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Minutes of June Meeting
Oklahoma Space Alliance met June 14 at Harry Bear’s All-American Grill in Moore, Oklahoma. In attendance were Steve, Karen and Brian Swift, Claire and Clifford McMurray, Dave Sheely, Don Robinson, Linda Shannon, Peggy and James McBride, Ross Davoren, Craig Crawford, Dennis Wigley and Syd Henderson, This was the first meeting for the McBrides and for Mr. Crawford, and both families joined Oklahoma Space Alliance.
We need to have a work session in Norman to discuss what can do for the new emphasis of OSIDA on Oklahoma space development.
Soonercon is the last week in June. We will have a meet-up where we will have a table, and possibly a room party. [This didn’t happen as we hoped. See below.]
Moon Day this year is July 19 since the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing falls on Sunday, July 20. Texas has their event on the 19th.
World Space Week is October 4 – 10. It is a function of the United Nations. The first object to launch into space (not Sputnik?) was apparently during this week [but the framing dates are the launch of Sputnik and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty, in 1957 and 1967, respectively].
A kickstart effort to reboot the ISEE-3 has been allowed by NASA. [But see “Space News.”]
ISDC 2016 will probably be in Puerto Rico with a tour of the ARECIDBO telescope facility.
What’s Happening in Space?
Steve had missed the May meeting, so had two months’ worth of material to make up for, which he has put on line in last month’s Update, online at http://osa.nss.org/Update1406.pdf. One item that is good news is that most space commerce has been taken off the munitions list. (However, human-rated spacecraft are still on the list, which makes it difficult to make deals with other nations.)
--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson
Minutes of June 18 Special Meeting
Oklahoma Space Alliance members had a special meeting at the McMurray residence on June 18. In attendance were Claire and Clifford McMurray, Steve and Brian Swift, Peggy McBride, Dave Sheely, Vicky Richartz and Syd Henderson. This was a brainstorming session for what OSA can contribute to OSIDA.
Texas gave XCOR 10 million so XCOR went to Texas.
According to Ross Robinson, a number of people are enthusiastic over Dr. McKeever’s proposal to take advantage of the possibilities of opportunities for developing the Oklahoma Spaceport for commercial use. This will be driven less by Oklahoma taxpayers and more by commercial development. Some of this has already been done, such as testing by both Boeing and Armadillo. (Although Aerospace is in hibernation mode since the crash of a STIG-B rocket last year.)
Can Stratolaunch use the Spaceport? The spaceport has a permit for a winged piloted spacecraft (and the Spaceport is limited to horizontal launches). These include Stratolaunch, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, and XCOR’s future LEO spacecraft. Perhaps by the time the last is ready for launch, the Spaceport will be allowed to launch orbital craft.
What kind of commercial space activities can be successful? Suborbital payloads such as medical research.
Kip: If we could get a large number of flights with high school kids flying payloads, it would go a long way toward making OK space look real.
Claire: Fed Ex wants suborbital point-to-point delivery.
At the same time promote the space settlement contest.
--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson
One on-going discussion which I don’t see in my notes but which I know we’ve discussed is using Meetup to attract more members. We can go along with several other groups to break up the fee (which is not extravagant anyway). The Meetup site is www.meetup.com, and the particular one we’re sponsoring is (Central) Oklahoma Space Exploration & Settlement Meetup, located at www.meetup.com/Central-Oklahoma-Space-Exploration-Settlement-Meetup.
Several Oklahoma Space Alliance members went to Soonercon, but for various reasons, we didn’t have as much of a presence as we hoped. Since none of us had a room on the party floor, and a rule restricted parties to that floor, we had no party. We also didn’t have a table this time since they went rapidly.
Larry Nemecek, best known for his Star Trek connections, was present and let us know about a kickstarter project to build a reusable spacecraft to carry student projects on a suborbital flight. The spacecraft will be known, inevitably, as Enterprise. (It’s worth noting that first commercial version of SpaceShipTwo will be the VSS Enterprise.)
A science fiction project Larry is involved with may be of interest. Star Trek Continues is an online effort to complete the five-year mission of the Starship Enterprise, which was abruptly cut off in its third year by cancellation. So far, there are three episodes, the third of which, a continuation of “Mirror, Mirror” in the mirror universe (the one in which the Federation is replaced by an Empire, Spock has a goatee, and Kirk is a genocidal lunatic), I saw an enjoyed. I calculate that at the current rate of production, they’ll complete their mission sometime around 2028, but I expect production will speed up since they don’t have to keep recreating sets from scratch. (They also have to be anal-retentive about details because Trekkies are watching.)
Notes on July 9 OSIDA Meeting
The Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority met at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation building in Oklahoma City. Board members present were Jack Bonny, Jay Edwards, R. Alan Goodbary, James Cunningham and Robert Cox. Steve Swift, Claire McMurray, Dave Sheely and Syd Henderson attended on behalf of Oklahoma Space Alliance.
OSIDA is not as financially well-off as they might seem, since they have expenses that must be met, and there are restrictions to the use of some areas. OSIDA has a large number of contacts which they are restricted from divulging, sometimes by statute.
OSA President Steve Swift presented a paper, Oklahoma Space Industry: Opportunities and approaches, giving his ideas on how OSIDA might proceed toward becoming a successful spaceport. To quote Steve:
“What is the main business of suborbital space flight? It is not rocket engines, winged launchers and spacecraft. The real business of suborbital flight is passenger and payload spaceflight. As winged horizontal launch spacecraft become successful, the business of passenger and payload spaceflight will thrive and will offer important business opportunity.
“Suborbital spaceflight using the existing spaceport and launch corridor is a significant opportunity for Oklahoma. Oklahoma does not have to sell spaceflight and doesn’t have to pay for it. Airports do not sell passenger and freight services, they collect fees and rents from others who do provide those services. The main spaceport business is to provide needed infrastructure and to define require rules, guidelines and fees. Other entities that that pay rent and fees provide the actual spaceflight.”
Steve pointed out that:
“Of special interest of Oklahoma, another technology gap exists in the use of natural gas fueled suborbital spacecraft. Although several companies developed and tested natural gas rocket engines, none of the pending horizontal launch suborbital spacecraft use these engines. Natural gas is an important fuel for future spaceflight. It burns cleaner than many other rocket fuels; it minimizes corrosion and coking of engine nozzles, it’s energy content is competitive, and companies such as SpaceX, ATK and XCOR all pursue future use of natural gas fueled rocket engines.
Steve presented some of the ideas we came up with at our special meetings to stimulate interest in space industry, such as “Both orbital and suborbital science payloads created by school and college students for launch into space” Student science projects get reduced suborbital pricing (less than $1,000), and, when publicized, get a great deal of public interest.
This was the meeting at which OSIDA elects officers for the coming year. Mr. Goodbary’s can serve for another year, and the board simply reappointed all its officers.
--Notes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson
Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray.
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Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
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