The Space Review: The Sun Also Sneezes

This week in The Space Review….

Taking the initiative: SLI and the next generation
While there’s been a recent surge in interest in reusable spacecraft, including both capsules and winged vehicles, work on reusable launch vehicles has languished. Stewart Money argues that it’s time to revisit making launch vehicles at least partially reusable.

When the Sun sneezes
Last week the Sun produced the most powerful solar flare in four years, a reminder that the Sun is approaching another peak in activity that could pose hazards to modern-day civilization. Jeff Foust reports on the steps scientists and government agencies are taking to predict and prepare for solar storms.

The case for international cooperation in space exploration
ESA is currently weighing which major space science mission it should pursue in the coming decade, a decision that will rest in part on the role of international cooperation on this missions. Lou Friedman suggests that this could be a model for broader cooperation in space exploration.

Review: Voyages of Discovery
Later this week the space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch on what will almost certainly be its final mission. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a history of Discovery and the over three dozen missions it’s flown.

The flight of the Big Bird (part 3)
Dwayne Day continues his history of the KH-9 HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite program with an examination of spacecraft operations, including the deep sea recovery of one of the first film capsules returned by a KH-9.

This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston….

1. Monday, January 31, 2011 , 2-3:30 PM PST: We welcome Meidad Pariente, ME of Israel to discuss GEO satellite collision issues.

2. Tuesday, January 31, 2011, 7-8:30 PM PST: We welcome back Berin Szoka regarding internet freedom issues and his new book, “The Next Digital Decade: Essays on the Future of the Internet.”

3. Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 , 9:30-11 AM PST: We welcome back Michael Belfiore to discuss his new body of work, articles, and more.

4. Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, 12-1:30 PM PST: We welcome Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese regarding space policy, military space, and much more. Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese has been a Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College since August 2002.

Space Review Looks at HLV, Astrobiology and Baseball

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

This week in The Space Review…

Can NASA develop a heavy-lift rocket?
Last week the debate on how NASA should develop a heavy-lift rocket restarted after NASA submitted a report indicating its preferred design would not fit into the budget and schedule of its authorization act. Jeff Foust reports on the issues regarding the technology, budget, and even utility of a heavy-lifter raised in that debate.

Small ball or home runs: the changing ethos of US human spaceflight policy
Past efforts to develop big human spaceflight programs patterned after Apollo have failed, most recently NASA’s implementation of the Vision for Space Exploration. Roger Handberg uses a sports analogy to explain why it’s time to turn to a more sustainable approach to human space exploration.

Funding the search for life in the solar system
Advances in astrobiology have expanded the range of potential sites in the solar system that could support life. Lou Friedman discusses how to make it possible to afford exploring all those sites.

Footnotes of shuttle history: the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite
One of the lesser-known payloads launched by the space shuttle was an experimental communications satellite. Dwayne Day describes how ACTS was part of a larger but now dated debate about industrial policy.

The flight of the Big Bird (part 1)
Development of the KH-9 spy satellite, often referred to in the media as “Big Bird”, has been shrouded in secrecy for decades, but new details are emerging. Dwayne Day examines the early history of the KH-9, including tensions between the NRO and CIA, in the first of a two-part article.

Space Review Looks at the Potential and Challenges of Commercial Space

Artist's conception of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus freighter approaching the International Space Station.

Twin hurdles for commercial human spaceflight
One of hottest areas of debate about the president’s new vision for NASA is its reliance on commercial providers to transport crews to low Earth orbit. Jeff Foust describes the debate about the capabilities of companies to do so safely, and the commercial viability of such ventures.

The view from Austin on commercial space

What are the prospects for greater commercial use of space in the years to come? Jonathan Coopersmith reports on a recent conference in Texas that examined that issue.

Don’t know much about history: setting the record straight on Rocket Men
A book last year provided a fresh look at the race to the Moon, but one that was not with problems. Thomas Frieling examines the problems with the book Rocket Men and the reviews that failed to detect them.

Dealing with Galaxy 15: Zombiesats and on-orbit servicing
A solar storm last month turned a mild-mannered communications satellite into a rogue spacecraft drifting through the GEO belt and threatening to disrupt operations of other satellites there. Brian Weeden reviews the current situation involving Galaxy 15 and its implications for on-orbit servicing and related policy issues.

Flight of a feather: the QUILL radar satellite

Until a few years ago little was known about a secret 1960s mission known as QUILL. Dwayne Day describes the insights a new book provides on a radar satellite two decades ahead of its time.

AIA CEO Praises NRC Space Report

Ares 1-X undergoing assembly
Ares 1-X undergoing assembly


AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey Statement

Aerospace Industries Association is encouraged by recommendations in the recent space policy report from the National Research Council calling for increased coordination and leadership of our nation’s space capabilities. “America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs,” adds another influential voice to the debate on renewing and maintaining U.S. leadership in space.

AIA made a similar recommendation, in a report released this January. “The Role of Space in Addressing America’s National Priorities,” calls for the nation’s space capabilities to be coordinated, at the highest level, as a singular enterprise.

Over the past 50 years, space systems and technologies have increasingly become a vital part of our nation’s economic, scientific and national security capabilities. Given our dependence on space assets and increasing international competition, the seamless integration of space activities into national policy is absolutely necessary.

NRC: U.S. Should Align Space Goals With Larger National Priorities

NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)
NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)


The U.S. civil space program should be aligned with widely acknowledged national challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council. Aligning the program with pressing issues – environmental, economic, and strategic – is a national imperative, and will continue to grow in importance. Coordination across federal agencies, combined with a competent technical work force, effective infrastructure, and investment in technology and innovation, would lay the foundation for a purposeful, strategic U.S. space program that would serve national interests.


UK Launches Ambitious Review of Space Policy


Government and industry team to look at opportunities in, and barriers to, innovation and growth in the UK Space sector

The future challenges and opportunities for the UK Space industry will be assessed by a new expert group charged with producing a report for Government, Science Minister Lord Drayson announced today.


The Space Review: Augustine, NASA, Space Debris and the Ozone Layer

The Space Review looks at military space policy, the Augustine commission, space debris, NASA’s role in diplomacy, the impact of space tourism on the Earth’s ozone layer, and a documentary.

Space policy 101: military space 2009
 In the conclusion of a two-part article, Dwayne Day reports on a recent symposium that examined the current state of military space policy.
Monday, June 15, 2009

NASA and soft power, again
 Taylor Dinerman discusses how the US can further develop that soft power through enhanced international cooperation.

Space and (or versus) the environment
Jeff Foust discussed the effect of space tourism on the ozone layer. 

The gun pointed at the head of the universe
Dwayne Day reports on a recent Capitol Hill event that discussed solutions to the space debris problem. Monday

How to cut budgets and influence policy
s the Augustine committee begins work this week on its review of NASA’s human spaceflight plans, its analysis takes place in the shadow of both near-term and out-year budget cuts. Michael Huang wonders if this is part of a strategy that could imperil the future of human spaceflight at NASA overall.

Preview: Live from the Moon

Jeff Foust reviews an upcoming documentary that recounts the development of the cameras and other technologies needed to provide live television from the surface of the Moon.

Noted Space Law Pioneer Passes Away at 102

Space policy and law pioneer Eileen Galloway
Space policy and law pioneer Eilene Galloway

Space-Law Pioneer Eilene Galloway Dead at 102
Aviation Week

Eilene Marie Galloway, who helped draft the legislation that created NASA and went on to become an internationally recognized expert in space law and policy, died May 2 of cancer. She was 102.

After the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas), who chaired the Armed Services preparedness subcommittee, turned to Galloway in her role as a national defense analyst at the Library of Congress, for help in setting up hearings on U.S. preparedness in space. Those hearings led to creation of the Senate Special Committee on Space and Astronautics. Johnson later became President, shepherding much of the U.S. build-up.


Congressman Urges More NASA Funding to Stimulate Economy

Increased funding for NASA would stimulate economy while keeping American industry strong
Op-Ed by Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas)
The Hill

Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin recently stated that these technologies contribute an estimated $220 billion per year to the economy. Moreover, according to the Coalition for Space Exploration, NASA programs and the contractors who support them represent approximately a half-million highly skilled and highly paid American jobs.