I went to the SATELLITE 2009 Conference at the convention center in Washington DC. It was interesting to see the other half of the space sector, that being the half that makes money. Human spaceflight and space science are the half that spend money without return. The Astrotech Reception was the first Washington Space Reception where I didn’t recognize anyone in the room. It was still a lovely reception on the bridge over L Street.

In the exhibit hall I discovered CTD – Composite Technology Development and their elastic memory composites which look very useful for building solar power satellites.

DC – L5

I went to the DC – L5 chapter meeting of the NSS on Sunday. DC-L5 meets in the Tysons-Pimmit Library in Falls Church Virginia.  Which is not exactly DC, it is barely within the belt way. (I live so far inside the beltway, I rarely venture that far out.) It had a turn out of about 12 people.  Donnie and David Lowther had a great spread of snacks. We watched some great videos about the history of space flight and then disused them and other aspects of space. The chapter seemed to be thriving as 4 people joined or renewed their memberships.

Keep up the good work DC-L5.

What is going on with your chapter?

U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC to Host Open House

U.S. Naval Observatory to Host Open House, 2009 April 4 As Part of IYA 2009 “100 Hours of Astronomy” Program

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope, the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO have declared 2009 to be the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009). As part of a world-wide celebration of this event, the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) will be sponsoring a free-admission Open House on Saturday, 4 April, from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. During that time the Observatory’s telescopes will be open for inspection, scientists will explain the mission of USNO’s Master Clock, exhibits will display the Observatory’s history and present work, and local amateur astronomers will share views through their telescopes.

The open house will coincide with world-wide activities promoted by the IYA, specifically the “100 Hours of Astronomy” activities taking place around the globe from April 2 through April 5. The main goal of this effort is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to look through a good-quality astronomical telescope. To this end, USNO’s open house should provide many opportunities for patrons to do so. In addition to safe observation of the Sun during the afternoon, the evening hours will feature a multitude of amateur telescopes that will be trained on the Moon, Saturn, plus a host of other interesting celestial sights.

Once on the grounds, visitors may tour the historic Building 1, home of the Observatory’s worldrenowned James M. Gilliss Library, and its 115 year-old 12-inch Alvan Clark refractor telescope, which will be set up for safe viewing of the Sun, weather permitting. The 26-inch “Great Equatorial” telescope, famous for its discovery of the moons of Mars in 1877 and still in use on every clear night, will also be open for inspection.

The Space Economy Symposium

I attended a half-day symposium on The Space Economy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

The state of the Space economy is good. It has flattening because of maturing markets, such as GPS receivers which are cost less this year than last and because of the issues in the overall economy. The Satellite Revenue has increase 16% year over year and government funding has provided stability.

Research and development is important for our future in space. DARPA should be used as a model since it cancels nonperforming projects and it stimulates development on the cutting edge. Two areas panelist thought needed government funded research were for the development of large liquid fueled rocket engines and satellite to satellite links.

Other views of the Space Economy Symposium

Rep. Griffith, let’s introduce you to ITAR

The space economy: a public-private partnership?