DynaSoar writes: The wakeup song has been a part of the space program since the days of the Apollo missions, and now NASA is giving you two chances to be a part of this history! We need your help selecting wakeup songs to be played during the final missions of the Space Shuttle Program! In the first contest the public can vote for their favorite wakeup songs from a list of 40 that had been played on previous missions. The winners will be announced and played during STS-133. In the second, people can submit original songs. After screening by NASA, finalists will be posted for public listening and voting. Winners of this contest will "fly" the final shuttle mission, STS-134.
DynaSoar writes: Farewell RocketPlane, We Hardly Flew You...
What started out as a dream of rockets in the Oklahoma sky and money flowing from space enthusiasts has finally ended. George French Jr., owner of Rocketplane Global, decided a mountain of debt and expectations of the same altitude were too much to burden and filed for bankruptcy http://www.personalspaceflight.info/ .
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers were filed June 15, one each for three separate companies — Rocketplane Inc., the parent company, and its subsidiaries Rocketplane Global and Rocketplane Kistler — and a personal bankruptcy filing by French himself. Rocketplane Global was the space tourism company, while Rocketplane Kistler was set up to handle a NASA contract to build a rocket ship for carrying cargo to the International Space Station. The company was awarded the contract in 2006, but NASA pulled the contract a year later due to the company’s failure of meeting financial deadlines.
The news was made public immediately, of course. But it spread very slowly, taking 3 weeks to make it to 'enthusiasts' media. This is probably because it was no surprise — the financial woes were public all along. Also, Kistler, despite marvelous design and prototype work, tended towards this same end. In fact it's how Kistler, Inc. became as subsidiary of Rocketplane. http://www.space.com/news/rocketplane_022606.html
DynaSoar writes: SmartMoney http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/budgeting/10-things-not-to-buy-in-2010/ is carrying an article entitled "What Not To Buy In 2010". They take 10 brief looks at current products and services and evaluate them according to their version of impending obsolescence, which seems as though it's based more on what companies will have increasing or decreasing profits than whether the items will still be viable in the business sense. Intentional or not, bias is quite visible in this article, such as touting Netflix and other on demand services over DVDs, with a Netflix advertisement next to that paragraph, but this too is business oriented. Not examined is whether these things will still give the owners what they paid for despite this obsolescence, consideration of the technical aspects of the question. My questions to the Slashdot readership are which of these (or what other consumer electronics items or services) are likely to decline significantly in the business sense and/or become a bad purchasing decision in the coming year, and which of these things becoming obsolete in the business sense will become obsolete to the end user vs. which will continue to be useful for the expected lifetime of that item.
DynaSoar writes: On Friday November 13th, ESA'a Rosetta probe will get its third and final gravity assist slingshot from Earth on its way to it primary targets, the asteroid Lutetia and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the slingshot itself will allow ESA scientists to examine the trajectory for unusual changes seen in several other probes' velocities. An unaccountable variation was first noticed as excess speed in Pioneers 11 and 12, and has since been called the Pioneer Anomaly. More troubling than mere speed increase is the inconsistencies in the variations. While Galileo and NEAR had appreciable speed increases, Cassini and Messenger did not. Rosetta itself gained more speed than expected from its 2005 fly by, but only the expected amount from its 2007 fly by. Several theories have been advanced, from mundane atmospheric drag to exotic variations to special relativity, but none are so far adequate to explain both the unexpected velocity increases and the lack of them in different instances. Armed with tracking hardware and software capable of measuring Rosetta's velocity within a few millimeters per second while it flies past at 45,000 kilometers per hour, ESA will be collecting data which it hopes will help unravel the mystery.
DynaSoar writes: From Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log: "Masten Space Systems' Xoie rocket prototype has apparently taken the lead in a nail-biting race for a million-dollar prize from NASA. The Masten team's "try, try again" effort at California's Mojave Air and Space Port was aimed at winning the top prize in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge's Level 2 contest. Although the official results are still pending, it looks as if today's flight was good enough to best Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace, which qualified for the prize with its Scorpius rocket last month. However, questions were raised about the fairness of giving Masten an extra opportunity to launch beyond the scheduled times on Wednesday and Thursday. [Armadillo's John Carmack writes:] 'The current situation, where Masten was allowed a third active day of competition, after trying and failing on both scheduled days, is different. The rules have given the judges the discretion to do just about anything up to and including awarding prize money for best effort if they felt it necessary, so there may not be any grounds to challenge this, but I do feel that we have been robbed.'"
DynaSoar writes: NASA’s new Ares I-X rocket is undergoing final preparations for its planned launch test Tuesday, October 27. Launch time is scheduled for 8 AM EDT (1200 GMT). As of noon Monday it appeared that there was a 60% chance of showers and/or high altitude clouds interfering. However, the launch has a an eight hour window of opportunity through 2000 GMT, and would require only 10 minutes of clear skies within that time to fly. Of interest to engineering types, both those who favor the new vehicle's design and its critics, will be to see whether the predicted linear "pogo stick" oscillation will occur, and whether the dampening design built into it prevents damaging and possibly destructive shaking. Extensive coverage is being presented by Space.com at http://www.space.com/special_reports/1x.html For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv"
DynaSoar writes: "From time to time we hear of someone taking some time series data such as radio astronomy or EEG recordings and transforming them into sound. But what we get to hear is just a static recording of the transform. At Moonbell http://www.pinktentacle.com/2009/08/moonbell-lunar-music-generator/ you can listen to the surface of the moon dynamically transformed into music, under your control. "Moonbell is an automated music generator that plays musical scores based on lunar topographical data obtained by Japan's Kaguya (SELENE) explorer during its orbit around the moon from late 2007 to June 2009. Moonbell, which was developed in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has two playback modes: âoeOrbit Play" and âoeFree Scratch." In Orbit Play mode, Kaguya traverses the moon in a circular orbit and music is generated based on the topography below. In Free Scratch mode, you can use your mouse to chart a path across the moon's surface. To tweak the audio output, click the âoePreference" button on the bottom left of the screen. This opens the settings panel, where you can choose from 128 musical instruments for each track, change the playback speed, set the volume for each instrument, and more.""