OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
A Chapter of the National Space Society

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OUTREACH September 2011

September 2011 Meeting

       Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at Panera Bread, 4401 W. Memorial Road in northern Oklahoma City. We will have an earlier gathering to see Apollo 18 for those interested. Information on that follows the agenda.
       There are several routes to get to Panera Bread. From the south a simple one is to take I -35, continue on I-235 (aka 77) to Memorial, turn west. Alternatively, turn west on 240 or I-44, north on 74 (aka Portland Ave. and the Lake Hefner Parkway) and west when you reach Memorial. From the North, Highways 74, 77 and I-35 all intersect Memorial, with the first being closest to Panera Bread. Panera Bread is about halfway between the Lake Hefner Parkway (74) and N. MacArthur Blvd, and is a mile and a half west of Quail Springs Mall.
Agenda:

  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Old Business
    1. Research funding
    2. A New OSA Logo
    3. Treasurer’s Report
    4. Yuri’s Night 2012
    5. Space Solar Power
    6. Distribution of Ad Astras
    7. Space X Dragon Launch
    8. OSA Fundraisers
    9. Library Displays
    10. OSA Speakers
  5. Read and discuss mail
  6. New Business
    1. Space Week in October
  7. Create New Agenda

       Before the meeting, some of us are thinking about seeing Apollo 18 at Quail Springs Mall, which is at 2501 W. Memorial Road, about a mile and a third east of Panera Bread. Jim Trombley suggests that we meet at IHOP on the south side of Memorial at noon, but that won’t work, as Quail Springs is showing the movie at 11:55 a.m. This is as of September 6, however, and Jim had a later time, so perhaps the movie times will change next weekend. The movie times for the week September 9 – 15 aren’t posted yet.
       Apollo 18 proposes that there was a secret Moon landing after the ones we know about and that it found something so horrible that we haven’t been back since. It’s done as a faux-documentary using “found” footage. That is, this is the hidden footage from the mission. The “found” footage technique has been used to great effect in The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity and especially Cloverfield, and this is the first time I know of it being applied to a space movie. Reception among the critics not been good (19% on Rotten Tomatoes), but that’s not Uwe Boll territory either. It also wasn’t screened for critics, which wouldn’t endear it to them.

Minutes of August Meeting

       Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszoru’s house on August 13. Attending were Tom Koszoru, Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson.
       Change Tom’s Cell Phone number in newsletters and web page.
       Change the ISDC logo on the web page to ISDC 2012.
       Our next meeting will be at the Panera Bread on Memorial Road in Oklahoma City.
       Dream Chaser is a crewed suborbital and orbital vertical-takeoff and horizontal spaceplane being built by the SpaceDev subsidiary of the Sierra Nevada Corporation.
       Apollo 18 is a movie coming out in September. Is it science fiction or horror? [Apparently horror.]
       Who should have he stamp made. It should say:
       Oklahoma Space Alliance NSS
       National Space Society Chapter
       Web Site http://chapters.nss.org/ok/osanss.html
       With Claire’s number for contact.
We have a new batch of Ad Astras for distribution.
       Tom sent a proposal to Richard Godwin of Collector’s Guide Publishing on his SpaceX promotion idea. Does SpaceX have any item they would replace after a launch in the Dragon Module that we could use in the production of artifacts. If so, how much per pound and what kind of material? If not, would they have an interest in launching materials or actual models?
       Ask Travis Darling (formerly of OU SEDS) what happened to the movie that was shown at Yuri’s night a couple of years ago.
       We should have a Google calendar on web site [but Syd has to figure out how to do one].
       We can try a library display for Yuri’s Night 2012.

       Report on Mars Society Conference     

       Overview: Claire McMurray and Syd Henderson went to the Dallas suburb of Grapevine on August 5 – 7 to attend the 2011 Mars Society Conference which began on August 4. This was my (Syd’s) first time to a Mars Society Conference after attending seven International Space Conferences. The two conferences are different in many respects, including scale. This conference had between two and three hundred people, which is quite a bit smaller than most ISDCs I’ve attended. (A notable exception was our own 2004 ISDC in Oklahoma City, which followed a difficult conference in San Jose, California and a leadership transition in NSS; our ISDC may have had the attendance of this one, but events were structured like an ISDC.)
       Notable differences were that for most of the conference, there was only one track of programming, the plenary sessions. The exception to this was on Saturday, when there were three or four breakout sessions at a time in the afternoon. Fortunately, the plenary sessions tended to be interesting. The only time there wasn’t anything I wanted to attend was a half-hour during the breakout sessions, and that was because the people I wanted to hear cancel out. (There were also multiple tracks on Thursday, before we arrived.)
       There was only one banquet, on Saturday night; otherwise we went out to eat, generally in the hotel restaurant. Given that a full slate of banquets at an ISDC is a major expense, I tend to skip a lot of them anyway, and came back with quite a bit of the money I’d allocated for the conference. There wasn’t much of the auxiliary stuff you get at ISDCs, such as tours, and a limited number of books for sale.
       And, logically, one obvious difference is that, since this was a Mars Society Conference, most of the talks had something to do with Mars. Some speakers had to take a more general subject (such as space fuel depots) and find some way to fit them specifically to Mars (you can use space fuel depots to go from Phobos orbit to Mars!). The talks on agriculture tended to be more naturally Mars-oriented because Mars has vital substances like water and, er, an atmosphere with carbon dioxide in it.
       Since I’ve not been to other Mars Society Conferences, this one may not have been typical, but, since nobody commented on it, I suspect it was. It’s also not that unusual compared to math conferences I’ve attended except for being considerably larger. I was pretty satisfied with the conference.

       Nuclear Propulsion: David Buden, Harold Finger. Stan Gunn Michael Williams and all spoke on nuclear propulsion. NASA investigated this in the 1950s and 1960s, most famously in the NERVA program, which wasn’t terminated until 1972. The NERVA NRX/XE actually met the requirements for a manned mission to Mars.
       [This apparently was a problem; when missions to Mars looked like an actual possibility in the 1970s, Congress balked over the long-term expense this would entail. Discontinuing NERVA was a way of ending the Space Race before we got to Mars. There were also concerns about launching nuclear reactors into space, especially those large enough to propel manned missions. Also remember some people were proposing Project Orion, which would actually have been propelled by atomic bombs, an idea which made some people very nervous and was finally killed by the Test Ban Treaty of 1963.]
       Finger, who actually was a manager for the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office in the 1960s, is understandably in favor of not letting the knowledge obtained from it going to waste.
       Stan Gunn also spoke on the design of next generation nuclear rocket engine which will have exit temperatures on the order of 2280 – 2500 degrees Kelvin, or about 3600 – 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. Gunn also mentioned using carbide fuel elements to increase gas temperatures to 5100°F.
       [Note: Gunn actually used the Rankine scale, which is to Fahrenheit as Kelvin is to Celsius. Degrees R = 9/5 degrees K. This was the first time I’ve ever seen the Rankine scale actually used.]
       Michael Williams of the Savannah River Nuclear Laboratory mentions that the original NERVA designs no longer meet Department of Energy nuclear facility requirements because they can no longer be vented to the open air. Thus to create a new generation of nuclear rockets requires some method of treating and immobilizing the nuclear waste produced. This can be done by appropriate choices of test facilities and by modifications. One of Savannah Rivers’ specialties is transforming weapons grade uranium to reactor grade by blending.
       Ernest Robinson spoke of launch approval of nuclear rockets. The only nuclear reactor flown by the United States was a 45 kilowatt thermal fission reactor, SNAP-10A, which operated for 43 days in 1965 before it was shut down due an electrical malfunction, not a reactor malfunction, however. This defunct reactor is still in orbit. [In 1979 this spacecraft shed several dozen pieces, apparently due to a collision. It isn’t known whether radioactive material was released.] I don’t have notes on Robinson’s talk which makes me wonder if I missed part of it.

       Life Sciences: We had several plenary sessions on Saturday devoted to space medicine, agriculture and group dynamics. Biomed challenges include hypogravity, nutrition and diet, sleep, hygiene, exercise and fitness, radiation protection and effects, reproduction and pediatric care. These challenges are not unique to Mars (except perhaps for the last since we don’t know whether humans can reproduce in zero-gee, or what the effects of a one-third gee field might be on a developing fetus).
       One of the challenges is to grow plants in environments with low atmospheric pressure. At first, I thought this might be impossible, due to cell rupture, but apparently not (and in any case you could seal the plants in under pressure). But water loss is a severe problem, and, paradoxically, the high percentage of carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere is itself a problem, since plants have difficulty dealing with a glut of the vital gas. [The Martian atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen and 1.6% argon and varying amounts of water vapor, with traces of oxygen and methane. That small percentage of nitrogen could also be a problem for growing plants unless there somehow is a hidden source in the soil.] Martian soil contains perchlorates, which are oxidizers, and is relatively basic.
       Social psychological issues have been examined from previous groups who were isolated and largely confined, such as the Biosphere 2 teams, and, for that matter, space station crews. Issues come up of group cohesion, conflict resolution, leadership structure, interactions with mission support and other essential Earth contacts, mental health maintenance including depression and stress, and leisure time. Meals are a major social occasion for an isolated group. This brings up the convenience of pre-packaged foods vs. the variety and pleasure of preparing meals (assuming the cook is competent). This seems to vary with the length of the mission, and also having a large enough supply that the astronauts don’t eat up all their favorite things early on and wind up with broccoli and tofu.

       Curiosity: Our Banquet speaker was Ashwin Vasavada, Deputy Project Scientist of the Mars Science Lab. The MSL is the Curiosity rover, which will be launched in late November or early December and land on Mars in August 2012, operating on the surface of Mars for at least one year.  
       Curiosity weighs about a ton, five times as much as Spirit or Opportunity and carries more than ten times the mass of scientific instruments of either rover. Since it is so large, it cannot be landed in a cluster of airbags like Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity. Instead, it will enter the atmosphere of Mars as part of a package that includes the largest heat shield ever flown in space, and a sky crane. Curiosity is attached to a descent stage that acts as a sky crane. As the pair approach the Martian surface, they separate, and Curiosity is lowered by 22-foot long cables. The descent stage will then use its rockets to complete its deceleration, and, if all goes well, land Curiosity softly on the Martian surface. The descent stage will then release Curiosity and take off, looking like nothing so much as a jellyfish with tendrils underneath it. Apparently the descent stage then goes off to a crash landing.
       This will be the first use of the “sky crane” idea to land a spacecraft.
       The Mars Science Lab team reduced the possible landing sites to four: the Eberswalde Crater delta, which is an ancient river delta; the Holden Crater fan, which seems to have been the site of a former lake with a collection of gullies which once drained it; Mawrth Vallis, which is a channel carved by floods, and the final selection site, Gale Crater.
       Gale Crater is at 137° Martian East Latitude and 4.6° South Latitude. It is about 95 miles in diameter and more than 3.5 billion years old. What is really interesting is the 3.3-mile high mountain in its center which appears to be made of layers of sedimentary rock.
       Curiosity is a curious looking machine, with its robot arm which can be extended, and two cameras on a tall mast that makes it look like the rover has a head. Its heat exchanger provides a “tail.” All in all, it looks like it’s alive and an alien being.

       Fuel in Space: John Hunter made a case for using hydrogen gas guns to shoot things into space. A gas gun consists of a large tube which narrows at one end and a narrower barrel at the end of it. The large tube is sealed at both ends. At the large end, there is a powder charge, then a piston, then the remainder of the tube is filled with hydrogen. The projectile is within a barrel and sits at the end of the narrow end of the large tube. When the powder explodes, the piston is forced down the tube, compressing the hydrogen. At the narrow end, the tube is sealed by a steel disk a couple of millimeters think. The hydrogen breaks through the steel disk and shoots through the narrow end of the tube pushing the projectile down the barrel and out into the world.
       One can achieve surprising velocities with such a gun. Light gas guns have been built than propel a projectile at 6.6 miles per second, which is just about escape velocity. Since the projectile accelerates to this velocity in a few seconds, this is a propulsion method that would turn a would-be astronaut into a layer of jelly at the back of the spacecraft. However, it is a potential method of launching bulk mass into orbit without expending fuel. If the projectile is filled with fuel and launched to a space depot, this is a relatively inexpensive method of providing fuel for space missions. Provided the gun and/or projectile doesn’t burst.
       My concern was: how do you stop the projectile when it gets to the receiving end? It appears the projectile must have its own engine to enable it to slow down, which eliminates a lot of the appeal. The engine would have to withstand an incredible number of gees upon launch. Further, the projectile has to be covered with a layer of ablative material so that it doesn’t burn up in the atmosphere, and this cover has to withstand a wind of tens of thousands of miles per hour.

       Space Publicity: Ian O’Neill, the Space Science Producer for Discovery News, gave a talk on “Space Beer, Mars Colonization and Other Drugs,” a talk on how media promotes interest in space. Every story needs a “hook” to grab attention. The top five stories so far in 2011: (5) How a Mission to Mars Can Kill You, (4) Ode to Mars Rover Spirit, (3) Sadly, There Is No Secret Base on Mars, (2) When Discovery News met Mars Rover Curiosity, and (1) Viking found organics on Mars.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (September 8 – October 17, 2011)

       You can get sighting information at 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.
       Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. With the addition of the solar panels, the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -3.5, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun and all the planets other than Venus, although magnitude -2 to -3 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to 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 and from the Space Station may change its orbit. The next mission is the return of the ISS Expedition 28 crew aboard Soyuz TMA-21 on September 15. [See “Space News.] Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings before going out to watch.

Hubble September 8, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
9:07 p.m.             228°                21°
9:08                     209                  28
9:09                     182                  32
9:10                     151                  27
Vanishes into Earth’s Shadow

Hubble September 9, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
9:04 p.m.             230°                20°
9:05                     212                  27
9:06                     186                  30
9:07                     160                  27
9:07:32                153                  25
Vanishes into Earth’s Shadow

Station September 19, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
6:27 a.m.             195°                17°
6:28                     176                  29
6:29                     133                  38
6:30                       91                  29
6:31                       72                  17

Station September 21, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
6::05:40 a.m.       221°                31°
6:06                     220                  40
6:07                     140                  81
6:08                       55                  41
6:09                       31                  21

Hubble October 6, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
6:17:55 a.m.        222°                18°
6:19                     220                  26
6:20                     174                  30
6:21                     148                  27
6:22                     130                  20

Hubble October 7, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
6:15 a.m.             223°                21°
6:16                     205                  28
6:17                     178                  31
6:18                     151                  28
6:19                     134                  22

Hubble October 8, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
6:12:55 a.m.        222°                23°
6:13:37                208                  28
6:14:37                181                  32
6:15:37                153                  28
6:16:37                135                  21       
Station October 8, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
6:57 a.m.             302°                19°
6:58                     291                  37
6:59                     224                  63
7:00                     158                  38
7:01                     147                  20

Station October 16, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
8:19 p.m.             257°                17°
8:20                     275                  30
8:21                     322                  42
8:22                         7                  31
Vanishes into Earth’s Shadow

Station October 17, 2011
Time               Position     Elevation
7:19 p.m.             217°                20°
7:20                     209                  38
7:21                     136                  70
7:22                       64                  39
7:23                       55                  20

       Pass times are from Heavens Above

       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 7:23 p.m. on October 17, measure three-and-a-half fist-widths north of due east, then two fist-widths above the horizon.
       All times are rounded off to the nearest minute except for times when the satellite enters or leaves the shadow of the Earth. The highest elevation shown for each viewing opportunity is the actual maximum elevation for that appearance.
       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/.

Sky Viewing
[Viewing information from skyandtelescope.com and the September and October issues of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.]

       There is a brilliant supernova (in absolute magnitude) 21 million light-years away in the galaxy M101 and it’s easily visible in a four-inch telescope. M101, or more familiarly, the Pinwheel Galaxy, is located in the constellation Ursa Major. It forms an approximately equilateral triangle with the two stars at the tip of the handle of the Big Dipper, on the side away from the bowl of the Big Dipper. The galaxy is face-on to us (hence its name) and is not visible to the naked eye, but should be distinctive through a telescope. The star is magnitude 10 compared to 7.86 for the galaxy, but since the star is a point source, it should be easier to locate.

       Mercury is magnitude -0.9 in the east-northeast before dawn; look about a half-hour to an hour before sunrise. Mercury will fade rapidly later in the month as it approaches superior conjunction with the Sun on September 28, but will start to become visible after sunset in late October.
       Venus was in superior conjunction with the Sun on August 16 and is currently hidden by the Sun. It will finally become visible after sunset in late October, after which it and Jupiter will be dominating the evening sky this winter.
       Mars is currently magnitude 1.4, which is far from its best as it is still on the far side of its orbit. It is rising about 2:00 a.m. and should be easy to locate as it is the second brightest object in the constellation Gemini, just edging out Castor. Mars will be moving into Cancer later in September, where it will most definitely be the brightest object. On October 1 and 2, Mars will bass through the Beehive Cluster in Cancer. Mars will move into Leo in mid-October, by which time it will be magnitude 1.0.
       Jupiter is currently rising around 10 p.m. in the evening, and, at magnitude -2.6, is the brightest object in that part of the sky when the Moon isn’t up. If you look just above it, you can pick out the stars Aries, one of the less impressive Zodiacal constellations. Below Jupiter is the head of Cetus, a much more impressive constellation. Jupiter is growing brighter and will peak at magnitude -2.9 when it reaches opposition on the night of October 28. In addition, it should be possible to see all four moons of Jupiter.
       Saturn is finally disappearing into the sunset after some months where it was the only visible planet in the early evenings. Saturn is at opposition on October 13, but will reappear just before sunrise in late October.
       Uranus is at opposition on September 25 and is magnitude 5.7 (although, to tell the truth, it’s so far away that its brightness doesn’t vary much). It is located in the constellation Pisces, about a third of the way from the neck end of the Circlet asterism and the head of Cetus the Whale. Neptune as usual is in the constellation Aquarius near the border with Capricorn. Neptune is in retrograde motion against the stars so once again is approaching the location where it was first discovered.  Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune are available in PDF format at http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Uranus-Neptune-2011.pdf.

Programming Notice: NASA TV on the Web

       Watch NASA TV (Public, Media and Education Channels) on your computer using Flash, Windows or QuickTime at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html.
       NASA TV Schedules are available at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/schedule.html

(I’ve converted all times to Central Daylight Time)
       September 13: 7:45 p.m.: ISS Expedition 28 In-Flight Event.
       September 14: 4:40 p.m. Change of command ceremony on-board the International Space Station between ISS Expedition 28 and Expedition 29. Andrey Borisenko hands over command to Mike Fossum.
       September 15: 4:00 p.m., ISS Expedition 28 farewells and hatch closure coverage. 7:15 p.m., Expedition 28 Undocking coverage. 9:30 p.m., Expedition 28 deorbit burn and landing coverage. [Landing is scheduled at 11:00 p.m. in Kazakhstan.]
       October 12: noon, Science News Briefing on the Launch of NASA’s Earth Observing Satellite.

Space News:

       The return of ISS Expedition 28 astronauts Andrey Borisenko, Ron Garan and Alexander Samokutayev from the International Space Station was not put in jeopardy by the rocket failure of a Soyuz rocket that was to carry the Progress 44 cargo craft to the Space Station. Those astronauts are being returned by a Soyuz capsule which is already attached to the International Space Shuttle, and the ability of the Soyuz capsule to return to Earth is not in question.
       However the Russian Space Agency definitely wants to analyze the rocket failure before they launch any more astronauts, especially since the rocket that blew up is similar to those used to launch astronauts. If this is not resolved quickly, the return of ISS Expedition 29 astronauts Mike Fossum, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa could be delayed. They are currently to return in November. It also delayed the launch of the other three Expedition astronauts, Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Don Burbank until the problem is resolved.
       The cause of the problem has been traced to a malfunction in the gas generator of the Soyuz’s third stage rocket engine.

       There is a supernova brightening in the Pinwheel galaxy. See “Sky Viewing” for more information.

       At this writing, NASA is preparing to launch the twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) probes to the Moon on September 8. There are two possible launch windows on that date, at 7:37 and 8:16 a.m. CDT. The GRAIL probes will be using a low-energy transfer path that takes them through the Earth-Moon L-1 point and will not be arriving at the Moon until New Year’s Eve. The probes will orbit the Moon at an altitude of only thirty-four miles. Because of the stringent requirements of the mission, the launch windows are only one second long! However there are other launch windows all the way through October 19.
       The reason for there being two probes on one mission is to measure changes in the distance between the two probes as they go round the Moon in the same orbit. This will allow us to map the gravity field of the Moon in great detail, helping us map the structure of the lunar crust and interior of the Moon, including placing limits on the size of its core. This is information that has been building up from various probes, including the Apollo missions. The twin-probe technique is similar to that of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) probes, which have been quietly mapping the Earth’s gravitational field since 2002.

Space-Related Articles

       “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” by George F. R. Ellis, Scientific American, August 2011, pp 38. – 43.
       “What Triggered the Big Bang?” by Bruce Dorminey, Astronomy, October 2011, pp. 24 – 29.

Calendar of Events
       
       September 8: Launch of GRAIL, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, to orbit the Moon. This is actually a dual probe mission. For more information, visit http://moon.mit.edu/index.html.
       September 10: Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 4401 W. Memorial Road in northern Oklahoma City.
       September 14: Command of International Space Station is taken over by Mike Fossum, beginning ISS Expedition 29.
       September 15: Scheduled return of Commander Andrey Borisenko, Ron Garan and Alexander Samokutayev from the International Space Station.
       September 25: Uranus is at opposition.
       September 28: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
       October 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
       October 13: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
       October 28: Jupiter is at opposition.
       November 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
       November 14: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 23.7° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
       November 17: Peak of Leonid meteor shower.
       November 25: The Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
       November 25: Partial solar eclipse viewable from all of Antarctica, and the Antarctic Ocean from Africa to Australia.
       December 4: Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
       December 10: Total eclipse of the Moon. This one is at its best in Russia, eastern Asia, Australia, Alaska and the Yukon, but the early part of the eclipse will be visible in the rest of North America.
       December 22: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 22° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
       Late 2011 or early 2012: Launch of the Phobos-Grunt sample return mission to the Martian moon Phobos. For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt. The orbiter will remain to study Mars while the soil sample will arrive on Earth in late 2012 or early in 2013.
       Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission, which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna-Glob.
       February 3, 2012: Launch of NuSTAR space probe from Kwajalein via a Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will search for black holes, supernova remnants and active galaxies. For more details, visit www.nustar.caltech.edu/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Spectroscopic_Telescope_Array.
       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.
       August 2012: The Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
       April 17, 2013: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
       December 30, 2013: Earliest launch date for India’s Chandrayaan II. This mission will include a lunar rover. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2.
       Sometime in 2014: The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
       April 14-15, 2014. Total eclipse of the Moon visible from North America.
       August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November 2014, it will release the Philae lander. Web page is www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta or visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28spacecraft%29
       Sometime in 2015 or 2016: Launch of SIM PlanetQuest (aka the Space Interferometry Mission). This mission was originally supposed to have been launched in 2005 and has been delayed at least five times. It was recently moved from 2012. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Interferometry_Mission.
       February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
       July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
       September 2015: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. [More likely this will launch in 2017 or 2018.]
       Sometime in 2016: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
       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.
       Summer of 2020 (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.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2011 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                     366-1797, (H) 227-3287 (C)
John Northcutt, Vice-President                                         390-3476 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor                321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                                            740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary/Update Editor
            329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
john.d.northcutt1 at tds.net (John Northcutt)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at 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
           
            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.
            Science Museum Oklahoma (former Omniplex) website is www.sciencemuseumok.org. Main number is 602-6664.
            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. Executive Director is Gary Barnhard nsshq@nss.org. The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024. The address is: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005 Web page is www.nss.org
            The Planetary Society phone 626-793-5100. The address is 65 North Catalina, Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91106-2301 and the website is www.planetary.org. E-mail is tps@planetary.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 $30 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $55, international $65.  Student memberships are $25.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005, 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?
            Yes           No.  [See brochure for information.]

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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.

Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2011 Oklahoma Space Alliance.