OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE

A Chapter of the National Space Society

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Minutes of May Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the McMurray’s house on May 15. Attending were Tom Koszoru, John Northcutt, Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson.
         This was our last meeting before the 2010 International Space Development Conference in Chicago, and much of the meeting involved preparing for that. The McMurrays are going up the week before the conference with some time out for site seeing. Tom and Syd are going up on Tuesday, May 25. The Four Point Sheraton, where Claire and Clifford are staying, is cheaper than the Intercontinental, so Tom and Syd will be checking it out. Parking at the Intercontinental is $14. Both cars are coming back on Monday, May 31.
         The Fermi/Argonne Tour is on Friday, and you need to register right away because it will be sold out. [Note: there were actually two tours, and I believe they were sold out—SFH.]
         Peter Diamandis of the X Prize Foundation is the Thursday night speaker. He is also the winner of this year’s Heinlein Award. [This is not to be confused with the Heinlein Prize, a $500,000 award Diamandis received in 2006. The Heinlein Award is voted on and awarded by the National Space Society.]
         John Marmie, the Sunday lunch speaker, was in charge of the LCROSS mission.
         SoonerCon is June 4 – 6. We’ve been asked to host the Con Suite on Saturday evening. We are allocating $50 – 75 for supplies, to be contributed by club members attending. [It actually came to more like $100.] The Con Suite does indeed have wireless Internet through Cox Cable.
         Tom is still working on the Great Space Race. We need to locate 3-D artists who work with resin.
         We got an e-mail from a Jennifer. We talked about a proposal to host Yuri’s Night 2011 at the Stafford Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Tom wants a casino night. Can we get something from Burns Flat, or the Rocket Racing League?
         Space Solar Power: Russia now has a launch site in French Guiana.
         The next meeting is June 19 at 3:00 p.m., location to be decided. Contact Gordon Eskridge to see if he’s interested.

--Submitted by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

Between-Meetings Activities: ISDC

         Claire and Clifford McMurray, Tom Koszoru, Syd Henderson and Tom’s mentee Jason Stubbs all went to the 2010 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) May 27 – 31 in Chicago. This year’s ISDC was held in the Intercontinental in Rosemont, Illinois. Rosemont village is located by O’Hare International Airport and really blends into Chicago proper. There are a lot of hotels there, as well as the Rosemont Convention Center. The Chicago Transit Authority maintains an L station in Rosemont, and this was located about ten minutes walk from the hotel. This L line runs from O’Hare to the Chicago Loop, the central business district which lies between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  Southeast of the Loop is Museum Campus, home of the famous Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. We went up early with the intention of doing some sire seeing. As I (Syd) put it, I wanted to see famous cultural landmarks that were destroyed in the Harry Dresden novels.
         Since we were staying in a different hotel, we found various methods of getting back and forth, including parking at the Rosemont station (much cheaper than the convention hotel), or taking our hotel shuttle to the airport and catching the one to the Intercontinental. I didn’t catch on till Sunday that the Hyatt Regency shuttle runs more dependably and the hotel is practically next door to Intercontinental.
         There was a Space Investment Symposium on Wednesday which Tom and I missed while site seeing. Once the conference proper began on Thursday, I attended as much programming as I could, and all banquets except the Friday and Saturday night ones, which were beyond my budget. I’m going to save my detailed programming review for next month’s Outreach but I hope Claire will write hers up this month. I will give a brief overview.
         Cliff was running the Business of Space track, which went over Thursday and Friday, and on one day was split between two adjoining rooms. He was also running the microphone around the main programming room during the question and answer sessions.
         Also running Thursday and Friday, and overlapping a bit into Saturday and Sunday was the “1st NSS Space Solar Power Symposium” chaired by John C. Mankins of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions. I didn’t attend any of this, but Tom did and he also bought CD recordings of most of the talks.
         Anita Gale of the Boeing Corporation handled the Space Colonization track, which also ran over Thursday and Friday.
         On Friday afternoon, James Logan and Daniel Adamo presented “Space 2.0: Rebooting Our Space Vision,” analyzing the premises behind long term habitation of space and other planets, including potential showstoppers that might make it impossible, such as cosmic radiation and microgravity.
         On Saturday morning, there was a Space Communications and Navigation Symposium organized by Jim Schier. I believe I missed this track almost entirely.
         “Living in Space,” chaired by Sherry Bell ran all day Saturday.
         The Education and Space track was hosted by Elizabeth F. Wallace of the Kepler Space University, and ran all day Sunday and apparently on Monday as well. This included programming of interest to teachers and students, including how to demonstrate microgravity in the classroom.
         Breakthrough Science and Technology ran Sunday afternoon and Monday, and was hosted by William Gardiner. This, for example, is where you went if you wanted to learn about space tethers or beamed propulsion.
         Finally, throughout the conference ran Many Roads to Space, which were a series of short (15 – 30 minute presentations) on a variety of topics.

         Since this was the first ISDC since the Obama Administration presented its space plans for the near future, there was a lively debate on that running through the conference. Among the meal speakers were NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, as well as Jeff Greason of the Augustine Committee. In addition, Apollo Astronaut and NSS Governor Buzz Aldrin and NSS Governor Freeman Dyson spoke in favor of the plan and their own visions of the future of manned space flight. On Saturday, there were two hours of debate on the Obama space plan and the cancellation of Constellation, the first an impromptu one between Scott Pace and Lori Garver (who crashed the presentation after her lecture, but that may have been pre-arranged), the second between Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Mars Society President Robert Zubrin. Shweickart was the pro, while Zubrin was more critical, especially of the cancellation of Ares 1 and Ares 5.

         Among the usual corporations, the Exhibits Hall featured the results of the NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest 2010, which was won by Prateeksha Das of the Ispat English Medium School in Odisha, India. Ms. Das got to present her winning design before one of the main luncheons.
         Perhaps because of this contest, there were an unusually large number of teenage attendees, including several dozen from India. This ensured full rooms for the Space Education track, and gave a pleasant international feel to the SEDS table.

         I thought the presentations generally ran smoothly. From my experience working on earlier ISDCs, this meant that whatever problems popped up were kept well hidden while they were dealt with. There did seem to be quite a bit of confusion about banquet registration, which was partly due to the secondary registration announcements going out by e-mail a week and a half before the conference began. One problem I had was that I hadn’t received confirmation of my meal purchases, so I couldn’t remember which luncheons I’d signed up for. That was resolved by Friday noon.
         Almost all programming seemed well-attended, so attendance must have been somewhere in the 800 – 1000 range.
         Trips to and from Chicago both featured occasional monsoons, but fortunately there was none of that nonsense during the conference.

         --Submitted by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

Other Between-Meeting Activities.

         On Saturday June 5, Oklahoma Space Alliance hosted the Con Suite at the Soonercon Science Fiction in Oklahoma City. Our slot was 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. The art auction ran 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., during which time the con suite was closed, giving us plenty of time to set up.
         Although we were planning to buy $50 – 75 in supplies, we actually spent more like $100, which turned out to be fortunate since the con suite was short on supplies. We had roughly thirty signatures, and at least that many people who didn’t sign our signup sheet.
         Tom brought a bunch of CDs, including “When We Left Earth” and CDs from the ISDC. We showed two episodes of the former, one of which was the last half of the Gemini program, the other the Apollo program including Apollo 11. I asked Tom to show Buzz Aldrin’s dinner speech at the ISDC since I had missed that.
         We didn’t wind up with as many leftovers as usual, partly because we had some real food instead of snacks. What was left over we donated to the con suite.
         NSS has started sending us 50 copies of Ad Astra to distribute at our events. Apparently this is an ongoing thing. The first shipment arrived the day before ISDC (although I didn’t know that at the time) and were distributed at Soonercon, partly during the room party and partly on the freebie table.

Notes on June 9 OSIDA Meeting

         [Note: the May OSIDA meeting, which had been scheduled for May 19, was canceled due to the threat of severe weather.]

      Claire McMurray and Syd Henderson attended the June 9 meeting of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority. All seven board members were present this time, which was one more person than was in the audience.
      The OSIDA budget for the year is $424,000, down from $456,000 last year. This is part of the general belt-tightening of the Oklahoma state government.
      After several years, the security fence around the Oklahoma Spaceport is finally complete, although it still needs to pass inspection.
      The PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicators) lights are now operational. These lights were causing concern because they can blind pilots wearing night vision goggles, so a remote switch has been arranged to turn off the lights.
      The FAA has a million dollar grant program to be divided among several spaceports.
      The Oklahoma Spaceport had a catastrophic electrical failure so needs to buy an emergency generator for the sewer lift station(?).
      This was the end of another OSIDA year, so they had to elect new officers. Former State Representative Jack Bonny is now Chairman, Cal Hobson is Vice-Chairman, Lou Sims stays on as Secretary, and Gilmer Capps stays on as Treasurer.
      Claire went to Tulsa in April and tried to get into the Rocket Racing League event, but it was too crowded. Apparently 8,000 people were anticipated and 50,000 showed up. The Rocket Racing League will be returning to the Oklahoma Spaceport for more flight resting.
      Media coverage of the Rocket Racing League events at the Spaceport has been subdued because of decisions by the League itself. They requested a media embargo for the first flight test, and didn’t announce the second until the last moment. Miles O’Brian of CNN was about the only newsman to get there on time.

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

Copyright 2010 Oklahoma Space Alliance.