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Oklahoma Space Alliance UPDATE for Saturday, 2-16-08

         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 pm on Saturday, February 16, at the Koszoru’s house, 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. 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.


1.  Introductions (if necessary)
2.  Reading of the Agenda
3.  Reading of Minutes
4.  Reading of Mail
5.  Old Business
    A.  Yuri's Night - Alternatives to the Omniplex
    B.  ISDC 2008 and other international efforts
    C.  SoonerCon 2008
    D.  Chapter Reports - Forms not on NSS Page yet.
    E.  Chapter Projects - Great Space Race and re creation of AVI for Space - Animation Spinning and desecrated Earth, Not waste the Earth, Utilize Space, since I can not find it on my PC.  SL Orientation Island Guide in NSS_in_Second_Life, 2 portions completed.  Pictures for NSS Chapters.  I have a lot of them.  Need to put on Mars Society Web page.
6.  New Business
     Whatever - love suggestions
7.  Create New Agenda
8.  Adjourn Meeting

Minutes of January Meeting:

            Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszorus’ house on January 19. Attending were Tom and Heidi Koszoru, David Sheely, Tim Scott and Syd Henderson. Claire was out of town, but called during the meeting. We discussed going to the Cosmosphere on January 26 to see former astronaut Walter Cunningham and the movie The Wonder of It All.
            Tom has pictures from last year’s Yuri’s Night and TrickConTreat which he can put on Flickr. If he does so, Syd can link to them through the OSA web page.
            Tom and Claire both talked to the Omniplex’s Wayne Wyrick since last meeting. He doesn’t know what is going on with the Omniplex regarding Yuri’s Night. It looks like we need a backup plan. Tom wants to create a game called the “Great Space Race.” He would do this as a competition between various “nations” on Second Life. The plan is to do this at the ISDC this year in Washington, DC, but we could do a dry run at Yuri’s Night. We would need to arrange a place to meet.
            Petitions for NSS Board are done.
            We need to get hold of Wayne Wyrick about the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club’s Star parties. Syd also needs to announce these in the calendar of events in Outreach.
            We need to have someone attending SoonerCon committee meetings on behalf of Oklahoma Space Alliance. We’ve talked about having a room for space programming, or at least a track. SoonerCon committee meetings are Sunday at 7:00 p.m., which means Tom can attend but Syd cannot. Can we get someone from OSIDA? Does the Rocket Club want to do something for SoonerCon?
            The International Space Development Conference is in Washington, DC, on May 23-26. SoonerCon this year is two weeks later. Tom, Heidi, Claire and Kip are going to the ISDC.
            The Mars Society Conference is August 14 – 17 in Denver, Colorado.
            The Conestoga Science Fiction Convention is July 25 – 27 In Tulsa, Oklahoma. We generally have a room party at Conestoga. 
            The annual report is due on February 15. Tom and Tim will get together for the financial part. Syd is responsible for the activities report.

Between-Meeting Activities.

            Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson went to Kansas on January 26 and met David St. John to see the premiere of The Wonder of It All and hear a lecture by Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham. David and Syd neglected to order their tickets for the first showing in advance, so had to attend the second showing.
            Claire attended a recent meeting of the SoonerCon committee at the last minute, because Tom’s car was temporarily not road worthy.  They seem to be planning to meet on alternate Sunday afternoons. (Leonard Bishop served us all a yummy dinner).
            The Oklahoma City Astronomy Club website, http://www.okcastroclub.com/, lists dates and locations, with maps, for their star parties. The next one is Saturday, March 1, at their Cheddar Ranch Observatory.

Space-Related NewsEnlarge image

            COTS: Rocketplane Kistler lost its dispute with NASA over the agency's cancellation of its funding agreement with the company. The partnership was meant to help the company develop a vehicle to service the space station. However, the comnpany failed to raise matching funds on time (possibly because NASA’s announcement of a contract for Russian Progress resupply vehicles caused some investors to lose faith in a US commercial opportunity. The dispute concerned whether the money was for services that would directly benefit NASA, (in which case a different contract penalizing NASA for cancellation would have been necessary) or was merely intended to to "encourage, support and stimulate the development of a commercial market for space transportation, from which NASA could potentially acquire orbital transportation services". The US Government Accounting Office ruled that there was no direct benefit. Therefore NASA is now free to award the remaining  money to someone else, although Rocketplane Kistler may be eligible to apply again. NASA is expected to announce the winner(s) of the new award on Tuesday, Feb. 19th.

            Astronaut Impairment: An anonymous survey of astronauts and flight surgeons found no evidence of any astronaut being drunk on launch day. However, an interaction between prescription medication and alcohol did lead to one case of “perceived impairment” a few days before launch. The astronaut was later cleared for flight and did serve in space.

            New Mexico’s “Spaceport America,” billed as the first “purpose-built” spaceport, won a narrow vote for taxpayer funding, and hopes to win another in April to create a spaceport district which could spend county-collected revenue. Yet another tax vote is expected toward the end of the year, and an environmental impact statement must still be completed and approved. If all goes well, the spaceport will open in late 2009 or early 2010. However, there have already been two 2007 “research” launches. This is the site of the X-Prize Cup.

            NASA Budget: The administration is requesting over $17.6 billion for NASA in FY09, up from the current $17.3 billion. That seems unlikely to keep up with inflation. I can’t find the relevant copy of Space News; as I recall there is less for science programs, but Earth science grew at the expense of space science. The http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/nasa.html  web site gives more details. It looks like less for everything except “Cross Agency Support Programs” which would receive almost ten times as much in FY 2009 as it got for FY 2008. Apparently some things will be reorganized into that category.

Movie Review:

            Here’s Syd’s review of The Wonder of It All from the Third Eye Film Forum:

            Last weekend [January 26] three friends and I went to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas to see the premiere of The Wonder of It All. The film was shown on the Omnidome there, which was not the best way to see it because it was intended for a flat screen. I believe this was the national premiere. I think it may have had some spot showings in Europe.
            This movie consists of interviews of the Apollo astronauts of Apollo 8, 10-17, which are the ones that went around the Moon. As such, it is comparable to In the Shadow of the Moon, the British documentary that came out last year. This one started filming earlier for a smaller budget. I was reluctant to see it because I'd seen the other film, but there is enough difference in emphasis that this film works as a companion piece to the other. In many ways, it's more interesting.
            This one goes more into the lives of the astronauts before their voyages and the impact going to the moon had on their lives. Alan Bean, I think it was, observed that although none of the astronauts had a religious revelation, the experience tended to intensify the beliefs that were already there, whether they were mystic, philosophical, agnostic or atheist. Eugene Cernan particularly seems to have gotten more religious. Alan Bean has turned to space art and is very successful with it. A lot of the changes happened after they returned from the Moon, since while they were there, they were too busy to stop and gaze philosphically into the distance.
            The intervals with Buzz Aldrin were a bit distracting since he had several books on a desk beside him, and one of them kept changing from "The Moonlandings" to "Lost Satellites" and back again. Once it changed in the middle of an interview.
           You don't have much of the exclusive NASA footage from the other film, but the more intimate look at the astronauts makes this very worthwhile. If there is a major flaw in it, I think it's a bit too rah-rah in places. The documentarian is obviously a space enthusiast. He had a Q&A after the film showed and said he found most of the astronauts approachable, but the intensity of John Young was intimidating. He does have the advantage that the astronauts like the film and are willing to make public appearances to help promote it. Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7) gave a speech before this showing
            I have no idea what the national distribution of this will be like. In the Shadow of the Moon, which was a higher profile documentary, nevertheless had a very limited run in theaters in the US. You may have to look for this one at science museums and art houses. --Syd

To contact Oklahoma Space Alliance, e-mail Syd Henderson.
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Copyright ©2006 Oklahoma Space Alliance.