transcript? This means that they will be gone for the entire Space Week in October.
          TrickConTreat (see below) will be October 3-5.
          We discussed the video contest mentioned in the agenda. Tom thinks the only way to do the video would be on Second Life. The subject was brought up by Veronica Zabala.
          July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon. That date will be on a Monday, but the entire mission lasted from July 16 – 24. Claire wants to do a forward-looking thing on Return to the Moon, possibly at 50 Penn Place. The broadcast booth for KTOK is there and one of the announcers is a space enthusiast. We need an exploratory meeting to see if we could do it there. We could possibly do something with OU, and need to contact Wayne and Cheryl at the Science Museum Oklahoma. We could have a set-up area so kids can make their own space costumes.
          Tom is in training the next two weeks. Tim can work on it in late September.
          The Rocket Racing League had a demo at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (more usually referred to as the Oshkosh Air Show).
          Claire and Kip went to Denvention.
Minutes submitted by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

[TrickConTreat is a Halloween-themed science fiction convention with activities for both children and adults. Last year it was a one-day event, but this year the people doing it are getting ambitious. The theme is a tribute to B-Movies, but they also have makeup and costuming workshops, and art show, ghost-hunting tips, and the first Oklahoma Hearse and Shock-Rod Show. We had a table at this last year, but haven’t made plans yet for this year.-SFH]

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (September 12 – October 18)

          You can get sighting information at www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get Station data for 10 day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail. In fact, the detailed charts will even show you the tracks against maps of the constellations, which should help you if you are familiar with the night sky.
          Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. Note that with the addition of the solar panels, the magnitude of the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -2.7, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun, although magnitude -1 to -2 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is a bit more difficult to see. 
          Missions to the Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope may change its orbit. The next shuttle launch will be the repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched on October 8. This will be the final repair mission unless NASA decides that it will require a crew to de-orbit the Space Telescope. The next shuttle launch to the Space Station is November 10.
          Because the decent passes for the Space Telescope are all around October 8, hence unreliable, I’m not including them this month.

Station   September 13, 2008
Time           Position           Elevation
6:11 a.m.        330°                  17°
6:12                347                    30
6:13                  38                    45
6:14                  91                    30
6:15                107                    17

Station   September 14, 2008
Time           Position           Elevation
6:38 a.m.        289°                   15°
6:39                270                    27
6:40                225                    36
6:41                181                    26
6:42                163                    15

Station   September 19, 2008
Time           Position           Elevation
8:30 p.m.       232°                  18°
8:31               236                    37
8:32               314                    80
8:33                 40                    37
8:34                 44                    18

Station   September 21, 2008
Time           Position           Elevation
7:48 p.m.       283°                  18°
7:49               247                    35
7:50               316                    67
7:51                 31                    36
7:52                 40                    18

Station   October 9, 2008
Time           Position           Elevation
7:47 p.m.       311°                  18°
7:48               309                    36
7:49               251                    85*
7:50               136                    38
7:51               135                    18
* Passes very close to Vega

          Pass times are from Heavens Above.
          Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus at 6:14 a.m. on September 13, the International Space Station will be slightly west of due south and three fist-widths above the horizon.
          In addition to the J-Pass program which I use to provide this satellite viewing data, J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

Presidential Candidates on Space

          Sciencedebate 2008 asked presidential nominees Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain a series of fourteen questions on issues involving science and technology. Senator Obama’s complete reply is at http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=40. Senator McCain has said he will also reply. Here is Senator Obama’s response to the question on space:

11. Space.  The study of Earth from space can yield important information about climate change; focus on the cosmos can advance our understanding of the universe; and manned space travel can help us inspire new generations of youth to go into science.  Can we afford all of them?   How would you prioritize space in your administration?

Senator Obama:As president, I will establish a robust and balanced civilian space program. Under my administration, NASA not only will inspire the world with both human and robotic space exploration, but also will again lead in confronting the challenges we face here on Earth, including global climate change, energy independence, and aeronautics research. In achieving this vision, I will reach out to include international partners and to engage the private sector to amplify NASA’s reach. I believe that a revitalized NASA can help America maintain its innovation edge and contribute to American economic growth.
          “There is currently no organizational authority in the federal government with a sufficiently broad mandate to oversee a comprehensive and integrated strategy and policy dealing with all aspects of the government’s space-related programs, including those being managed by NASA, the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation, and other federal agencies. This wasn’t always the case. Between 1958 and 1973, the National Aeronautics and Space Council oversaw the entire space arena for four presidents; the Council was briefly revived from 1989 to 1992. I will re-establish this Council reporting to the president. It will oversee and coordinate civilian, military, commercial, and national security space activities. It will solicit public participation, engage the international community, and work toward a 21st century vision of space that constantly pushes the envelope on new technologies as it pursues a balanced national portfolio that expands our reach into the heavens and improves life here on Earth.”

Although Senator McCain hasn’t sent his reply yet, he and two Senators did send an open letter dated August 25 that details some of his concerns. The letter is fairly lengthy, but here are some excerpts (typos and ellipses are mine):
          “Dear Mr. President,
          “The recent incursion by Russia into the sovereign nation of Georgia, and its subsequent behavior, has raised concerns about the reliability of Russia as a partner for the International Space Station (ISS) and the related provision of crew delivery services to and from the International Space Station, including U.S. astronauts and researchers.
          “As you know, the ability of the United States to purchase transportation aboard Russian Soyuz launch vehicles for the purpose of sending US crew members to the Space Station is currently permissible through a waiver of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. This waiver expires at the end of calendar year 2011, and you have formally requested that the Congress extend that exemption. The Russian incursion into Georgia has raised new questions about the wisdom of providing that exemption. Any consideration of granting this waiver would reflect concern for the continued viability of the ISS and the need to have a means for U.S. astronauts and scientific researchers to be able to make use of this multi-billion dollar facility.”
          “We continue to believe it is essential to both speed the availability of Ares I rocket and Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, and to help spur the development of a robust commercial US spaceflight industry. The fact is, however, that neither of these efforts offers a clear near-term solution to ensure that U.S. astronauts and scientists are able to make use of the U.S. segment of the ISS—which has been designated as a National Laboratory.
          “Given all of these considerations, we believe that it is imperative, as NASA continues the translation from the Space Shuttle to the successor vehicles, that the means for producing additional flight hardware and obtaining additional flight engineering and support services, not be completely and irretrievably lost through destruction or deterioration, at least until a clear path to alternative launch capabilities is at hand. At a minimum, we request that you direct NASA to take no action for at least one year from now that would preclude the extended use of the Space Shuttle beyond 2010. We understand that several such actions are pending in the near future, and believe that allowing them to continue would remove an option for U.S. human spaceflight capability that must not be irretrievably lost at this time.”
          The letter is signed by Senators John McCain, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and David Vitter.

Sky Viewing

          Venus is currently low in the western sky after sunset and that won’t change much in October. Even at the end of October it will be only about 12° above the horizon about 30 minutes after sunset. Venus is so bright (magnitude -3.8 at the moment) that it should be visible anyway. Venus will be getting higher at brighter later in the year as it approaches greatest elongation (maximum angular distance from Sun) on January 14.
          Mercury is about magnitude 0 and is 3° below and to the left of Venus. It is so low in the sky after sunset that it isn’t visible without binoculars. Mercury is at greatest elongation on September 11 but this isn’t a particularly good one for the Northern Hemisphere. After that, it closes in on the sun, with conjunction on October 6. On October 22, Mercury will be magnitude -0.5 and at greatest elongation west of the Sun at sunrise, and will reach magnitude -0.9 on October 30. This will be the best chance to see it this year.
          Mars is currently magnitude 1.7 and is very close to Venus in the sky. After September, it will not be visible at all until February since it is in conjunction with the Sun on December 5.
          Jupiter is the bright “star” (magnitude -2.5) in the south after sunset above the Teapot in Sagittarius, and is visible throughout the evening. On October 31, it will be 31° above Venus. Venus and Jupiter have an excellent conjunction in late November.
          Saturn was in conjunction with the Sun on September 3 and is currently not visible. However, it will be rising two hours before the Sun in early October, and four hours before the Sun in late October. It will be in Leo and slightly brighter than the first magnitude star Regulus.
          Uranus is at opposition on September 12, in the constellation Aquarius, hence it is above the horizon all night. It is magnitude 5.7. Neptune is in the neighboring constellation Capricornus. It was in opposition in August, hence it also is above the horizon most of the night at magnitude 7.8. To locate Uranus and Neptune, you can use the sky charts at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/17163851.html.
          Pluto is in the northwestern corner of Sagittarius and is magnitude 14. Pluto requires at least an 8-inch telescope to be seen at all.

Calendar of Events

          September 11: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          September 12: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). Dan Lessman will be talking about Astrophotography. There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
          September 12: Uranus is at opposition.
          September 13: Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          September 17: Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting in the Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City.
          Between September 25 and 30: Launch of Shenzhou 7, China’s third manned space flight.
          September 27 – October 5: Okie-Tex Star Party at Black Mesa in the Oklahoma Panhandle. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com and click on “Okie-Tex.”
          September 27: Dark Sky Party at Cheddar Ranch Observatory starting at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          October 3 – 5: TrickConTreat 2008, the Halloween-themed science fiction convention, Holiday Inn Hotel, 6200 N. Robinson in Oklahoma City. This year’s theme is a Tribute to B-Movies and Craig Wolf is the literary guest. For more information, visit http://www.trickcontreat.com/.
          October 4: Dark Sky Party at Cheddar Ranch Observatory starting at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          October 4: 51st anniversary of launch of Sputnik 1. Space Week begins today and runs through October 10.
          October 6: MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury.
          October 8: Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the fifth and final servicing mission to Hubble Space Telescope. [Updated May 12.]
          October 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting in the Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          October 10: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). Rebecca Alestick will be talking on “Down-Under Astronomy.” There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
          October 11: Open House at Cheddar Ranch Observatory beginning at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          October 18: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          October 21: Peak of Orionid meteor shower.
          October 22: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° west of the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          October 25: Dark Sky Party at Cheddar Ranch Observatory starting at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          October 31: Launch of the Planck Surveyor and Herschel Space Observatory from Kourou, French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5. For more information, visit www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=Planck , en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_%28satellite%29 , herschel.esac.esa.int/ and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_Space_Observatory. [The spaces in the Wikipedia URLs are underlines.]
          November 1: Dark Sky Party at Cheddar Ranch Observatory starting at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          November 10: Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour and the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the Space Station.
          November 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting in the Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          November 14: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). John Cowan will be talking on “The Ages of the Oldest Stars in the Universe.” There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
          November 15: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          November 29: Dark Sky Party at Cheddar Ranch Observatory starting at sunset. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          November 30 –December 1: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. They will be within 2° of each other.
          December: First launch of the US Air Forces X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.
          December 5: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
          December 12: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Christmas Party, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
          December 20: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance Christmas Party at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          January 4, 2009: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 19° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          January 14, 2009: Venus is at maximum eastern elongation, 47.1° east of the Sun.
          March 2, 2009: The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is launched. It will assume a polar orbit. The mission will last at least a year. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Reconnaissance_Orbiter or lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/. [Postponed from October.]
          February 12, 2009: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station.
          February 13, 2009: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 26° west of the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          February 16, 2009: Launch of the Kepler Mission, which will look for Earth-sized and smaller planets around other stars. For more information, visit kepler.nasa.gov/.
          February 19 – 22, 2009: Spacefest 2009 in San Diego, California. For information, visit novaspace.com/spacefest/.
          March 2009: Dawn asteroid probe flies by Mars.
          March 8, 2009: Saturn is at opposition.
          April 26, 2009: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 20° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          May 15, 2009: Launch of Endeavour with third section of the Japanese Kibo Module to the Space Station
          August 10, 2009: Saturn’s rings are edge-on with respect to the Sun.
          August 14, 2009: Jupiter is at opposition.
          September 4, 2009: Saturn’s rings appear edge-on.
          September 30, 2009: MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury.
          October 2009: Russia launches Phobos-Grunt, a sample return mission to Martian moon Phobos. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt.
          December 2009: The Mars Science Laboratory is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
          January 29, 2010: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.3.
          February 11, 2010: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station. This is last scheduled mission for Atlantis.
          April 8, 2010: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled launch for Discovery.
          May 31, 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for any space shuttle.
          June 2010: Hayabusa returns to Earth with a sample of asteroid Itokawa.  This will be the first asteroid sample returned to Earth. Web site is www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/index.shtml.
          June 2010: Japan launches the Venus Climate Orbiter (aka Planet‑C) to Venus. Web page is www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/planet_c/index_e.html.
          July 10, 2010: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
          September 21, 2010: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
          October 2010: The Mars Science Laboratory rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
          December 2010: Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter arrives at Venus.
          October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
          March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
          October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
          Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface.
          March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
          April 2012: Dawn probe leaves orbit around Vesta for Ceres.
          June 6, 2012: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea.
          Sometime in 2013: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
          June 2013: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
          August 2013 (approximate): The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
          August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, 2014, it will release the Philae lander. See September 5, 2008 for web site information.
          Sometime in 2015 or 2016: Launch of SIM PlanetQuest (aka the Space Interferometry Mission). This mission was originally supposed to have been launched in 2005 and has been delayed at least five times. It was recently moved from 2012. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Interferometry_Mission.
          February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
          July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
          July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
          August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
          August 2019 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
          April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
          August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Internal NASA email from NASA Administrator Griffin regarding Space Shuttle, ISS, Russia, Ares, Orion, OSTP, OMB and Budgetary Issues
Note: this e-mail was published in the Orlando Sentinel on 6 September 2008. It was published before the John McCain letter referenced above, but addresses some of the same concerns. Thanks to Clifford McMurray for sending it to me.

From: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Sent: Monday, August 18 2008 6:26 PM
To: Cline, Lynn (HQ-CA000)
Cc: Dale, Shana (HQ-AB000); Scolese, Christopher J. (HQ-AI000); Morerell, Paul (HQ-AA000); Gerstenmaier, William H. (HQ-CA000); Gilbrech, RIchard J. (HQ-BA000); SHank, Christopher M. (HQ-AA000); O'Brien, Michael F. (HQ-TA000)
Subject: RE: NAC Agenda Lynn-

          Thanks very much for the heads up. I think Obie should have been on distribution, and have copied him accordingly.
          I'm sorry. You're not going to like what I have to say here. There isn't much that I will say below that I Like either, but I'll give you the best analysis that my brain can produce. Any and all who wish to argue or disagree are welcome, even encouraged to do so. Tell me where I'm wrong. Please!
          First, and to get it out of the way, I will remind Jack [Jack Schmitt, NASA Advisory Council chair] that the NAC cannot make recommendations in conflict with Executive Branch Policy, and the White House is firm on Shuttle retirement in 2010. (Actually, they can make any recommendation they want, but I have no option but to implement those which are counter to Administration policy.) Jack can, however, couch his recommendation differently so that I can use it. I'll discuss this below.
          I actually agree with Jack - the game has changed. I don't agree that we're going to get any more money because of it.
          Exactly as I predicted, events have unfolded in a way that makes it clear how unwise it was for he US to adopt a policy of deliberate dependance upon another power for access to ISS. In a rational world, we would have been allowed to pick a Shuttle retirement date to be consistent with Ares/Orion availability, we would have been asked to deploy Ares/Orion as early as possible (rather than "not later than 2014") and we would have been provided the necessary budget to make it so. I realize that no one on this distribution disagrees with me on this point, I'm just saying it again, that's all.
          The rational approach didn't happen, primarily because for OSTP and OMB, retiring the Shuttle is a jihad rather than an engineering and program management decision. Further, they actively do not want the ISS to be sustained, and have done everything possible to ensure that it would not be. They were always "okay" with buying Soyuz/Progress, and if it didn't happen, well, that was okay too. You will recall they didn't want us to brink up the need for another INKSNA exemption during budget hearings this year. I disobeyed their wishes in doing so, because we knew that we needed to get this on the table in '08.
          But we are where we are. The Russians are not going to back out of Georgia any time soon, certainly not prior to the election. If they don't, INKSNA is DoA, despite Sen. Mikulski's and Nelson's favorable comments in support of a "bipartisan solution". We might get relief somewhere well down the road, if and when tensions ease, but my guess is that there is going to be a lengthy period with no U.S. crew on ISS after 2011. No additional money of significance is going to be provided to accelerate Orion/Ares, and even if it were, at this point we can;t get there earlier than 2014, so it doesn't solve the basic problem. Commercial solutions will ultimately emerge, but not substantially before Orion/Ares are ready, if then. The alternatives are to continue flying Shuttle, or abandon U.S. presence on ISS.
          This Administration will not yield with regard to continuing Shuttle operations past 2010, but the next Administration will have no investment in that decision. They will tell us to extend the Shuttle. There is no other politically tenable course. It will appear irrational - heck it will be irrational - to say that we've built a Space Station we cannot use, that we're throwing away a $100 billion investment, when the cost of saving it is merely to continue flying Shuttle. Extending Shuttle creates no damage that they will care about, other than to delay the lunar program. They will not count that as a cost. They will not see what that does for U.S. leadership in space in the long term. And even if they do, they have a problem in the short term that must be solved. Flying Shuttle is the only way to solve it.
          Thus, the recommendation Jack should give, and the direction I am giving, is that SOMD and SMD need to begin working together to prepare a "Plan B" -- how we would continue to operate Shuttle, in case the new Administration directs us to do so, while doing the least damage possible to Ares/Orion, in the events that (a) extra money is made available and (b) no extra money is made available. Our focus should be on minimizing the collateral damage to NASA caused by the recent events and their likely consequences.
          For the record, and without regard to the underlying truth of the proposition, I do not believe the Russians would ever admit -- nor do I think they believe -- that they need us to help them operate ISS. Yes, there are actions we could take to hold ISS hostage, or even to prevent them from using it -- power management stuff, for example. We will not take those actions. Practically speaking, the Russians can sustain ISS without US crew as long as we don't actively sabotage them, which I do not believe we would ever do, short of war. So I will not make the argument that "dependence" works both ways. We need them. They don't "need" us. We're a "nice to have".
          The argument that we need to get Shuttle out of the way so that conversion of VAB/MAF for Constellation can proceed is simply specious. If we are told to extend Shuttle without any new money, there is no immediate need to convert. If we're given extra money, then the VAB/MAF conflicts are solvable If we absolutely had to find a way for Shuttle and Ares/Orion to co-exist at VAB and MAF, we would. Its only a matter of money. So I'm not going to make this argument either.
          Again, I am open to different views, in part because my own view is about as pessimistic as it is possible to be. And certainly I would welcome any correction of factual errors.
          Otherwise, please begin preparing the briefings that Jack has requested.



Editor's note: the following statement was issued on 7 September 2008 by NASA Headquarters:


WASHINGTON -- The following is the complete statement of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin regarding the Aug. 18 email published by the Orlando Sentinel:
          The leaked internal email fails to provide the contextual framework for my remarks, and my support for the administration's policies. Administration policy is to retire the shuttle in 2010 and purchase crew transport from Russia until Ares and Orion are available. The administration continues to support our request for an INKSNA exemption. Administration policy continues to be that we will take no action to preclude continued operation of the International Space Station past 2016. I strongly support these administration policies, as do OSTP and OMB.

Space News

          The US Air Force’s new X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle will be launched in December via an Atlas V 501 booster. The robotic space plane will deploy a gallium arsenide solar array to power its flight, and will land under its power at Vandenberg Air Base.

          China’s Shenzhou 7 is scheduled for launch between September 25 and 30. This will be China’s third manned spaceflight, and the first with three taikonauts. This flight will also feature China’s first spacewalk.

          GLAST, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, has finally received its new name. Last February, NASA announced that it was giving the public a chance to rename it, and on August 26, it was renamed the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope after the famous physicist Enrico Fermi, who worked in subatomic physics, including the Manhattan Project and the first nuclear reactor. Fermi also has a class of particles named after him, element 101 is Fermium, and the femtometer is also called the fermi. One meter is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000 fermis. The Fermi telescope was launched on June 11 and succeeds the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

Space-Related Articles

          The October issues of Astronomy and Sky & Telescope each have an article on the final Hubble repair mission, currently scheduled for launch on October 8. In addition to replacing all six of Hubble’s gyroscopes, the crew of Atlantis will install the Wide Field Camera 3 and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.  The WFC3 is more powerful in the infrared than NICMOS and in the ultraviolet than the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The ACS is still better at visible light wavelengths, so the astronauts will attempt to fix that as well. The astronauts will also attempt to fix the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, although the COS will be more powerful in certain respects.
          The COS, by the way, goes into the slot where the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement, affectionately known as COSTAR, now resides. COSTAR was the correction applied in 1993 to correct the error in Hubble’s mirror. The other instruments now have their own corrective optics, so COSTAR is no longer needed.
          The Hubble Space Telescope will operate through at least 2013, when its successor, the James Webb space telescope, is to be launched.

          The October Astronomy also has an overview of what we’ve learned from the Cassini space probe.

          Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2008 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                           366-1797 (H)
Claire McMurray, Vice-President/Update Editor     329-4326 (H) 863-6173(C)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor           321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                                740-7549 (H)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

(insert @ for "at:")

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).
          E-mail for OSA should be sent to [email protected].  Members who wish  their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is osa.nss.org/index.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information

          Air and Space Museum: Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex), Oklahoma City, 602‑6664 or 1-800-532-7652.
          Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
          Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918)834-9900.
          The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
          The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600.  The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024.  The address is:  National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW Ste. 615, Washington, DC 20006.    Web page is space.nss.org.  
          NASA Spacelink BBS  205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
          Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
           Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].

 A Chapter of the National Space Society


Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
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          National Space Society has a special $20 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $45, international $60.  Student memberships are $20.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington DC 20006, or join at space.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit.  One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

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