No Meeting in August

Hi!

I know this Sunday, August 25th, is supposed to be our monthly meeting, but I ended up being unable to get a reservation for a place to meet.

Normally, of course, we meet at Norma’s.  We got put down for every month for the rest of the year – I thought (they said), but when I called to confirm they made a mistake and lost our reservation for this Sunday, and another large party is already booked.  The manager was very apologetic, and confirmed our reservations for the rest of the year AND promised us half off our next meeting, Sunday, Sept 29!!  (So, some good news!!)

Our backup is usually Outback, but they would not give reservations (apparently that is not an Outback thing) and would not agree to  us using the patio (“Maybe – you’ll have to come and we’ll decide then.” I decided not to risk it). 

We don’t have any pressing business, and though I will really miss seeing all of you guys, I think we can skip a month, enjoy the end of summer, and meet in September.

Briefly, we have the usual flurry of activities:

  • URC rule making for 2020 is starting up
  • October Star Wars Day is coming up
  • The National Convention is also in late October! 

I’ve seen a flurry of space news…

  • Huntsville is officially named the center for the manned return to the Moon – we’ll see if our Texas delegation can pull it back.
  • Europa has an official probe, to be launched on SLS, scheduled for the mid ’20’s.
  • More interest in the possibility of Early life on Mars.
  • And much more.

Sorry, and see you in September!

Kurt

Meeting July 28, 2019

All,

I know this is right after Moon Day, but let’s get together and talk about lessons learned and catpure ideas for next year!

The meeting is this Sunday, 6pm, Norma’s, at Plano, near Rt 75 and 15th street!

Kurt

Monthly Meeting June 30, 2019

All,

Our usual watering hole, Norma’s, was booked up, so we will give ourselves a summer barbecue treat and meet at the Outback for June’s meeting, June 30th, Sunday, 6PM, in Plano.

This is our last meeting before Moon Day, July 20, so please come and make sure all of our plans are in place!!

This will be the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon (was it really 50 years ago this July?) so i expect record crowds at the Frontier of Flight Museum. (It is also the 43rd anniversary since Viking landed on Mars…..)

This is also the first meeting since URC, and we can go over the highlights from Utah!

Looking forward to seeing you all Sunday!

Kurt

P.S. How about the Falcon Heavy nighttime launch?

Blue Origin and the BE-4

An interesting decision occurred on Sept 27, 2018, when the United Space Alliance – the Lockheed Martin – Boeing consortium that launches many US payloads into space, chose Blue Origin’s BE-4 as the main rocket for their next generation Vulcan rocket. The decision is another case where an ‘upstart’ space company, this one backed by Billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, won out over ‘traditional’ space contractors, in this case the successor’s to Rocketdyne, the storied developer of the F-1 and J-2 engines that powered the Apollo era Saturn V. While not unexpected, the decision in favor of Blue Origin is interesting in that their BE-4 engine was considered more mature and more advanced than the other offerings. this decision is another one of the developments in the Space field in the last decade that indicate we are seeing a tectonic shift away from traditional contractors, and the traditional way of doing things, changes that promise a much faster pace of advancement and lowering of costs for Space exploration in the near future. – Kurt C

Meeting Sunday, September 30, 2018

All!

The end of the month is coming!

Sept 30 is next week. Let’s all get together at Norma’s at 6:00 PM, Sunday, near 15th street and Rt 75 in Plano, to discuss Space and Mars!

Opportunity looks like it is gone. It was an enormously successful mission that lasted way beyond expectations.

I’d like to run down the results from the National Mars Society Conference. It was a great conference, and a lot of exciting things are happening! We saw great talks ranging from practical, near term small scale nuclear power for space settlements, to Mars oriented space suit designs, SpaceX’s latest plans for BFR and Mars, and the exciting opportunities that brings us in the Mars Society. There was much more, and I wish we all could have shared it together.

See you Sunday!

Kurt

Meeting Announcement 2018-06-24

All:

Meeting this Sunday, NORMA’s, rt 75 and 15th street, plano, Sunday, June 24, 6pm. We are back to NORMA’s, and our usual new time of 6pm.

We have a recordbreaking exciting URC to talk about, and the upcoming Moon Day!  I’ve confirmed that we are on track for our usual position at the Frontiers of Flight Musuem.

Lots going on in the Space world, including open discussion about the viability of SLS vs ‘the new guys’ for manned missions to Mars!

See you on Sunday!

Kurt

H2M 2018 shaping up to be the best event to date, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Mission Architecture, & the Economics of Space

This is as good an excuse to get to Washington DC as any!

A few topics to be discussed include:
Latest updates on mission architecture design
Mars science updates and critical robotic precursor missions in the 2020s
How to utilize the Moon on the way to Mars
Talking to Mars: Deep space communication
The economics of Mars exploration
Living off the land: ISRU and Mars agriculture
ISS and Mars: How can we best utilize ISS?
VR, AR, and Mars
Designing Mars: Mars design an analog projects
A Congressional perspective on Mars exploration
Friending Mars: Social media and Mars exploration
International collaboration on Mars
Inspiring the world: Mars and STEM education
— Read on mailchi.mp/exploremars/limited-time-to-save-with-early-registration-for-h2m-2018-register-before-january-31st-save-1688405

All:

Another month has rolled by, and our monthly meeting is coming on Feb 25, 6pm, at Norma’s.  I reserved the room for us – just ask for The Mars Society.
This is off of rt 75 near 15th street in Plano.

This month saw the incredible launch of the Falcon 9 Heavy, the dawn of a new era in space exploration.  not only do we finally have a heavy lift booster capable of sending humans into deep space – a capability we gave up in 1972, over 40 years ago, but we have a booster developed with private funds in a fraction of the time and cost, and costing a fraction, of the traditional approach.  Deep Space is not only reachable, it is affordable!!

We will also have the hot off the press results of the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair, where we will be juding on Feb 24 for the Curiosity Award!

I also want to talk about what we plan to do for the Moon Day (coming up faster than you think!).  Rover mods – finishing rover 2.0, the virtual reality set, the glove box…all the activities we have going. 

Beyond that, URC is gearing up for downselection in March for who comes to Hanksville in late May.  i hope i can take a volunteer or two with me this year!

And the 21st National Mars Society convention has been announced for Pasadena, moving slightly early to the old late August schedule. 

Let’s all come together and try for a big turnout to discuss our plans for this year.

See you Sunday!

Kurt

SpaceX schedules Feb. 6 target date for Falcon Heavy test launch – Spaceflight Now

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket could blast off for the first time as soon as Feb. 6, company founder Elon Musk said Saturday, announcing the first official target launch date for the heavy-lifter’s maiden mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Standing 229 feet (70 meters) and measuring 40 feet (12 meters) wide, the Falcon Heavy will climb off launch pad 39A with nearly 5 million pounds of thrust, more power than any launcher has generated since the last space shuttle mission in 2011, and nearly twice as much thrust as any rocket currently in service.

SpaceX plans a three-hour window each day to launch the Falcon Heavy, opening at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).

https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/01/28/spacex-schedules-feb-6-target-date-for-falcon-heavy-test-launch/

NASA Is Developing a Compact Nuclear Reactor for Future Mars Habitats – ExtremeTech

According to NASA engineers who spoke at the recent National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, the Kilipower Project began testing the current reactor iteration in November 2017. It’s a small-scale reactor designed to produce power in the 1-10 kilowatt range, as the name implies. One kilowatt is about what you’d need to power a toaster or a few laptops, and the test design should reliably produce that much. That’s not enough to power an entire Mars habitat, though. NASA estimates you would need 40-50kW of power, so it may send several small KRUSTY devices if it cannot develop a single reactor that can reach the necessary power levels. The Curiosity rover, by comparison, uses about 200W (0.2 kW).

The system is between five and six feet tall, but the uranium-235 nuclear fission core is about the size of a paper towel roll. Heat from the rector is distributed by a series of sodium heat pipes. The heat generates power via a high-efficiency Stirling engine, which drives a mechanical flywheel and piston via the repeated expansion of gases. By coupling the engine to an alternator, the system produces power.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/262485-nasa-developing-compact-nuclear-reactor-future-mars-habitats