OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
A Chapter of the National Space Society

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OUTREACH May 2007

May Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday May 19 at the Koszorus' house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman. This will be the last meeting before the ISDC and we also need to discuss whether to have parties at Conestoga and SoonerCon.
          Tom, Tim, Claire and Syd are all planning to go to the International Space Development Conference in Dallas, Texas, May 24 – 28. Several of us have been invited to attend the Space Venture Symposium on Thursday, May 24. See article below on the ISDC and, if you get a print edition of the newsletter, the enclosed flyer. Among the other things we will do at this meeting will be finalizing plans to attend the ISDC.
          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.

2007 Yuri's Night Celebration

          [Note: there are no minutes for an April meetings since the Yuri’s Night celebration replaced it. These notes were also in the April Update.]
          Oklahoma Space Alliance's annual Yuri's Night celebration was held this year at the Moore Public Library in Moore, Oklahoma. We had about 50 people come in total, including members of the Challenger Center of Oklahoma City and the KISS Institute of Practical Robotics (KIPR). Cathryn Stein and David Miller of KIPR arranged for a botball contest by two groups from Moore middle schools. In fact, the botball participants and audience were a majority of our crowd.
          Tom, Claire and Tim brought refreshments, posters and handout materials. Syd brought newsletters and made up flyers for ISDC, sign-up sheets, membership forms and brought materials to help with the set-up. KIPR needed tables but otherwise did their own setup. John Northcutt and Clifford McMurray helped with the setup. Laura Campbell showed up with her husband and their new baby. Magi Whitaker brought three large containers
for dispensing beverages, which included ice tea and punch. Tom and Heidi Koszoru brought a chocolate fountain. We also had lots of graham crackers, fruit and cookies for dipping into chocolate, as well as Mars Bars, M&M's Milky Ways, pretzels and cheese balls and many kinds of sodas. Much of this will be showing up at the party at SoonerCon should we choose to have one.
          At least five members of the Challenger Center showed up. This was their regular meeting for the month.
          Wayne Wyrick from the Air and Space Museum at the Omniplex spoke to us and accepted the "Moon Tree" on behalf of the Omniplex.
          We had a screen available, and showed a promotion for the Zero-G corporation and a video of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space, and KIPR showed a video on Botball. Tom had recorded some songs from the Yuri's Night website and Tim had some of his own.
           Several people had cameras. We hope to eventually be able to have some of these pictures on the web site.

Between-Meeting Activities

          Tom Koszoru, Claire McMurray and Syd Henderson went to the Oklahoma Spaceport for the licensing celebration on May 4. There were maybe 400 – 500 in attendance. The celebration was held in one of the large hangars at the Spaceport.
          Keynote speaker for the celebration was Patti Grace Smith, the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation in the Federal Aviation Administration in the Department of Transportation. [Despite the complexity of the title, this means she heads the Commercial Space Transportation section of the FAA. The “Administrator” in this case is the head of the FAA.] She joined the space transportation office in 1994 and ascended to her current title since 1997.
          The other speakers included several state legislators, OSIDA Executive Director Bill Khourie and former astronaut John Herrington, who was the first Native American to fly in space. Herrington is currently Vice President/Director of Flight Operations at Rocketplane Ltd. He will pilot the XP Spaceplane when and if it finally takes off.
          Rocketplane had a third-scale model of the XP on display but didn’t do an engine test. A group of children did launch a model rocket, but I missed the actual launch.
          In April, Claire McMurray presented OSIDA with a seedling of a sycamore tree that grew from a seed taken around the moon Apollo 14. After the licensing ceremony, we went to the planting of the seedling north of the spaceport office.

2007 International Space Development Conference

          The International Space Development Conference will be held May 25 – 28 in the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas, Texas. It will be preceded by two other events, the biannual meeting of the Aerospace Technology Working Group on May 22 – 24 and the Symposium on Space Venture Finance on May 24. Both the AWTC and Symposium will be at the same hotel as the ISDC, but they are separate events as far as registration and cost is concerned. Information on these follows this article on the ISDC.
          Oklahoma Space Alliance is committed to helping out on this year’s ISDC, and Claire McMurray, Tom Koszoru, Syd Henderson and Tim Scott are planning to attend and help out. Claire’s husband Clifford McMurray is the track chair for Space Business. Claire is going down a week early to help with the preparations. Tom and Syd are planning to attend the Symposium on Space Venture Finance, so will be helping the ISDC on Friday through Monday.
          I’ve included a flyer for the ISDC in the print version of the newsletter. If you are reading this online, the convention website is isdc.nss.org/2007. The theme of this year’s conference is "From Old Frontiers to New: Celebrating 50 Years of Space Flight," commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Sputnik on October 4, 2007.
          The main feature tracks are Frontier Transport, the Lunar Frontier and the Martian Frontier, and those will run all three days, as will Space Settlement. Other tracks include ISS Science (Friday-Saturday), Space Business (Saturday-Sunday), Space Activism (Saturday & Monday),  Space Medicine (two tracks, one on Sunday and one on Monday), Spaceflight Law (Friday), Space Education (all four days), Faster than Lightspeed Communications and Travel (Sunday), Astrosociology (Saturday), The Solar System Frontier and Beyond (Friday), and International Space (Sunday). There will also be children’s programming running Friday through Sunday, a Space Arts Show and Auction. An incomplete schedule is now online at the ISDC website.
          Tours include a planetarium tour, a JFK Assassination Tour [!], a money factory tour (to watch bills being printed), a Frontiers of Flight Museum Tour and a Meteorite Gallery Tour. Tours run $30-40, except for the JFK Assassination Tour which runs $60.
          Pre-registration ended on May 13. Registration at the conference is $150 for members and $175 for non-members. Special rates are $50 for students, $125 for senior members, $150 for senior non-members, and $170 for non-members who join NSS. Secondary registration for banquets has ended, but it’s likely there will be tickets available at the conference.
          Lunch guests: Thursday (presumably the Space Venture Finance symposium lunch): Tom Pickens and Esther Dyson; Friday, Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace; Saturday, Eric Anderson of Space Adventures and Sunday, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart.. Dinner guests are sf author Ben Bova on Friday, Steve Squyres on Saturday, and Apollo 9 astronaut Harrison Schmitt on Sunday. Pre-registration for lunches was $39, for Friday and Sunday dinners $44, and $59 for the Saturday dinner, which is being billed as a “gala.” Saturday guest Steve Squyres is Principal Scientist for NASA’s Exploration Rover Mission.

          The web site for the AWTC is www.awtc.org. To quote the website, this is a technical forum “to facilitate an open dialogue between Government, Industry and Academia concerning space technology issues opportunities.”  Online registration is $259.26 for the whole 3 days, and $122.85 per day.
          The Symposium on Space Venture Finance web site is isdc.nss.org/2007/finance.html, which is a link of the main ISDC site. From the website: “This full day Symposium will gather together leaders in the investment and space communities to discuss recent innovations in early- and mid-stage finance within the commercial space, spaceport, satellite and space-related information technology industries.” Among the featured companies are: Alsatis from Toulouse, France; AstroKeys from Ontario, Canada; Frontier Astronautics from Chugwater, Wyoming; Kosmas GRO-Ring Services from Germany; Orbital Outfitters from North Hollywood, California; Orbital Satellite Services, Ltd., from the United Kingdom; Orion Propulsion from Madison, Alabama; the Rocket Racing League from New York, New York; Space2Phone from Sterling, Virginia; STAR Technologies Corporation from Great Falls, Virginia; TGV Rockets from Norman, Oklahoma; Transportation Space Corporation from Reston, Virginia; and XCOR Aerospace from Mojave, California. The Symposium runs 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 24. Cost for the Symposium is $350.00 and includes the luncheon.
          Tom Koszoru, Claire McMurray and Syd Henderson were given free memberships to the Symposium, and Tom and Syd plan to attend. Claire will probably be working on the ISDC during the Symposium. Our invitations do not include the luncheon.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (May 18 – June 16)

          NASA has dropped the International Space Station from the list of satellites covered by J-Pass, although they are still covered on the Orbital Tracking page via spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/. This only seems to give you data for a couple of weeks. J-Pass still covers unmanned satellites at science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/.
          You can get sighting information at http://www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get Station data for 10 day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail. In fact, the detailed charts will even show you the tracks against maps of the constellations, which should help you if you are familiar with the night sky.
          Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. Note that with the addition of the solar panels, the magnitude of the Space Station is now -1.0, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun and Sirius, and the planet Saturn as well. The Hubble Space Telescope is roughly magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is a bit more difficult to see. 
          Missions to the Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope may change its orbit. At this writing, the target date for the Atlantis launch to the Space Station is June 8. The next repair mission to the Space Telescope is planned for September 11, 2008.

Station May 18, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
5:03 a.m.           205°                  36°*
5:04                  135                    65**
5:05                    66                    35
5:06                    56                    17
* Appears from Earth’s Shadow

Station June 3, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
10:12 p.m.            217°                  18°
10:13                    207                    37
10:14                    121                    67*
10:15                      62                    33**
** Passes very close to Vega

Station June 5, 2007 (morning)
Time           Position           Elevation
4:56 a.m.            328°                   16°
4:57                    344                    31
4:58                      41                    48
4:59                      95                    30
5:00                    111                    16
Station June 5, 2007 (evening)
Time           Position           Elevation
9:17 p.m.            211°                  16°
9:18                    198                    32
9:19                    139                    54
9:20                      74                    32
9:21                      60                    17

Station June 6, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
9:39 p.m.            276°                  26°*
9:40                    320                    36
9:41                        6                    27
9:42                      25                    15
* passes 1° above Venus

HST June 9, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
5:30 a.m.             218°                  20°
5:31                    200                    26
5:32                    174                    30
5:33                    148                    26
5:34                    129                    20

HST June 10, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
5:29 a.m.            223°                   21°
5:30                    204                    28
5:31                    177                    31
5:32                    149                    28
5:33                    131                    21

HST June 11, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
5:27 a.m.            228°                   20°
5:28                    210                    28
5:29                    183                    32
5:30                    155                    28
5:31                    135                    21

HST June 12, 2007
Time           Position           Elevation
5:26 a.m.             230°                  20°
5:27                    211                    27
5:28                    185                    31
5:29                    158                    27
5:30                    139                    21          

          Pass times are from Heavens Above.
          The four viewing opportunities for the Hubble Space Telescope are part of a series from June 6 through 15, all in the same part of the sky and taking place about 90 seconds earlier each day. I’ve only included the ones that get 30° or more above the horizon, but the rest all get above 20°.
          Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus to find the Space Station at 4:59 a.m. on June 5, measure half a fist-width south of east, then three above the horizon.
          In addition to the J-Pass program which I use to provide this satellite viewing data, J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

Space Calendar

          May 19: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. at Tom Koszoru’s house.
          May 19: Venus is in conjunction with the Moon at sunset.
          May 24: Space Venture Finance Symposium in Dallas Texas. This will precede the ISDC at the same location. Note that this symposium is not included in the rates for the convention, although you can register for it at the convention website.
          May 25 – 28: the 26th International Space Development Conference in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the National Space Society of North Texas. For more information, visit http://isdc.nss.org/2007. Contact e‑mail addresses are Ken Murphy at Ken@isdc.nss.org and Carol Johnson at
CarolJ@isdc.nss.org.
          May 30: The asteroid Vesta is at opposition, 102 million miles from Earth, and is magnitude 5.4, which means it’s visible to the naked eye. It’s also brighter than the Uranus, which never gets above magnitude 5.7.
          June 2: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 23° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          June 5: Jupiter is at opposition.
          June 6: Messenger's second flyby of Venus.
          June 8: Current launch date of Atlantis to the International Space Station. This mission is expected to last 11 days. Atlantis was supposed to have been launched March 15, but was damaged by a hailstorm in February. In addition Clayton Anderson will replace Sunita Williams. Williams had been expected to come back aboard on Endeavour, but with that mission being delayed into August, it was decided to bring her home on this flight. If she comes back in August, she would break the US continuous space duration record, but she will break Shannon Lucid’s record for a female astronaut.
          June 8 – 10: SoonerCon science fiction convention in Oklahoma City.
          June 9: Venus is at maximum eastern elongation, 45.4° east of the Sun.
          June 16: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          June 18: The Moon occults Venus. This will be visible in the evening in the Middle East.
          June 19: Pluto is at opposition at magnitude 13.8.
          June 20: Schedule launch of the Dawn mission to Ceres and Vesta.
          June 21: Summer solstice at 1:06 p.m. CDT.
          July 20: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 20° west of the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          July 20: 38th anniversary of first moonwalk.
          July 20 – 22 Conestoga science fiction convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Web site is http://www.sftulsa.org/conestoga.
          July 21: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          August 9: Target date of the launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This mission is expected to last 14 days.
          August 13: Neptune is at opposition at magnitude 7.8.
          August 13: Perseid meteor shower peaks. This is expected to be the best meteor shower of the year, and it takes place during the New Moon.
          August 18: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          August 28: Total lunar eclipse, Totality begins at 4:52 a.m. and ends at 6:23 a.m. In Oklahoma, this eclipse will begin with the Moon partially eclipsed and we will see the entire total phase, although the end will be just after sunrise.
          September: India will launch its lunar probe Chandrayaan 1. This craft will orbit the moon at an altitude of 60 miles for two years.
          September 2: Asteroid Pallas is at opposition at magnitude 8.8.
          September 9: Uranus is at opposition. It will be magnitude 5.7, which is barely visible to sharp eyes in a dark sky.
          September 15: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          September 23: Autumnal equinox is at 4:51 p.m. CDT.
          September 29: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 26° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          October 20: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          October 28: Venus is at maximum western elongation, 46.5° west of the Sun.
          November 2: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 19° west of the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          November 9: the dwarf planet Ceres is at opposition at magnitude 7.2...
          November 17: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. Location to be announced.
          November 17: Peak of Leonid meteor shower.
          December 2007-January 2008: Naked-eye Comet 8P/Tuttle peaks, probably at around 4th magnitude.
          December 14: Peak of Geminid meteor shower.
          December 16: [tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance Christmas Party, time and location to be announced.
          December 22: Winter solstice is 12:08 p.m.
          December 24: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.6.
          January 15, 2008: Messenger's first flyby of Mercury.
          January 20, 2008: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 19° east of the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          February 20, 2008: Total lunar eclipse visible from North America.
          February 24, 2008: Saturn is at opposition.
          May 23 – 26, 2008: 27th International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC.
          July 9, 2008: Jupiter is at opposition.
          July 31, 2008: [Very tentative] Launch of the Planck Surveyor and Herschel Space Observatory from Kourou, French Guiana. [See below in “Space News.”
          September 5, 2008 The ESA's Rosetta asteroid & comet probe passes by asteroid 2867 Steins.
          September 11, 2008: [tentative] Repair mission to Hubble Space Telescope.
          October 6, 2008: Messenger's second flyby of Mercury.
          October 2008: The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is launched.
          Sometime in 2009: Russia sends sample return flight to Phobos.
          January 14, 2009: Venus is at maximum eastern elongation, 47.1° east of the Sun.
          March 2009: Dawn asteroid probe flies by Mars.
          March 8, 2009: Saturn is at opposition.
          August 14, 2009: Jupiter is at opposition.
          September 30, 2009: Messenger's third flyby of Mercury.
          January 29, 2010: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.3.
          June 2010: Hayabusa returns to Earth with a sample of asteroid Itokawa.  This will be the first asteroid sample returned to Earth.
          June 2010: Japan launches the Venus Climate Orbiter to Venus.
          July 10, 2010: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
          September 21, 2010: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
          December 2010: Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter arrives at Venus.
          Sometime in 2011: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover.
          October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
          March 18, 2011: Messenger goes into orbit around Mercury.
          October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
          Sometime in 2012: Launch of the Space Interferometry Mission.
          Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface.
          March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
          June 6, 2012: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea.
          June 2013: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
          August 2013 (approximate): The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched.
          August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Early in this mission, it will release the Philae lander. The Rosetta probe web site is The Rosetta probe web site is www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Rosetta
          February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July.
          July 14. 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
          July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
          August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
          August 2019 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
          April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
          August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Sky Viewing

          Mercury is currently visible at magnitude -1.0 low in the western sky about 45 minutes after sunset as it heads toward greatest elongation June 2 by which time it is fading. Mercury will be in inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 28.
          Venus is the brilliant planet in the western sky after sunset. It is currently magnitude -4.2 and in the constellation Gemini, which contains the bright stars Castor and Pollux. On May 19, Venus and the Moon will have a fairly close conjunction, separated by less tan two degrees. Venus will move from Gemini through Cancer and toward Leo through June, reaching greatest elongation on June 8 and actually growing brighter through the month of June. On June 30, Venus and Saturn will only be two-thirds of a degree apart.
          On the evening of June 18, the Moon will actually occult Venus for viewers in the Middle East, giving them a celestial “star and crescent.” In eastern North America, this will during a few hours after sunrise.
          Mars is still low in the southeastern sky at sunrise, and is only magnitude 0.9. As summer solstice approaches, the two will begin to separate, although Mars will still be far away and brighten slightly to magnitude 0.8 at the end of the month.
          Jupiter is currently rising about 10:00 p.m. and is magnitude -2.5 in the southeast and south for most of the night. On June 5, Jupiter will be at opposition. This is not a particularly good opposition for observers in the Northern Hemisphere since it occurs close to summer solstice, but it should be great for observers in the Southern Hemisphere.
          Saturn is pretty bright at magnitude 0.4, and is visible in the southwest after sunset. Saturn is between Venus and the Sickle in Leo.
          Uranus is magnitude 6 and in the constellation Aquarius. It will brighten slightly to magnitude 5.8 in June. Neptune is magnitude 7.9 in Capricornus and high up in the southeast before dawn. Check on www.skytonight.com for finder charts in a month or so.
          Pluto is at opposition on June 19, but at magnitude 13.9, it will be far from visible with anything but a strong telescope. To make matters worse, it is in Sagittarius, which is pretty low in the southern sky this time of year.
          However, the asteroid Vesta is at opposition on May 31, and is as close to the Earth as it gets. In fact, it is just visible to the naked eye at magnitude 5.4. This is considerably brighter than any other member of the asteroid belt gets, although Iris, Pallas and the minor planet Ceres also occasionally get above magnitude 7, which some sky observers consider the limit of naked-eye visibility. Vesta is currently located in a rather dim region of Ophiuchus and is approaching the northern part of Scorpius. You can find a locator map in the June Astronomy. There’s a detailed map on www.skytonight.com: go to the main website, click on “Observing Highlights,” and the article “See Vesta at Its Brightest!” Click on the sky picture to the right for details.

Space News

          The rocket which carried some of James “Scotty” Doohan’s (and 200 other people’s) ashes into space went off course and landed in the San Andres Mountains in New Mexico. The crash site has not been found but the ashes are expected to be recovered.

          The intrinsically brightest supernova ever seen was reported on May 7. SN2006gy is five times as bright as the previous brighter supernova. The exploding star is estimated to have been 150 times as massive as the Sun. Unfortunately, the supernova is also 240 million light-years away and is not visible to the naked eye. The supernova peaked for 70 days and has been absolutely brighter than other supernovae for months.
          Coincidentally, the June 2007 issue of Astronomy has an article on Eta Carinae, an unusual star 100 times the mass of the sun which may be the intrinsically brightest star in the Milky Way. For a while in the 19th century, it was the second brightest star in the sky (excluding the sun), but it has been obscured by its dust nebula (the Homunculus) since then and is currently barely visible to the naked eye. Recent reports indicate Eta Carinae could explode at any moment in the next thousand years, likely sooner than later. It is 7500 light-years away and would make perhaps the brightest supernova ever seen. It’s too far away to be a threat of life on Earth.
          The exoplanet HD 149026b is the hottest yet discovered. This is the smallest known transiting exoplanet, with about the mass of Saturn. It orbits its star with a period of 2.9 days. The temperature of HD 149026b is 3700° F, which is hotter than some of the cooler red dwarf stars, not to mention the enormous supergiant star V838 Monocerotis.

          Considerable more pleasant is Gliese 581c, a recently discovered exoplanet whose surface temperature is estimated to be between 32° and 100° This means that Gliese 581c is the first known exoplanet which is expected to have liquid water. It also has only five times the mass of the earth, and a third as massive as Uranus. This makes it the smallest known exoplanet excluding those orbiting pulsars. Gliese also has a Neptune-sized second planet and yet a third planet which has eight times the mass of the Earth. However, Gliese 581d is three times farther out from its star, so is not in the liquid water range. Gliese 581b, the Neptune-sized planet, orbits the star in 5.4 days and would be too hot for liquid water.
          Gliese 581 is a red-dwarf star 20.5 light-years from Earth, and Gliese 581c is only seven million miles from its star and completes an orbit in 13 days. This makes me wonder if it is close enough to the star that it would be tidally locked, with one face always facing its star.
          One previous star system, HD 69830, has three Neptune-sized planets and one of them is also in the habitable zone, but the planet is likely a gas giant.

          Beagle 2 was the name of a British Mars lander that crashed on the surface of Mars in 2004. Now NASA and Britain are studying a resurrection of the Beagle to land on the Moon, possibly as soon as 2012. The Lunar Beagle would replace a more ambitious and expensive unmanned lander that NASA recently cut out of its budget. Lunar Beagle would search for ice near the lunar South Pole, although it could not actually land in a shaded area because it would be solar powered. It could, however dig up to five feet into the crust of the Moon, analyze minerals, and search under rocks for ice. It would also enable NASA to report “The Beagle Has Landed.” (Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 9, 2007, page 26, emphatically not including the last sentence.)

          NASA hasn’t returned to the Moon or sent astronauts to Mars yet, but they are already exploring the possibility of sending astronauts to an asteroid. A trip to the “earth-grazing” asteroid 1998 KY26 would take only three months and could use the same type of Ares rocket and the Orion capsule which are planned for Mars missions.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2007 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                         366-1797 (H)
John Northcutt, Vice-President                               390-3476 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor        321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                               740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Update Editor                     329-4326 (H)  863-6173 (C)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray@sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru@cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh@ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott@mac.com (Tim Scott)
john.d.northcutt@tds.net (John Northcutt)
lensman13@aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig@earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).

          E-mail for OSA should be sent to sydh@ou.edu.  Members who wish  their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is chapters.nss.org/ok/osanss.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information

          Air and Space Museum: Omniplex, Oklahoma City, 602‑6664 or 1-800-532-7652.
          Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
          Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918)834-9900.
          The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
          The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600.  The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024.  The address is:  National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW Ste. 615, Washington, DC 20006.    Web page is www.nss.org.  
          NASA Spacelink BBS  205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
          Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
           Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].

 


 OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
 A Chapter of the National Space Society

 MEMBERSHIP ORDER FORM
                                                            
Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
                       ___           $10.00 for Membership.  (This allows full voting privileges, but covers only your own newsletter expense.)

___________________ $15.00 for family membership

                       ____          TOTAL  amount enclosed

          National Space Society has a special $20 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $45, international $60.  Student memberships are $20.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington DC 20006, or join at www.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit.  One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

Do you want to be on the Political Action Network?
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OSA Memberships are for 1 year, and include a subscription to our monthly newsletters, Outreach and Update.  Send check & form to Oklahoma Space Alliance, 102 W. Linn, #1, Norman, OK 73071.

To contact Oklahoma Space Alliance, e-mail Syd Henderson.
102 W. Linn St. #1
Norman OK 73069
Copyright ©2006 Oklahoma Space Alliance.