Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ESA’s View on Private Suborbital Spaceflights

The latest issue of the ESA Bulletin has a very interesting article about the European Space Agency's view on privately funded space exploration. Although the scope of the article appears to be limited to space tourism and in particular suborbital flights, it is good to know that the agency has recognized the value and the potential in private space activities and seeks an active role in supporting it both on the technological and on the political levels. The article can be read online here: http://www.esa.int/esapub/bulletin/bulletin135/bul135c_galvez.pdf

Hopefully the other space agencies around the world have similar positive attitude towards private space exploration. Their moral support and encouragement of our activities will indeed be a prerequisite for successfully establishing global policies that will help us achieving our goals.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

EAA AirVenture 2008

I attended the Oshkosh Air Show this year. I was invited to make a Team FREDNET presentation for a GLXP Session on 2 different days. Our sessions were lightly attended, but it was an enthusiastic audience asking good questions.
The show is officially known as EAA AirVenture 2008. It was my first time, so I do not have a comparison. But I was impressed! Over 500,000 attending, 10,000 aircraft, 37,000 on site campers, a 2 hr professional air show every day,
special demonstration flights every day, 7 official days, all on 300 acres. and all accessible by attendees. Too many things to tell in one blog attempt. Certainly a highlight was the Rocket Racing League's first public flight of a racer.
There were many of my favorite planes on display. It IS a fly-in, so all the planes were operational. A U-2, the P-38 "Glacier Girl", the F-22, Sky King's plane (or a look-alike) doing aerobatics just like the TV show I remember as a kid, lots of WWII Warbirds, 2 electric! planes, and on and on. As I waited late Sunday evening in Manitowoc for the SS Badger, I reflected on the wide variance of energy for propulsion I encountered in 4 days... the F-22 ,most advanced plane in the world; the RRL Rocket Plane with a propulsion unit developed in the Lunar Lander Challenge; I drove by Wisconsin's largest Wind Farm and many fields of corn to be possibly turned into ethanol; and rode across Lake Michigan on a 50+ year old coal fueled, steam powered car ferry.

Check out some selected pics from the over 500 I took... http://picasaweb.google.com/rich911rt

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