Diffs to sci.space/sci.astro Frequently Asked Questions

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Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/diff


All - FAQ FTP repository and associated files have moved from
explorer.arc.nasa.gov to ftp.cs.unc.edu, due to loss of access to
explorer. The files on explorer are now obsolete; please removed
references to them from documents you maintain.

FAQ.data - Jost Jahn is no longer distributing catalogs on floppy disk.

FAQ.new_probes - Updated with current information, including several
missions which have been launched since the last posting. Added ISAS Web

FAQ.controversy - New URL for survival-in-vacuum Web page at Johnson
Space Center.

FAQ.groups - Updated info on AMSAT, Artemis Society, BIS, NAR, NSS.

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/groups
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:25 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.



ISLAND ONE - Web pages addressing economic, political, and scientific
issues relating to space settlement, from a libertarian perspective.


MMSG - Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group (an NSS chapter focusing
on nanotechnology). Web page includes a description, the current
issue of the MMSG newsletter, and membership info.


SPACE ACTIVISTS WEB PAGE - covers space-related political information
such as space station and SSTO funding issues, political contacts,
and mailing lists on specific issues. Contact John Lewis



AAS(1) - American Astronautical Society. Professional association,
founded in 1954. They say: "The AAS remains the only national
professional society exclusively devoted to astronautics. Through
our publications, meetings and symposia, such as this year's Annual
Meeting, the AAS provides for a continuing exchange of information
among those whose careers and interest are concerned with
astronautics." They publish a series of technical books, _Advances
in the Astronautical Sciences_.

New member fee (1994) $40.

American Astronautical Society
6352 Rolling Mill Place
Suite 102
Springfield, VA 2215
phone 703-866-0020
FAX 703-866-3526
(information from AAS brochure Nov. 1994)

AAS(2) - American Astronomical Society. The major professional
organization in North America for astronomers and other scientists
and individuals interested in astronomy.

American Astronomical Society
2000 Florida Avenue, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202)328-2010; FAX(202)234-2560; Membership FAX(202)588-1351
email: a...@aas.org


AIA - Aerospace Industry Association. Professional group, with primary
membership of major aerospace firms. Headquartered in the DC area.
Acts as the "voice of the aerospace industry" -- and it's opinions
are usually backed up by reams of analyses and the reputations of
the firms in AIA.

1250 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

AIAA - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Professional association, with somewhere about 30,000-40,000
members. 65 local chapters around the country -- largest chapters
are DC area (3000 members), LA (2100 members), San Francisco (2000
members), Seattle/NW (1500), Houston (1200) and Orange County
(1200), plus student chapters. Not a union, but acts to represent
aviation and space professionals (engineers, managers, financial
types) nationwide. Holds over 30 conferences a year on space and
aviation topics publishes technical Journals (Aerospace Journal,
Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, etc.), technical reference books
and is _THE_ source on current aerospace state of the art through
their published papers and proceedings. Also offers continuing
education classes on aerospace design. Has over 60 technical
committees, and over 30 committees for industry standards. AIAA acts
as a professional society -- offers a centralized resume/jobs
function, provides classes on job search, offers low-cost health and
life insurance, and lobbies for appropriate legislation (AIAA was
one of the major organizations pushing for IRAs - Individual
Retirement Accounts). Very active public policy arm -- works
directly with the media, congress and government agencies as a
legislative liaison and clearinghouse for inquiries about aerospace
technology technical issues. Reasonably non-partisan, in that they
represent the industry as a whole, and not a single company,
organization, or viewpoint.

Membership $70/yr (student memberships are less).

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
The Aerospace Center
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
Washington, DC 20077-0820

AMSAT - develops small satellites (since the 1960s) for a variety of
uses by amateur radio enthusiasts. Several publications, supplies
satellite tracking software, runs mailing lists, many other

Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT-NA)
850 Sligo Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Lots of related amateur radio information is at


ARTEMIS SOCIETY - Supports "The Artemis Project," a multi-industry
program to establish a commercial lunar base, lead by The Lunar
Resources Company. Publishes _Pleiades_, a monthly newsletter.
_Artemis_ magazine, a bimonthly glossy commercial magazine, will
begin publication by early 1996. Web page has a description of the
project, FAQ, and illustrations of the spacecraft.

The FAQ is also available by email to artem...@LunaCity.com. The
Artemis Project maintains a list server discussion - email to
ser...@LunaCity.com with the body of the message containing the
command "join artemis-list" (without the quotes) - and a large
discussion area on the GEnie network.

Membership $25/year (checks payable to "Lunar Resources")

The Lunar Resources Company
PO Box 590213
Houston, TX 77259-0213
email: art...@LunaCity.com


ASPIRESPACE - British non-profit group working on hardware projects
including suborbital launchers and waveriders. Publishes

Membership 25 pounds sterling/year for UK and EC countries.

c/o 16 Ashby Court
Whitley Wood Lane
Reading, Berkshire RG2 8PG

email: aspir...@gbnet.net

ASRI (Australian Space Research Institute Ltd, formerly ASERA). An
Australian non-profit organisation to coordinate, promote, and
conduct space R&D projects in Australia, involving both Australian
and international (primarily university) collaborators. Activities
include the development of sounding rockets, small satellites
(especially microsatellites), high-altitude research balloons, and
appropriate payloads. Provides student projects at all levels, and
is open to any person or organisation interested in participating.
Publishes a monthly newsletter and a quarterly technical journal.

Membership $A100 (dual subscription)
Subscriptions $A25 (newsletter only) $A50 (journal only)

PO Box 184
Ryde, NSW, Australia, 2112
email: lin...@syd.dit.csiro.au

BIS - British Interplanetary Society. One of the oldest (1933) pro-space
groups, BIS publishes two excellent journals: _Spaceflight_,
covering current space activities, and the _Journal of the BIS_,
containing technical papers on space activities from historical
rocketry to near-term space probes to interstellar missions. BIS has
published a design study in 1978 for an interstellar probe called

Membership 38 pounds/year (US $69), 26 pounds (US $47) for ages 22
and younger or 65 and older. Membership includes a subscription to
either _Spaceflight_ or _JBIS_ (choose one). You may subscribe to
both publications by adding 33 pounds ($60) to your dues.

British Interplanetary Society
27/29 South Lambeth Road
Vauxhall, London SW8 1SZ
email: b...@cix.compulink.co.uk

CSS - A federally-incorporated non-profit Canadian corporation. Inspired
by the old L5 Society, its principal objective is to sponsor and
promote the involvement of Canadians in the development of Space.
This is intended to allow the group to grow in cooperation, rather
than in competition, with other space development organizations
(such as the National Space Society, the Space Studies Institute,
and the British Interplanetary Society), while meeting a real need
for an effective Canadian space-development advocacy group.

CSS holds monthly lecture meetings on space topics at an active
chapter in Toronto; an Ottawa chapter has been active in the past,
and Montreal and Vancouver chapters are being worked on. CSS
publishes a newsletter, ``The Canadian Space Gazette'' and has run
several space conferences, the largest being the upcoming 1994
International Space Development Conference (together with the NSS).
CSS also has participated in several space design projects, most
notably the development of a preliminary design of a solar sail
racing spacecraft under the ``Columbus 500'' initiative. Annual dues
are $25/year ($15/year for full-time students, $100/year for
corporate members).

Canadian Space Society
43 Moregate Crescent
Bramalea, Ontario
Answering Machine: (416)-626-0505
CSS BBS: (905)-458-5907 (8N1, up to 2400 buad)

ERPS - Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society. Non-profit liquid fuel
rocket engine design and test team in the San Francisco Bay Area;
current projects include a monopropellant rocket to launch a payload
to 100 km, a small two-man suborbital vehicle, a 20 lb to LEO SSTO
demonstrator, a rocket-pack, and a rocket assist module for high
performance gliders.

email: mwa...@LunaCity.com

EUROAVIA - Non-profit European aerospace student association with
local student groups. Activities include seminars and symposia,
publications, international visits, and a design workshop.

email: EAMU...@lrt.mw.tu-muenchen.d400.de (Munich Local Group)

ISECCo - International Space Exploration & Colonization Co. Non-profit
research and developement organization building, first project is a
Closed Ecological Life Support System (CELSS). Annual newsletter
$10/5 years, or write for a complimentary copy.

P.O. Box 60885
Fairbanks, AK 99706
email: fs...@aurora.alaska.edu

ISU - International Space University. ISU is a non-profit international
graduate-level educational institution dedicated to promoting the
peaceful exploration and development of space through multi-cultural
and multi-disciplinary space education and research. For further
information on ISU's summer session program or Permanent Campus

International Space University
955 Massachusetts Avenue 7th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617)-354-1987 (phone)
(617)-354-7666 (fax)
email: infor...@isu.isunet.edu

L-5 Society (defunct). Founded by Keith and Carolyn Henson in 1975 to
advocate space colonization. Its major success was in preventing US
participation in the UN "Moon Treaty" in the late 1970s. Merged with
the National Space Institute in 1987, forming the National Space

NAR - National Association of Rocketry. The largest sport rocket
organization in the USA, the NAR promotes all aspects of flying
model and high power sport rockets. Sponsors clubs, local and
regional launches. Conducts two national events per year: a National
Sport Launch (NSL) in the spring, and the National Championships
(NARAM) in late July/early August. Provides liability insurance
coverage for members' flying activities. Publishes "Sport Rocketry"
magazine, bimonthly containing plans, event schedules, Assocition
news, "how to" and technical articles. Technical Services Committee
(NARTS) sells technical reports, plans and commerative materials.

Membership $20/year (to age 20), $35 (21 & older).

National Association of Rocketry
P. O. Box 177
Altoona, WI 54720

NSC - National Space Club. Open for general membership, but not well
known at all. Primarily comprised of professionals in aerospace
industry. Acts as information conduit and social gathering group.
Active in DC, with a chapter in LA. Monthly meetings with invited
speakers who are "heavy hitters" in the field. Annual "Outlook on
Space" conference is _the_ definitive source of data on government
annual planning for space programs. Cheap membership (approx

[address needed]

NSS - the National Space Society. NSS is a pro-space group distinguished
by its network of local chapters. Supports a general agenda of space
development and man-in-space, including the NASA space station.
Publishes _Ad Astra_, a bimonthly glossy magazine, and runs Shuttle
launch tours and Space Hotline telephone services. A major sponsor
of the annual space development conference. Associated with
Spacecause and Spacepac, political lobbying organizations.

Membership $20 (youth/senior) $35 (regular).

National Space Society
Membership Department
922 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003-2140
email: ns...@nss.org

Planetary Society - founded by Carl Sagan. The largest space advocacy
group. Publishes _Planetary Report_, a bimonthly glossy, and has
supported SETI hardware development financially. Agenda is primarily
support of space science, recently amended to include an
international manned mission to Mars.

Membership $35/year (ask about the unadvertised student rate).

The Planetary Society
65 North Catalina Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
email: t...@genie.geis.com

SAS - Space Access Society. Dedicated to promoting affordable, reliable
access to space. Currently concentrating on supporting the DC-X SSRT
project; expects to change focus to SSTO-suitable engines, and
possibly other government X-rocket projects in parallel with and
complementary to the existing SSRT path.

Membership $30/year, $1000/lifetime; includes email updates. $50 for
email plus mailed hardcopy ($25 extra outside the US).

Space Access Society
4855 E Warner Rd #24-150
Phoenix, AZ 85044
(602)-431-9283 voice/fax
email: hvand...@bix.com

SSI - the Space Studies Institute, founded by Dr. Gerard O'Neill.
Physicist Freeman Dyson took over the Presidency of SSI after
O'Neill's death in 1992. Publishes _SSI Update_, a bimonthly
newsletter describing work-in-progress. Conducts a research program
including mass-drivers, lunar mining processes and simulants,
composites from lunar materials, solar power satellites. Runs the
biennial Princeton Conference on Space Manufacturing.

Membership $25/year. Senior Associates ($100/year and up) fund most
SSI research.

Space Studies Institute
PO Box 82
Princeton, NJ 08540
email: s...@ssi.org

SEDS - Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Founded in
1980 at MIT and Princeton. SEDS is a chapter-based pro-space
organization at high schools and universities around the world.
Entirely student run. Each chapter is independent and coordinates
its own local activities. Nationally, SEDS runs a scholarship
competition, design contests, and holds an annual international
conference and meeting in late summer.

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
MIT Room W20-445
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
email: ody...@athena.mit.edu

Dues determined by local chapter.

SPACECAUSE - A political lobbying organization and part of the NSS
Family of Organizations. Publishes a bi-monthly newsletter,
Spacecause News. Annual dues is $25. Members also receive a discount
on _The Space Activist's Handbook_. Activities to support pro-space
legislation include meeting with political leaders and interacting
with legislative staff. Spacecause primarily operates in the
legislative process.

National Office West Coast Office
Spacecause Spacecause
922 Pennsylvania Ave. SE 3435 Ocean Park Blvd.
Washington, DC 20003 Suite 201-S
(202)-543-1900 Santa Monica, CA 90405

SPACEPAC - A political action committee and part of the NSS Family of
Organizations. Spacepac researches issues, policies, and candidates.
Each year, updates _The Space Activist's Handbook_. Current Handbook
price is $25. While Spacepac does not have a membership, it does
have regional contacts to coordinate local activity. Spacepac
primarily operates in the election process, contributing money and
volunteers to pro-space candidates.

922 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20003

TRIPOLI ROCKETRY ASSOCIATION - sponsors the use of high-power sports
rockets starting where the NAR leaves off and going up. Membership
includes a subscription to _High Power Rocketry_.

Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 339
Kenner, LA 70063-0339

UK-SEDS - United Kingdom SEDS affiliate (see above). Projects include
sounding rockets, microsatellites, and a microlight solar sail.
Publishes _Aurora_.

Membership 12 pounds/year.

c/o The SET
The Royal Aeronautical Society
4 Hamilton Place
London W1V OBQ

UNITED STATES SPACE FOUNDATION - a public, non-profit organization
supported by member donations and dedicated to promoting
international education, understanding and support of space. The
group hosts an annual conference for teachers and others interested
in education. Other projects include developing lesson plans that
use space to teach other basic skills such as reading. Publishes
"Spacewatch," a monthly B&W glossy magazine of USSF events and
general space news. Annual dues:

Charter $50 ($100 first year)
Individual $35
Teacher $29
College student $20
HS/Jr. High $10
Elementary $5
Founder & $1000+
Life Member

United States Space Foundation
PO Box 1838
Colorado Springs, CO 80901

WORLD SPACE FOUNDATION - has been designing and building a solar-sail
spacecraft for longer than any similar group; many JPL employees
lend their talents to this project. WSF also provides partial
funding for the Palomar Sky Survey, an extremely successful search
for near-Earth asteroids. Publishes *Foundation News* and
*Foundation Astronautics Notebook*, each a quarterly 4-8 page
newsletter. Contributing Associate, minimum of $15/year (but more
money always welcome to support projects).

World Space Foundation
Post Office Box Y
South Pasadena, California 91030-1000


Ad Astra - bimonthly glossy magazine published by the National Space
Society; broad range of articles and columns on space technology,
politics, science, law, etc. See membership info for NSS in "GROUPS"
section above.

Aerospace Daily (McGraw-Hill)
Very good coverage of aerospace and space issues. Approx. $1400/yr.

Air & Space / Smithsonian (bimonthly magazine) - A glossy magazine,
generally light reading; the emphasis is much more on aviation than
on space. Contains information about all events at the National Air
& Space Museum.

Box 53261
Boulder, CO 80332-3261
$18/year US, $24/year international

Aviation Week & Space Technology - weekly aerospace trade, emphasis on
aeronautics but usually has several space-related articles. Rates
depend on whether you're "qualified" or not, which basically means
whether you look at the ads for cruise missiles out of curiosity, or
out of genuine commercial or military interest. Best write for a
"qualification card" and try to get the cheap rate.

1221 Ave. of the Americas,
New York NY 10020
(800)-525-5003 (US only, international (609)426-7070)
$82/year US (qualified)
$58/year if you qualify for the unadvertised student subscription
rate - I (Jon Leech) got this rate by begging and pleading to a
McGraw-Hill representative at the SIGGRAPH '92 conference.

ESA (various) - The European Space Agency publishes a variety of
periodicals, generally available free of charge, including the
quarterly ESA Bulletin, with status reports on major projects,
feature articles, and lists of technical papers and publications. A
document with details is in


Final Frontier (mass-market bimonthly magazine) - history, book reviews,
general-interest articles (e.g. "The 7 Wonders of the Solar System",
"Everything you always wanted to know about military space
programs", etc.)

Final Frontier Publishing Co.
PO Box 534
Mt. Morris, IL 61054-7852
$14.95/year US, $19.95 Canada, $23.95 elsewhere

Journal of the Astronautical Sciences and Space Times - publications of
the American Astronautical Society. No details.

AAS Business Office
6352 Rolling Mill Place, Suite #102
Springfield, VA 22152

Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Spaceflight -
publications of the BIS; see their entry under "GROUPS".

Journal of Practical Applications in Space - published by High Frontier
Inc, and the Space Transportation Assn. Has addressed such issues as
solar power satellites, technology and national security, cleaning
low Earth orbit, ballistic missile defenses, space tourism and space
propulsion. The journal was the first to publish hard numbers on the
single-stage-to-orbit concept.

Authors have included: Mr. G. Harry Stine, Dr. Robert Forward, Mr
Steve Hoeser, Dr. Klaus Heiss, Dr. Philip Harris, Dr. Buzz Aldrin,
Dr. Peter Glaser, Jerry Pournelle.

The journal is a forum for those who use space technology "to
provide for the common defense and promote general welfare" of our
country, the Free World, and eventually all mankind.

Journal of Practical Applications in Space,
2800 Shirlington Road - Suite 405A
Arlington, VA 22206
(703)-931-6432 (fax)
$30/year (4 issues) personal, $200/year institutions.
Foreign add $10/year for airmail.

GPS World (semi-monthly) - reports on current and new uses of GPS, news
and analysis of the system and policies affecting it, and technical
and product issues shaping GPS applications.

GPS World
859 Willamette St.
P.O. Box 10460
Eugene, OR 97440-2460

$59/year US.

Innovation (Space Technology) -- Free (request by email to
innov...@hq.nasa.gov). Published by the NASA Office of Space
Access and Technology. A revised version of the NASA Office of
Commercial Programs newsletter.

Planetary Encounter - in-depth technical coverage of planetary missions,
with diagrams, lists of experiments, interviews with people directly
World Spaceflight News - in-depth technical coverage of near-Earth
spaceflight. Mostly covers the shuttle: payload manifests, activity
schedules, and post-mission assessment reports for every mission.

Henry Spencer comments: WSN and PE have recently (mid-92) mutated
into much more expensive weekly newsletters, filled mostly with
stuff that's already available to most sci.space readers in
sci.space.news. There is still interesting content at times, but the
signal/noise and benefit/cost ratios have deteriorated pretty badly.
I can no longer recommend them.

Box 98
Sewell, NJ 08080
$30/year US/Canada
$45/year elsewhere

Quest - Described by Thomas J. Frieling
(tfri...@catfish.bbc.PeachNet.EDU) as "a worthwhile attempt at a
space history magazine for informed readers (not mass market a la
Final Frontier) Write to Glen Swanson for a press kit and sample

Glen Swanson
PO Box 9331
Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0331

Russian Space News (biweekly newsletter) - English translation of the
Russian publication. Daily Mir reports, coverage of launches from
Baikonur & Plesetsk, news from the Cosmonaut training center,
coverage of civilian & military unmanned spacecraft. Free sample
copies on request.

Tranquest Corporation
PO Box 30208
Cleveland, OH 44130
(800)-929-8953 (US only, international (216)-962-3400)
(216)-888-3992 (fax)
email: cha...@tranquest.com

$75/year US/Canada/Mexico (individual), $90 elsewhere
$175/year (institutional, everywhere)

SETIQuest (quarterly magazine/email) - News, technical information, and
tutorials devoted to bioastronomy and its subset, SETI (Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Free sample issue on request to:

SETIQuest Inquiries, Department EX
Helmers Publishing
174 Concord Street
Peterborough, NH 03458-0874
(603)-924-7408 (fax)
email: SQI...@pixelacres.mv.com

Space (bi-monthly magazine)
British aerospace trade journal. Very good. $75/year.

Space Calendar (weekly newsletter, available by fax only)
Parker Publications Ltd.
42 Keephatch Road
Berks RG11 1QD

Space Daily/Space Fax Daily (newsletter)
Short (1 paragraph) news notes. Available online for a fee

Space Technology Investor/Commercial Space News -- irregular Internet
column on aspects of commercial space business. Free. Also limited
fax and paper edition.

P.O. Box 2452
Seal Beach, CA 90740-1452.

Space News (weekly magazine) - covers US civil and military space
programs. Said to have good political and business but spotty
technical coverage.

Space News
6883 Commercial Drive
Springfield VA 22159-0500
$89/year US, $130 Canada, $155 elsewhere. May have a student
discount and discounts for NSS/SSI members.

Space Power: Resources, Manufacturing & Development - technical journal
focusing on Solar Power Satellites.

Council for Economic and Social Studies
1133 13th NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 371-2700 Voice (x1523 Fax)

All the following are published by:

Phillips Business Information, Inc.
7811 Montrose Road
Potomac, MD 20854

Aerospace Financial News - $595/year.
Defense Daily - Very good coverage of space and defense issues.
Space Business News (bi-weekly) - Very good overview of space
business activities. Recently merged with Space Exploration
Technology and Space Station News. $595/year.

NEXT: FAQ #12/13 - How to become an astronaut

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/astronaut
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:22 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


There is a mailing list for those interested in sharing information on
the astronaut-selection process. If you would like to join, send mail to
astronaut-cand...@sauron.msfc.nasa.gov (contact
si...@sauron.msfc.nasa.gov (Herb Sims)).

First the short form, authored by Henry Spencer, then an official NASA

Q. How do I become an astronaut?

A. We will assume you mean a NASA astronaut, since it's probably
impossible for a non-Russian to get into the cosmonaut corps (paying
passengers are not professional cosmonauts), and the other nations have
so few astronauts (and fly even fewer) that you're better off hoping to
win a lottery. Becoming a shuttle pilot requires lots of fast-jet
experience, which means a military flying career; forget that unless you
want to do it anyway. So you want to become a shuttle "mission

If you aren't a US citizen, become one; that is a must. After that,
the crucial thing to remember is that the demand for such jobs vastly
exceeds the supply. NASA's problem is not finding qualified people,
but thinning the lineup down to manageable length. It is not enough
to be qualified; you must avoid being *dis*qualified for any reason,
many of them in principle quite irrelevant to the job.

Get a Ph.D. Specialize in something that involves getting your hands
dirty with equipment, not just paper and pencil. Forget computer
programming entirely; it will be done from the ground for the fore-
seeable future. Degree(s) in one field plus work experience in
another seems to be a frequent winner.

Be in good physical condition, with good eyesight. (DO NOT get a
radial keratomy or similar hack to improve your vision; nobody knows
what sudden pressure changes would do to RKed eyes, and long-term
effects are poorly understood. For that matter, avoid any other
significant medical unknowns.) If you can pass a jet-pilot physical,
you should be okay; if you can't, your chances are poor.

Practise public speaking, and be conservative and conformist in
appearance and actions; you've got a tough selling job ahead, trying
to convince a cautious, conservative selection committee that you
are better than hundreds of other applicants. (And, also, that you
will be a credit to NASA after you are hired: public relations is
a significant part of the job, and NASA's image is very prim and
proper.) The image you want is squeaky-clean workaholic yuppie.
Remember also that you will need a security clearance at some point,
and Security considers everybody guilty until proven innocent.
Keep your nose clean.

Get a pilot's license and make flying your number one hobby;
experienced pilots are known to be favored even for non-pilot jobs.

Work for NASA; of 45 astronauts selected between 1984 and 1988,
43 were military or NASA employees, and the remaining two were
a NASA consultant and Mae Jemison (the first black female astronaut).
If you apply from outside NASA and miss, but they offer you a job
at NASA, ***TAKE IT***; sometimes in the past this has meant "you
do look interesting but we want to know you a bit better first".

Think space: they want highly motivated people, so lose no chance
to demonstrate motivation.

Keep trying. Many astronauts didn't make it the first time.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas

Announcement for Mission Specialist and Pilot Astronaut Candidates

Astronaut Candidate Program

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a need for
Pilot Astronaut Candidates and Mission Specialist Astronaut Candidates
to support the Space Shuttle Program. NASA is now accepting on a
continuous basis and plans to select astronaut candidates as needed.

Persons from both the civilian sector and the military services will be

All positions are located at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in
Houston, Texas, and will involved a 1-year training and evaluation

Space Shuttle Program Description

The numerous successful flights of the Space Shuttle have demonstrated
that operation and experimental investigations in space are becoming
routine. The Space Shuttle Orbiter is launched into, and maneuvers in
the Earth orbit performing missions lastling up to 30 days. It then
returns to earth and is ready for another flight with payloads and
flight crew.

The Orbiter performs a variety of orbital missions including deployment
and retrieval of satellites, service of existing satellites, operation
of specialized laboratories (astronomy, earth sciences, materials
processing, manufacturing), and other operations. These missions will
eventually include the development and servicing of a permanent space
station. The Orbiter also provides a staging capability for using higher
orbits than can be achieved by the Orbiter itself. Users of the Space
Shuttle's capabilities are both domestic and foreign and include
government agencies and private industries.

The crew normally consists of five people - the commander, the pilot,
and three mission specialists. On occasion additional crew members are
assigned. The commander, pilot, and mission specialists are NASA

Pilot Astronaut

Pilot astronauts server as both Space Shuttle commanders and pilots.
During flight the commander has onboard responsibility for the vehicle,
crew, mission success and safety in flight. The pilot assists the
commander in controlling and operating the vehicle. In addition, the
pilot may assist in the deployment and retrieval of satellites utilizing
the remote manipulator system, in extra-vehicular activities, and other
payload operations.

Mission Specialist Astronaut

Mission specialist astronauts, working with the commander and pilot,
have overall responsibility for the coordination of Shuttle operations
in the areas of crew activity planning, consumables usage, and
experiment and payload operations. Mission specialists are required to
have a detailed knowledge of Shuttle systems, as well as detailed
knowledge of the operational characteristics, mission requirements and
objectives, and supporting systems and equipment for each of the
experiments to be conducted on their assigned missions. Mission
specialists will perform extra-vehicular activities, payload handling
using the remote manipulator system, and perform or assist in specific
experimental operations.

Astronaut Candidate Program

Basic Qualification Requirements

Applicants MUST meet the following minimum requirements prior to
submitting an application.

Mission Specialist Astronaut Candidate:

1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering,
biological science, physical science or mathematics. Degree must be
followed by at least three years of related progressively responsible,
professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be
substituted for part or all of the experience requirement (master's
degree = 1 year, doctoral degree = 3 years). Quality of academic
preparation is important.

2. Ability to pass a NASA class II space physical, which is similar to a
civilian or military class II flight physical and includes the following
specific standards:

Distant visual acuity:
20/150 or better uncorrected,
correctable to 20/20, each eye.

Blood pressure:
140/90 measured in sitting position.

3. Height between 58.5 and 76 inches.

Pilot Astronaut Candidate:

1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering,
biological science, physical science or mathematics. Degree must be
followed by at least three years of related progressively responsible,
professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of
academic preparation is important.

2. At least 1000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight
test experience highly desirable.

3. Ability to pass a NASA Class I space physical which is similar to a
military or civilian Class I flight physical and includes the following
specific standards:

Distant visual acuity:
20/50 or better uncorrected
correctable to 20/20, each eye.

Blood pressure:
140/90 measured in sitting position.

4. Height between 64 and 76 inches.

Citizenship Requirements

Applications for the Astronaut Candidate Program must be citizens of
the United States.

Note on Academic Requirements

Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic
education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions --
specifically: successful completion of standard professional curriculum
in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor's
degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering,
biological science, physical science, or mathematics.

The following degree fields, while related to engineering and the
sciences, are not considered qualifying:
- Degrees in technology (Engineering Technology, Aviation Technology,
Medical Technology, etc.)
- Degrees in Psychology (except for Clinical Psychology, Physiological
Psychology, or Experimental Psychology which are qualifying).
- Degrees in Nursing.
- Degrees in social sciences (Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology, etc.)
- Degrees in Aviation, Aviation Management or similar fields.

Application Procedures


The application package may be obtained by writing to:

NASA Johnson Space Center
Astronaut Selection Office
Houston, TX 77058

Civilian applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. When NASA
decides to select additional astronaut candidates, consideration will be
given only to those applications on hand on the date of decision is
made. Applications received after that date will be retained and
considered for the next selection. Applicants will be notified annually
of the opportunity to update their applications and to indicate
continued interest in being considered for the program. Those applicants
who do not update their applications annually will be dropped from
consideration, and their applications will not be retained. After the
preliminary screening of applications, additional information may be
requested for some applicants, and person listed on the application as
supervisors and references may be contacted.

Active Duty Military

Active duty military personnel must submit applications to their
respective military service and not directly to NASA. Application
procedures will be disseminated by each service.


Personal interviews and thorough medical evaluations will be required
for both civilian and military applicants under final consideration.
Once final selections have been made, all applicants who were considered
will be notified of the outcome of the process.

Selection rosters established through this process may be used for the
selection of additional candidates during a one year period following
their establishment.

General Program Requirements

Selected applicants will be designated Astronaut Candidates and will be
assigned to the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston,
Texas. The astronaut candidates will undergo a 1 year training and
evaluation period during which time they will be assigned technical or
scientific responsibilities allowing them to contribute substantially to
ongoing programs. They will also participate in the basic astronaut
training program which is designed to develop the knowledge and skills
required for formal mission training upon selection for a flight. Pilot
astronaut candidates will maintain proficiency in NASA aircraft during
their candidate period.

Applicants should be aware that selection as an astronaut candidate does
not insure selection as an astronaut. Final selection as an astronaut
will depend on satisfactory completion of the 1 year training and
evaluation period. Civilian candidates who successfully complete the
training and evaluation and are selected as astronauts will become
permanent Federal employees and will be expected to remain with NASA for
a period of at least five years. Civilian candidates who are not
selected as astronauts may be placed in other positions within NASA
depending upon Agency requirements and manpower constraints at that
time. Successful military candidates will be detailed to NASA for a
specified tour of duty.

NASA has an affirmative action program goal of having qualified
minorities and women among those qualified as astronaut candidates.
Therefore, qualified minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Pay and Benefits


Salaries for civilian astronaut candidates are based on the Federal
Governments General Schedule pay scales for grades GS-11 through GS-14,
and are set in accordance with each individuals academic achievements
and experience.

Other benefits include vacation and sick leave, a retirement plan, and
participation in group health and life insurance plans.


Selected military personnel will be detailed to the Johnson Space Center
but will remain in an active duty status for pay, benefits, leave, and
other similar military matters.

NEXT: FAQ #13/13 - Orbital and Planetary Launch Services

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/data
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:23 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.



A wide variety of images, data, catalogs, information releases, and
other material dealing with space and astronomy may be found on the net.
The sources with the broadest selection of material are the NASA Ames
SPACE archive and the National Space Science Data Center (described

A few sites offer direct dialup access or remote login access, while
others offer file transfer over the Internet (referred to as 'anonymous
FTP'). Sites not connected to the Internet cannot use FTP directly, but
there are a few automated FTP servers which operate via email. Send mail
containing only the word HELP to ftp...@decwrl.dec.com,
bit...@pucc.princeton.edu, or ftp...@doc.ic.ac.uk, and the servers will
send you instructions on how to make requests.

Shorthand for a specific file or directory at an anonymous FTP site is


(e.g. ftp://explorer.arc.nasa.gov/pub/SPACE/Index). The format has been
changed to valid URLs for users of the World Wide Web. If you are using
a normal FTP client, you will connect to the sitename part of the URL
(explorer.arc.nasa.gov, in this case) and get the file specified by the
pathname (/pub/SPACE/Index). If a '/' terminates the URL, it indicates a
directory containing multiple files.


WWW is a global hypermedia network carried on the Internet and
incorporating popular protocols including FTP, WAIS, gopher, archie,
NNTP (netnews), etc. The Web is growing at an explosive pace, and huge
amounts of space-related information are already online. The FAQ no
contains many URLs (Universal Resource Locators) specifying files
available by FTP (discussed above), sites accessible by telnet (URLs of
the form telnet://sitename), and Web hypertext documents

If you are not familiar with the Web, you should probably begin by
obtaining a Web browser (typically NCSA Mosaic for X, Mac, and PC) and
exploring. The newsgroup 'comp.infosystems.www.announce' is also

The NASA Web home page is at


Other space-related material may be found on the Web starting with the
overview page at


There is also a pointer in the "information by subject" page under
"Space Science."


Don't ask for images to be posted to the space/astro newsgroups. They're
clumsy to access, wasteful of net resources, and inappropriate in
discussion groups. Retrieve images on your own using FTP or Web clients.

The possible combinations of image formats and machines is forebodingly
large, and I won't attempt to cover common formats (GIF, etc.) here. To
read PDS and VICAR (and many other) formats on Unix systems running X,
use XV 3.00, available in


The FAQ for the Usenet group alt.binaries.pictures discusses image
formats and how to get image viewing software. A copy of this document
is available from the Usenet FAQ archives in




CASS offers online searching of planetary science databases, including
bibliographies, images, meeting abstracts, and other categories.
Internet users can access CASS via

telnet://cass.jsc.nasa.gov (login "cass", password "online")

This system is primarily for professionals in planetary science. Note
that CASS includes and replaces the online service formerly offered by
the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Contact le...@lpi.jsc.nasa.gov.


DMSP is a two satellite constellation of near-polar orbiting, sun
synchronous satellites monitoring meteorological, oceanographic and
solar-terrestrial physics environments. DMSP sample data and information
may be accessed on-line via:


Contact Greg Deuel (dm...@mail.ngdc.noaa.gov).


Caltech's IPAC provides access to an easy-to-use interface for making
queries of many astronomical catalogs, especially those from the
Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) mission. You can also query the
Bright Star catalog, SAO star catalog, a number of extragalactic
(galaxy/quasar) catalogs, etc. Results can be saved to flat ASCII tables
or FITS files and copied to your computer via FTP. Using the interface
requires a machine running X Windows. You can get to IPAC via


Log in as "xcatscan" (no password needed).

Contact Joe Mazzarella (ma...@ipac.caltech.edu).


Extensive archives are maintained at NASA Ames and are available via
anonymous FTP or an email server. These archives include many images and
a wide variety of documents including this FAQ list, NASA press
releases, shuttle launch advisories, and mission status reports. Please
note that these are NOT maintained on an official basis.

A listing of files available in the archive is in


Magellan, Voyager, and Viking CD-ROMs are online in


Tens of thousands of images are available.

The GIF directory contains images in GIF format. The VICAR directory
contains Magellan images in VICAR format (these are also available in
the GIF directory). A PC program capable of displaying these files is
found in the IMDISP directory (see the item "VIEWING IMAGES" below).

The NASA media guide describes the various NASA centers and how to
contact their public affairs officers; this may be useful when pursuing
specific information. It's in


Contact Eugene Miya (eug...@nas.nasa.gov).


The ADS is a distributed data retrieval system which is easy to use and
provides uniform access to ground-based and space-based astronomy data
from NASA data centers across the country. It currently has over 140
data catalogs of radio, infrared, optical, UV, and X-ray data which can
be queried by position or any other parameter in the catalog. The ADS
also provides tools to manipulate and plot tabular results. In addition,
ADS has a Beta version of an Abstracts Service which allows users to
query over 125,000 abstracts of astronomy papers since 1975 by authors,
keywords, title words, or abstract text words.

ADS use requires direct Internet access. For more info and to sign up to
become a user, email a...@cuads.coloradu.edu. The User's Guide and
"QuickStart" Guide (PostScript files) are in


Contact Carolyn Stern Grant (st...@cfa.harvard.edu).


A WAIS database describing servers of interest to the space community is
described by the source file:

:version 3
:ip-name "ndadsb.gsfc.nasa.gov"
:tcp-port 210
:database-name "NASA-directory-of-servers"
:cost 0.00
:cost-unit :free
:maintainer "stela...@Hypatia.gsfc.nasa.gov"
:description "Server created with WAIS release 8 b5.1 on May 5 14:05:34 1993 by warnock@Hypatia

Maintainers of WAIS databases of interest to the NASA community can
register their databases with the NASA-directory-of-servers by sending
the source file to stela...@hypatia.gsfc.nasa.gov. Contact Archie
Warnock (war...@hypatia.gsfc.nasa.gov).



Operated by the JPL Public Information Office, containing news releases,
status reports, fact sheets, images, and other data on JPL missions. May
also be reached by modem at (818)-354-1333 (no parity, 8 data bits, 1
stop bit).

Contact news...@jpl.nasa.gov or phone (818)-354-5011.


JSC's digital image collection, containing thousands of images and
descriptions covering the manned space program from Mercury to the


Contact Kevin Marsh (kma...@ja6.jsc.nasa.gov).



offers technical reports. Start with files README and abstracts.92. Most
files are compressed PostScript. The reports are also in a WAIS database
with the following description:

:version 3
:ip-name "techreports.larc.nasa.gov"
:tcp-port 210
:database-name "nasa-larc-abs"
:cost 0.00
:cost-unit :free
:maintainer "M.L.N...@LaRC.NASA.GOV"
:description "NASA Langley Research Center Technical Reports

Contact tr-a...@techreports.larc.nasa.gov.


SpaceLink is an online service located at Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Alabama. The system is specifically designed for
teachers. The data base is arranged to provide easy access to current
and historical information on NASA aeronautics, space research, and
technology transfer information. Also included are suggested classroom
activities that incorporate information on NASA projects to teach a
number of scientific principles. Unlike bulletin board systems, NASA
Spacelink does not provide for interaction between callers. However it
does allow teachers and other callers to leave questions and comments
for NASA which may be answered by regular mail. Messages are answered
electronically, even to acknowledge requests which will be fulfilled by
mail. Messages are generally handled the next working day except during
missions when turnaround times increase. The mail system is closed-loop
between the user and NASA.

SpaceLink also offers downloadable shareware and public domain programs
useful for science educators as well as space graphics and GIF images
from NASA's planetary probes and the Hubble Telescope.

You can access SpaceLink at


Or you can dial in at (205)-895-0028 (300/1200/2400/9600(V.32) baud, 8
bits, no parity, 1 stop bit).


The National Space Science Data Center is the official clearinghouse for
NASA data. The data catalog is available online:

telnet://nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov (login as "NODIS")

Datasets are made available via anonymous FTP once you select the
desired datasets from the online catalog. For non-Internet users, data
may be ordered on CD-ROM and in other formats. Among the many types of
data available are Voyager, Magellan, and other planetary images, Earth
observation data, and star catalogs. For costs and service policy,

National Space Science Data Center
Request Coordination Office
Goddard Space Flight Center
Code 633
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Telephone: (301) 286-6695
Email: req...@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov


STEIS contains a large amount of information about the Hubble Space
Telescope, such as status reports and newsletters, in addition to
material oriented towards HST observers and proposers. To get started,


Contact webm...@stsci.edu .


The Space Telescope European Coordination Facility, at ESO/Garching
provides on-line access to a huge astronomical database, featuring

- Observation log files of several satellites/telescopes
- Spectra and images (IUE, HST).
- Most of the astronomical catalogues (SAO, HR, NGC, PPM, IRAS,
Veron, GSC and many others, more than 50) in a very convenient
way (give center+radius+kind of objects, and you get the
corresponding files!).

Access at

telnet://stesis.hq.eso.org (or STESIS on DECnet).

Log in as "starcat" (no password). Files created can be retrieved via
FTP. Contact: Benoit Pirenne (bpir...@eso.org) (phone +49 89 320 06
433) at ST-ECF


The full SAO stellar database is probably not available online yet. It
may be ordered on magnetic tape from the NSSDC. A subset containing
position and magnitude only is available by FTP (see "Astronomy
Programs" below).


contains a large collection of astronomical programs for many types of
computers, databases of stars and deep sky objects, and general
astronomy information. This site is mainly for European users, but
overseas connections are possible.


is a database of 8,436 galaxies including name, RA, declination,
magnitude, and radial velocity, supplied by Wayne Hayes


contains constellation boundary data (files constell.*) in a form
suitable for the construction of star charts and atlases.


contains a number of GIFs from Voyager, Hubble, and other sources (most
of this data is also in pub/SPACE/GIF on the Ames server). Please
restrict access to 5pm - 8am Atlantic time.


contains the Yale Bright Star catalog. Web users, note that this is a
VMS site and Mosaic does not get along with their server, so this URL is
a placeholder - run FTP manually. Contact James Dishaw


contains Messier's catalog of Deep Sky objects, with descriptions,
images, and background material. Contact Hartmut Frommert

The Hubble Guide Star catalog is available on CD-ROM for the Mac and PC
for $49.95 US (catalog #ST101).

Astronomical Society of the Pacific
390 Ashton Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94112
Phone: (415) 337-2624 9 AM - 3 PM Pacific Time
FAX: (415) 337-5205

For German (and possibly other European) readers, Jost Jahn
(j.j...@abbs.heide.de) has a FAX/email/paper mail service with current
news on the observable sky. Email him if interested, or write:

Jost Jahn
Neustaedter Strasse 11
D-29389 Bodenteich
+49-581-14824 (FAX) +49-5824-3197 (Voice)



A more complete list is posted monthly to sci.astro and available in


This list is maintained by the SEDS chapter at U. Arizona

Some astronomy-related programs and databases archived from
Usenet source groups:

Moon phase and date routines
Another moon phase program
Show moon phase picture on Suns

Starchart program & Yale star data
Starchart program, version 3.2
Starchart program, update to version 3.2.1
Reduced SAO catalog
Orbit: track earth satellites
Plotter for Jupiter's major moons [in perl]
Lunisolar (not sure what this does)
Planet generation simulator

Xephem is an interactive astronomical ephemeris program for X11R4/Motif
1.1 (or later) X Windows systems. It computes lots of information about
the planets and any solar system objects for which orbital elements are
available. A sample database of some 16000+ objects is included in the
release kit. It's in


Contact Elwood Downey (ecdo...@noao.edu). Ephem is the forefather of
xephem designed for simple 24x80 character displays, in


Xsat 1.2.6, an X based satellite tracking program, and Xsky 2.1.6, a
computerized sky atlas for the X Window System, are available from


(This is a VMS FTP site; some Web browsers, such as Mosaic 2.4, may have
trouble with these URLs). Contact Terry R. Friedrichsen

The "Variable Stars Analysis Software Archive" is in


This is intended for specialists in this field, and they would
appreciate people from outside New Zealand confining their FTP access to
the astrophys directory, as they pay a significant amount for Internet
access. Contributions are encouraged. Contact the archive administrator,
Timothy Banks (astrophy...@kauri.vuw.ac.nz). For further details
on the archive see _The Observatory_, 112, 16, 1992.

The "IDL Astronomy Users Library" is in


This is a central repository for general purpose astronomy procedures
written in IDL, a commercial image processing, plotting, and programming
language. Contact Wayne Landsman (land...@stars.gsfc.nasa.gov).

Daniel Roth (ro...@ph-cip.uni-koeln.de) offers an astronomy software
service for PC and Atari users in Europe. He has a large library
available on disk and a CD-ROM with the entire library. A catalog is
available; contact him for ordering details.


The most recent orbital elements from the NASA Prediction Bulletins are
carried on the Celestial BBS, (205)-409-9280. Documentation and tracking
software are also available on this system. The Celestial BBS may be
accessed 24 hours/day at 300, 1200, or 2400 baud using 8 data bits, 1
stop bit, no parity.

Orbital element sets are FTPable from the following directories:

ftp://archive.afit.af.mil/pub/space/ NASA,TVRO,Shuttle
ftp://kilroy.jpl.nasa.gov/pub/space/ NASA,Molczan,Thomson


Copies of back issues of Space Digest are archived on
LIST...@UGA.BITNET. Send mail containing the message "INDEX SPACE" to
get an index of files; send it the message "GET filename filetype" to
get a particular file.


Tom van Sant's GeoSphere Project has produced a very nice composite
image of the entire Earth (without clouds, so all the surface is
visible) by assembling thousands of Landsat images. This image is not in
the public domain; any digital copies made available by anonymous FTP
are illegal.

GeoSphere offers the image in a variety of printed forms (posters, mugs,
globes, etc.). Contact them at (800)-845-1522 for a catalog. They may be
willing to license the digital database for specific uses, contact them
for details.


You can get black-and-white 1:1M prints, negatives, or positives for
$10, $18, $12 respectively for any Landsat data more than 2 years old
from EDC, (Eros (Earth Resources Orbiting Satellite) Data Center). Call
them at (605)-594-6511. You get 80 meter resolution from the MSS
scanner, 135x180 kilometers on a picture 135x180 mm in size. I think you
have to select one band from (green, red, near IR, second near IR), but
I'm not sure. Digitial data is also available at higher prices.

Transparencies of all NASA photos available to the public can be
borrowed from the NASA photo archive; you can have copies or prints

NASA Audio-Visual Facility
918 North Rengstorff Ave
Mountain View, CA 94043


Phil Stooke (sto...@sscl.uwo.ca) maintains a list of maps of all mapped
solid bodies except Earth, including sources, ordering information, and
references, which is posted to sci.astro periodically and may also be
found in


along with related images and files. He has offered to answer questions
by email.


There are several tutorials on the Web describing the planets and other
objects in the solar system, including literature references, images,
and much other information. These are good starting points for questions
you may have about planets.



Catalogue of Cometary Orbits

The availability of the tenth edition of the Catalogue of Cometary
Orbits was announced on IAUC 6128 issued on 1995 Jan. 27. The 108 pages
contain 1472 sets of orbital elements (in the J2000.0 system) for 1444
cometary apparitions through the end of 1994. The latest edition is the
first to utilise the new cometary designations and includes detailed
cross-references with the pre-1995 scheme. As an entirely new feature,
there is a special tabulation giving osculating elements for the 116
numbered periodic comets (excluding five deemed to be lost) for the
epochs 1995 Mar. 24 and Oct. 10. The price, postage included is US$20.00
(US$30.00 by airmail outside North America). The main part of the
catalogue and the table of `original' and `future' 1/a values for the
298 long-period comets of the highest quality can by supplied by e-mail
for US$50.00; they are also available on an MS-DOS diskette (5.25-inch
or 3.5-inch) for US$110.00 (US$120.00 for airmail delivery), this
including a facility for extracting individual orbits and computing
ephemerides. Checks should be made payable to the Central Bureau for
Astronomical Telegrams and mailed to:

Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Mail Stop 18
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
email: iau...@cfa.harvard.edu

Subscribers to the IAU Circulars can have their accounts debited by the
appropriate amount.

Efemeridy Malkyh Planet (Ephemerides Of Minor Planets)

This annual volume is the official IAU publication listing orbital
elements for the numbered minor planets. It is published by the
Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, St. Petersburg and is distributed by

White Nights Trading Company
520 N.E. 83rd Street
Seattle, WA 98115
email: 71023...@compuserve.com

The MS-DOS diskette version of the EMP is also available. The 1995
edition contains orbital elements and opposition ephemerides for 5791
numbered minor planets.

Catalogue Of Orbits Of Unnumbered Minor Planets

The availability of the fifth edition of this catalogue was announced on
Minor Planet Circular (MPC) 24251. It contains orbital elements for
15587 single-opposition minor planets, all without consideration of
perturbations, and is complete through the 1994 Nov. 18 batch of MPCs.
The 4553 unnumbered multiple-opposition and long-arc perturbed orbits
are in the Catalogue of High-Precision Orbits of Unnumbered Minor
Planets. The catalogue is available for $30.00 ($40.00 for airmail
delivery), and the orbits are also being issued on an MS-DOS diskette
for $120.00.

Catalogue Of High-Precision Orbits Of Unnumbered Minor Planets

The 1995 (third) edition of this annual publication was announced on
Minor Planet Circular (MPC) 24133. The orbits given are for the epoch
1995 Oct. 10.0 TT and the catalogue is complete through th 1994 Nov. 18
batch of MPCs. Osculating elements for the epoch 1995 Oct. 10.0 TT = JDT
2450000.5 are given for 4750 multiple-opposition and 227 long-arc
perturbed orbits. Opposition positions and motions are given for objects
that reach opposition between 1994 Dec. 1 and 1996 Jan. 31; more
extensive ephemerides are given for unusual minor planets. The new
catalogue, intended as a companion to the Efemeridy Malykh Planet (EMP),
costs $30.00 ($40.00 for airmail delivery). The orbits are also being
issued on an MS-DOS diskette for $120.00; the ephemerides are not
included, but there is a PC-computer program for generating them.

If both the Catalogue of High-Precision Orbits of Unnumbered Minor
Planets and the Catalogue Of Orbits Of Unnumbered Minor Planets are
desired, they are available at the special price of $50.00 ($65.00 for
airmail delivery). The corresponding MS-DOS diskettes are available for
$200.00 the pair.

Minor Planet Center
Mail Stop 18
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
email: iau...@cfa.harvard.edu

Subscribers to the IAU Circulars or Minor Planet Circulars can have
their accounts debited by the appropriate amount.

Minor Planet Circulars

The Minor Planet Circulars (MPCs) (also known as Minor Planets and
Comets) are published generally on the date of each full moon. The
Circulars contain astrometric observations, orbits and ephemerides of
both minor planets and comets. New numberings and namings of minor
planets, as well as numberings of periodic comets, are announced in the
Circulars. An average batch of MPCs runs to over 150 two-column pages
and contains over 7000 minor-planet observations. Details from the Minor
Planet Center (address above). Sample pages are displayed at


NEXT: FAQ #4/13 - Performing calculations and interpreting data formats

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/math
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:28 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


This list was originally compiled by Dale Greer. Additions would be

Numbers in parentheses are approximations that will serve for most
blue-skying purposes.

Unix systems provide the 'units' program, useful in converting between
different systems (metric/English, CGS/MKS etc.)


7726 m/s (8000) -- Earth orbital velocity at 300 km altitude
3075 m/s (3000) -- Earth orbital velocity at 35786 km (geosync)
6371 km (6400) -- Mean radius of Earth
6378 km (6400) -- Equatorial radius of Earth
1738 km (1700) -- Mean radius of Moon
5.974e24 kg (6e24) -- Mass of Earth
7.348e22 kg (7e22) -- Mass of Moon
1.989e30 kg (2e30) -- Mass of Sun
3.986e14 m^3/s^2 (4e14) -- Gravitational constant times mass of Earth
4.903e12 m^3/s^2 (5e12) -- Gravitational constant times mass of Moon
1.327e20 m^3/s^2 (13e19) -- Gravitational constant times mass of Sun
384401 km ( 4e5) -- Mean Earth-Moon distance
1.496e11 m (15e10) -- Mean Earth-Sun distance (Astronomical Unit)

1 megaton (MT) TNT = about 4.2e15 J or the energy equivalent of
about .05 kg (50 g) of matter. Ref: J.R Williams, "The Energy Level
of Things", Air Force Special Weapons Center (ARDC), Kirtland Air
Force Base, New Mexico, 1963. Also see "The Effects of Nuclear
Weapons", compiled by S. Glasstone and P.J. Dolan, published by the
US Department of Defense (obtain from the GPO).


Where d is distance, v is velocity, a is acceleration, t is time.
Additional more specialized equations are available from:


For constant acceleration
d = d0 + vt + .5at^2
v = v0 + at
v^2 = 2ad

Acceleration on a cylinder (space colony, etc.) of radius r and
rotation period t:

a = 4 pi**2 r / t^2

For circular Keplerian orbits where:
Vc = velocity of a circular orbit
Vesc = escape velocity
M = Total mass of orbiting and orbited bodies
G = Gravitational constant (defined below)
u = G * M (can be measured much more accurately than G or M)
K = -G * M / 2 / a
r = radius of orbit (measured from center of mass of system)
V = orbital velocity
P = orbital period
a = semimajor axis of orbit

Vc = sqrt(M * G / r)
Vesc = sqrt(2 * M * G / r) = sqrt(2) * Vc
V^2 = u/a
P = 2 pi/(Sqrt(u/a^3))
K = 1/2 V**2 - G * M / r (conservation of energy)

The period of an eccentric orbit is the same as the period
of a circular orbit with the same semi-major axis.

Change in velocity required for a plane change of angle phi in a
circular orbit:

delta V = 2 sqrt(GM/r) sin (phi/2)

Energy to put mass m into a circular orbit (ignores rotational
velocity, which reduces the energy a bit).

GMm (1/Re - 1/2Rcirc)
Re = radius of the earth
Rcirc = radius of the circular orbit.

Classical rocket equation, where
dv = change in velocity
Isp = specific impulse of engine
Ve = exhaust velocity
x = reaction mass
m1 = rocket mass excluding reaction mass
g = 9.8 m / s^2

Ve = Isp * g
dv = Ve * log((m1 + x) / m1)
= Ve * log((final mass) / (initial mass))

Relativistic rocket equation (constant acceleration)

t (unaccelerated) = c/a * sinh(a*t/c)
d = c**2/a * (cosh(a*t/c) - 1)
v = c * tanh(a*t/c)

Relativistic rocket with exhaust velocity Ve and mass ratio MR:

at/c = Ve/c * ln(MR), or

t (unaccelerated) = c/a * sinh(Ve/c * ln(MR))
d = c**2/a * (cosh(Ve/C * ln(MR)) - 1)
v = c * tanh(Ve/C * ln(MR))

Converting from parallax to distance:

d (in parsecs) = 1 / p (in arc seconds)
d (in astronomical units) = 206265 / p

f=ma -- Force is mass times acceleration
w=fd -- Work (energy) is force times distance

Atmospheric density varies as exp(-mgz/kT) where z is altitude, m is
molecular weight in kg of air, g is local acceleration of gravity, T
is temperature, k is Bolztmann's constant. On Earth up to 100 km,

d = d0*exp(-z*1.42e-4)

where d is density, d0 is density at 0km, is approximately true, so

d@12km (40000 ft) = d0*.18
d@9 km (30000 ft) = d0*.27
d@6 km (20000 ft) = d0*.43
d@3 km (10000 ft) = d0*.65

Atmospheric scale height Dry lapse rate
(in km at emission level) (K/km)
------------------------- --------------
Earth 7.5 9.8
Mars 11 4.4
Venus 4.9 10.5
Titan 18 1.3
Jupiter 19 2.0
Saturn 37 0.7
Uranus 24 0.7
Neptune 21 0.8
Triton 8 1

Titius-Bode Law for approximating planetary distances:

R(n) = 0.4 + 0.3 * 2^N Astronomical Units

This fits fairly well for Mercury (N = -infinity), Venus
(N = 0), Earth (N = 1), Mars (N = 2), Jupiter (N = 4),
Saturn (N = 5), Uranus (N = 6), and Pluto (N = 7).


6.62618e-34 J-s (7e-34) -- Planck's Constant "h"
1.054589e-34 J-s (1e-34) -- Planck's Constant / (2 * PI), "h bar"
1.3807e-23 J/K (1.4e-23) - Boltzmann's Constant "k"
5.6697e-8 W/m^2/K (6e-8) -- Stephan-Boltzmann Constant "sigma"
6.673e-11 N m^2/kg^2 (7e-11) -- Newton's Gravitational Constant "G"
0.0029 m K (3e-3) -- Wien's Constant "sigma(W)"
3.827e26 W (4e26) -- Luminosity of Sun
1370 W / m^2 (1400) -- Solar Constant (intensity at 1 AU)
6.96e8 m (7e8) -- radius of Sun
1738 km (2e3) -- radius of Moon
299792458 m/s (3e8) -- speed of light in vacuum "c"
9.46053e15 m (1e16) -- light year
206264.806 AU (2e5) -- one parsec
3.2616 light years (3) -- one parsec
3.0856e16 m (3e16) -- one parsec

Black Hole radius (also called Schwarzschild Radius):

2GM/c^2, where G is Newton's Gravitational Constant, M is mass of
black hole, c is speed of light

Things to add (somebody look them up!)
Basic rocketry numbers & equations
Aerodynamical stuff
Energy to put a pound into orbit or accelerate to interstellar
Non-circular cases?



References that have been frequently recommended on the net are:

"Fundamentals of Astrodynamics" Roger Bate, Donald Mueller, Jerry White
1971, Dover Press, 455pp $8.95 (US) (paperback). ISBN 0-486-60061-0

NASA Spaceflight handbooks (dating from the 1960s)
SP-33 Orbital Flight Handbook (3 parts)
SP-34 Lunar Flight Handbook (3 parts)
SP-35 Planetary Flight Handbook (9 parts)

These might be found in university aeronautics libraries or ordered
through the US Govt. Printing Office (GPO), although more
information would probably be needed to order them.

M. A. Minovitch, _The Determination and Characteristics of Ballistic
Interplanetary Trajectories Under the Influence of Multiple Planetary
Attractions_, Technical Report 32-464, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., Oct, 1963.

The title says all. Starts of with the basics and works its way up.
Very good. It has a companion article:

M. Minovitch, _Utilizing Large Planetary Perturbations for the Design of
Deep-Space Solar-Probe and Out of Ecliptic Trajectories_, Technical
Report 32-849, JPL, Pasadena, Calif., 1965.

You need to read the first one first to really understand this one.
It does include a _short_ summary if you can only find the second.

Contact JPL for availability of these reports.

"Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics", Peter C. Hughes 1986, John Wiley and

"Celestial Mechanics: a computational guide for the practitioner",
Lawrence G. Taff, (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1985).

Starts with the basics (2-body problem, coordinates) and works up to
orbit determinations, perturbations, and differential corrections.
Taff also briefly discusses stellar dynamics including a short
discussion of n-body problems.


More net references:

"Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac" (revised edition),
Kenneth Seidelmann, University Science Books, 1992. ISBN 0-935702-68-7.
$65 in hardcover.

Deep math for all the algorthms and tables in the AA.

Van Flandern & Pullinen, _Low-Precision Formulae for Planetary
Positions_, Astrophysical J. Supp Series, 41:391-411, 1979. Look in an
astronomy or physics library for this; also said to be available from

Gives series to compute positions accurate to 1 arc minute for a
period + or - 300 years from now. Pluto is included but stated to
have an accuracy of only about 15 arc minutes.

_Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac_ (MICA), produced by the US
Naval Observatory. Valid for years 1990-1999. $55 ($80 outside US).
Available for IBM (order #PB93-500163HDV) or Macintosh (order
#PB93-500155HDV). From the NTIS sales desk, (703)-487-4650. I believe
this is intended to replace the USNO's Interactive Computer Ephemeris.

_Interactive Computer Ephemeris_ (from the US Naval Observatory)
distributed on IBM-PC floppy disks, $35 (Willmann-Bell). Covers dates

"Planetary Programs and Tables from -4000 to +2800", Bretagnon & Simon
1986, Willmann-Bell.

Floppy disks available separately.

"Fundamentals of Celestial Mechanics" (2nd ed), J.M.A. Danby 1988,

A good fundamental text. Includes BASIC programs; a companion set of
floppy disks is available separately.

"Astronomical Formulae for Calculators" (4th ed.), J. Meeus 1988,

"Astronomical Algorithms", J. Meeus 1991, Willmann-Bell.

If you actively use one of the editions of "Astronomical Formulae
for Calculators", you will want to replace it with "Astronomical
Algorithms". This new book is more oriented towards computers than
calculators and contains formulae for planetary motion based on
modern work by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the U.S. Naval
Observatory, and the Bureau des Longitudes. The previous books were
all based on formulae mostly developed in the last century.

Algorithms available separately on diskette.

"Practical Astronomy with your Calculator" (3rd ed.), P. Duffett-Smith
1988, Cambridge University Press.

"Orbits for Amateurs with a Microcomputer", D. Tattersfield 1984,
Stanley Thornes, Ltd.

Includes example programs in BASIC.

"Orbits for Amateurs II", D. Tattersfield 1987, John Wiley & Sons.

"Astronomy / Scientific Software" - catalog of shareware, public domain,
and commercial software for IBM and other PCs. Astronomy software
includes planetarium simulations, ephemeris generators, astronomical
databases, solar system simulations, satellite tracking programs,
celestial mechanics simulators, and more.

Andromeda Software, Inc.
P.O. Box 605
Amherst, NY 14226-0605


Astrogeologist Gene Shoemaker proposes the following formula, based on
studies of cratering caused by nuclear tests. Units are MKS unless
otherwise noted; impact energy is sometimes expressed in nuclear bomb
terms (kilotons TNT equivalent) due to the origin of the model.

D = Sg Sp Kn W^(1/3.4)
Crater diameter, meters. On Earth, if D > 3 km, the crater is
assumed to collapse by a factor of 1.3 due to gravity.

Sg = (ge/gt)^(1/6)
Gravity correction factor cited for craters on the Moon. May hold
true for other bodies. ge = 9.8 m/s^2 is Earth gravity, gt is
gravity of the target body.

Sp = (pa/pt)^(1/3.4)
Density correction factor for target material relative to the Jangle
U nuclear crater site. pa = 1.8e3 kg/m^3 (1.8 gm/cm^3) for alluvium,
pt = density at the impact site. For reference, average rock on the
continental shields has a density of 2.6e3 kg/m^3 (2.6 gm/cm^3).

Kn = 74 m / (kiloton TNT equivalent)^(1/3.4)
Empirically determined scaling factor from bomb yield to crater
diameter at Jangle U.

W = Ke / (4.185e12 joules/KT)
Kinetic energy of asteroid, kilotons TNT equivalent.

Ke = 1/2 m v^2
Kinetic energy of asteroid, joules.

v = impact velocity of asteroid, m/s.
2e4 m/s (20 km/s) is common for an asteroid in an Earth-crossing

m = 4/3 pi r^3 rho
Mass of asteroid, kg.

r = radius of asteroid, m

rho = density of asteroid, kg/m^3
3.3e3 kg/m^3 (3 gm/cm^3) is reasonable for a common S-type asteroid.

For an example, let's work the body which created the 1.1 km diameter
Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona (in reality the model was run
backwards from the known crater size to estimate the meteor size, but
this is just to show how the math works):

r = 40 m Meteor radius
rho = 7.8e3 kg/m^3 Density of nickel-iron meteor
v = 2e4 m/s Impact velocity characteristic of asteroids
in Earth-crossing orbits
pt = 2.3e3 kg/m^3 Density of Arizona at impact site

Sg = 1 No correction for impact on Earth
Sp = (1.8/2.3)^(1/3.4) = .93
m = 4/3 pi 40^3 7.8e3 = 2.61e8 kg
Ke = 1/2 * 2.61e8 kg * (2e4 m/s)^2
= 5.22e16 joules
W = 5.22e16 / 4.185e12 = 12,470 KT
D = 1 * .93 * 74 * 12470^(1/3.4) = 1100 meters

More generally, one can use (after Gehrels, 1985):

Asteroid Number of Impact probability Impact energy as multiple
diameter (km) Objects (impacts/year) of Hiroshima bomb
------------- --------- ------------------ -------------------------
10 10 10e-8 1e9 (1 billion)
1 1e3 10e-6 1e6 (1 million)
0.1 1e5 10e-4 1e3 (1 thousand)

The Hiroshima explosion is assumed to be 13 kilotons.

Finally, a back of the envelope rule is that an object moving at a speed
of 3 km/s has kinetic energy equal to the explosive energy of an equal
mass of TNT; thus a 10 ton asteroid moving at 30 km/sec would have an
impact energy of (10 ton) (30 km/sec / 3 km/sec)^2 = 1 KT.


Clark Chapman and David Morrison, "Cosmic Catastrophes", Plenum Press
1989, ISBN 0-306-43163-7.

Gehrels, T. 1985 Asteroids and comets. _Physics Today_ 38, 32-41. [an
excellent general overview of the subject for the layman]

Shoemaker, E.M. 1983 Asteroid and comet bombardment of the earth. _Ann.
Rev. Earth Planet. Sci._ 11, 461-494. [very long and fairly
technical but a comprehensive examination of the

Shoemaker, E.M., J.G. Williams, E.F. Helin & R.F. Wolfe 1979
Earth-crossing asteroids: Orbital classes, collision rates with
Earth, and origin. In _Asteroids_, T. Gehrels, ed., pp. 253-282,
University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Cunningham, C.J. 1988 _Introduction to Asteroids: The Next Frontier_
(Richmond: Willman-Bell, Inc.) [covers all aspects of asteroid
studies and is an excellent introduction to the subject for people
of all experience levels. It also has a very extensive reference
list covering essentially all of the reference material in the


Source code for cartographic projections may be found in


Two easy-to-find sources of map projections are the "Encyclopaedia
Britannica", (particularly the older editions) and a tutorial appearing
in _Graphics Gems_ (Academic Press, 1990). The latter was written with
simplicity of exposition and suitability for digital computation in mind
(spherical trig formulae also appear, as do digitally-plotted examples).

More than you ever cared to know about map projections is in John
Snyder's USGS publication "Map Projections--A Working Manual", USGS
Professional Paper 1395. This contains detailed descriptions of 32
projections, with history, features, projection formulas (for both
spherical earth and ellipsoidal earth), and numerical test cases. It's a
neat book, all 382 pages worth. This one's $20.

You might also want the companion volume, by Snyder and Philip Voxland,
"An Album of Map Projections", USGS Professional Paper 1453. This
contains less detail on about 130 projections and variants. Formulas are
in the back, example plots in the front. $14, 250 pages.

You can order these 2 ways. The cheap, slow way is direct from USGS:
Earth Science Information Center, US Geological Survey, 507 National
Center, Reston, VA 22092. (800)-USA-MAPS. They can quote you a price and
tell you where to send your money. Expect a 6-8 week turnaround time.

A much faster way (about 1 week) is through Timely Discount Topos,
(303)-469-5022, 9769 W. 119th Drive, Suite 9, Broomfield, CO 80021. Call
them and tell them what you want. They'll quote a price, you send a
check, and then they go to USGS Customer Service Counter and pick it up
for you. Add about a $3-4 service charge, plus shipping.

A (perhaps more accessible) mapping article is:

R. Miller and F. Reddy, "Mapping the World in Pascal",
Byte V12 #14, December 1987

Contains Turbo Pascal procedures for five common map projections. A
demo program, CARTOG.PAS, and a small (6,000 point) coastline data
is available on CompuServe, GEnie, and many BBSs.

Some references for spherical trignometry are:

_Spherical Astronomy_, W.M. Smart, Cambridge U. Press, 1931.

_A Compendium of Spherical Astronomy_, S. Newcomb, Dover, 1960.

_Spherical Astronomy_, R.M. Green, Cambridge U. Press., 1985 (update
of Smart).

_Spherical Astronomy_, E Woolard and G.Clemence, Academic
Press, 1966.


"Computer Simulation Using Particles"
R. W. Hockney and J. W. Eastwood
(Adam Hilger; Bristol and Philadelphia; 1988)

"The rapid evaluation of potential fields in particle systems",
L. Greengard
MIT Press, 1988.

A breakthrough O(N) simulation method. Has been parallelized.

L. Greengard and V. Rokhlin, "A fast algorithm for particle
simulations," Journal of Computational Physics, 73:325-348, 1987.

"An O(N) Algorithm for Three-dimensional N-body Simulations", MSEE
thesis, Feng Zhao, MIT AILab Technical Report 995, 1987

"Galactic Dynamics"
J. Binney & S. Tremaine
(Princeton U. Press; Princeton; 1987)

Includes an O(N^2) FORTRAN code written by Aarseth, a pioneer in
the field.

Hierarchical (N log N) tree methods are described in these papers:

A. W. Appel, "An Efficient Program for Many-body Simulation", SIAM
Journal of Scientific and Statistical Computing, Vol. 6, p. 85,

Barnes & Hut, "A Hierarchical O(N log N) Force-Calculation
Algorithm", Nature, V324 # 6096, 4-10 Dec 1986.

L. Hernquist, "Hierarchical N-body Methods", Computer Physics
Communications, Vol. 48, p. 107, 1988.


If you just need to examine FITS images, use the ppm package (see the
comp.graphics FAQ) to convert them to your preferred format. For more
information on the format and other software to read and write it, see
the sci.astro.fits FAQ.


To generate 3D coordinates of astronomical objects, first obtain an
astronomical database which specifies right ascension, declination, and
parallax for the objects. Convert parallax into distance using the
formula in part 6 of the FAQ, convert RA and declination to coordinates
on a unit sphere (see some of the references on planetary positions and
spherical trignometry earlier in this section for details on this), and
scale this by the distance.

Two databases useful for this purpose are the Yale Bright Star catalog
(sources listed in FAQ section 3) or "The Catalogue of Stars within 25
parsecs of the Sun", in

(files stars.data and stars.doc)

A potentially useful book along these lines is:

"Proximity Zero, A Writer's Guide to the Nearest 200 Stars (A
40-Lightyear Radius)"
Terry Kepner
ISBN # 0-926895-02-8

Available from the author for $14.95 + $2.90 shipping ($5 outside US):

Terry Kepner
PO Box 481
Petersborough, NH 03458

NEXT: FAQ #5/13 - References on specific areas

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/intro
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:26 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.



This is the long FAQ for the sci.space hierarchy. It will soon be split
across the newly created sci.space.{tech,science,policy} groups, but for
now, it's being posted to all of them. The sci.space.tech moderator posts a
more frequent short FAQ with concise answers; this is the place to go for
more detail and references.

If you have corrections or answers to other frequently asked questions
that you would like included in this posting, send email to le...@cs.unc.edu
(Jon Leech).

If you don't want to see the FAQ, add 'Frequently Asked Questions' to
your KILL file for this group (if you're not reading this with a newsreader
that can kill articles by subject, you're out of luck).

The current hypertext version of the FAQ is at


The current FTP version is at


Corrections and good summaries are welcome in place of the answers given
here. The point of this is to circulate existing information, and avoid
rehashing old answers. Better to build on top than start again. Nothing more
depressing than rehashing old topics for the 100th time. References are
provided because they give more complete information than any short

Questions fall into three basic types:

1) Where do I find some general information about space?

Try your local public library first - and try browsing the Web, starting
with some of the many pages referred to in this FAQ. Enormous amounts of
information are online, and there's more being added constantly. If you
can't find an answer to your query after putting in some research time
of your own, post a question - but make it clear that you've done your
homework first. Usenet provides a forum for discussion, not a reference

2) I have an idea which would improve space flight?

Hope you aren't surprised, but 9,999 out of 10,000 have usually been
thought of before. Again, contact a direct individual source for
evaluation. NASA fields thousands of these each day.

3) Miscellanous queries.

These are addressed on a case-by-case basis in the following series of
FAQ postings.


Read news.announce.newusers if you're on Usenet.
Minimize cross references, [Do you REALLY NEED to?]
Edit "Subject:" lines, especially if you're taking a tangent.
Send mail instead, avoid posting follow ups. (1 mail message worth
100 posts).
Internet mail readers: send requests to add/drop to SPACE-REQUEST
not SPACE.
Read all available articles before posting a follow-up. (Check all
Cut down attributed articles (leave only the points you're
responding to; remove signatures and headers). Summarize!
Put a return address in the body (signature) of your message (mail
or article), state your institution, etc. Don't assume the
'reply' function of mailers will work.
Use absolute dates. Post in a timely way. Don't post what everyone
will get on TV anyway.
Some editors and window systems do character count line wrapping and
some do not. Keep lines under 70 characters for those using ASCII
terminals, to allow quoting of responses, and end lines with hard
carriage returns.


I've attempted to break the postings up into related areas. There isn't
a keyword index yet; the following lists the major subject areas in each
posting. Only those containing astronomy-related material are posted to
sci.astro (indicated by '*' following the posting number).

# Contents

1* Introduction
(See "space/intro")
Suggestions for better netiquette
Index to linked postings
Notes on addresses, phone numbers, etc.

2* Network resources
(See "space/net")
Mailing lists
Periodically updated information
Warning about non-public networks

3* Online (and some offline) sources of images, data, etc.
(See "space/data")
Viewing Images
Online Archives
Center for Advanced Space Studies
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)
Infrared Processing & Analysis Center
NASA Astrophysics Data System
NASA Directory of WAIS Servers
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (Mission Information and Images)
NASA Johnson Space Center (Manned Space Images)
NASA Langley (Technical Reports)
NASA Spacelink

National Space Science Data Center

Space Telescope Science Institute Electronic Info. Service
Astronomical Databases
Astronomy Programs
Orbital Element Sets
SPACE Digest Archives
World-Wide-Web (WWW)
GeoSphere Project (full Earth image)
Landsat & NASA Photos
Planetary Maps
Solar System Tours
Cometary / Minor Planet Orbital Data

4* Performing calculations and interpreting data formats
(See "space/math")
Constants and equations for calculations
Computing spacecraft orbits and trajectories
Computing planetary positions
Computing crater diameters from Earth-impacting asteroids
Map projections and spherical trignometry
Performing N-body simulations efficiently
Interpreting the FITS image format
Sky (Unix ephemeris program)
Nearby star/galaxy coordinates

5* References on specific areas
(See "space/references")
Publishers of space/astronomy material
Careers in the space industry
SL-9 Comet/Jupiter Impact
DC-X single-stage to orbit (SSTO) program
How to name a star after a person
LLNL "great exploration"
Lunar Prospector
Lunar science and activities
Mars Direct / Lunar Direct
Orbiting Earth satellite histories
Spacecraft models
Rocket propulsion
Spacecraft design
Esoteric propulsion schemes (solar sails, lasers, fusion...)
Spy satellites
Space capsule locations
Space shuttle computer systems
SETI computation (signal processing)
Amateur satellies & weather satellites
Astronomical Mnemonics

6 Contacting NASA, ESA, space agencies/companies, and individual
(See "space/addresses")
NASA Centers / Arianespace / CSA / CNES / DARA / ESA / ISAS /
NASDA / NPO Energia / RSA / Soyuzkarta / Space Camp / Space
Commerce Corporation / Spacehab / SPOT Image
Other commercial space businesses

7 Space shuttle answers, launch schedules, TV coverage
(See "space/schedule")
Shuttle launchings and landings; schedules and how to see them
Why does the shuttle roll just after liftoff?
How to receive the NASA TV channel, NASA SELECT
Amateur radio frequencies for shuttle missions
Solid Rocket Booster fuel composition

8 Planetary probes - Historical Missions
(See "space/probe")
US planetary missions
Mariner (Venus, Mars, & Mercury flybys and orbiters)
Pioneer (Moon, Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn flybys and orbiters)
Ranger (Lunar lander and impact missions)
Lunar Orbiter (Lunar surface photography)
Surveyor (Lunar soft landers)
Viking (Mars orbiters and landers)
Voyager (Outer planet flybys)
Soviet planetary missions
Soviet Lunar probes
Soviet Venus probes
Soviet Mars probes
European planetary missions
Japanese planetary missions
Planetary mission references

9 Upcoming planetary probes - missions and schedules
(See "space/new_probes")
Mars Observer
Other space science missions
Proposed missions

10 Controversial questions
(See "space/controversy")
Space shuttle mission costs
What happened to the Saturn V plans
Why data from space missions isn't immediately available
Risks of nuclear (RTG) power sources for space probes
Impact of the space shuttle on the ozone layer
How long can a human live unprotected in space
How the Challenger astronauts died
Using the shuttle beyond Low Earth Orbit
The "Face on Mars"

11 Space activist/interest/research groups and space publications
(See "space/groups")
Network Groups and Resources
Undocumented Groups

12 How to become an astronaut
(See "space/astronaut")

13 Orbital and Planetary Launch Services
(See "space/launchers")


Unless otherwise specified, telephone numbers, addresses, and so on are
for the United States of America. Non-US readers should remember to add
the country code for telephone calls, etc.


Eugene Miya (then under the authority of the Computer Systems Division,
NASA Ames Research Center) started a series of linked FAQ postings some
years ago which inspired (and was largely absorbed into) this set.

Peter Yee and Ron Baalke have and continue to spend a lot of their own
time setting up the SPACE archives at NASA Ames and forwarding official
NASA announcements.

Many other people have contributed material to this list in the form of
old postings to sci.space and sci.astro which I've edited. Please let me
know if corrections need to be made. Major contributors I've managed to
keep track of are:

ad...@yfn.ysu.edu (Steven Fisk) - publication refs.
ake...@bill.phy.queensu.CA (Richard Akerman) - crater diameters
alwe...@athena.mit.edu (Lisa Weigel) - SEDS info
aoa...@emx.utexas.edu (Srinivas Bettadpur) - tides
awp...@watcgl.waterloo.edu (Alan Wm Paeth) - map projections
baa...@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov (Ron Baalke) - planetary probe schedules
ban...@rata.vuw.ac.nz (Timothy Banks) - map projections,
variable star analysis archive
benh...@skypoint.com (Ben Huset) - AAS info
bi...@znet.net (Bill Arnett) - solar system tour URLs
bobby...@aol.com (Bobby Weaver) - commercial space resources
periodic posting, miscellaneous info on space publishers,
publications, and other refs.
bro...@pioneer.arc.nasa.gov (Bernie Rosen) - Space Camp
bruce...@mindlink.bc.ca (Bruce Dunn) - propulsion refs.
bschle...@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov (Barry Schlesinger) - FITS format
c...@venera.isi.edu (Craig E. Ward) - space group contact info
cha...@cbnewsc.att.com (Tom Chapin) - planetary positions
cun...@tenet.edu (D. Alan Cunningham) - NASA Spacelink
cyam...@kilroy.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Cliff Yamamoto) - orbital elements
da...@convex.com (Anthony Datri) - PDS/VICAR viewing software
da...@sjc.mentorg.com (Dave Rickel) - orbit formulae
dlbr...@pc.usl.edu (Phil Fraering) - propulsion
ed...@hsvaic.boeing.com (Dani Eder) - Saturn V plans, SRBs
eug...@nas.nasa.gov (Eugene N. Miya) - introduction,
NASA contact info, started FAQ postings
frank...@genie.geis.com (Francis Reddy) - map projections
fre...@isu.isunet.edu (Patrick M. French) - space group contact info
g...@telesoft.com (Gary Morris) - amateur radio info
ga...@cfa.harvard.edu (Terry Gaetz) - N-body calculations,
orbital dynamics
gla...@lerc.nasa.gov (Geoffrey A. Landis) - survival in vacuum, AAS &
Artemis Society info
gmcq...@Ingres.COM (George F. McQuary) - nearby star refs
gra...@noao.edu (Steve Grandi) - planetary positions
greer%utd201.dnet%uta...@utspan.span.nasa.gov (Dale M. Greer) - constants
gr...@gemini.den.mmc.com (Greg Bollendonk) - space model catalog
he...@zoo.toronto.edu (Henry Spencer) - survival in vacuum,
astronaut how-to, Challenger disaster, publication refs, DC-X
hig...@fnal.bitnet (William Higgins) - RTGs, publishers, shuttle
landings, spysats, propulsion, "Face on Mars", and general
assistance with FAQ upkeep.
hig...@aa.washington.edu (Andrew Higgins) - gun launcher refs.
hmue...@cssun.tamu.edu (Hal Mueller) - map projections,
orbital dynamics
jbh5...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Josh Hopkins) - launch services
j...@pnet01.cts.com (Jim Bowery) - propulsion, launch services
jnh...@pirl.lpl.arizona.edu (James N. Head) - atmospheric scale heights
jsc...@lpl.arizona.edu (Jim Scotti) - planetary positions
kcar...@zoo.toronto.edu (Kieran A. Carroll)- refs for spacecraft design
k...@orion.bitnet (Kenneth Ng) - RTGs
kje...@gothamcity.jsc.nasa.gov (Ken Jenks) - shuttle roll manuever
lkl...@aol.com (Larry Klaes) - planetary probe history
le...@cs.unc.edu (Jon Leech) - crater diameters
l...@ssi.com (Lou Adornato) - orbital dynamics
maury.m...@egsgate.fidonet.org (Maury Markowitz) - propulsion
m...@west.darkside.com (Erik Max Francis) - equations
ma...@ipac.caltech.edu (Joe Mazzarella) - IPAC
mbe...@mcdurb.Urbana.Gould.COM - N-body calculations
mcco...@phoenix.Princeton.edu (Marc Wayne Mcconley) - space careers
m...@sq.com (Mark Brader) - Mariner 1 info.
m...@cmu.edu (Mark Maimone) - SPACE Digest
N.W.W...@sussex.ac.uk (Nick Watkins) - models, spysat refs
ohai...@eso.org (Olivier R. Hainaut) - publishers, STARCAT
on...@aio.jsc.nasa.gov (Graham O'Neil) - Lunar Prospector
pan...@cup.portal.com (Kenneth W Durham) - cometary orbits, IAU
paul....@nss.fidonet.org (Paul Blase) - propulsion
pe...@denali.gsfc.nasa.gov (Pete Banholzer) - Clementine
p...@plato.jpl.nasa.gov (Peter Scott) - RTGs
psch...@novia.net (Paul W. Schleck) - AMSAT, ARRL contact info
p...@minnie.bell.inmet.com (Paul Tarr) - Shuttle computer refs
r...@mel.cocam.oz.au (Rodney Brown) - propulsion refs
rj...@phil.cs.virginia.edu (Ran Atkinson) - FTPable astro. programs
rjun...@ihlpb.att.com (R. Michael Jungclas)- models
rosb...@uk.ac.ucl.ps (Richard Osborne) - UK-SEDS
se...@leonardo.jpl.nasa.gov (David Seal) - Cassini mission schedule
sha...@skipper.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer) - photos, shuttle landings
she...@netcom.com (Allen W. Sherzer) - Great Exploration
sm...@sndpit.enet.dec.com (Willie Smith) - photos
ste...@gpwd.gp.co.nz (Stephen Dixon) - shuttle audio frequencies
ste...@warper.jhuapl.edu (Ray Sterner) - planetary positions
sto...@vaxr.sscl.uwo.ca (Phil Stooke) - planetary maps
ted_an...@transarc.com (Ted Anderson) - propulsion
te...@astro.as.utexas.edu (Terry Hancock) - NASA center info
tho...@typhoon.atmos.coloState.edu (Bill Thorson) - FITS info
tm...@andrew.cmu.edu (Todd L. Masco) - SPACE Digest
t...@ssd.csd.harris.com (Tom Horsley) - refs for algorithms
veikko...@helsinki.fi (Veikko Makela) - orbital element sets
Wales.L...@ofa123.fidonet.org (Wales Larrison) - groups & publications
wa...@csri.utoronto.ca (Wayne Hayes) - constants
wee...@libra.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) - Voyager history
yam...@yscvax.ysc.go.jp (Yoshiro Yamada) - ISAS/NASDA missions
y...@ames.arc.nasa.gov (Peter Yee) - AMES archive server,

In Net memoriam:
Ted Flinn

NEXT: FAQ #2/13 - Network Resources

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/addresses
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:21 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


Many space activities center around large Government or International
Bureaucracies. In the US that means NASA. If you have basic information
requests: (e.g., general PR info, research grants, data, limited tours, and
ESPECIALLY SUMMER EMPLOYMENT (typically resumes should be ready by Jan. 1),
etc.), consider contacting the nearest NASA Center to answer your questions.

EMail typically will not get you any where, computers are used by
investigators, not PR people. The typical volume of mail per Center is a
multiple of 10,000 letters a day. Seek the Public Information Office at one
of the below, this is their job:

NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is the
civilian space agency of of the United States Federal Government.
It reports directly to the White House and is not a Cabinet
post such as the military Department of Defense. Its 20K+ employees
are civil servants and hence US citizens. Another 100K+ contractors
also work for NASA.


Web pages for all NASA centers can be reached from


NASA Headquarters (NASA HQ)
Washington DC 20546

Ask them questions about policy, money, and things of political
nature. Direct specific questions to the appropriate center.

NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
Moffett Field, CA 94035

Lead center for information systems and aeronautics. Atmosphere
reentry, Mars and Venus planetary atmospheres. Runs Pioneer series
of space probes.

NASA Ames Research Center
Dryden Flight Research Facility [DFRF]
P. O. Box 273
Edwards, CA 93523

Aircraft, mostly. Tested the shuttle orbiter landing
characteristics. Developed X-1, D-558, X-3, X-4, X-5, XB-70, and of
course, the X-15.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Greenbelt, MD 20771
[Outside of Washington DC]

Earth orbiting unmanned satellites and sounding rockets. Developed

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
California Institute of Technology
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109

The "heavies" in planetary research probes and other unmanned
projects (they also had a lot to do with IRAS). They run Voyager,
Magellan, Galileo, and will run Cassini. For images, probe
navigation, and other info about unmanned exploration, this is the
place to go.

JPL is run under contract for NASA by the nearby California
Institute of Technology, unlike the NASA centers above. This
distinction is subtle but critical. JPL has different requirements
for unsolicited research proposals and summer hires. For instance in
the latter, an SF 171 is useless. Employees are Caltech employees,
contractors, and for the most part have similar responsibilities.
They offer an alternative to funding after other NASA Centers.

NASA Johnson Manned Space Center (JSC)
Houston, TX 77058

JSC manages Space Shuttle, ground control of manned missions.
Astronaut training. Manned mission simulators.

NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center (KSC)
Titusville, FL 32899

Space launch center. You know this one.

NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC)
Hampton, VA 23665
[Near Newport News, VA]

Original NASA site. Specializes in theoretical and experimental
flight dynamics. Viking. Long Duration Exposure Facility.

NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC)
21000 Brookpark Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44135

Founded in 1941 as one of the original NACA centers. Aircraft/Rocket
propulsion. Space power generation. Materials research. Space
communications technology. Electric propulsion. Structures research.
Microgravity science. Intermediate and large expendable launch

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
Huntsville, AL 35812

Development, production, delivery of Solid Rocket Boosters, External
Tank, Orbiter main engines. Propulsion and launchers.

Michoud Assembly Facility
Orleans Parish
New Orleans, LA 70129

Shuttle external tanks are produced here; formerly Michoud produced
first stages for the Saturn V.

Stennis Space Center
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 39529

Space Shuttle main engines are tested here, as were Saturn V first
and second stages. The center also does remote-sensing and
technology-transfer research.

Wallops Flight Center
Wallops Island, VA 23337
Aeronautical research, sounding rockets, Scout launcher.

Manager, Technology Utilization Office
NASA Scientific and Technical Information Facility
Post Office Box 8757
Baltimore, Maryland 21240

Specific requests for software must go thru COSMIC at the Univ. of
Georgia, NASA's contracted software redistribution service. You can
reach them at cos...@uga.bitnet.

NOTE: Foreign nationals requesting information must go through their
Embassies in Washington DC. These are facilities of the US Government
and are regarded with some degree of economic sensitivity. Centers
cannot directly return information without high Center approval. Allow
at least 1 month for clearance. This includes COSMIC.

The US Air Force Space Command can be contacted thru the Pentagon along with
other Department of Defense offices. They have unacknowledged offices in
Los Angeles, Sunnyvale, Colorado Springs, and other locations. They have
a budget which rivals NASA in size.

Boulevard de l'Europe
B.P. 177
91006 Evry Cedex

1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 875
Washington, DC 20006

6767 route de l'Aeroport
Saint-Hubert Quebec
J3Y 8Y9

2, place Maurice Quentin
F-75039 Paris Cedex 01, FRANCE
phone 33 (1)

Koenigswinterer Strasse 522-524
D-5300 Bonn 3

7500 Forbes Boulevard
Lanham, MD 20706
(800)-344-9933 (Landsat Applications Group)

8-10, rue Mario-Nikis
75738 Paris Cedex 15

955 L'Enfant Plaza S.W.
Washington, DC 20024



World Trade Center Building
4-1 Hamamatsu-Cho, 2 Chome
Minato-Ku, Tokyo 105
asu...@rd.tksc.nasda.go.jp (Public Relations Office)


NPO ENERGIA (Washington office)
Email: ene...@delphi.com

42 Schepkin street
Moscow 129857

45 Vologradsij Pr.
Moscow 109125

Alabama Space and Rocket Center U.S. SPACE CAMP
1 Tranquility Base 6225 Vectorspace Blvd
Huntsville, AL 35805 Titusville FL 32780
(205)-837-3400 (407)267-3184

Registration and mailing list are handled through Huntsville -- both
camps are described in the same brochure.

Programs offered at Space Camp are:

Space Camp - one week, youngsters completing grades 4-6
Space Academy I - one week, grades 7-9
Aviation Challenge - one week high school program, grades 9-11
Space Academy II - 8 days, college accredited, grades 10-12
Adult Program - 3 days (editorial comment: it's great!)
Teachers Program - 5 days

SPACE COMMERCE CORPORATION (U.S. agent for Soviet launch services)
504 Pluto Drive 69th flr, Texas Commerce Tower
Colorado Springs, CO 80906 Houston, TX 77002
(719)-578-5490 (713)-227-9000

David A. Rossi
1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1501
Arlington, VA 22202 USA
(FAX) (703)-414-8107 (703)-414-8100

101 Courageous Dr. 711 W. Bay Area Blvd. #320
League City, TX 77573 Webster, TX 77598
(713) 538-6000

I'm not certain which of these two addresses is correct.

1857 Preston White Drive,
Reston, VA 22091
(FAX) (703)-648-1813 (703)-620-2200


The space-investors mailing list has a file with addresses and info for
companies in space related businesses available by email to


Specific NASA astronauts can be contacted by forwarding mail through:

(name of the astronaut in question)
c/o Astronaut Office
NASA Johnson Space Center
Mail Code CB
2101 NASA Road 1
Houston, TX 77058

NEXT: FAQ #7/13 - Schedules for space missions, and how to see them

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/schedule
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:34 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.



Steven S. Pietrobon (ste...@spri.levels.unisa.edu.au) posts a compressed
version of the Space Shuttle launch manifest to sci.space.shuttle. This
includes dates, times, payloads, and information on how to see launches
and landings. These files are in


For the most up to date information on upcoming missions, call toll-free
(800)-KSC-INFO (800-572-4636) or (407) 867-INFO (867-4636) at Kennedy
Space Center.

Official NASA shuttle status reports are posted to sci.space.news


The following answer and translation are provided by Ken Jenks

The "Ascent Guidance and Flight Control Training Manual," ASC G&C 2102,

"During the vertical rise phase, the launch pad attitude is
commanded until an I-loaded V(rel) sufficient to assure launch tower
clearance is achieved. Then, the tilt maneuver (roll program)
orients the vehicle to a heads down attitude required to generate a
negative q-alpha, which in turn alleviates structural loading. Other
advantages with this attitude are performance gain, decreased abort
maneuver complexity, improved S-band look angles, and crew view of
the horizon. The tilt maneuver is also required to start gaining
downrange velocity to achieve the main engine cutoff (MECO) target
in second stage."

This really is a good answer, but it's couched in NASA jargon. I'll try
to interpret.

1) We wait until the Shuttle clears the tower before rolling.

2) Then, we roll the Shuttle around so that the angle of attack
between the wind caused by passage through the atmosphere (the
"relative wind") and the chord of the wings (the imaginary line
between the leading edge and the trailing edge) is a slightly
negative angle ("a negative q-alpha"). This causes a little bit of
"downward" force (toward the belly of the Orbiter, or the +Z
direction) and this force "alleviates structural loading."
We have to be careful about those wings -- they're about the
most "delicate" part of the vehicle.

3) The new attitude (after the roll) also allows us to carry more
mass to orbit, or to achieve a higher orbit with the same mass, or
to change the orbit to a higher or lower inclination than would be
the case if we didn't roll ("performance gain").

4) The new attitude allows the crew to fly a less complicated
flight path if they had to execute one of the more dangerous abort
maneuvers, the Return To Launch Site ("decreased abort maneuver

5) The new attitude improves the ability for ground-based radio
antennae to have a good line-of-sight signal with the S-band radio
antennae on the Orbiter ("improved S-band look angles").

6) The new attitude allows the crew to see the horizon, which is a
helpful (but not mandatory) part of piloting any flying machine.

7) The new attitude orients the Shuttle so that the body is
more nearly parallel with the ground, and the nose to the east
(usually). This allows the thrust from the engines to add velocity
in the correct direction to eventually achieve orbit. Remember:
velocity is a vector quantity made of both speed and direction.
The Shuttle has to have a large horizontal component to its
velocity and a very small vertical component to attain orbit.

This all begs the question, "Why isn't the launch pad oriented to give
this nice attitude to begin with? Why does the Shuttle need to roll to
achieve that attitude?" The answer is that the pads were leftovers
from the Apollo days. The Shuttle straddles two flame trenches -- one
for the Solid Rocket Motor exhaust, one for the Space Shuttle Main
Engine exhaust. (You can see the effects of this on any daytime
launch. The SRM exhaust is dirty gray garbage, and the SSME exhaust is
fluffy white steam. Watch for the difference between the "top"
[Orbiter side] and the "bottom" [External Tank side] of the stack.) The
access tower and other support and service structure are all oriented
basically the same way they were for the Saturn V's. (A side note: the
Saturn V's also had a roll program. Don't ask me why -- I'm a Shuttle

I checked with a buddy in Ascent Dynamics. He added that the "roll
maneuver" is really a maneuver in all three axes: roll, pitch and yaw.
The roll component of that maneuver is performed for the reasons
stated. The pitch component controls loading on the wings by keeping
the angle of attack (q-alpha) within a tight tolerance. The yaw
component is used to determine the orbital inclination. The total
maneuver is really expressed as a "quaternion," a grad-level-math
concept for combining all three rotation matrices in one four-element


NASA SELECT is broadcast by satellite. If you have access to a satellite
dish, you can find SELECT on SpaceNet 2, Transponder 5, C-Band, 69
degrees West Longitude. SELECT has been moved from Satcom F2R to a
satellite even further to the east, and is apparently even more
difficult to receive in California and points west. During events of
special interest (e.g. shuttle missions), SELECT is sometimes broadcast
on a second satellite for these viewers.

If you can't get a satellite feed, some cable operators carry SELECT.
It's worth asking if yours doesn't.

The SELECT schedule is found in the NASA Headline News which is
frequently posted to sci.space.news. Generally it carries press
conferences, briefings by NASA officials, and live coverage of shuttle
missions and planetary encounters. SELECT has recently begun carrying
much more secondary material (associated with SPACELINK) when missions
are not being covered.


The following are believed to rebroadcast space shuttle mission audio:

W6FXN - Los Angeles
K6MF - Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California
WA3NAN - Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Maryland.
W5RRR - Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, Texas
W6VIO - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California.
W1AW Voice Bulletins

Station VHF 10m 15m 20m 40m 80m
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ----- -----
W6FXN 145.46
K6MF 145.585 7.165 3.840
WA3NAN 147.45 28.650 21.395 14.295 7.185 3.860
W5RRR 146.64 28.400 21.350 14.280 7.227 3.850
W6VIO 224.04 21.340 14.270
W6VIO 224.04 21.280 14.282 7.165 3.840
W1AW 28.590 21.390 14.290 7.290 3.990

W5RRR transmits mission audio on 146.64, a special event station on the
other frequencies supplying Keplerian Elements and mission information.

W1AW also transmits on 147.555, 18.160. No mission audio but they
transmit voice bulletins at 0245 and 0545 UTC.

Frequencies in the 10-20m bands require USB and frequencies in the 40
and 80m bands LSB. Use FM for the VHF frequencies.

[This item was most recently updated courtesy of Gary Morris
(g...@telesoft.com, KK6YB, N5QWC)]


Reference: "Shuttle Flight Operations Manual" Volume 8B - Solid Rocket
Booster Systems, NASA Document JSC-12770

Propellant Composition (percent)

Ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer) 69.6
Aluminum 16
Iron Oxide (burn rate catalyst) 0.4
Polybutadiene-acrilic acid-acrylonitrile (a rubber) 12.04
Epoxy curing agent 1.96

End reference

Comment: The aluminum, rubber, and epoxy all burn with the oxidizer.

NEXT: FAQ #8/13 - Historical planetary probes

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/probe
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:31 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


This section was lightly adapted from an original posting by Larry Klaes
(lkl...@aol.com), mostly minor formatting changes. Matthew Wiener
(wee...@libra.wistar.upenn.edu) contributed the section on Voyager, and
the section on Sakigake was obtained from ISAS material posted by
Yoshiro Yamada (yam...@yscvax.ysc.go.jp).



MARINER 1, the first U.S. attempt to send a spacecraft to Venus, failed
minutes after launch in 1962. The guidance instructions from the ground
stopped reaching the rocket due to a problem with its antenna, so the
onboard computer took control. However, there turned out to be a bug in
the guidance software, and the rocket promptly went off course, so the
Range Safety Officer destroyed it. Although the bug is sometimes claimed
to have been an incorrect FORTRAN DO statement, it was actually a
transcription error in which the bar (indicating smoothing) was omitted
from the expression "R-dot-bar sub n" (nth smoothed value of derivative
of radius). This error led the software to treat normal minor variations
of velocity as if they were serious, leading to incorrect compensation.

MARINER 2 became the first successful probe to flyby Venus in December
of 1962, and it returned information which confirmed that Venus is a
very hot (800 degrees Fahrenheit, now revised to 900 degrees F.) world
with a cloud-covered atmosphere composed primarily of carbon dioxide
(sulfuric acid was later confirmed in 1978).

MARINER 3, launched on November 5, 1964, was lost when its protective
shroud failed to eject as the craft was placed into interplanetary
space. Unable to collect the Sun's energy for power from its solar
panels, the probe soon died when its batteries ran out and is now in
solar orbit. It was intended for a Mars flyby with MARINER 4.

MARINER 4, the sister probe to MARINER 3, did reach Mars in 1965 and
took the first close-up images of the Martian surface (22 in all) as it
flew by the planet. The probe found a cratered world with an atmosphere
much thinner than previously thought. Many scientists concluded from
this preliminary scan that Mars was a "dead" world in both the
geological and biological sense.

MARINER 5 was sent to Venus in 1967. It reconfirmed the data on that
planet collected five years earlier by MARINER 2, plus the information
that Venus' atmospheric pressure at its surface is at least 90 times
that of Earth's, or the equivalent of being 3,300 feet under the surface
of an ocean.

MARINER 6 and 7 were sent to Mars in 1969 and expanded upon the work
done by MARINER 4 four years earlier. However, they failed to take away
the concept of Mars as a "dead" planet, first made from the basic
measurements of MARINER 4.

MARINER 8 ended up in the Atlantic Ocean in 1971 when the rocket
launcher autopilot failed.

MARINER 9, the sister probe to MARINER 8, became the first craft to
orbit Mars in 1971. It returned information on the Red Planet that no
other probe had done before, revealing huge volcanoes on the Martian
surface, as well as giant canyon systems, and evidence that water once
flowed across the planet. The probe also took the first detailed closeup
images of Mars' two small moons, Phobos and Deimos.

MARINER 10 used Venus as a gravity assist to Mercury in 1974. The probe
did return the first close-up images of the Venusian atmosphere in
ultraviolet, revealing previously unseen details in the cloud cover,
plus the fact that the entire cloud system circles the planet in four
Earth days. MARINER 10 eventually made three flybys of Mercury from 1974
to 1975 before running out of attitude control gas. The probe revealed
Mercury as a heavily cratered world with a mass much greater than
thought. This would seem to indicate that Mercury has an iron core which
makes up 75 percent of the entire planet.


PIONEER 1 through 3 failed to meet their main objective - to photograph
the Moon close-up - but they did reach far enough into space to provide
new information on the area between Earth and the Moon, including new
data on the Van Allen radiation belts circling Earth. All three craft
had failures with their rocket launchers. PIONEER 1 was launched on
October 11, 1958, PIONEER 2 on November 8, and PIONEER 3 on December 6.

PIONEER 4 was a Moon probe which missed the Moon and became the first
U.S. spacecraft to orbit the Sun in 1959. PIONEER 5 was originally
designed to flyby Venus, but the mission was scaled down and it instead
studied the interplanetary environment between Venus and Earth out to
36.2 million kilometers in 1960, a record until MARINER 2. PIONEER 6
through 9 were placed into solar orbit from 1965 to 1968: PIONEER 6, 7,
and 8 are still transmitting information at this time. PIONEER E (would
have been number 10) suffered a launch failure in 1969.

PIONEER 10 became the first spacecraft to flyby Jupiter in 1973. PIONEER
11 followed it in 1974, and then went on to become the first probe to
study Saturn in 1979. Both vehicles should continue to function through
1995 and are heading off into interstellar space, the first craft ever
to do so.

PIONEER Venus 1 (1978) (also known as PIONEER Venus Orbiter, or PIONEER
12) burned up in the Venusian atmosphere on October 8, 1992. PVO made
the first radar studies of the planet's surface via probe. PIONEER Venus
2 (also known as PIONEER 13) sent four small probes into the atmosphere
in December of 1978. The main spacecraft bus burned up high in the
atmosphere, while the four probes descended by parachute towards the
surface. Though none were expected to survive to the surface, the Day
probe did make it and transmitted for 67.5 minutes on the ground before
its batteries failed.


RANGER 1 and 2 were test probes for the RANGER lunar impact series. They
were meant for high Earth orbit testing in 1961, but rocket problems
left them in useless low orbits which quickly decayed.

RANGER 3, launched on January 26, 1962, was intended to land an
instrument capsule on the surface of the Moon, but problems during the
launch caused the probe to miss the Moon and head into solar orbit.
RANGER 3 did try to take some images of the Moon as it flew by, but the
camera was unfortunately aimed at deep space during the attempt.

RANGER 4, launched April 23, 1962, had the same purpose as RANGER 3, but
suffered technical problems enroute and crashed on the lunar farside,
the first U.S. probe to reach the Moon, albeit without returning data.

RANGER 5, launched October 18, 1962 and similar to RANGER 3 and 4, lost
all solar panel and battery power enroute and eventually missed the Moon
and drifted off into solar orbit.

RANGER 6 through 9 had more modified lunar missions: They were to send
back live images of the lunar surface as they headed towards an impact
with the Moon. RANGER 6 failed this objective in 1964 when its cameras
did not operate. RANGER 7 through 9 performed well, becoming the first
U.S. lunar probes to return thousands of lunar images through 1965.


LUNAR ORBITER 1 through 5 were designed to orbit the Moon and image
various sites being studied as landing areas for the manned APOLLO
missions of 1969-1972. The probes also contributed greatly to our
understanding of lunar surface features, particularly the lunar farside.
All five probes of the series, launched from 1966 to 1967, were
essentially successful in their missions. They were the first U.S.
probes to orbit the Moon. All LOs were eventually crashed into the lunar
surface to avoid interference with the manned APOLLO missions.


The SURVEYOR series were designed primarily to see if an APOLLO lunar
module could land on the surface of the Moon without sinking into the
soil (before this time, it was feared by some that the Moon was covered
in great layers of dust, which would not support a heavy landing
vehicle). SURVEYOR was successful in proving that the lunar surface was
strong enough to hold up a spacecraft from 1966 to 1968.

Only SURVEYOR 2 and 4 were unsuccessful missions. The rest became the
first U.S. probes to soft land on the Moon, taking thousands of images
and scooping the soil for analysis. APOLLO 12 landed 600 feet from
SURVEYOR 3 in 1969 and returned parts of the craft to Earth. SURVEYOR 7,
the last of the series, was a purely scientific mission which explored
the Tycho crater region in 1968.


VIKING 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 20, 1975 on
a TITAN 3E-CENTAUR D1 rocket. The probe went into Martian orbit on June
19, 1976, and the lander set down on the western slopes of Chryse
Planitia on July 20, 1976. It soon began its programmed search for
Martian micro-organisms (there is still debate as to whether the probes
found life there or not), and sent back incredible color panoramas of
its surroundings. One thing scientists learned was that Mars' sky was
pinkish in color, not dark blue as they originally thought (the sky is
pink due to sunlight reflecting off the reddish dust particles in the
thin atmosphere). The lander set down among a field of red sand and
boulders stretching out as far as its cameras could image.

The VIKING 1 orbiter kept functioning until August 7, 1980, when it ran
out of attitude-control propellant. The lander was switched into a
weather-reporting mode, where it had been hoped it would keep
functioning through 1994; but after November 13, 1982, an errant command
had been sent to the lander accidentally telling it to shut down until
further orders. Communication was never regained again, despite the
engineers' efforts through May of 1983.

An interesting side note: VIKING 1's lander has been designated the
Thomas A. Mutch Memorial Station in honor of the late leader of the
lander imaging team. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington,
DC is entrusted with the safekeeping of the Mutch Station Plaque until
it can be attached to the lander by a manned expedition.

VIKING 2 was launched on September 9, 1975, and arrived in Martian orbit
on August 7, 1976. The lander touched down on September 3, 1976 in
Utopia Planitia. It accomplished essentially the same tasks as its
sister lander, with the exception that its seisometer worked, recording
one marsquake. The orbiter had a series of attitude-control gas leaks in
1978, which prompted it being shut down that July. The lander was shut
down on April 12, 1980.

The orbits of both VIKING orbiters should decay around 2025.


VOYAGER 1 was launched September 5, 1977, and flew past Jupiter on March
5, 1979 and by Saturn on November 13, 1980. VOYAGER 2 was launched
August 20, 1977 (before VOYAGER 1), and flew by Jupiter on August 7,
1979, by Saturn on August 26, 1981, by Uranus on January 24, 1986, and
by Neptune on August 8, 1989. VOYAGER 2 took advantage of a rare
once-every-189-years alignment to slingshot its way from outer planet to
outer planet. VOYAGER 1 could, in principle, have headed towards Pluto,
but JPL opted for the sure thing of a Titan close up.

Between the two probes, our knowledge of the 4 giant planets, their
satellites, and their rings has become immense. VOYAGER 1&2 discovered
that Jupiter has complicated atmospheric dynamics, lightning and
aurorae. Three new satellites were discovered. Two of the major
surprises were that Jupiter has rings and that Io has active sulfurous
volcanoes, with major effects on the Jovian magnetosphere.

When the two probes reached Saturn, they discovered over 1000 ringlets
and 7 satellites, including the predicted shepherd satellites that keep
the rings stable. The weather was tame compared with Jupiter: massive
jet streams with minimal variance (a 33-year great white spot/band cycle
is known). Titan's atmosphere was smoggy. Mimas' appearance was
startling: one massive impact crater gave it the Death Star appearance.
The big surprise here was the stranger aspects of the rings. Braids,
kinks, and spokes were both unexpected and difficult to explain.

VOYAGER 2, thanks to heroic engineering and programming efforts,
continued the mission to Uranus and Neptune. Uranus itself was highly
monochromatic in appearance. One oddity was that its magnetic axis was
found to be highly skewed from the already completely skewed rotational
axis, giving Uranus a peculiar magnetosphere. Icy channels were found on
Ariel, and Miranda was a bizarre patchwork of different terrains. 10
satellites and one more ring were discovered.

In contrast to Uranus, Neptune was found to have rather active weather,
including numerous cloud features. The ring arcs turned out to be bright
patches on one ring. Two other rings, and 6 other satellites, were
discovered. Neptune's magnetic axis was also skewed. Triton had a
canteloupe appearance and geysers. (What's liquid at 38K?)

The two VOYAGERs are expected to last for about two more decades. Their
on-target journeying gives negative evidence about possible planets
beyond Pluto. Their next major scientific discovery should be the
location of the heliopause. Low-frequency radio emissions believed to
originate at the heliopause have been detected by both VOYAGERs.


Since there have been so many Soviet probes to the Moon, Venus, and
Mars, I will highlight only the primary missions:


LUNA 1 - Lunar impact attempt in 1959, missed Moon and became first
craft in solar orbit.
LUNA 2 - First craft to impact on lunar surface in 1959.
LUNA 3 - Took first images of lunar farside in 1959.
ZOND 3 - Took first images of lunar farside in 1965 since LUNA 3. Was
also a test for future Mars missions.
LUNA 9 - First probe to soft land on the Moon in 1966, returned images
from surface.
LUNA 10 - First probe to orbit the Moon in 1966.
LUNA 13 - Second successful Soviet lunar soft landing mission in 1966.
ZOND 5 - First successful circumlunar craft. ZOND 6 through 8
accomplished similar missions through 1970. The probes were
unmanned tests of a manned orbiting SOYUZ-type lunar vehicle.
LUNA 16 - First probe to land on Moon and return samples of lunar soil
to Earth in 1970. LUNA 20 accomplished similar mission in
LUNA 17 - Delivered the first unmanned lunar rover to the Moon's
surface, LUNOKHOD 1, in 1970. A similar feat was accomplished
with LUNA 21/LUNOKHOD 2 in 1973.
LUNA 24 - Last Soviet lunar mission to date. Returned soil samples in


VENERA 1 - First acknowledged attempt at Venus mission. Transmissions
lost enroute in 1961.
VENERA 2 - Attempt to image Venus during flyby mission in tandem with
VENERA 3. Probe ceased transmitting just before encounter in
February of 1966. No images were returned.
VENERA 3 - Attempt to place a lander capsule on Venusian surface.
Transmissions ceased just before encounter and entire probe
became the first craft to impact on another planet in 1966.
VENERA 4 - First probe to successfully return data while descending
through Venusian atmosphere. Crushed by air pressure before
reaching surface in 1967. VENERA 5 and 6 mission profiles
similar in 1969.
VENERA 7 - First probe to return data from the surface of another planet
in 1970. VENERA 8 accomplished a more detailed mission in
VENERA 9 - Sent first image of Venusian surface in 1975. Was also the
first probe to orbit Venus. VENERA 10 accomplished similar
VENERA 13 - Returned first color images of Venusian surface in 1982.
VENERA 14 accomplished similar mission.
VENERA 15 - Accomplished radar mapping with VENERA 16 of sections of
planet's surface in 1983 more detailed than PVO.
VEGA 1 - Accomplished with VEGA 2 first balloon probes of Venusian
atmosphere in 1985, including two landers. Flyby buses went on
to become first spacecraft to study Comet Halley close-up in
March of 1986.


MARS 1 - First acknowledged Mars probe in 1962. Transmissions ceased
enroute the following year.
ZOND 2 - First possible attempt to place a lander capsule on Martian
surface. Probe signals ceased enroute in 1965.
MARS 2 - First Soviet Mars probe to land - albeit crash - on Martian
surface. Orbiter section first Soviet probe to circle the Red
Planet in 1971.
MARS 3 - First successful soft landing on Martian surface, but lander
signals ceased after 90 seconds in 1971.
MARS 4 - Attempt at orbiting Mars in 1974, braking rockets failed to
fire, probe went on into solar orbit.
MARS 5 - First fully successful Soviet Mars mission, orbiting Mars in
1974. Returned images of Martian surface comparable to U.S.
probe MARINER 9.
MARS 6 - Landing attempt in 1974. Lander crashed into the surface.
MARS 7 - Lander missed Mars completely in 1974, went into a solar orbit
with its flyby bus.
PHOBOS 1 - First attempt to land probes on surface of Mars' largest
moon, Phobos. Probe failed enroute in 1988 due to
human/computer error.
PHOBOS 2 - Attempt to land probes on Martian moon Phobos. The probe did
enter Mars orbit in early 1989, but signals ceased one week
before scheduled Phobos landing.

While there has been talk of Soviet Jupiter, Saturn, and even
interstellar probes within the next thirty years, no major steps have
yet been taken with these projects. More intensive studies of the Moon,
Mars, Venus, and various comets have been planned for the 1990s, and a
Mercury mission to orbit and land probes on the tiny world has been
planned for 2003. How the many changes in the former Soviet Union (now
the Commonwealth of Independent States) will affect the future of their
space program remains to be seen.


GIOTTO was launched by an Ariane-1 by ESA on July 2 1985, and approached
within 540 km +/- 40 km of the nucleus of comet Halley on March 13,
1986. The spacecraft carried 10 instruments including a multicolor
camera, and returned data until shortly before closest approach, when
the downlink was temporarily lost. Giotto was severely damaged by
high-speed dust encounters during the flyby and was placed into
hibernation shortly afterwards.

In April, 1990, Giotto was reactivated. 3 of the instruments proved
fully operational, 4 partially damaged but usable, and the remainder,
including the camera, were unusable. On July 2, 1990, Giotto made a
close encounter with Earth and was retargeted to a successful flyby of
comet Grigg-Skjellerup on July 10, 1992.

A much more complete description of the Giotto Extended Mission is in



SAKIGAKE (MS-T5) was launched from the Kagoshima Space Center by ISAS on
January 8, 1985, and approached Halley's Comet within about 7 million km
on March 11, 1986. The spacecraft is carrying three instruments to
measure interplanetary magnetic field/plasma waves/solar wind, all of
which work normally now, so ISAS made an Earth swingby by Sakigake on
January 8, 1992 into an orbit similar to the Earth's. The closest
approach was at 23h08m47s (JST=UTC+9h) on January 8, 1992. The
geocentric distance was 88,997 km. This is the first planet-swingby for
a Japanese spacecraft.

During the approach, Sakigake observed the geotail. Some geotail
passages will be scheduled in some years hence. The second Earth-swingby
will be on June 14, 1993 (at 40 Re (Earth's radius)), and the third
October 28, 1994 (at 86 Re).

HITEN, a small lunar probe, was launched into Earth orbit on January 24,
1990. The spacecraft was then known as MUSES-A, but was renamed to Hiten
once in orbit. The 430 lb probe looped out from Earth and made its first
lunary flyby on March 19, where it dropped off its 26 lb midget
satellite, HAGOROMO. Japan at this point became the third nation to
orbit a satellite around the Moon, joining the Unites States and USSR.

The smaller spacecraft, Hagoromo, remained in orbit around the Moon. An
apparently broken transistor radio caused the Japanese space scientists
to lose track of it. Hagoromo's rocket motor fired on schedule on March
19, but the spacecraft's tracking transmitter failed immediately. The
rocket firing of Hagoromo was optically confirmed using the Schmidt
camera (105-cm, F3.1) at the Kiso Observatory in Japan.

Hiten made multiple lunar flybys at approximately monthly intervals and
performed aerobraking experiments using the Earth's atmosphere. Hiten
made a close approach to the moon at 22:33 JST (UTC+9h) on February 15,
1992 at the height of 423 km from the moon's surface (35.3N, 9.7E) and
fired its propulsion system for about ten minutes to put the craft into
lunar orbit. The following is the orbital calculation results after the

Apoapsis Altitude: about 49,400 km
Periapsis Altitude: about 9,600 km
Inclination : 34.7 deg (to ecliptic plane)
Period : 4.7 days


I also recommend reading the following works, categorized in three
groups: General overviews, specific books on particular space missions,
and periodical sources on space probes. This list is by no means
complete; it is primarily designed to give you places to start your
research through generally available works on the subject. If anyone can
add pertinent works to the list, it would be greatly appreciated.

Though naturally I recommend all the books listed below, I think it
would be best if you started out with the general overview books, in
order to give you a clear idea of the history of space exploration in
this area. I also recommend that you pick up some good, up-to-date
general works on astronomy and the Sol system, to give you some extra
background. Most of these books and periodicals can be found in any good
public and university library. Some of the more recently published works
can also be purchased in and/or ordered through any good mass- market

General Overviews (in alphabetical order by author):

J. Kelly Beatty et al, THE NEW SOLAR SYSTEM, 1990.

Merton E. Davies and Bruce C. Murray, THE VIEW FROM SPACE:


Kenneth Gatland, ROBOT EXPLORERS, 1972






SYSTEM, 1988

Eugene F. Mallove and Gregory L. Matloff, THE STARFLIGHT

Frank Miles and Nicholas Booth, RACE TO MARS: THE MARS

Bruce Murray, JOURNEY INTO SPACE, 1989

Oran W. Nicks, FAR TRAVELERS, 1985 (NASA SP-480)


Carl Sagan, COMET, 1986


Carl Sagan, PLANETS, 1969 (LIFE Science Library)


Andrew Wilson, (JANE'S) SOLAR SYSTEM LOG, 1987

Specific Mission References:

Charles A. Cross and Patrick Moore, THE ATLAS OF MERCURY, 1977
(The MARINER 10 mission to Venus and Mercury, 1973-1975)



Margaret Poynter and Arthur L. Lane, VOYAGER: THE STORY OF A

Carl Sagan, MURMURS OF EARTH, 1978 (Deals with the Earth
information records placed on VOYAGER 1 and 2 in case the
probes are found by intelligences in interstellar space,
as well as the probes and planetary mission objectives

Other works and periodicals:

NASA has published very detailed and technical books on every space
probe mission it has launched. Good university libraries will carry
these books, and they are easily found simply by knowing which mission
you wish to read about. I recommend these works after you first study
some of the books listed above.

Some periodicals I recommend for reading on space probes are NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC, which has written articles on the PIONEER probes to Earth's
Moon Luna and the Jovian planets Jupiter and Saturn, the RANGER,
missions to Mercury, Venus, and Mars, the VIKING probes to Mars, and the
VOYAGER missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

More details on American, Soviet, European, and Japanese probe missions
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazines. TIME, NEWSWEEK, and various major
newspapers can supply not only general information on certain missions,
but also show you what else was going on with Earth at the time events
were unfolding, if that is of interest to you. Space missions are
affected by numerous political, economic, and climatic factors, as you
probably know.

Depending on just how far your interest in space probes will go, you
might also wish to join The Planetary Society, one of the largest space
groups in the world dedicated to planetary exploration. Their
periodical, THE PLANETARY REPORT, details the latest space probe
missions. Write to The Planetary Society, 65 North Catalina Avenue,
Pasadena, California 91106 USA.

Good luck with your studies in this area of space exploration. I
personally find planetary missions to be one of the more exciting areas
in this field, and the benefits human society has and will receive from
it are incredible, with many yet to be realized.

Larry Klaes kl...@verga.enet.dec.com

NEXT: FAQ #9/13 - Upcoming planetary probes - missions and schedules

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/new_probes
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:30 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


Information on upcoming or currently active missions not mentioned below
would be welcome. Sources: NASA fact sheets, Cassini Mission Design
team, ISAS/NASDA launch schedules, press kits, agency Web pages.

Information on past, present, and future missions may be found on the
Web starting at

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/projects.html (All missions)
http://www.estec.esa.nl/spdwww/ (ESA missions)
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/NASA/research.html (NASA missions)
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/mip/planet.html (JPL missions)
http://www.isas.ac.jp/info/index-e.html (ISAS missions)

ADEOS - Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (NASDA). Launched August 16,
1996 on an H-II booster. ADEOS will study the Earth's surface and
atmosphere to acquire data on worldwide environmental changes. Includes
a JPL-developed instrument to measure ocean surface winds. See


ASCA (ASTRO-D) - Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics
(ISAS). ASCA is an X-ray astronomy satellite launched into Earth orbit
on 2/20/93. Equipped with large-area wide-wavelength (1-20 Angstrom)
X-ray telescope, X-ray CCD cameras, and imaging gas scintillation
proportional counters.

CASSINI/HUYGENS - Saturn orbiter and Titan atmosphere probe. A joint
NASA/ESA project designed to accomplish an exploration of the Saturnian
system with its Cassini Saturn Orbiter and Huygens Titan Probe. Cassini
is scheduled for launch aboard a Titan IV/Centaur in October of 1997.
After gravity assists of Venus, Earth and Jupiter in a VVEJGA
trajectory, the spacecraft will arrive at Saturn in June of 2004. Upon
arrival, the Cassini spacecraft performs several maneuvers to achieve an
orbit around Saturn. Near the end of this initial orbit, the Huygens
Probe separates from the Orbiter and descends through the atmosphere of
Titan. The Orbiter relays the Probe data to Earth for about 3 hours
while the Probe enters and traverses the cloudy atmosphere to the
surface. After the completion of the Probe mission, the Orbiter
continues touring the Saturnian system for three and a half years. Titan
synchronous orbit trajectories will allow about 35 flybys of Titan and
targeted flybys of Iapetus, Dione and Enceladus. The objectives of the
mission are threefold: conduct detailed studies of Saturn's atmosphere,
rings and magnetosphere; conduct close-up studies of Saturn's
satellites, and characterize Titan's atmosphere and surface.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Titan is the possibility that its
surface may be covered in part with lakes of liquid hydrocarbons that
result from photochemical processes in its upper atmosphere. These
hydrocarbons condense to form a global smog layer and eventually rain
down onto the surface. The Cassini orbiter will use onboard radar to
peer through Titan's clouds and determine if there is liquid on the
surface. Experiments aboard both the orbiter and the entry probe will
investigate the chemical processes that produce this unique atmosphere.

The Cassini mission is named for Jean Dominique Cassini (1625-1712), the
first director of the Paris Observatory, who discovered several of
Saturn's satellites and the major division in its rings. The Titan
atmospheric entry probe is named for the Dutch physicist Christiaan
Huygens (1629-1695), who discovered Titan and first described the true
nature of Saturn's rings.

Key Scheduled Dates for the Cassini Mission (VVEJGA Trajectory)
10/06/97 - Titan IV/Centaur Launch
04/21/98 - Venus 1 Gravity Assist
06/20/99 - Venus 2 Gravity Assist
08/16/99 - Earth Gravity Assist
12/30/00 - Jupiter Gravity Assist
06/25/04 - Saturn Arrival
01/09/05 - Titan Probe Release
01/30/05 - Titan Probe Entry
06/25/08 - End of Primary Mission
(Schedule last updated 7/22/92)



CLEMENTINE - Joint mission of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
(formerly SDIO) and NASA to flight test sensors developed by Lawrence
Livermore for BMDO. The spacecraft, built by the Naval Research Lab, was
launched on January 25, 1994 to a 425 km by 2950 km orbit of the Moon
for a 2 month mapping mission. Instruments onboard include UV to mid-IR
imagers, including an imaging lidar that may be able to also obtain
altimetric data for the middle latitudes of the Moon. In May 1994 the
spacecraft was sent out of Lunar orbit towards a flyby of the asteroid
Geographos, but a malfunction in the onboard computer system resulted in
loss of all attitude control fuel and inability to complete the mission.

Clementine imagery and other data may be obtained from


CLUSTER - ESA project using four spacecraft to study the Earth's plasma
environment. The Ariane 5 booster failed shortly after launch on June 4,
1996 and the mission was lost.

EARTH OBSERVING SYSTEM (EOS) - Multiple orbiting platforms to provide
long-term data of Earth systems science including planetary evolution.
Platform launches are scheduled throughout the late 1990s. More info in
in the sci.geo.eos FAQ, or


GALILEO - Jupiter orbiter and atmosphere probe. Galileo was launched
from the Space Shuttle on October 18, 1989 into a complex trajectory
making use of gravity assists from Venus and (twice) the Earth to gain
enough energy to reach Jupiter. The High Gain Antenna failed to deploy
despite repeated attempts; A combination of data compression on the
spacecraft and enhancements to the receiving antennas in the Deep Space
Network should allow Galileo to achieve the majority 70% of its original
science objectives using the much lower speed Low Gain Antenna. Longterm
Jovian weather monitoring, which is imagery intensive, will suffer the

Galileo return the first resolved images of asteroids, Gaspra and Ida,
while in transit to Jupiter. It arrived in Jupiter orbit on December 7,
1995. The atmospheric probe mission was successful and its data has been
returned to Earth. Several satellite encounters have been completed and
the mission is continuing.

Galileo Orbital Tour Schedule
12/95 - 10/97 - Orbital Tour of Jovian Moons
06/26/96 - Ganymede-1
09/06/96 - Ganymede-2
11/04/96 - Callisto-3
11/06/96 - Europa-3A
12/19/96 - Europa-4
01/20/97 - Europa-5A
02/20/97 - Europa-6
04/04/97 - Europa-7A
04/05/97 - Ganymede-7
05/06/97 - Callisto-8A
05/07/97 - Ganymede-8
06/25/97 - Callisto-9
06/26/97 - Ganymede-9A
09/17/97 - Callisto-10
11/06/97 - Europa-11



HITEN (MUSES-A) - Japanese (ISAS) lunar probe launched 1/24/90. Made
multiple lunar flybys and released Hagoromo, a smaller satellite, into
lunar orbit. This mission made Japan the third nation to orbit a
satellite around the Moon. Hiten impacted the lunar surface on 4/10/93.

INFRARED SPACE OBSERVATORY (ISO) - ESA space telescope, launched
11/17/95. Instruments include an imaging photopolarimeter, camera, and
two spectroscopes. See


MAGELLAN - Venus radar mapping mission. Mapped almost the entire surface
at high resolution and compiled a global gravity map. Magellan ended its
extended mission in October 12, 1994 during an aerobraking experiment
which (intentionally) caused entry into the Venusian atmosphere. See


MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR - A replacement mission to achieve most of the
goals of the failed Mars Observer mission, to be launched by a Delta 2
booster in November 1996. See


MARS OBSERVER - Mars orbiter including 1.5 m/pixel resolution camera.
Launched 9/25/92 on a Titan III/TOS booster. Contact was lost with MO on
8/21/93 while it was preparing for entry into Mars orbit. The spacecraft
has been written off. See


MARS PATHFINDER - Mars lander and microrover to perform technology,
science and engineering experiments on the Martian Surface. To be
launched by a Delta 2 booster in December 1996. See


NEAR - Discovery-class mission to rendezvous with near-Earth asteroid
Eros in February, 1999. Launched 2/17/96 on a Delta II booster. NEAR
will flyby the asteroid Mathilde in June, 1997 and orbit Eros for at
least one year to conduct the first comprehensive measurements of an
asteroid's mass, structure, geology, mineral composition, and gravity
and magnetic fields. See


study the Sun's internal structure. Launched 12/2/95 into a "halo orbit"
1.5 million km sunward from Earth. See


TOPEX/Poseidon - Joint US/French Earth observing satellite, launched
8/10/92 on an Ariane 4 booster. The primary objective of the
TOPEX/POSEIDON project is to make precise and accurate global
observations of the sea level for several years, substantially
increasing understanding of global ocean dynamics. The satellite also
will increase understanding of how heat is transported in the ocean. See


ULYSSES - European Space Agency probe to study the Sun from an orbit
over its poles. Launched in late 1990 from the Space Shuttle using a
two-stage IUS booster, it carries particles-and-fields experiments (such
as magnetometer, ion and electron collectors for various energy ranges,
plasma wave radio receivers, etc.) but no camera.

Since no human-built rocket is hefty enough to send Ulysses far out of
the ecliptic plane, it went to Jupiter instead, and stole energy from
that planet by sliding over Jupiter's north pole in a gravity-assist
manuver in February 1992. This bent its path into a solar orbit tilted
about 85 degrees to the ecliptic. It will pass over the Sun's south pole
in the summer of 1994. Its aphelion is 5.2 AU, and, surprisingly, its
perihelion is about 1.5 AU-- that's right, a solar-studies spacecraft
that's always further from the Sun than the Earth is!

While in Jupiter's neigborhood, Ulysses studied the magnetic and
radiation environment. For a short summary of these results, see
*Science*, V. 257, p. 1487-1489 (11 September 1992). For gory technical
detail, see the many articles in the same issue. Also see


OTHER SPACE SCIENCE MISSIONS (various sources; corrections and updates
are solicited, and primary sources on the Web are likely to be more
accurate. Launch dates are tentative; most shuttle missions are not
listed even when they have some science content).

o VSOP (VLBI Space Observatory Program) [Jan/Feb, M-V, NASDA]
NASA is building 3 specialized tracking stations to record the
wideband radioastronomy data that this spacecraft will produce.


o ISELA [International Space Enterprises/Lavochkin Association]
Commercial proposal to land a rover on the Moon in the vicinity
of the Apollo 11 site, followed by 3-6 months of exploration.
Contact Tom Kessler (tomke...@aol.com) of ISE for details.

Multiple penetrator mission to study the crust structure and
thermal construction of the moon's interior.

Same purpose as VSOP. NRAO is building similar ground stations
for tracking. These two spacecraft will coobserve radio sources
in conjunction with ground based VLBA radio telescopes.

o MARS SURVEYOR 98 [December/January, Delta II, NASA]
Separate orbiter and lander missions continuing the Mars
Surveyor program. See


Mars orbiter to observe interaction between Martian atmosphere
and the solar wind.

Small Explorer mission to survey starburst galaxies, where star
formation is taking place at a high rate. See


High resonance and sensitivity X-ray astronomy. See


Discovery-class mission to rendezvous with comet P/Wild 2.
Stardust will collect cometary dust and volatiles as well as
interstellar dust, returning samples to Earth in 2006. See


High-throughput x-ray spectroscopy satellite. See


Fine spectroscopy and accurate imaging of celestial gamma-ray
sources in the 15 KeV - 10 MeV range. See


Asteroid rendezvous and sample return.

o PLUTO EXPRESS [Molniya or Delta, joint NASA/RSA]
Dual flyby/atmosphere probe mission for low-cost initial
reconnaissance of the Pluto-Charon system. Encounter ~2013.
Proposed new start in FY 1998. See


Fourth element of the Great Observatories program. A free-flying
observatory with a lifetime of 5 to 10 years, it will observe
new comets and other primitive bodies in the outer solar system,
study cosmic birth formation of galaxies, stars and planets and
distant infrared-emitting galaxies. See


Asteroid flyby and rendezvous with comet P/Wirtanen in 2011.
After rendezvous, the spacecraft will stay with the comet along
its trajectory into the inner solar system through perihelion
(the orbital point nearest to the Sun) to study the material
that constitutes the comet, and the cometary processes that
evolve with the decreasing distance from the Sun. One or two
Surface Science Packages will be deployed onto the comet nucleus
surface to provide the means for in-situ studies of the nucleus.

o FIRST (Far InfraRed Space Telescope) [ESA]
Large (3-meter mirror) space observatory with high spatial and
spectral resolution imaging in the approximately 85-900 micron
wavelength region. See


NEXT: FAQ #10/13 - Controversial questions

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/controversy
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:23 $

Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
use requires written permission of the author.


These issues periodically come up with much argument and few facts being
offered. The summaries below attempt to represent the position on which
much of the net community has settled. Please DON'T bring them up again
unless there's something truly new to be discussed. The net can't set
public policy, that's what your representatives are for.


The answer depends heavily on assumptions, some of which are:

- What costs are being spread over missions?
- What's the shuttle flight rate?
- Are figures adjusted for inflation (constant dollars) or not?
- Is the expense of periodically building replacement orbiters (such
as Endeavour) included?

People arguing over shuttle costs on the net are usually arguing from
different assumptions and do not describe their assumptions clearly,
making it impossible to reach agreement. To demonstrate the difficulty,
here are a range of flight cost figures differing by a factor of 35 and
some of the assumptions behind them (all use 1992 constant dollars).

$45 million - marginal cost of adding or removing one flight from
the manifest in a given year.

$414 million - NASA's average cost/flight, assuming planned flight
rates are met and using current fiscal year data only.

$1 billion - operational costs since 1983 spread over the actual
number of flights.

$900 million - $1.35 billion - total (including development) costs
since the inception of the shuttle program, assuming 4 or 8
flights/year and operations ending in 2005 or 2010.

$1.6 billion - total costs through 1992 spread over the actual
number of flights through 1992.

For more detailed information, see the Aviation Week Forum article by
Roger A. Pielke, Jr.: "Space Shuttle Value Open To Interpretation", July
26, 1993, pg. 57.


Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, the Saturn V blueprints
have not been lost. They are kept at Marshall Space Flight Center on
microfilm. The Federal Archives in East Point, GA also has 2900 cubic
feet of Saturn documents. Rocketdyne has in its archives dozens of
volumes from its Knowledge Retention Program. This effort was initiated
in the late '60s to document every facet of F-1 and J-2 engine
production to assist in any future re-start.

The problem in re-creating the Saturn V is not finding the drawings, it
is finding vendors who can supply mid-1960's vintage hardware (like
guidance system components), and the fact that the launch pads and VAB
have been converted to Space Shuttle use, so you have no place to launch

By the time you redesign to accommodate available hardware and re-modify
the launch pads, you may as well have started from scratch with a clean
sheet design.

Other references:

Several AIAA papers delivered in recent years discuss reviving the
Saturn V. For example, AIAA paper 92-1546, "Launch Vehicles for the
Space Exploration Initiative". This paper concluded that a revived
Saturn V was actually cheaper than the NLS vehicle.

An overview of the infrastructure still available to support production
of a 1990s Saturn V and how that vehicle might be used to support First
Lunar Outpost missions can be found in the December 1993 issue of
_Spaceflight_, published by the British Interplanetary Society.


Investigators associated with NASA missions are allowed exclusive access
for one year after the data is obtained in order to give them an
opportunity to analyze the data and publish results without being
"scooped" by people uninvolved in the mission. However, NASA frequently
releases examples (in non-digital form, e.g. photos) to the public early
in a mission.


There has been extensive discussion on this topic sparked by attempts to
block the Galileo and Ulysses launches on grounds of the plutonium
thermal sources being dangerous. Numerous studies claim that even in
worst-case scenarios (shuttle explosion during launch, or accidental
reentry at interplanetary velocities), the risks are extremely small.
Two interesting data points are (1) The May 1968 loss of two SNAP 19B2
RTGs, which landed intact in the Pacific Ocean after a Nimbus B weather
satellite failed to reach orbit. The fuel was recovered after 5 months
with no release of plutonium. (2) In April 1970, the Apollo 13 lunar
module reentered the atmosphere and its SNAP 27 RTG heat source, which
was jettisoned, fell intact into the 20,000 feet deep Tonga Trench in
the Pacific Ocean. The corrosion resistant materials of the RTG are
expected to prevent release of the fuel for a period of time equal to 10
half-lives of the Pu-238 fuel or about 870 years [DOE 1980].

To make your own informed judgement, some references you may wish to
pursue are:

A good review of the technical facts and issues is given by Daniel
Salisbury in "Radiation Risk and Planetary Exploration-- The RTG
Controversy," *Planetary Report*, May-June 1987, pages 3-7. Another good
article, which also reviews the events preceding Galileo's launch,
"Showdown at Pad 39-B," by Robert G. Nichols, appeared in the November
1989 issue of *Ad Astra*. (Both magazines are published by pro-space
organizations, the Planetary Society and the National Space Society

Gordon L Chipman, Jr., "Advanced Space Nuclear Systems" (AAS 82-261), in
*Developing the Space Frontier*, edited by Albert Naumann and Grover
Alexander, Univelt, 1983, p. 193-213.

"Hazards from Plutonium Toxicity", by Bernard L. Cohen, Health Physics,
Vol 32 (may) 1977, page 359-379.

NUS Corporation, Safety Status Report for the Ulysses Mission: Risk
Analysis (Book 1). Document number is NUS 5235; there is no GPO #;
published Jan 31, 1990.

NASA Office of Space Science and Applications, *Final Environmental
Impact Statement for the Ulysses Mission (Tier 2)*, (no serial number or
GPO number, but probably available from NTIS or NASA) June 1990.

[DOE 1980] U.S. Department of Energy, *Transuranic Elements in the
Environment*, Wayne C. Hanson, editor; DOE Document No. DOE/TIC-22800;
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, April 1980.)


From time to time, claims are made that chemicals released from
the Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) are responsible
for a significant amount of damage to the ozone layer. Studies
indicate that they in reality have only a minute impact, both in
absolute terms and relative to other chemical sources. The
remainder of this item is a response from the author of the quoted
study, Charles Jackman.

The atmospheric modelling study of the space shuttle effects on the
stratosphere involved three independent theoretical groups, and was
organized by Dr. Michael Prather, NASA/Goddard Institute for Space
Studies. The three groups involved Michael Prather and Maria Garcia
(NASA/GISS), Charlie Jackman and Anne Douglass (NASA/Goddard Space
Flight Center), and Malcolm Ko and Dak Sze (Atmospheric and
Environmental Research, Inc.). The effort was to look at the effects
of the space shuttle and Titan rockets on the stratosphere.

The following are the estimated sources of stratospheric chlorine:

Industrial sources: 300,000,000 kilograms/year
Natural sources: 75,000,000 kilograms/year
Shuttle sources: 725,000 kilograms/year

The shuttle source assumes 9 space shuttles and 6 Titan rockets are
launched yearly. Thus the launches would add less than 0.25% to the
total stratospheric chlorine sources.

The effect on ozone is minimal: global yearly average total ozone would
be decreased by 0.0065%. This is much less than total ozone variability
associated with volcanic activity and solar flares.

The influence of human-made chlorine products on ozone is computed
by atmospheric model calculations to be a 1% decrease in globally
averaged ozone between 1980 and 1990. The influence of the space shuttle and
Titan rockets on the stratosphere is negligible. The launch
schedule of the Space Shuttle and Titan rockets would need to be
increased by over a factor of a hundred in order to have about
the same effect on ozone as our increases in industrial halocarbons
do at the present time.

Theoretical results of this study have been published in _The Space
Shuttle's Impact on the Stratosphere_, MJ Prather, MM Garcia, AR
Douglass, CH Jackman, M.K.W. Ko and N.D. Sze, Journal of Geophysical
Research, 95, 18583-18590, 1990.

Charles Jackman, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch,
Code 916, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Also see _Chemical Rockets and the Environment_, A McDonald, R Bennett,
J Hinshaw, and M Barnes, Aerospace America, May 1991.


If you *don't* try to hold your breath, exposure to space for half a
minute or so is unlikely to produce permanent injury. Holding your
breath is likely to damage your lungs, something scuba divers have to
watch out for when ascending, and you'll have eardrum trouble if your
Eustachian tubes are badly plugged up, but theory predicts -- and animal
experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no
immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do
not freeze. You do not instantly lose consciousness.

Various minor problems (sunburn, possibly "the bends", certainly some
[mild, reversible, painless] swelling of skin and underlying tissue)
start after ten seconds or so. At some point you lose consciousness from
lack of oxygen. Injuries accumulate. After perhaps one or two minutes,
you're dying. The limits are not really known.

An expanded discussion of this issue, citing several case studies, may
be found at



_The Effect on the Chimpanzee of Rapid Decompression to a Near Vacuum_,
Alfred G. Koestler ed., NASA CR-329 (Nov 1965).

_Experimental Animal Decompression to a Near Vacuum Environment_, R.W.
Bancroft, J.E. Dunn, eds, Report SAM-TR-65-48 (June 1965), USAF School
of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas.

_Survival Under Near-Vacuum Conditions_ in the article "Barometric
Pressure," by C.E. Billings, Chapter 1 of _Bioastronautics Data Book_,
Second edition, NASA SP-3006, edited by James F. Parker Jr. and Vita R.
West, 1973.


The Challenger shuttle was not destroyed in an explosion. This is a
well-documented fact; see the Rogers Commission report, for example.
What looked like an explosion was fuel burning after the external tank
came apart.

The medical/forensic report by Joe Kerwin's team confirmed what was
already suspected for other reasons: at least some of the crew were not
only alive, but conscious, for at least a few seconds after the orbiter
broke up. The forces of the breakup were not violent enough for a high
probability of lethal injury, and some of the emergency-escape air packs
had been turned on manually.

However, unless the cabin held pressure -- which could not be determined
positively, but seems unlikely -- they almost certainly were unconscious
within seconds, and did not recover before water impact. They did not
have oxygen masks (the emergency-escape packs held air, not oxygen, for
use in pad emergencies) and the cabin apogee was circa 100,000ft.

The circa 200MPH water impact was most certainly violent enough to kill
them all. It smashed the cabin so badly that Kerwin's team could not
determine whether it had held pressure or not. Their bodies then spent
several weeks underwater. Their remains were recovered, and after the
Kerwin team examined them, they were sent off to be buried.

The Kerwin report was discussed in Aviation Week and other sources at
the time. World Spaceflight News printed the full text.


You can't use the shuttle orbiter for missions beyond low Earth orbit
because it can't get there. It is big and heavy and does not carry
enough fuel, even if you fill part of the cargo bay with tanks.

Furthermore, it is not particularly sensible to do so, because much of
that weight is things like wings, which are totally useless except in
the immediate vicinity of the Earth. The shuttle orbiter is highly
specialized for travel between Earth's surface and low orbit. Taking it
higher is enormously costly and wasteful. A much better approach would
be to use shuttle subsystems to build a specialized high-orbit

[Yet another concise answer by Henry Spencer.]


There really is a big rock on Mars that looks remarkably like a humanoid
face. It appears in two different frames of Viking Orbiter imagery:
35A72 (much more facelike in appearance, and the one more often
published, with the Sun 10 degrees above western horizon) and 70A13
(with the Sun 27 degrees from the west). The feature, about 2.5 km
across, is located near 9 degrees longitude, +41 degrees N latitude,
near the border between region Arabia Terra and region Acidalia

Science writer Richard Hoagland has championed the idea that the Face is
artificial, intended to resemble a human, and erected by an
extraterrestrial civilization. Most other analysts concede that the
resemblance is most likely accidental. Other Viking images show a
smiley-faced crater and a lava flow resembling Kermit the Frog elsewhere
on Mars. There exists a Mars Anomalies Research Society (see address for
"Mars Research" below) to study the Face.

Due to the unfortunate loss of the Mars Observer mission, this issue
will remain open for future missions. In the meantime, speculation about
the Face is best carried on in the altnet group alt.alien.visitors, not
sci.space.* or sci.astro.

More detailed discussions of the Face, including raw and processed
imagery and discussion of plans for observation by the upcoming Mars
Global Surveyor, are at


Some references:

V. DiPeitro and G. Molenaar, *Unusual Martian Surface Features*, Mars
Research, P.O. Box 284, Glen Dale, Maryland, USA, 1982. $18 by mail.

R.R. Pozos, *The Face of Mars*, Chicago Review Press, 1986. [Account of
an interdisciplinary speculative conference Hoagland organized to
investigate the Face]

R.C. Hoagland, *The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever*,
North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, USA, 1987. [Elaborate
discussion of evidence and speculation that formations near the Face
form a city]

M.J. Carlotto, "Digital Imagery Analysis of Unusual Martian Surface
Features," *Applied Optics*, 27, pp. 1926-1933, 1987. [Extracts
three-dimensional model for the Face from the 2-D images]

M.J. Carlotto & M.C. Stein, "A Method of Searching for Artificial
Objects on Planetary Surfaces," *Journal of the British Interplanetary
Society*, Vol. 43 no. 5 (May 1990), p.209-216. [Uses a fractal image
analysis model to guess whether the Face is artificial]

B. O'Leary, "Analysis of Images of the `Face' on Mars and Possible
Intelligent Origin," *JBIS*, Vol. 43 no. 5 (May 1990), p. 203-208.
[Lights Carlotto's model from the two angles and shows it's consistent;
shows that the Face doesn't look facelike if observed from the surface]

NEXT: FAQ #11/13 - Space activist/interest/research groups & space publications

Jon Leech

Sep 17, 1996, 3:00:00 AM9/17/96

Archive-name: space/launchers
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:27 $


Last update: October 31, 1995

The Orbital and Planetary Launch Services FAQ is intended to provide
basic performance data and background information for all existing or
near future space launch vehicles. The document was compiled and is
maintained by Josh Hopkins (jbho...@uiuc.edu). While other documents
provide much more detailed information (see the reference list), I have
been able to find no public document which covers as many launch
vehicles or is updated as frequently. Therefore I hope this reference
fills a useful niche. This FAQ entry may be copied and distributed, but may
not be modified without the author's permission. Requests to modify
this FAQ, questions, feedback, data, good jokes, or offers of employment
are welcome and should be directed to the author at the e-mail address above.

All data in this document were collected from public sources.
The following references were significant, and are recommended for further

"International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems" by Steven J.
Isakowitz, 1991 edition. Published by AIAA.
(Note that a new edition is in press)

"Transportation Systems Data Book" NASA Marshall SFC. Revision A 1995.

"Small Launchers in the Future, a Global Overview of Their Features and
Prospects." W.G. Nauman, ESA, presented at the 1994 IAF conference.

"1991-1992 Europe and Asia in Space," compiled by Nicholas Johnson and
David Rodvold for USAF Phillips Lab.

User's guides and other documentation provided by the manufacturers were
also utilized frequently.

As an additional source of information, NASA maintains a web page at
http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/elvpage.html which includes some information
about expendable launch vehicles used by NASA. While the site doesn't
contain much technical information, it does have pictures of American
launch vehicles, and can provide a good introduction for readers
unfamiliar with rockets.

Readers interested in planetary launch capabilities may wish to read

"Capabilities, Costs, and Constraints of Space Transportation for Planetary
Missions," by Karen Poniatowski and Michael Osmolovsky of NASA HQ's Launch
Vehicle Office.

This paper, along with papers on planetary capabilities of the Delta,
Titan II and M-V were presented at the 1994 IAA International Conference
on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, and are archived in Acta Astronautica,
Vol 35, 1995.


* Vehicle types which had not yet flown as of the latest update are
marked with asterisks.

* Unless otherwise specified LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and polar orbit payload
data are for a 100 nm orbit. LEO performance is generally given for the
lowest inclination achievable from the vehicle's main launch site.
In some cases, sources provide performance data for non-standard orbits
without explicitly saying so. This can introduce some errors into the
data for less common vehicles.

* GTO stands for Geostationary Transfer Orbit, and should not be confused
with GEO, Geostationary Earth Orbit. The impulse from GTO to GEO is
generally performed by the satellite or an attached apogee kick motor,
so launch vehicles specify only GTO capability.

* Price and performance data may vary. Launch prices depend on the
spacecraft, currency exchange rates, and market fluctuation. Payload
depends on fairing and adapter selection. This data should be accurate
enough to make comparisons and conduct preliminary analysis. Potential
users requiring precise data should contact the manufacturers.

* Reliability data is current to at least December 1994 for almost all
vehicle families. However, it is difficult to find comprehensive data
for some Russian or Chinese systems since they were often secret, and
data on the more obscure foreign launch systems doesn't get published
very frequently. When data is available, sources sometimes disagree.
Therefore, reliability data for a few launchers may be out of date or


Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

Ariane Ariane 4: 39/42 92.8%
AR40 4900 3900 1900 $65m
(10,800) (8580) (4190)
AR42P 6100 4800 2600 $67m
(13,400) (10,600) (5730)
AR44P 7725 5500 3000 $70m
(17,000) (12,100) (6610)
AR42L 7400 5900 3200 $90m
(16,300) (13,000) (7050)
AR44LP 8300 6600 3700 $95m
(18,300) (14,500) (8160)
AR44L 9600 7700 4200 $115m
(21,100) (16,900) (9260)

* AR5 18,000 ??? 6920 0/0 $105m
(39,600) (15,224)

The Ariane 4 series holds the largest market share in the international
commercial launch market. Development is funded by the European Space
Agency and lead by CNES, the French space agency. Operations are conducted
by Arianespace. The vehicles launch from French Guiana in South America.
The Ariane 5, an all new design, is scheduled for first launch in April of
1996. The Ariane 4 will be phased out by late 1998. Ariane 5 was
designed to launch multiple large communications satellites for a lower
cost than previous versions. However, satellites have continued to grow
since the program was started almost ten years ago. There is speculation
that Ariane 5 will eventually be too small to launch two satellites, but
too large to launch just one. Therefore, ESA has approved a roughly
$1-2 billion "Ariane 5 Evolution" project to increase GTO payload to about
7.4 tons in small increments after the year 2000.

Atlas 32/37 86.5% in last 10 years
Atlas I 5580 4670 2250 $70m
(12,300) (10,300) (4950)

Atlas II 6395 5400 2680 $75m
(14,100) (11,900) (5900)

Atlas IIA 6760 5715 2810 $85m
(14,900) (12,600) (6200)

Atlas IIAS 8390 6805 3490 $115m
(18,500) (15,000) (7700)

Atlas is the largest commerical launch vehicle in the US and is used
frequently for commercial and military launches. Starting in the summer
of 1995, Atlas is being marketed jointly with the Russian Proton vehicle by
International Launch Services, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and
Russian aerospace companies. This offers more flexibility for customers.

Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

Conestoga 0/1
* Conestoga 1229 665 500 -- $15.5m
(1460) (110)

* Conestoga 1679 1500 1250 ??? ??
(3300) (2750)

Conestoga 1620 1980 ??? 960 0/1 $18m
(4355) (2115)

Conestoga has been a very star-crossed project. The vehicle was first
proposed by Deke Slayton's Space Services Inc, which was founded back in
1979 and eventually purchased by EER Systems Corporation. Conestoga got
its big break when it was picked for the COMET (now METEOR) program, to
launch three of the recoverable capsules. Unfortunately, the program
dragged on, over budget and behind schedule, and was even cancelled for a
while. Recently, a new arrangement was worked out to launch the METEOR
capsule once, in the hope that this would attract commercial customers.
The first Conestoga launch was attempted in August, but delayed by faulty
pressurization in the thrust vector control system. A second attempt
in October ended in the destruction of the vehicle. Unlike the LLV,
Conestoga does not have a significant order backlog, so its future is
Conestoga is assembled from Castor IV solid rocket motors and has been
offered in a variety of different configurations. In addition to those
listed above, the Conestoga 3632 and 5672 have been offered for larger

Delta 48/49 98% in last 10 years
* Delta Lite 1985 1510 660 ~$25m
w/o SSRM (4365) (3320) (1450)

* Delta Lite 2610 2030 860 ~$25m
w/ SSRM (5740) (4465) (1890)

* Delta 7326 2865 2095 950 ???
(6300) (4610) (2090)

Delta 7925 5,045 3,830 1,820 $50m
(11,100) (8,420) (4,000)

* Delta III ? ? 3,800 ???

The Delta launch vehicle family is built and marketed by McDonnell Douglas.
The Delta II (6925 and 7925 configurations) has proved reliable, but is
too small for most geosynchronous satellites. Therefore, McDonnell Douglas
is developing the Delta III, with a much larger payload. Hughes has
purchased 10 launches for its satellites. New Delta versions were also
designed for NASA's Med-Lite contract, which sought launch vehicles between
the size of small launchers like Pegasus, and the Delta II, which was the
smallest of the large launchers. The smaller Delta versions will be used
for future Mars missions, among other things. First launches for each
of the new vehicles are planned for 1998.

Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

H series 12/12 100%
H-2 10,500 6600 4000 3/3 $160m
(23,000) (14,500) (8800)

The H-2 is the first Japanese launch vehicle to be entirely developed
domestically. Previous N series and H-1 vehicles used Delta components.
The H-2 is designed to carry heavy payloads to orbit and has worked well
so far. However, it is unlikely to be commercially attractive in the near
future, due to high costs and low flight rates. NASDA hopes to cut
costs by as much as 50% by the turn of the century, in part by simplifying
the design and including some foreign components. The H-2 is the
cornerstone of NASDA's plans for increasing activities in space, including
eventual human missions.

J series 0/0 $43m
* J-1 900 ??? ???

The J-1 is a small booster developed jointly by NASDA, Japan's space
applications agency, and ISAS, the science agency. It combines solid
boosters from the H-2 and M-3S-II vehicles. First launch is scheduled for
February of 1996. Like other Japanese vehicles, the J-1 is for government
use, and is not expected to be commercialized in the near future.

Kosmos 371/377 98.4%
Kosmos [400 km circular orbit] $???
51 degrees - 1400 kg
83 degrees - 1105 kg

Kosmos (also spelled Cosmos) is a Russian vehicle comparable in size to
the American Taurus. (That is, the OSC Taurus, not the Ford Taurus).
Following back to back failures of the Pegasus XL, LLV, and Conestoga in
the summer and fall of 1995, Kosmos attracted attention in the United
States as an alternative launcher with a more reliable history. Several
companies have worked out joint agreements with the manufacturer, Polyot.
Assured Space Access appears to be the current favorite, although other
companies have also been involved. Final Analysis Inc. has reserved a
number of launches for its own use and is marketing extra payload space
on those launches.
Space News says Kosmos has launched roughly 730 times, in contrast to the
numbers above, from Isakowitz. The 1991-1992 edition of Europe and Asia in
Space says Ksomos had reached orbit 389 times. I assume the Space News
figure is a typo, unless anyone has other information.

Lockheed Launch Vehicle 0/1
LLV-1 795 515 --- $16m
(1,755) (1140)

* LLV-2 1,985 1490 593 $22m
(4,835) (3,145) (1305)

* LLV-3 3,655 2,855 1,136 TBD
(8,060) (6,295) (2,500)

The first flight of the LLV-1 failed during the summer of 1995 when the
vehicle began pitching out of control. The cause of the accident was still
under investigation at this writing. Fortunately, the vehicle has a
good order book for such a new vehicle, including NASA's Lewis and Clark
satellites, and the Lunar Prospector mission. Therefore the LLV should
be able to overcome this initial setback. The LLV-3 version has four
variants, with 2 to 6 Castor IVA small solid rocket boosters. Space News
reports that Lockheed Martin will change the name of the booster to "Astria."

Long March
* CZ-1D 720 ??? 200 0/0 $10m
(1,590) (440)

CZ-2C 2800 1750 1000 14/14 $20m
(7040) (3860) (2200)

CZ-2E 9200 ??? 3370 3/5 $40m
(20,300) (7430)

CZ-3 5050 ??? 1500 7/9 $33m
(11,150) (3300)

CZ-3A ??? ??? 2500 1/1 $???m

* CZ-3B ??? ??? 4800 0/0 $???m

CZ-4 4000 2500 1100 2/2 $???m
(8800) (5500) (2430)

The Long March family includes a variety of different vehicles from the
small CZ-1D to the CZ-2E heavy GEO launcher. They are used both for
national programs and for international commercial launches. While Long
March vehicles are restricted from undercutting western prices by more than
15%, they have been attractive to many satellite owners in Asia. The
CZ-2E has suffered two poorly explained failures while carrying Hughes
HS-601 spacecraft. Several CZ-2C/SD vehicles will be used to launch
Iridium spacecraft starting in 1998. First launch for the 1D and 3B
variants is scheduled for 1996. There have also been reports of a new
"CZ-3C" variant with strap-on boosters. In addition, China has operated
the CZ-2D, which is slightly larger than the 2C version. However,
data on these vehicles are not available.

Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

M Series
* M-V 1950 1300 1215 0/0 $70m
(4300) (2860) (2680)

The M-V is an all-solid, small launch vehicle under development for ISAS,
Japan's space science agency. The vehicle will fly approximately once
per year, carrying payloads such as the upcoming Lunar A and Planet B
missions to the Moon and Mars. First launch is planned for 1996.
ISAS has also studied, but rejected, air launched versions of M-V.

Pegasus/Taurus 7/9 77%
Pegasus XL 455 365 125 0/2 $13.5m
(1,000) (800) (275)

Taurus 1,450 1,180 375 1/1 $15m
(3,200) (2,600) (830)

Pegasus was the first new American vehicle in more than a decade, and
deserves some credit for restarting the interest in small satellites.
Pegasus is a small, all solid rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.
The winged rocket is launched from beneath the company's L1011 aircraft.
The original Pegasus configuration is being phased out, in favor of the
Pegasus XL (Extended Length). The first two Pegasus XL flights were
failures, but OSC hopes to have the rocket flying again soon.

Taurus was developed to meet military requirements for rapid launch of
small spacecraft. It consists of Pegasus stages mounted atop a Castor 120
first stage. Taurus will be used in conjuction with Delta-Lite for small
missions under the Med-Lite contract.

Proton 96/103 93.2% in last 10 years
Proton 20,000 ??? 5,500 $65m
(44,100) (12,200)

Proton is the heavy lift workhorse of the former Soviet launch stable.
It is being marketed in the west by International Launch Services, a joint
venture between Krunichev and Lockheed Martin. ILS also offers the Atlas.
Russia is currently limited to offering prices within 7.5% of western
prices and the number of GEO launches is limited to 8 before the year 2000.
However, there is speculation that these restrictions may be abandoned
as Russian launches become more commercialized. ILS has twelve western
contracts for Proton launches, starting in 1996 with an Astra satellite for
Societe Europeenne de Satellites of Luxembourg. Proton is also scheduled to
play an important role in launching space station components. Krunichev
plans to offer new upper stages for Proton, including the storable
propellant Breeze-M upper stage in 1998 and the OHSM cryogenic stage a
few years later. Proton will put 3.2 tons in GEO with Breeze-M and
4.5 tons with OHSM. Current GEO capability is about 2.6 tons with the
Block D upper stage. In addition to these technical changes, ILS is
considering conducting Proton launches from Cape Canaveral, or sites
in Australia or Brazil. Launching closer to the equator would increase

Shavit 3/3 100%
Shavit ??? 160 ??? 3/3 $22m

Shavit is Israel's first, and so far only, launch vehicle. It is
believed to be derived from the Jericho II ballistic missile. Israel
Aircraft Industries is developing a more advanced version with an
added stage, which would be called "Next." The payload of the new vehicle
would be slightly higher than Pegasus, and a cost of $15 million has
been suggested. Commercialization is desired because Israeli missions
number less than one a year and have limited government support. In order
to avoid dropping spent stages on Arab neighbors, Israel launches west
over the Mediterranean, decreasing the vehicle's performance significantly.

Space Shuttle 69/70 98.6%
Shuttle/RSRM 23,500 ??? 5,900 69/70 [I'm not going
(51,800) (13,000) to touch the
price issue]

More has been written, and read, about the space shuttle than any other
launch vehicle. Therefore, there is little that can usefully be written

Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

SLV 5/10 50%
(India) (400km) [900km polar]
ASLV 150 ??? ??? 2/4 $???m

PSLV 3,000 1,000 450 1/2 $???m
(6,600) (2,200) (990)

* GSLV 8,000 ??? 2,500 0/0 $???m
(17,600) (5,500)

India's first (albeit unsuccessful) orbital launch was in 1979, with the
Satellite Launch Vehicle capable of carrying 40 kg to orbit. Despite a
very small budget and technical difficulties (early launches occured only
once every few years and had a 33% success rate), India has continued to
build a strong space program. The Advanced Satellite Launch Vechicle was
used to orbit small Rohini experimental satellites. The Polar Satellite
Launch vehicle is being used to orbit indigenously built IRS remote
sensing satellites. The Geosynchronous SLV is projected to come online
around the turn of the century, to launch India's communications satellites.
GSLV development was delayed when the US tried to prevent the sale of
Russian cryogenic engine technology to India.

(Russia) [650km]
Vostok 4,730 1,840 ??? ?/149 $??m
(10,400) (4,060)

Soyuz 7,000 ??? ??? 1023/1098 $??m

Molniya 1500kg (3300 lbs) in ?/258 $???M
Highly eliptical orbit

The Soyuz/Vostok series is the same family of vehicles which launched
Sputnik and Gagarin. 1500 launches later, the Soyuz vehicle is still
used to carry cosmonauts to the Mir space station and launches most
medium-sized Russian satellites. The Russian Space Agency plans to
replace the current model Soyuz with a vehicle called "Rus" in 1997.
The payload will be increased by a few hundred kilograms to allow Russia
to launch Soyuz TM capsules to Mir from Plesetsk, rather than being
dependent on the launch facilities in Kazakhstan.

Start 1/2
Start-1 0/1
??? 600 ??? $7m ?

The Start program began with the START vehicle derived form the Soviet SS-20.
In order to avoid conflict over arms control agreements, the project
switched to the Start-1 vehicle, which is derived from Russian SS-25 ICBM.
One mission, carrying small satellites from Israel and Mexico, failed.
Start seems to have enough momentum to overcom this. The fact that
the rockets can be launched from a mobile transporter makes them attractive
to a number of countries which do not have their own launch facilities.

Vehicle | Payload kg (lbs) | Reliability | Price
(nation) | LEO Polar GTO | |

Titan 26/30 86.7% in last 10 years
Titan II ??? 1,905 ??? 5/5 $43m

Titan IV/SRM 17,700 14,100 6,350 10/11 $315m-$360m
(39,000) (31,100) (14,000)

Titan IV/SRMU 21,640 18,600 8,620 0/0 $300m
(47,700) (41,000) (19,000)

Titan II vehicles are left over ballistic missiles which have been
refurbished for space launch. They are used for polar orbiting Earth
observation systems. It was a Titan II that launched Clementine. Titan IV
is used mainly for large military payloads, including Milstar communications
spacecraft and classified intelligence platforms. A Titan IV is also
booked to launch NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn. Note that because
all Titan IV launches are government missions, and most are classified,
prices are subject to debate. The SRMU is an advanced solid rocket
booster, which should come online in 1996.

Zenit 22/25 88%
Zenit 13,740 11,380 4300 $65m
(30,300) (25,090) (9480)

Zenit is the newest of the large former Soviet vehicles, having come online
in 1985. It suffered three consecutive failures between 1990 and 1992,
but appears to have overcome those growing pains. Zenits are manufactured
in Ukraine by NPO Yuznoye. Boeing recently announced a joint venture
with NPO Yuznoye and the Norwegian marine engineering company Kvaerner
to launch Zenits from a modified oil platform starting around 1998.
Due to the lower launch site latitude and a new upper stage from RSC Energia,
performance will increase. Payload to GTO will increase to about 5400 kg.
Payload to LEO will be about 13,000 kg. Price is unknown at this time.
Check out Boeing's web page at http://www.boeing.com/sealaunch.html for more

A large number of new vehicles are on the drawing boards of aerospace
companies around the world. The following entries describe some of the more
serious ventures. Plus signs mark those vehicles which seem most likely to
make it off the launch pad. In some cases, recently defunct ventures are
listed for information purposes. These are marked with an X. Information
on other launch vehicle programs or further details on those listed below
is welcome.

X AMROC/Aquila (United States)
A company called American Rocket, or AMROC has been working on
developing hybrid rocket motors for launch vehicles for over ten years,
and at one time looked like it might be the first small launcher on the
market. The most recent configurations went by the name Aquila.
Unfortunately, AMROC went bankrupt in the summer of 1995.

+ Angara (Russia)
Russia plans to develop an all new heavy launch vehicle, perhaps to
replace the Zenit, which is manufactured in the Ukraine. The Russians
emphasize that Angara will use only environmentally clean propellants,
unlike the Proton, which uses nitrogen tetroxide and UDMH. The vehicle
is planned to come online around 2001 or so, and carry 26 tons to LEO
and 4.5 tons to GEO. That would make it slightly larger than Proton.
Krunichev, the manufacturer, has suggested that the first stage might
eventually be made reusable. The first stage engine will be an RD-174,
which is derived from the RD-170 Zenit engine. The second stage engine
will be derived from the Proton upper stage.

Aussroc (Australia)
Aussroc is a proposed derivative of small indigenous sounding
rockets currently being test fired. The last sounding rocket test
failed. The current development program is a mix of university,
government and industry work. An orbital launch vehicle is probably
at least ten years away.

Burlak/Diana (Russia/Germany)
Burlak is a proposed air launched, liquid propellant booster
somewhat larger than Pegasus. Payload figures suggest performance
of roughly 1000 kg to LEO, and roughly 600 kg to a 700 km polar orbit.
Burlak would be launched from beneath a Tu-160 Blackjack bomber.
Some financial support has been received from DARA (the German space
agency) and OHB System GmbH, a German firm. Estimated launch cost is
around $5 million.

Capricornio (Spain)
Capricornio is a Spanish project to build a launcher for 100 kg
class satellites to be launched from the Canary Islands. First launch
is scheduled for 1997 or 1998. Total budget for development through
first flight is $32 million dollars. Earlier information suggested this
program had been cancelled in favor of launching the Spanish
minisatellite on Pegasus. However, the program appears to have been

Eagle (United States)
E'Prime Aerospace has proposed a small launcher based on MX missile
solid rocket motors. They have received permission from the US
government for use of the motors. Little recent information is

+ EELV - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (United States)
The US Air Force has the responsibility for funding development of
US government ELV programs; EELV is their answer. The idea is to spend
$2 billion to develop a family of vehicles which can launch all military
spacecraft. Theoretically, the consolidation would mean high flight
rates for one vehicle type, thus lowering unit costs. Currently four
teams are designing vehicles under contracts worth $30 million each.
Boeing leads a team which proposes a semi-reusable vehicle with an
SSME-powered core and strap on solid boosters. Alliant Tech Systems
(which bought Hercules) proposes a family of solid launchers, with an
Arian V core thrown in for heavy lift missions. McDonnell Douglas is
proposing modified versions of its Delta vehicles. No concrete
information on Lockheed Martin's plans is available. The next design
phase starts with a downselect to two teams in 1996.

ESA/CNES small launchers (Europe)
ESA and the French space agency CNES have considered all manner
of small launchers, be they solid or liquid, air launched or ground
launched. Proposals have included derivatives of Ariane, various
national missile programs, or Russian vehicles like Soyuz. The current
study project is the European Small Launcher (ESL), an all solid vehicle
which could launch one ton into a 700 km sun-synchronous orbit for $20
million. The decision on whether or not to pursue the project will
be made by the end of 1995. In the past, no small launch vehicle
has ever made it beyond the study phase. Arianespace Chairman
Charles Bigot said at the 1995 Paris Air Show "In the near future
Arianespace has no reason to enter the market of lightsat launches with
a specific launcher." Given this attitude and the very tight budgets
at European space agencies, it is unlikely that Europe will field a
multinational small launcher before the end of the millenium. Programs
in Spain and Italy and joint ventures with Russian firms offer the
best hope for European small launch capability.

Italian small launchers (Italy)
A variety of small launch vehicles have been studied and tested
by the Italian space agency, University of Rome, and Italian aerospace
firms. Generally the vehicles are derived from Scout components, since
Italy has experience launching Scout rockets from their San Marco
platform off the coast of Kenya. Various projects have gone by the
names Vega, Zefiro, San Marco Scout, Advanced Scout, etc. Italy clearly
has a strong interest in a small solid vehicle, but has not yet been
able to convert that to a steady development program, due in part to
instability in the government.

Kistler K-1 (United States)
Kistler is a new aerospace company, which plans to use private funds
to develop an all reusable, two stage small launch vehicle. Tests of
hardware for the K-0, a subscale engineering test vehicle, have been
conducted. The Kistler fleet would include the K-1, with a payload
of 2000 pounds to LEO starting around the turn of the century, and
the K-2 which would carry 6000 pounds a starting a few years later.
Eventually, Kistler would like to build the K-3, which could launch
20,000 lbs. The company is releasing little public information, and
management and engineering shakeups have been occuring, which
could affect the design and timeline for the fleet. For more information,
see the Kistler homepage at

X OrbEx (United States)
CTA had a contract with BMDO for a launch on a small "ORBital
EXpress" vehicle. However, that contract has been cancelled, and
CTA has put the project on indefinate hold because of a glut of small

+ PacAstro (United States)
PacAstro now has at least three contracts; customers include KITcom
of Australia which plans to launch satellites similar to Orbcomm, and
the Swedish Space Corp. Much of the technology will be developed under
contract with US Air Force for a sounding rocket dubbed PA-X. The PA-2
will carry 340 kg (750 lbs) to LEO or 225 kg (500 lbs) to a polar orbit
for $6 million dollars. This entry will probably be updated and moved
into Section 2 during the next FAQ revision. Meanwhile, check out the
web site at http://www.newspace.com/AeroAstro/AA-projects.html#2.6.

+ Rockot (Russia/Germany)
Rokot is a three stage liquid propellant launch system developed in
Russia and funded in part by German companies. It will be marketed
by Eurockot Launch Services GmbH. Rockot is derived from the SS-19 ICBM
with an aditional upper stage, and should be able to put about 1800
kg into low orbits. Sources disagree on the schedule for the first

+ Russian small launchers (Russia)
A large number of new small launch vehicles are being designed in
Russia. They are usually derived from ICBMs or SLBMs, though some
are developed around existing space launch components. They differ
widely in the level of "reality." Some have financial and
institutional backing and even customers, while other proposals are
probably just trial balloons floated by hopeful rocket engineers. The
trick is figuring out which is which. A brief summary of the more
viable-seeming plans:
Riksha-1: Under development at NPO Energomash, to launch 1.7 tons to
LEO for $10 million starting around 1999. Propellants would be LOX and
liquified natural gas.
Surf: Sea-launched vehicle derived from the SSN-23 and SSN-20
submarine ballistic missiles. Five, count'em five, stages.
Demonstration launch planned soon. Managed by Sea Launch Investors,
a joint US-Russian company. Payload of roughly two tons to LEO.
Volna, Vysota, Shtil: More SLBM derivatives.
Space Clipper: Air launched version of SS-24. Technically, this is a
Ukraine venture, since the manufacturer is NPO Yuzhone.
Rockot, Burlak, Start: Rockot and Burlak both have German backing,
so they've been given their own entries above. Start actually has a
flight history, and is therefore listed in Section 2 as a currently
operational launch vehicle (though unfortuantely I still don't have much
data on it).

Scorpius/Liberty (United Sates)
Microcosm Inc. of Torrance, CA has recently tested small (5000 lbf)
pressure fed, ablative cooled rocket engines powered by LOX/Kerosene.
They propose clustering 49 of these engines in seven side-by-side pods
to create a rocket which can launch 2.2 tons to orbit for $1.7 million.
Flight tests of sounding rockets testing some components are being
considered for 1997. (See Av. Week, Sept 25, 1995, p 103)

Seagull (Russia/Australia)
Russian organizations and the Australian Space Office are discussing
a project to co-produce a liquid-fueled space launcher with a capacity
of about one ton into low orbit. The vehicle would be a new design,
though it would use a number of existing components. Launch would take
place either from Woomera or a site on the northeast coast of Australia.

+ VLS (Brazil)
The VLS has been a long standing goal of the Agencia Espacial
Brasileria and a major part of the Brazilian Complete Space Misson (MECB).
The launcher is derived from the Sonda IV sounding rocket and is
currently designed to put 185 kg into a 750 km orbit. First launch
is currently planned for 1996 or 1997 from Brazil's Alcantara range,
which is located about as close to the Equator as a launch site can get.
However, the VLS first launch has been pushed back several times in the
past, so that date should not be considered firm. Budget cuts and
conflicts with the US over missile technology export controls have
delayed the program previously.

+ X-34 (United States)
X-34 would be a semi-reusable vehicle, with development funded
in part by a $70 million contract with NASA. The project is managed
by OSC and Rockwell, which are spending a total of $100 million on
the project. Current plans are for the vehicle to be carried atop
a NASA 747 shuttle transporter and launched at altitude. The vehicle
would reach roughly half of orbital velocity and eject a satellite with
an expendable upper stage to reach orbit. Estimated price is around
$4 million per launch. First flight is planned for 1998 or 1999.

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