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Oklahoma Space Alliance NSS UPDATE, February 2009

February Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 21 at the Koszoru house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. [I’ll be in Kansas instead—Claire]
          The usual route to get to the Koszoru house is blocked by road construction, so I'll have to send you in the back way. Take the Robinson Street west exit off I-35. Rambling Oaks intersects Robinson Street just west of this exit, between Arby's and Waffle House. Go south on Rambling Oaks about a quarter mile until it turns due west. Fenwick Court is the second street on the right after this turn. Tom's house is the last on the left side.


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) Annual Report
          b) Report on OSIDA meeting
          c) Yuri’s Night 2009 [At Cliff & Claire McMurray’s house in Norman]
          d) Space Week Project for Second Life
          e) 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing (July 2009)
          f) Space Solar Power
6) New Business
          a) Changes in NASA
7) Create New Agenda

Minutes of January Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance met on January 24 at the house of Tom and Heidi Koszoru. Attending were Clifford and Claire McMurray, Tom and Heidi Koszoru, Tim Scott and Syd Henderson.
          Tom is part of a prison ministry program, so he talked about that while we were waiting for people to arrive,
          The ISDC dates for the hotel are not the same days listed as the conference, so beware.
          We have been receiving e-mails from NSS Downlink with a survey from the National Academy of Science which we are urged to respond to.
          The son of OSIDA Executive Director Bill Khourie was killed in a snowboarding accident in January. OSA will send a card.
          Tom, Tim and Syd need to do the activities report. The due date is February 15.
          Yuri's Night falls on Easter Sunday this year, which complicates doing activities. We will probably have to do a party at the McMurrays' at 6:00 p.m. on Easter night.
          We will do the coupon book fundraiser next year. Claire received a statement dated December 31 for $375 for the coupon books, This was before we returned the unsold coupon books and doesn't include the two free books two of us got for selling five books, or the $200 that we paid in early January.
          OSA member David Craig is now on Second Life.
          Between meetings, Tom and Syd worked on a chapter handbook for "virtual" (i.e. on-line) chapters of National Space Society and came up with a preliminary draft. Tom will send this to Claire for fixing up.
          Claire still (not yet as of 2/19) needs to talk to the Norman Public Library about a space display in July. The display panel has a portion that is at a child's eye level, so we need stuff for a child to look at.
          Syd has talked to Bizzell Library on the Oklahoma University campus, but there is nothing definite yet.
          Cliff McMurray saw a survey online on Space Solar Power. We should put Solar Power in the future section of our Space Week display.
          Griffin is out as NASA Administrator. We don't know if he resigned or was dismissed.

          After the meeting, Clifford showed us the photographs of his and Claire's trip to South America. They went on a cruise starting in Buenos Aires, going through the Darwin Passage [Technically, I think we spent time in the Beagle Channel & the Darwin Passage, but went through to the Pacific in the Strait of Magellan—claire] south of Tierra del Fuego, and on to Santiago, Chile. [For somebody else’s very good pictures, see http://www2.brevard.edu/reynoljh/patagonia/tdf.htm --CM]

--Minutes submitted by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

Notes on February 11 OSIDA Meeting

          Syd attended the February 11 meeting of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority. It was held in the Conference Room of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation building in Oklahoma City. Board members attending were chair Joe King, Gilmer Capps, Lou Sims, Jack Bonny, Ken McGill, Daryl Murray and Cal Hobson.
          We had a moment of silence for Executive Director Bill Khourie's son, who was killed in an accident in January.
          Boeing's Commercial Space Division is interested in the Oklahoma Spaceport as a research location. NASA is looking for alternate sites for test evaluations and launches.
          Bill Khourie and Joe King went to the annual Commercial Space Conference and reported that the Department of Defense and other government agencies are now looking to the private sector for services.
          Allocations for state agencies are down at least 5%. Cal Hobson, who was until recently a state senator, thinks 10% is more likely. State revenues are short about $900 million. (The numbers at www.okpolicy.org seem a little less pessimistic in the short run, but anticipates long-term shortfalls.)
          The OSIDA board voted to proceed with Airspace Evaluation for suborbital flights between the New Mexico and Oklahoma Spaceports. Essentially, they need to evaluate what is underneath the flight corridor. Note that most of the flight path would be far above commercial flight corridors, except at the beginning and at the end.

Comsat Collision

          Two communications satellites—Russia’s almost 1 ton Cosmos 2251 (out of service since 1995) and the 1200-pound Iridium 33—collided Feb. 10 over Siberia. This first-ever crash of two intact spacecraft in orbit created a pair of massive debris clouds and only a slight risk to the international space station, since it orbits about 270 miles below the collision. However, the risk is greater for the Hubble Space Telescope and Earth-observing satellites, which are in higher orbit and nearer the debris field. Most communication satellites are in even higher orbits. Four previous orbital collisions have just involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites.
         However, the debris was not what created a fireball over Texas this week, because debris would have been moving too slowly to create a daylight fireball. That was a meteor originally the size of a small truck which broke up. Most pieces burned up, but at least one the size of a walnut has been found.
          The U.S. Space Surveillance Network, operated by the military, has been tracking about 17,000 pieces of manmade orbital debris 4 inches across or larger. However, it can’t monitor all possible collision possibilities. Iridium had asked earlier whether a particular satellite move (not necessarily involving #33) was safe but could get no answer. Two years ago, several commercial satellite operators began exchanging information to reduce collision risks. A recent proposal would create a data center where such information could be exchanged rapidly in a common format. Insurance companies now plan to factor the collision-monitoring process into insurance rates.
[AP science writer Seth Borenstein in Washington and AP technology writer Peter Svensson in New York contributed to the Space News reports this is based on.]

Lunar Lander Challenge

          The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge hosted by the X Prize Foundation is “on” again for October 24-25 at the Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico. The two-level, two million dollar competition requires a team’s vehicle to simulate hops between the Moon’s surface and lunar orbit.
          The State of New Mexico sponsors the event with additional financial support coming from Northrop Grumman. The Centennial Challenge Prize of two million dollars is being provided by NASA.
For updates on this event and other space activities in New Mexico - specifically, the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, go to: http://spacegrant.nmsu.edu/ispcs/

India to Join Human Spaceflight-Capable Nations

          The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has revealed the designs for its first orbiting crew capsule, which it hopes to launch on its own rocket (under development) around 2015 with a 2-person crew for up to 7 days. India already is able to launch its own satellites, and launched an unmanned mission to the Moon last October. Full funding is not yet approved, but plans call for a new launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota and an astronaut training facility in Bangalore. Under a cooperative agreement signed Dec. 5, Russia will fly an Indian cosmonaut aboard a Soyuz in 2013. (India’s first cosmonaut flew to the USSR’s Salyut-7 space station in 1984.) Links:

*                   Video - Chandrayaan-1: India's First Moonshot

*                   India Slams Probe into the Moon

Iran Enters the Space Age

          Iran launched its first satellite, called “Omid” [Hope] aboard its own Safir-2 rocket on Feb 3, 2009. Although Omid probably weighs under 220 pounds, Iran has announced plans to place a payload of up to 1500 pounds in orbit next year. The Safir-2 seems to be a heavily modified version of a North Korean Taepo-Dong-1-class rocket The ability to launch any satellite is also the ability to launch an ICBM, although Iran is said to have slowed its plutonium and uranium refining recently. For a fuller story, see http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-satellite4-2009feb04,0,4385361.story.

George T. Whitesides:
          The 2004-2008 NSS Executive Director has been appointed to be “Senior Advisor at NASA” after serving on the Obama transition team. However, he doesn’t show up on a search of the www.nasa.gov site; he may be advising the President rather than serving as a NASA employee. There is hope that his interest in space solar power will lead Pres. Obama to include SSP in the alternative energy sources encouraged by the government.

          The very bright "star" visible in the west for a few hours after sunset is Venus. Saturn may also be bright in the east a while after rising around 8 pm. However, the very bright star nearly overhead (trailing Orion) around 9 pm really is a star: Sirius. Several other bright stars are visible if there is no light overcast, or your eyes are better than Claire's.

Football Bet & Related Kitsch

          To see & hear Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) follow through on his football bet with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) by singing Elton John's "Rocket Man," see http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/01/todays_video_wo.html, video apparently from The Hill. Be sure to read Karen Shea’s comment for a link to Shatner’s version, which may be in the “so bad it’s good” category. (NASAWatch is a private blog, not related to NASA.)

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2009 (Area Code 405)

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

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

(Substitute @ 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)
john.d.northcutt at tds.net (John Northcutt)
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 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.