A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home


1)      OSA Meeting Notice & Agenda for Saturday, August 16, 2008
2)      Minutes of July Meeting and Dedication of Cheddar Ranch Observatory
3)      National Space Society Board elections
4)      Mars Society website video of “proxy” Presidential Space Debate
5)      Mars Society description of recent Phoenix Lander data
6)      NASA Space Suit Contract Cancelled
7)      4FrontiersCorporation research grant announcement
8)      Beyond-Earth Enterprises affordable offers
9)      Bigelow Aerospace flew “Your Stuff”; pictures available
10)  Ron Hobbs’ updated Space Launch Calendar (Hubble service night launch 10-8-08)

August Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 16 at the Koszoru house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. [Directions below agenda]


1) Introductions (if necessary)
2) Read and approve agenda
3) Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
4) Read and discuss mail
5) Old Business
          a) Space Week 2008 (the one in October)
          b) Yuri’s Night 2009
          c) Second Life
          d) Upcoming Conventions
          e) Video Contest: $2000 prize for YouTube Video on “Why We Should Go Into Space”
          f) 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing (July 2009)
6) New Business
          a) Claire and Clifford McMurray went to the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver in early August.
7) Create New Agenda

[NOTE: Claire must leave at 4:30. If she is needed for a quorum, items requiring her participation should be scheduled before that.]

         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. Warning: There is roadwork at the corner of 36th and Main, so route (1) is better.

Minutes of July Meeting and Dedication of Cheddar Ranch Observatory

          Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszoru house on July 26 at 2:30 p.m. Attending were Tom and Heidi Koszoru, Claire McMurray, John Northcutt and Syd Henderson. This was an abbreviated meeting since we had an activity later in the day.
          Syd was informed that John Northcutt is still appearing as the VP in Outreach, and this needs to be corrected [and has been].
          The Discovery Channel is doing a history of the Apollo Program called "When We Left Earth."
          July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon. Should we do a mall display. Claire wants to do a display that looks forward.
          Tom is going to check with the 99ers in Oklahoma City about Yuri's Night 2009.

          Tom and Heidi Koszoru, Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson went to the dedication of the Cheddar Ranch Observatory on July 26. This Observatory is owned by the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club. Oklahoma Space Alliance brought crackers and M&Ms for the dedication and materials to promote Oklahoma Space Alliance. However, since the occasion was primarily to promote the Astronomy Club, our food got a lot more attention than our printed materials. There was also a considerable amount of outreach from the Astronomy Club to the local communities, including students from the Watonga schools.
           Note, though, that "local" here is relative. The Observatory is about ninety minutes drive from Norman and maybe fifty from El Reno, and not close to any towns. Watonga and Greenfield are the nearest town, and both are ten miles away on country roads. In other words, the sky was plenty dark for stargazing, and I saw many constellations and more of the Milky Way than I had seen before. The Moon was in its last quarter, hence was not in the sky in the evening, which is why this was a Dark Sky Night Observing Party. The next weekend was the new moon, and there was another Dark Star Party that I didn't make it to.
          There was a reception and tour, followed by a video on how to observe the stars, then we went out to look at the stars through binoculars and telescope. The Cheddar Ranch Observatory has a 12-inch telescope that used to belong to the University of Oklahoma Observatory; they are seeking to purchase a 32-inch telescope, which would be enormous for an amateur astronomy club.
          The Club was friendly and glad to have people to share their obsession. Jupiter was the only one of the visible planets that was high in the sky. The 12-inch telescope was powerful enough to show the cloud bands on the planet. Up to three of the moons were visible at one time, and I suspect we saw all four before we left. A couple of the members had laser pointers which they used to point out constellations and notable objects. I can now locate Hercules, Corona Boreales and Libra. Lyra and Scorpius were particularly bright.
          In case you missed this dedication, the Astronomy Club will have a Dark Sky Party on September 6, also at the Cheddar Ranch. However, their big event of the fall is the 25 Annual Okie-Tex Star Party at Black Mesa from September 27 - October 5, advertised as having some of the darkest skies in the South West. For more information, visit their website, www.okcastroclub.com..

Syd Henderson
In the year of the defenestrated frog

August OSIDA Meeting Canceled

        The August 13 meeting of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority has been canceled. The next meeting will be September 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building in Oklahoma City. Note that this is the third Wednesday of the month rather than the second.

National Space Society Board Elections:

        Now is the time to let your voice be heard in the governance of the National Space Society.  Your NSS Election ballot will be arriving in your mail box over the next few days, if it has not already.  Please make sure you read the instructions carefully, located on the inside front cover of your election material and fill out your ballot.  Make sure you enclose your ballot in the special envelope located in your ballot material and return it to NSS headquarters before the extended deadline of September 1, 2008.  As a citizen-based organization, NSS values your opinion.  Your voice is important to the governance of the National Space Society.

From 8-15-08 Mars Society newsletter: Video of Presidential Space Debate Available On Mars Society Web Site

        A full streaming video recording of last night's presidential space debate, moderated by space journalist Leonard David and featuring Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham for Senator John McCain's side and former NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver for Senator Barack Obama's side, is now available on the Mars Society web site.
        The video is available at: http://www.marssociety.org/portal/c/Conventions/2008/Obama-McCain-Space-Debate-01.mov/view
.       If you have any difficulty viewing the video, feel free to contact the web team for assistance. Please note that while we have made the best possible preparations, we are anticipating a very large number of viewers for the video; if you are unable to connect to the video, your problem may be resolved by trying again later.
.     A full transcript of the video will also be made available as soon as possible. Anyone interested in assisting with the transcription process should contact the web team to volunteer.

From the Mars Society newsletter:
Phoenix - Recent Discoveries

        NASA announced on July 31, 2008 that the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) aboard the Phoenix lander had detected Martian water in a soil sample, a different result from the "evidence for water ice" previously disclosed. Scientists on the Phoenix team are now intent on discovering whether or not Martian water ice ever thaws sufficiently to contribute to the development of complex organic molecules essential for biology. One theory suggests that liquid water existed on Mars as recently as 100,000 years ago, and that there may be dormant microbial colonies and organic life signatures buried beneath the surface of the Martian arctic.
        The long-term goals of the Phoenix mission are: (1) determine whether life ever arose on Mars, (2) characterize the climate of Mars, (3) characterize the geology of Mars, and (4) prepare for human exploration. Based on the data obtained to date, the lander’s operational status, and projections confirming continued availability of solar power, NASA has extended operational funding that will continue the prime mission to September 30, 2008.


        On August 5, after much speculation in several public forums, Phoenix Mars mission scientists announced that perchlorate salts had been detected in soil analyzed by the wet chemistry laboratory aboard NASA's Phoenix Lander. Research is ongoing, and the team is examining multiple hypotheses given this new discovery. According to Peter Smith, lead investigator, it is unclear at this time "whether finding perchlorate is good news or bad news for possible life on Mars."
        Mission scientists describe Perchlorate as a naturally occurring substance on Earth, and one that is stable and does not destroy organic material under normal circumstances. In fact, there are microorganisms on Earth that are fueled by processes that involve perchlorates, and some plants concentrate the substance. Perchlorate can also be manufactured for use in rocket fuel and other manufacturing processes.
        Although the Phoenix team will continue to review the data surrounding the discovery of Perchlorate, the Mars Science Laboratory, currently scheduled for launch in 2009, will be better equipped to determine the ultimate significance of this finding.

NASA Halts Spacesuit Contract with Texas Firm
By The Associated Press

posted: 15 August 2008
3:54 pm ET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - NASA says it has terminated its contract with a Houston company selected in June to supply the agency's next-generation space suit.

       NASA said Friday it determined that a compliance issue required that it halt its contract with Oceaneering International Inc. The agency offered no reason except to say the decision is for the convenience of the government.
       The $745 million contract has three phases and calls for a total of 109 suits, 24 of which will be the lunar suits.
       Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Inc., supplied the space suit since the 1960s. It protested its loss of the contract.
       Oceaneering and Hamilton Sundstrand didn't immediately return calls seeking comment. [Note that the contract was apparently awarded just this June, and was originally intended to supply more flexible and durable moon-walking suits (with some interchangeable parts for different environments) in a wider range of sizes.—CM]

4Frontiers Corporation Awarded FloridaGrant to Investigate
Mars Greenhouse Materials

TAMPA, FL – 4Frontiers Corporation, a NewSpace technology, entertainment & education company, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $25,000 research grant from the Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC), as part of the Florida Space Research & Education Grant Program.

        This grant will assist 4Frontiers in pursuing its technology roadmap for Mars settlement technologies. The project’s goal is to study the performance of various transparent materials which have been selected as potential candidates for use in future Mars greenhouses. The research will involve the construction of small chambers that incorporate these materials, simulating a Mars greenhouse. The chambers will then be placed within a larger chamber which will simulate the environmental conditions found on the Martian surface. The project will investigate heat transfer and stress performance of these materials under the unique conditions specific to the red planet.
        “The selection of appropriate materials, allowing maximum transmission of PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) while minimizing materials mass and maximizing longevity under Mars conditions is a key element of greenhouse design,” said 4Frontiers Vice President and co-Principal Investigator, Joseph E. Palaia, IV. 
        “Physical stress is one aspect. However there are different factors on the surface of Mars, the effects of which we need to understand.  UV radiation, lower gravity and the atmospheric gases on Mars are very different compared to Earth,” said Alexander Stimpson, a graduate of the University of Florida’s Bioengineering Department and a summer intern at 4Frontiers who will assist with this research. 
        The research apparatus will be designed and constructed by students in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. Following initial testing there, the apparatus will be moved to an environmental chamber in the Space Life Sciences Lab (SLSL) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This chamber is capable of replicating many of the conditions found on the Martian surface including temperature, pressure and incident sunlight.
        “If we think that we are going to go to Mars sometime in the future, we must start being realistic about the actual ways people might live there,” said Dr. Ray Bucklin, professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida and a Principal Investigator on the project. 
        “This grant allows us to get our feet wet in this critical area of research, and, more importantly, gives us the opportunity to work with some highly skilled colleagues at UF and at the SLSL,” said Palaia. “We’re excited and ready to move forward.”
        The proposal for this research was titled, “Heat Transfer and Stress Investigations of Transparent Material Subjected to Internal Greenhouse Conditions in a Simulated Mars Surface Environment.” The Florida Space Research & Education Grant Program is administered by Florida Space Grant Consortium, Space Florida and the University of Central Florida.

4Frontiers Corporate Website:     www.4FrontiersCorp.com
4Frontiers Kids Website:             www.Crazy4Mars.com

Phone: 727.845.4011   Fax: 727.845.4113
Email: [email protected]

        Beyond-Earth Enterprises (http://www.beyond-earth.com/index.shtml) will launch your photo, DNA, or small science experiment into space for $50 or less. Also, they offer not only discounts to members of major space organizations, but also a donation to the organization of your choice. Their pitch: “Sending an item into Space is only the beginning. You can experience the thrill of the flight from liftoff to landing. We have cameras placed around the launch pad, in launch control and on the rocket. Video from each of these locations will be streamed to a special site just for you. Its your stuff on your rocket - why not watch it live?” This is the group that debuted their kits at our 2004 ISDC.

                                                  It’s old news, but new to me: on Sept. 19, 2007 Bigelow Aerospace announced, “We Flew Your Stuff!”. The announcement is below.

       Bigelow Aerospace is pleased to announce that we have now identified every picture and item submitted for flight by paying members of the public aboard Genesis II as part of the "Fly Your Stuff" program.
       At least one image of each picture, item and logo aboard Genesis II has been posted on our Fly Your Stuff page.
       Our work is not done, as we plan to continue acquiring images of "Fly Your Stuff" pictures and items for posting on our Website.
       We thank every Fly Your Stuff participant for playing a part in the continuing success of Genesis II, and invite everyone to be part of our adventures to come.
        See http://www.bigelowaerospace.com/genesis_II/ for additional pictures & information.

        Ron Hobbs has updated his Space Launch calendar. A number of folks found it useful that last time I passed it on - So here is the update.
David Stuart, NSS-Seattle

hronhobbs <[email protected]> wrote: To: [email protected]
From: "hronhobbs" <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 16:05:06 -0000
Hi all,
    I was asked to post an update of the Calendar I posted last October. I have been waiting for a couple of dates to get firmed up, and now they have been, as well as a few more I didn't expect. Ron Baalke at the JPL Space Calendar (http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/calendar/) has actually posted a date for Shenzou 7; let's see if he really has the inside story on the Chinese space program. And all of the final Shuttle flights are up on the NASA Launch manifest (http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html). I have included several  Project Constellation dates, though I really have no confidence that they are very really. Another good source of dates is Emily Lakdawalla's  "Future Space Events of Note," posted at the Planetary Society (http://www.planetary.org/blog/calendar.html).
This is probably best viewed with the Rich Text Editor. Contact me if you would like a copy in Word Document.  Ron

  July 1:               Cassini - Beginning of 1st extended mission
  September 5:      Rosetta - Flyby of asteroid (2867) Steins
  September 19:    Chandraayan-1 - Launch of Indian lunar orbiter
  October 6:         MESSENGER - Second flyby of Mercury
  October 8:         STS-125 - 4th & final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope
  October 12:        Shenzhou 7 - Third Chinese crewed mission; 1st Chinese spacewalk
  October 14:        Soyuz TMA-13 - 100th launch of Soyuz spacecraft; ISS Expedition 18
  October 31:        Planck - ESA's mission to study the cosmic microwave background
  November 10:     STS-126 - Endeavour to deliver Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to ISS
  December 1:       Solar Dynamics Observatory - 1st mission in Living With a Star program
  December 26:     Equinox on Mars - beginning of northern autumn/southern spring
  Early:                Herschel - ESA Infrared Telescope to be launched with Planck
  January 14:        Stardust-NExT - Earth Flyby
  January 15:        Orbiting Carbon Observer - Launch of NASA Earth Science mission
  February 12:       STS-119 - Discovery to the ISS
  February 16:       Kepler - Launch from KSC of mission to search Earth-like planets
  February 17:       DAWN - Mars gravity assist flyby
  February 27:       Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS - Launch from KSC
  October 14:        Soyuz TMA-14 - ISS Expedition 19
  April 15:             Ares I-X - First test launch of Ares I from Pad 39B at KSC
  May 15:             STS-127 - Endeavour to the ISS
  May 22:             Solstice on Mars - beginning of northern winter/southern summer
  July 30:             STS-128 - Atlantis to the ISS
  August 11:         Equinox on Saturn - beginning of northern autumn/southern spring
  September 15:    Mars Science Laboratory - Launch window opens for Mars rover
  September 30:    MESSENGER - Third flyby of Mercury
  October 15:        STS-129 - Discovery to the ISS
  October 27:        Equinox on Mars - beginning of northern spring/southern autumn
  October (?):       Phobos-Grunt/Yinghou-1 - Launch of sample return mission from Baikonur
  December 10:     STS-130 - Endeavour to the ISS
   (Late):             SpaceShipTwo - Virgin Galactic begins commercial sub-orbital spaceflight
  February 11:       STS-131 - Atlantis to the ISS
  April 8:              STS-132 - Discovery to the ISS
  May 13:             Solstice on Mars - beginning of northern summer/southern winter
  May 31:             STS-133 - Endeavour to the ISS; last scheduled launch of the Shuttle
  June (?):            Hayabusa - Sample return capsule lands in Australian Outback
  July 10:             Rosetta - Flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia
  July 10:             Mars Science Laboratory - Earliest arrival date at Mars
  September:        Retirement of the Space Transportation System
  November 4:       EPOXI (Deep Impact mothership) - Flyby of comet 103P/Hartley 2
  November 13:     Equinox on Mars - beginning of northern autumn/southern spring
  February 14:       Stardust-NExT - Flyby of Comet 9P/Tempel 1
  March 18:          MESSENGER - Mercury Orbit Insertion
  March 22:          New Horizons - passes the mean orbital distance of Uranus
  April 12:             Vostok 1 - 50th anniversary of the 1st human spaceflight
  May 5:              Freedom 7 - 50th anniversary of the 1st American in space
  August 11:         Juno -Jupiter orbiter, 2nd New Frontiers Mission, launch window opens
  September:        DAWN - Arrival at (4) Vesta
  February 20:       Friendship 7 - 50th anniversary of the 1st American in orbit
  April:                 DAWN - Departure from (4) Vesta
  December 7:       ExoMars - European rover launch window opens at Guiana Space Centre
  March:              Orion 2 - 1st crewed flight of Orion to ISS
  May:                 Rosetta - Arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  August 29:         New Horizons - passes the mean orbital distance of Neptune
  November:         Philae - Rosetta lander touches down on Comet 67P
  February:           DAWN - Arrival at (1) Ceres, the 1st dwarf planet to be explored
  July 14:             New Horizons - Flyby of (134340) Pluto & moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra
  June:                Orion 15/Altair 2 - First human landing on the Moon in almost 50 years
  July 20:             50th anniversary of the 1st human landing on the Moon


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.