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Oklahoma Space Alliance UPDATE for April 2008

        Oklahoma Space Alliance chapter of the National Space Society will substitute a Yuri’s Night celebration on April 12—the second Saturday—for the usual 3rd-Saturday meeting. The public is invited. Therefore the schedule is quite different (see below). However, OSA officers need to come at 5:30 p.m. to set up, decorate and hold a brief business meeting, then be prepared to stay for the public party, approximately 7:00 - 10:00 p.m..
        The Yuri’s Night party will in the private room at Denny’s Restaurant, 1617 SW 74th, on the north-side access road for I-240 in Oklahoma City. We told the restaurant a few of us will order soft drinks or snacks around 5:30. Some will probably order their meals around 6:00 p.m. and others about 7:00 p.m.. We all pay our own way.
        Non-OSA guests are invited for 7:00 p.m. and may order their meals then. The program will begin after everyone is served: First Cliff McMurray will present “Asteroids: Threat and Promise.” Then Tom Koszoru will demonstrate his new 2nd Life interactive planning game, “The Great Space Race.” We need to be finished by 10:00 p.m. because other patrons may want to use the wi-fi facilities about then.
        This Denny’s is on the north (Oklahoma City side) access road of I-240, between Western and May. I’m not sure whether it’s east or west of Pennsylvania. Ask for the Oklahoma Space Alliance party; it’s at the back, as I recall.


5:30 p.m.: Officers decorate and set up for the two programs.
6:00 p.m.: Business meeting.
        1. Introductions (if necessary)
        2.  Read the Agenda (try to bring one with you so we can consider it read)
        3.  Read the Minutes (again, please be prepared with any necessary changes)
        4.  Identify and discuss any Mail
        5.  Old Business
                 A.   ISDC 2008 and other international efforts
                 B.   SoonerCon 2008
                 C.  Chapter Reports - Done
                 D.  Chapter Projects - Great Space Race game – Ready for preview
                E.  Pictures for NSS Chapters report. – Partially done
        6.  New Business
        7.  Create New Agenda
        8.  Adjourn Meeting to dinner and public program.

Minutes of March Meeting

        Oklahoma Space Alliance met at 3:30 p.m. on March 15, 2008 at the McMurray’s residence. Heidi Koszoru, Russ Davoren, Syd Henderson, and Claire McMurray attended, and Clifford McMurray occasionally dropped in.
        Syd still needs to put meetings of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club in the newsletter.
        Russ joined OSA for one year.
        Clifford McMurray is chair of the business track for the 2008 International Space Development Conference. There will be a Space Venture Finance Symposium the day before the conference.
        Yuri’s Night: The chair of the Challenger Space Center of Oklahoma City is in intensive care, so we can’t meet there. We will do a party at a restaurant. Magi Whitaker suggested Denny’s, possibly the one on I240 in Oklahoma City . Cheryl at the Omniplex in Oklahoma City said no. Red Lobster is another possibility. Clifford can bring his slides of Baikonur.
        We should invite David Miller and Cathryn Stine, Magi and her family, and the folks at the Omniplex.
        Can we arrange a small donation to the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club’s astronomical observatory dedication at the Cheddar Ranch on May 31. Send a donation of $200?   We’ll buy a concrete pad for setting a telescope on. It will cost $100 – 150 and we can put our name on it. Glen Kilgour is the contact person.Tim has paid for the space calendars. We now have about $800 left.
        Upcoming events for the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club:
            Saturday, May 29: Messier Marathon .
            April 5 and 26, Dark Sky Parties.
            May 4: Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower.

        Syd needs to put meteor showers in Outreach calendar.
        We’ll make Yuri’s night our regular meeting. This means Update must go out a week earlier than usual.
        What is the actual name of the Oklahoma City Rocket Club. [ Oklahoma Rocket Association?]
        Claire and Clifford are going to the World Science Fiction Convention in Colorado in August. Syd is interested in going if he can afford it.
--Minutes submitted  by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

News Items (from Space News):

Rocketplane Global Inc. (RGI) has separated from both Rocketplane Inc. and Rocketplane Kistler. RGI will focus on building a suborbital space plane, the XP, for tourism, microgravity research and perhaps launching small satellites. The new design still includes wings, but moves away from a Learjet-based airframe. It will carry five passengers and one pilot. New personnel at RGI include chairman & chief strategist Craig Dickman, chief technology officer & program manager David Faulkner, and chief test pilot Paul Metz. Metz served many years as chief test pilot at Northrop Aircraft followed by experience at Lockheed Martin. RGI flight oper­a­tions are still based at Spaceport Oklahoma. However, rocket-powered test flights won’t begin until the last half or two-thirds of the program. The early jet-powered flights will help shake out structural, hydraulic, electrical and communications systems.
        The company considers itself to be in competition with Virgin Galactic and therefore won’t say when test flights might begin. However, RGI believes the attention paid to their competitors has helped legitimize the market. According to their information for potential clients, there will be preflight training and “lunch at an upscale club” in Oklahoma City before traveling to Burns Flat. See www.rocketplaneglobal.com for more information.

Cassini found organic molecules as it passed through water vapor fountaining from Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The “pre-biotic soup” is similar to that found in comets. Cassini’s high-speed March 12 also made new heat maps of Enceladus. Temperatures were 111° C higher than the rest of the surface (but still way below zero) near “tiger-striped” cracks at the moon’s southern pole. Since it would be warmer under the surface, liquid water might exist then. In that case project scientist Dennis Matson said, Enceladus would have the three known minimum conditions for life: warmth, water, and organic chemicals.

Alan Stern has resigned as associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate after just one year, but did not say why. Some university-based Mars researchers are concerned about the way cost overruns on the nuclear-powered 2009 Mars Science Laboratory rover endanger funding for the existing Mars rovers. Some House Appropriations Committee members are also opposed to cuts. NASA currently plans to cut Mars exploration spending by half over the next decade or so.

Edward Weiler, who was associate administrator at the Science Mission Directorate before he became the Goddard Space Flight Center director, will replace Alan Stern at least temporarily. He wants to know more about the costs and trade-offs before deciding whether he will continue Stern’s plan to restructure the Mars Exploration program to free up money for a sample-return mission around 2018-2020. However he agrees with Stern’s plans to do more with the suborbital science program. Weiler told Space News he thinks his time at the Goddard center will help make him a better associate administrator.

Japan and China are pleased with the performance of their lunar orbiters, now half-way through year-long missions, and will probably extend them.
        Japan’s complex mission includes the Okina data-relay orbiter, the Ouna gravity-field measurement polar orbiter, and the Kayuga polar orbiter carrying ground-penetrating radar and high-definition cameras.
        China’s Chang’e-1 is taking 3-D imagery of the Moon and analyzing the surface composition. It is also designed to test deep-space operations. Future Chinese missions are to include two robotic landers next decade and a sample-return mission around 2020.

The Indian Cabinet approved funding for 15 more of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles through 2012.

On March 20, a gamma-ray burst 2.5 million times brighter than the brightest previously recorded was observed by the X-ray telescope on NASA’s Swift satellite. At 7.5 billion light years’ distance, it is the most distant recorded object visible to the human eye. Either a narrow focus toward Earth or off-the-scale energy might account for the extreme brilliance.

Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that Congress require a unified national security space strategy. The idea is that there may be both gaps and redundancies in space operations, because the defense and intelligence agencies make decisions based on separate, rather than national, priorities. One unnamed expert believes that a unified strategy would not make a big difference in the purchase and use of space systems, but both sides should draft such a strategy so Congress could see what the effects would be.

Interesting On-Line Videos:

The April 6 CBS “60 Minutes” segment, “A Bigger Leap For Mankind,” can be found at
http://search.cbsnews.com. With the Space Shuttle program ending soon, NASA is planning to return men to the moon in preparation for a manned flight to Mars. Bob Simon’s report includes several interesting interviews and visuals. You can search by show and date.

 “Cities at Night, an Orbital Tour Around the World” can be seen and heard via new higher-resolution technology on the Space Station at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEiy4zepuVE. Our thanks to Belinda Christ for sending out the information.

Oklahoma Space Alliance NSS 2008 Contacts (405 area code):

Tom Koszoru, President 366-1797 (H) T_Koszoru at cox.net
Claire McMurray, Vice-President & UPDATE Editor 329-4326 (H) claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net< Syd Henderson, Secretary & OUTREACH Editor 321-4027 (H) sydh at ou.edu Tim Scott, Treasurer 740-7549 (H) ctscott at mac.com<

OSA website: osa.nss.org/index.html (Syd Henderson, webmaster)

E-mail for OSA should be sent to [email protected].
Members who wish their e-mail addresses printed in OUTREACH should contact Syd.

People wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd and Claire.

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