A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 

May Meeting (NOTE TIME and LOCATION)

         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the IHOP Restaurant at 5201 N. Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City. This is a block north of the Northwest Expressway, so either take the Northwest Expressway exit if you’re coming in I-44 (there is no Classen exit), or take the N. 50th street exit off I-235 and head west on N. 50th to reach Classen. The telephone number of this IHOP is 840-4467. This is one of the IHOPs that has the “buy one, get one free” special.
         We only have the meeting place until 6:00 p.m.


  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes
  4. Distribution of Ad Astras
  5. What’s Happening with Space
  6. Read and discuss mail
  7. Treasurers Report
  8. Report on OSIDA meeting
  9. Old Business
    1. Report on Brochure Status
    2. Moon Day
      1. Discuss general plan
      2. Define schedule
      3. Form team
    3. Essay and Art Contests
    4. Discuss promotion of meetings
  10. New Business
    1. Soonercon: We’ve been asked to do two panels.
    2. Meeting places
  11. Create New Agenda
  12. Adjournment and informal discussions

         The theme for Oklahoma Space Alliance in 2012 is “What’s Happening in Space.” People think that space exploration is dead with the end of the shuttle program. We should use our theme as an emphasis for meetings, selection of speakers and topics for agenda items.

Minutes of April Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance was to meet on April 14, but the meeting was cancelled due to the threat of severe weather, including tornadoes. We decided to move the meeting to the following Saturday.
         Oklahoma Space Alliance met April 21, 2012 at the I-Hop on North Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Attending were Steve and Karen Swift, Dennis Wigler, David Sheely and Clifford McMurray.

         Steve did a report on the Orbital Sciences Corporation. (See www.orbital.com.) Orbital’s vehicles include the ground based Taurus® an Minotaur rockets, and the Pegasus® rocket, which is launched from the Stargazer (L-1011) carrier aircraft. Orbital’s newest vehicle is the Antares, which is one of the two vehicles developed to resupply the Space Station under the COTS initiative. (The other, of course, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.)
         Pegasus was first launched on April 5, 1990, making it the first privately developed space vehicle. It was also the first air-launched rocket capable of placing satellites into orbit. Pegasus is launched from 40,000 feet and is capable of launching 1,000 pounds into orbit. Pegasus also launches satellites for NASA: NuSTAR, for example, will be launched by Pegasus rocket in June.
         Taurus is ground-launched and bigger, with a payload capacity of 3000 lb.
         Minotaur is actually a series of rockets, the Minotaurs I, IV and V. Orbital Services also launched eight Minotaur IIs, the last in 2008. Apparently Minotaur III was never launched. Minotaur I can carry up to 1278 lb, and Minotaur IV 3814 lb. Minotaur V is a coming attraction: it’s a five-stage version of the four-stage Minotaur IV and can launch small interplanetary missions.
         Antares (formerly known as Taurus II) is a two stage-rocket that can carry 13,000 lb into orbit. Test flights are to begin later this year. There seems to be some disagreement as to when, with NASA saying the next two months and Wikipedia saying August, with the first COTS demonstration mission in October or November. The actual payload capsule which resupplies the Space Station is the Cygnus. Orbital Services has a $1.9 billion contract to for eight resupply missions.
         Antares takes off from the Wallops Flight Facility in the Virginian part of the Delmarva Peninsula.

         What’s Happening in Space:
         We saw pictures of water plumes from Enceladus. [Enceladus is one of the three bodies in the outer solar system for which active eruptions have been observed. The others are Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton. Europa may well have eruptions as well when its icy surface cracks.]
         Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a near-earth asteroid with a diameter of about 150 feet and a mass of 120,000 tons. It’s gotten attention because calculations show that on February 15, 2013, it will pass within 21000 miles of Earth, which is 5000 miles closer than geosynchronous orbit. The chance that it will actually collide with Earth ion on that pass is one in 37 million. The cumulative probability of an impact before 2080 is estimated at 1 in 3230. The estimated energy of impact would be 2.4 megatons.

         We watched a shuttle launch video, with enhanced sound, another of the stars as seen from space, a robotic glove, and Elon Musk on the Daily Show.
         Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys (the source of the movie October Sky) has a new young adult novel, Crater ser on the Moon. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s latest is Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.
         Although we had some business scheduled, Dennis and Clifford had to leave, which cost us our quorum, so business was carried over to the May meeting.

--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

Notes on OSIDA Meetings

         Neither Steve or I were able to make the April OSIDA meeting or the special meeting in late March that was held in Burns Flat. The May meeting has been cancelled.

Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray.
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Copyright 2012 Oklahoma Space Alliance.