Saturday, April 30, 2005

Next space flight led by woman with nerves of steel


Next space flight led by woman with nerves of steel

http://www.kltv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3282851

SPACE CENTER, Houston
Eileen Collins is eager to strap herself into a rocketship and fearlessly shoot from zero to one-thousand miles in a minute flat.Collins is commander of the next space shuttle mission and has been practicing at the Space Center in Houston.

She will preside over NASA's nail-biting return to space more than two years after the Columbia tragedy.
It is considered a test flight because of the new external fuel tank. It's been revamped to prevent big pieces of foam insulation from breaking off and striking the shuttle.

It was a chunk of foam that snapped off and ultimately brought down Columbia over Texas in 2003.

Collins says she intends to bring the shuttle back to life calmly and coolly as the craft makes its way down through the same infernally hot atmosphere that incinerated Columbia and its crew.
___
On the Net:
NASA: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events: May 9, Seventh European Space Power Conference

http://www.congrex.nl/05a03/

Seventh European Space Power Conference(ESPC 2005)

09 – 13 May 2005

STRESA, Lago Maggiore, Italy


Organised by: European Space Agency (ESA)

Assess Space Debris Risk on Your Desktop

Assess Space Debris Risk on Your Desktop

19 April 2005

An updated PC-based version of ESABASE/DEBRIS, a software tool to assess impacts of meteoroids and space debris on spacecraft in Earth orbit, is on schedule for release to European industry and universities later this year. The risk of damage to manned and unmanned spacecraft through collisions with orbital debris has been increasing steadily for many years. The debris from more than 170 break-ups of satellites and rocket upper stages in space poses a particularly significant threat, especially with much of it having a relatively high velocity of 10 kilometres per second or more.

Manned missions like the International Space Station (ISS) already have expensive shields to protect them from such impacts. When planning a new space mission, spacecraft designers first perform a risk assessment to determine the quantitative risk level for their given mission and spacecraft system.

The authoritative tool in Europe for this kind of assessment is ESABASE/DEBRIS, originally developed in 1990 by ESA’s Space Environments and Effects Section. This is a software simulation tool to assess the number of impacts and the resulting damage from meteoroids and space debris particles to spacecraft in low Earth orbit.
It allows the user to specify mission parameters and shielding designs, and is based on existing environment flux and damage models. It uses a statistical approach and allows a fully three-dimensional analysis. Assuming the data input is correct, ESABASE/DEBRIS is able to output estimates of the number of impacts, impact directions and velocities, the number of damage events (holes, craters or penetrations) and the probability of no damage.

The predicted space debris fluxes to the ATV attached to a Russian module

Gerhard Drolshagen, of ESA Space Environments and Effects Section, said: “Assessments made using ESABASE/DEBRIS enable spacecraft engineers to take simple and cost-effective measures to reduce the impact risk, such as relocating sensitive equipment, like fuel tanks and cables to inside the spacecraft.

“They can also redesign systems, for example to prevent one short circuit resulting from an impact leading to loss of power of a larger solar panel section. If such measures are insufficient, additional shielding can be provided.

“But the space debris environment is constantly changing, so present models still have considerable uncertainties. For any reliable impact risk assessment, a good knowledge of the current environment is crucial so these models and tools have to be regularly updated.”

Main enhancements in previous editions of ESABASE/DEBRIS have included the implementation of a new space debris model (the new European flux model MASTER 2001), enhanced meteoroid models (streams, directional effects, velocity distributions), enhanced damage equations and secondary ejecta analysis. The last update (which is distributed by ALSTOM) was released in June 2004.

As a new independent development, a PC-based version is being produced by Eta_max Space GmbH, Germany, under contract with ESA. It has a more modern user interface, including model building capabilities.

Gerhard Drolshagen said: “Previously ESABASE/DEBRIS was only available to a few users on a small number of specific workstations, mainly with prime contractors, agencies and research institutes. Because of the availability and ease of use of the PC based tool, this new version is expected to attract more users, including smaller companies and universities.”

The final delivery to ESA of this new software is scheduled to take place at the end of May 2005, and it is planned to be made available to European industry during the second half of this year.

for more info: Gerhard.Drolshagen@esa.int

http://www.esa.int/techresources/ESTEC-Article-fullArticle_par-28_1112600509843.html

ESA Technology Transfer: Space tech comes down to Earth

ESA Technology Transfer: Space tech comes down to Earth

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMPEG2IU7E_index_0.html

28 April 2005 It is doubtful whether engineers working on the accelerometers used in Ariane launchers envisaged that one day the same technology would be used to turn the bath water on or that a shape memory actuator for releasing satellites would end up as a brace for teeth; but that is what technology transfer is all about. Find out more at: http://www.esa.int/ttp ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) ensures that the European technology originally designed and developed for use in the harsh and demanding environment of space finds a further use in non-space applications, many of which bring direct benefits to our daily lives. Examples of such space spinoffs range from instruments to detect cancers, special pyjamas to prevent cot deaths to safer cars.

From baby health to newborn businesses - space technology can help The new Technology Transfer website keeps you up to date with news on the success stories of the Technology Transfer Programme, and provides information on technologies available for transfer, partnerships, funding opportunities, and the incubator network for startup companies, as well as special initiatives for instance in health care.
Whether you are an entrepreneur with a business idea, an orthopaedic surgeon looking to see if space materials could help your patients, a car manufacturer wanting to improve the reliability and safety of your cars, you will be able to find out more about the innovative ways in which space technology is being used back on Earth at:
http://www.esa.int/ttp

For further information contact:
Technology Transfer & Promotion OfficeEuropean Space Agency - ESTECPO Box 2992200 AG NoordwijkThe Netherlands e-mail: ttp@esa.intfax: +31-71-5656635

Satellite Maps Enable Google Ridefinder

Google Ridefinder Beta is using Satellite Images from its Maps Section to Enable a New Ridefinder Service: Find Rides Using Satellite Imagery

http://labs.google.com/ridefinder/help.html

About Ride Finder
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Google Ride Finder work?
How up to date is the information?
Am I seeing only available vehicles?
I see a vehicle close by, will that vehicle be dispatched to me?
Does Ride Finder work everywhere?
Does Ride Finder monitor the location of individual users?
How do I get my business' cabs, shuttles, limousines or other vehicles to show up on Ride Finder?
My business is listed, but the information is incorrect. Who will right this wrong?
Where can I learn more about the maps being used?
I can't get the maps to work. Is it my web browser?
Ride Finder isn't doing what I expected? Who needs to know?

With Google Ride Finder, you can search for taxis, limousines and shuttles and make better decisions by seeing the exact location of vehicles in your area. Just enter a zip code, the name of a city or even a specific address. You will get a map showing the companies and where their vehicles are located.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Google Ride Finder work?
Google Ride Finder takes a new approach to helping users find a ride: showing you where the vehicles are. We work closely with a variety of companies to get this information, then we present it in the form of a map of your area, complete with little balloons (color-coded by company) to represent each vehicle's up-to-date location. Based on this info, you then just call the provider you've chosen to reserve a ride.

2. How up to date is the information?
We work to get the most up to date information we can. Most of our information is less than 5 minutes old.


9. Where can I learn more about the maps being used?
The maps we use in Google Ride Finder have many of the features of Google Maps (
http://maps.google.com), an online service that allows users in the U.S. and Canada to navigate through maps, find location information and get directions quickly and easily. With Google Maps you can click and drag to view adjacent sections; no more long waits while new areas download. To learn more about Google Maps, try the Google Maps tour.

http://labs.google.com/ridefinder

Eads board to settle Airbus spat

Eads board to settle Airbus spat

Ross Tieman, in Toulouse, Evening Standard, 29 April 2005

THE board of Eads, the pan-European plane maker, meets today to choose a new boss for Airbus, the jetliner subsidiary whose 550-seater A380 super-jumbo made aviation history with its maiden flight yesterday.

After a marathon battle between the French and German factions that each control 30% of Eads' shares, the board must agree today whether a Frenchman or a German will take the controls of the world's biggest plane maker.

According to sources close to Eads, the list of contenders is headed by Fabrice Bregier, chairman of Eads' helicopter subsidiary Eurocopter, and Gustav Humbert, the Airbus chief operating officer.
Dissent between Eads co-chairman Manfred Bischoff of German investor DaimlerChrysler and French co-chairman Arnaud Lagardere, of the Lagardere publishing conglomerate, has deadlocked the choice for months.

Bischoff has seemed determined to contain French influence within Europe's largest aerospace group, preferably by giving the job to a compatriot. The spat has reportedly ruled out Gerard Blanc, the French deputy chairman of Airbus.

The new Airbus boss will take office on 11 May, when Eads shareholders meet at the Sheraton Hotel at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to anoint the present Airbus chairman, Noel Forgeard, who is currently co-chief executive of Eads.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/business/articles/timid400093?source=This%20is%20Money

Civil Air Patrol Tests Satellite


Civil Air Patrol Tests Satellite

http://www.kplctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3282600&nav=0nqxZIjw

April 30, 2005

Reported by Ryan Peterson

The Civil Air Patrol responds to 95 percent of inland search and rescue missions in the United States. Now the Louisiana Wing has a new system that can make their lives easier in disaster response, search and rescue.
Through a grant with the Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security... the local Civil Air Patrol has a new satellite digital imaging system.


"We can take photo reconnaissance from the air craft," Captain Robert Kingham says. "Then up link it to a satellite through a satellite phone and post pictures on a secure web site."

The pictures can then be used by state and federal officials for use in damage assessment and recovery plans. And it takes less then a minute to receive the pictures on ground.

On Saturday the CAP held training exercise to help the patrol grow accustomed to the new equipment and prepare for a real rescue mission.

"The more you exercise in the search and rescue, the more efficient you become when the real thing comes," Cadet Micah Joslyn says.

Practice makes perfect, and with the satellite equipment... it can save more lives.

GPS: Save on Auto Insurance with GPS

GPS: Save on Auto Insurance with GPS

12 States in USA require insurers to reward car owners with insurance discounts for antitheft devices such as GPS.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20050428006069&newsLang=en
April 28, 2005 05:28 PM US Eastern

AutoTRAK GPS Can Save Consumers as Much as 35% on Insurance Liability Premiums

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE

Twelve states (Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington) require insurers to reward car owners with discounts on their comprehensive insurance for antitheft devices such as the AutoTRAK GPS.

MicroTRAK, Inc.'s (Pink Sheets:MIOK) AutoTRAK GPS location device has been rated a class five rating (five being highest, one being lowest) from insurance companies for vehicle theft liabilities. Insurance companies in states that do not mandate discounts have also encouraged car owners to install antitheft devices by providing discounts at their discretion.
Some of the insurance companies that give discounts are as follows: All-State Insurance with up to 20 percent, Nationwide Mutual with 5-15 percent, Geico with 5-8 percent, Liberty Mutual with 5-35 percent, State Farm Insurance with 5-20 percent, Progressive with up to 20 percent, The Hartford with up to 15 percent, Travelers with up to 20 percent, and Met Life with up to 20 percent off of insurance premiums. Every state in the nation is currently averaging 5-35 percent discounts on insurance premiums. AutoTRAK GPS provides safety, protection, recovery, and notification to the consumer in any situation. AutoTRAK GPS is a product that is currently on the market and ready for distribution.
Iris Direct LLC is open for any questions relating to our firm or MIOK. Please feel free to contact us by e-mailing us at
info@irisdirectllc.com, or by visiting our website at www.irisdirectllc.com.
For more information on MIOK, or MIOK's product line, take a look at the company's website at
www.microtrakgps.com.

Iris Direct LLC Daniel Harmon, 214-999-1249 www.irisdirectllc.com
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Although MicroTRAK Inc. believes that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, any assumption could be inaccurate, and therefore, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements included in this press release will prove to be accurate. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward- looking statements included herein, the inclusion should not be regarded as a representation by MicroTRAK Inc. or any other person that the objective and plans of MicroTRAK Inc. will be achieved.

New Openness At NASA?


Space Watch: New Openness At NASA?

by Robert Zimmerman

Washington (UPI) Apr 28, 2005

Despite evidence NASA's bureaucracy is continuing to resist any meaningful reform, in recent months one NASA department seems willing to recognize the advice of outside experts, a circumstance not seen at the space agency perhaps for decades.

Whether Michael Griffin, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's new administrator, can or is even willing to extend such openness throughout the agency's entire management remains the $64,000 question.
First, some history and context. A long time ago, on May 30, 1987, I was co-chairman of an event in New York City called the Challenger Space Fair.

Inspired by the tragedy of the shuttle accident the previous year, the local chapter of the National Space Society, of which I was chairman at the time, organized a science fair for elementary school students with a focus on space exploration. It was held at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum.

We named the science fair after Challenger to honor the memories of the astronauts who had lost their lives when the shuttle was destroyed less than two minutes after its Jan. 28, 1986, launch. We also hoped by memorializing the heroic actions of those astronauts, we would inspire children to consider the wonders and challenges of science research and learning.

Our original plans called for a NASA astronaut to be keynote speaker. To our frustration and surprise, NASA's public affairs office expressed disinterest, if not hostility, to the idea of a space fair named after Challenger.

To them, such a name only reminded the world of the agency's failures. Rather than memorialize that tragic event, they instead seemed eager to forget it, making believe it never happened.

After much futile pleading, followed by some desperate networking, we finally were able to get former astronaut Terry Hart to volunteer. Having retired from NASA to work in the private sector after his one space mission on Challenger in April 1984, he did not require NASA's approval to appear and did so gladly.

This personal experience - combined with the Challenger report that described how NASA's management had contributed to the accident - was the first evidence for me that NASA no longer was the open-minded, innovative, and creative organization it had appeared in the 1960s.

As the years passed, this skepticism about NASA only increased, fueled by the space agency's inability to build a shuttle replacement, the management failures that led to the Columbia accident, and the continual apathy and apparent resentment toward outside independent organizations that NASA could not control.

Fast-forward to today. In the last four months, not only has one top level NASA manager, Rear Adm. Craig Steidle, asked for the advice of outside experts, but NASA also has even co-sponsored or participated in several independently run events.

For example, since the early 1980s, the National Space Society, headquartered in Washington, has run an annual event, dubbed the International Space Development Conference, in which the organization tries to bring together industry experts, scientists and space advocates to discuss methods for encouraging the exploration of space.

In all those years, NASA has never been a willing participant.

This year, however, the conference, scheduled from May 19-22 in Arlington, Va., is being sponsored by NASA, with the agency even running its own track of speakers. In fact, it was Steidle, now associate administrator for exploration systems, who helped encourage the sponsorship.

. . . . .

If Michael Griffin decides to cultivate this behavior, he could be taking a big step toward reforming both NASA's bureaucracy and its future efforts in space.

Robert Zimmerman is an independent space historian and the author of "Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8. His most recent book, "Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel".

All rights reserved. © 2005 United Press International.

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nasa-05i.html

NGS Plans Coordinate Network Changes

NGS plans coordinate network changes

By Dar Haddix

UPI Correspondent

Washington, DC, Apr. 28 (UPI) -- Tiny adjustments are planned over the next 20 months to allow unprecedented accuracy in the national system that enables mapping of everything from air routes to farm fields.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Wednesday said it plans to correct small inaccuracies in the National Spatial Reference System, the national coordinate system used in all kinds of mapping and surveying activities around the country.

The corrections will begin in June and are scheduled for completion by Feb. 10, 2007 -- the 200th birthday of the National Geodetic Survey, a division of NOAA, which defines and manages the NSRS.
The changes will be big ones for professionals who use the data and who require the highest standards of accuracy, but won't be perceptible to the average user, such as those using Global Positioning System units that come embedded in cars or boats, Dave Doyle, chief geodetic surveyor with the NGS, told United Press International.


"The biggest change we'll see will be around 1 to 5 centimeters," he said.
Glen Gibbons, group editorial director and associate publisher of GPS World magazine, based in Eugene, Ore., agreed.


For the average user, he told UPI in an e-mail, "I wouldn't expect that we would see much of an effect, because the sum total change over the whole NSRS network probably will be less than a meter, maybe centimeters difference. Changes in the calculations of any given point's position within the NSRS should not affect navigation systems (cars, boats, etc.) which are operating in terms of meter or tens of meter accuracy."
The man who worked with the military for six years to develop GPS technology, Brad Parkinson of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., said the readjustment would be very important for calculations related to the figure of the Earth. Parkinson is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and founder of Stanford's GPS lab.
"My guess is that this change will be very small and subtle. I don't guess you're going to see any major shifts in the GPS coordinates of things as they've been calculated in our previous reference frame and our next reference frame," Parkinson said. "But I think that in understanding the Earth itself, it's very important that we do this and that we have a reference frame that reflects what our most accurate understanding of the figure of the Earth really is. A lot of people rely on this for looking at ocean tides and determining what their true heights are, things of that nature, and I just commend (NGS) for pressing ahead."


As GPS technology has become more accessible and affordable over the past 20 years, the ways it is used and the number of users have grown exponentially over the past decade or so, Doyle said. That includes those who use ordinary GPS receivers with accuracies of 2 to 6 meters, and those that require a much higher degree of accuracy, such as surveyors, engineers and geophysicists.

"Twenty-five years ago I could have named every surveyor that had GPS equipment outside of our organization. Today it's virtually limitless," he said.

Concurrently, the demand for accuracy has increased, he said.

"The requirements for the community of users have increased dramatically. People who 15 or 20 years ago would have said ... (an inaccuracy of) 5, 10, 15 centimeters, gee that's good ... but today, 2 or 3 centimeters, that's the most they can tolerate," Doyle said. "We are looking at removing distortions of 1 to 3 centimeters, which is the demand that has been placed on this data by the surveying and mapping public."
The readjustment will incorporate hundreds of thousands of GPS observations taken since the last general readjustment in 1986, he said.


Doyle noted that while hardly anyone thinks much about the NSRS -- which specifies latitude, longitude, height, scale and gravity throughout the nation -- it plays a huge part in everyday life, aiding in air, marine and land navigation.

"The NSRS is a very significant part of our national infrastructure. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in this country know nothing about it," he said. "Virtually everything we do is related to mapping -- we map everything -- we map streets, we map navigation systems, we map diseases, we map anything you can think of."

According to the NOAA Web site, the NSRS is the foundation for transportation, communication, mapping, charting and many scientific and engineering applications.

Airports and harbors rely on NSRS data for a variety of navigational needs, including identifying obstructions and hazards in the air and under water. NSRS data also is critical in identifying safe flood evacuation routes. The data help state and local highway planners with road construction.
During recent hurricanes in Florida, GPS data allowed those monitoring the hurricane and coordinating relief efforts to accurately assess damage and where help was needed to within a few centimeters, Doyle explained.
"Having that digital imagery from an airplane flying at 10,000 feet gives you that broad perspective that you need to do effective relief activities," Doyle said.


With the increase in world travel in recent years, airlines have become one of the biggest users of GPS and have been one of the strongest voices calling for accuracy upgrades, Doyle said.

Airlines are "certainly one of the groups forcing this dynamic change around the world," he said. "What the pilot wants to be assured of is when you fly to a coordinate in space that it's actually at the end of a runway."
There are many so-called non-traditional user groups that require highly accurate GPS technology -- for instance, cranberry growers who use it in what's known as precision agriculture, Doyle said.


With states implementing stricter environmental regulations, cranberry growers who use pesticides and fertilizers need to map their land parcels accurately and give the right information to whoever distributes the chemicals to make sure they are placed in "exactly the right spots," he said.

The readjustment also is part of NOAA's efforts to create a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, an international framework connecting technology in space, in the oceans and on land so scientists in different countries can create compatible observation systems, NOAA's Web site said.
Such a system would result in improved weather forecasts and navigation, as well as the mapping of diseases, hazardous waste and other global events or concerns, Doyle said.


Part of the challenge in trying to create this is that while the United States allows anyone to download the data free of charge, many other countries historically have restricted access to such information.
"This is the kind of data in Romania, prior to the fall of (former dictator) Ceausescu, this was the kind of stuff they stood you up against a wall for," he said. "Much of this data has been the kind of thing that historically has been very classified -- wherever the important places in your country are strategically are pretty important things and you don't want to release that kind of information.


"When we work with other countries, particularly those that have had a history or a tendency in the past to keep their data sort of locked away or secretive or ... difficult to get at, we help them design systems so their data becomes freely available to the public, to the extent it's possible and practical to influence those governments.

"It's really been a struggle ... (for governments) to come to grips with the fact that now we have real global needs for this high-accuracy kind of data," Doyle said. "There's a lot of things that have no political boundaries to them. Even if we have our own arbitrary political boundaries there's things in the environment that don't."

copyright UPI 2005

Promoters Foresee Booming Space Tourism Industry - VoA

http://www.axcessnews.com/technology_042805.shtml


Promoters Foresee Booming Space Tourism Industry

by Mike O'Sullivan

Promoters of space tourism say private space flights could be available to the public by the end of the decade.

April 28, 2005 (AXcess News) Pasadena CA - Promoters of space tourism say private space flights could be available to the public by the end of the decade. Plans are taking shape for a space tourism fleet, and investors are expecting a booming industry within a few years.

Space pioneer Burt Rutan won the $10 million X Prize last year by putting the first man into space aboard a tiny craft called SpaceShipOne. Achieving a first in commercial space exploration, his team recouped some of the $20 million-plus that high tech entrepreneur Paul Allen put into the project.

Mr. Rutan soon had a deal in hand with British tycoon Richard Branson, whose company Virgin Galactic has reportedly accepted thousands of reservations for trips on a five-spaceship fleet that Mr. Rutan will build.Others met recently in Pasadena to talk about prospects for the fledgling industry.

John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society has promoted private space travel since the 1980s."In those days, people would laugh at the idea of space tourism," he said. "They don't laugh any more."There have already been two tourist flights to space. Dennis Tito, a California businessman-turned-Russian-cosmonaut, spent six days aboard the international space station in 2001. He spent $20 million for the privilege. South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth became the second tourist in space the following year, also with help from the Russians.

Matt Everingham of the California Space Authority - which despite its name is a private non-profit group, not a public agency - says both private efforts and recent missions by the U.S. space agency, NASA, have sparked the public's interest.

"The Martian rovers kind of kicked off a new enthusiasm with the public, and I think with SpaceShipOne, that carried it to a whole new level," he said. "And so we're just waiting to see what the next step is."Space has captured the attention of wealthy people like Paul Allen and Richard Branson, and John Stone of the investment bank Near Earth says others also see potential profits. His company invests in the commercial space and satellite industries.

"We're definitely out to make money," he said. "Ultimately, we think that space is going to be most successful when people can make money off of it because the profit motive is very powerful in humans. At Near Earth, our role is an agency role between the capital markets, where capital is out seeking places to make money, and companies that are looking to raise money, or alternatively, we will also get involved in typical investment banking transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and alliances between companies."He expects to see much more of that as the space industry grows.

Many private organizations are helping meet the needs of those infected by the space bug.

Alex Barnett is executive director of the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California, which helps train youngsters who hope for a career in the space industry.

She says through space-related projects, they learn the principles of physics in a center founded in memory of the seven astronauts lost in the space shuttle Challenger disaster."We also have a Challenger learning center, where kids can go on simulated space missions, launching a probe to a comet, or perhaps even landing on the planet Mars," she said.

"In those missions, kids learn about teamwork. They learn about math and science, and they learn about what it takes to work together to achieve a common goal."John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society says the technology to allow tourism in space is being developed, and regulatory problems with government agencies are being overcome.

"It will happen over time," he said. "The fun and interesting thing is that just about anybody can engage now by going to conferences and events, and helping to create the industry. And it's an important industry because in the long run, its infrastructure will allow us to do long-term, large-scale exploration, and eventually colonization of the inner solar system.

"Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to send paying passengers on commercial space flights as early as 2008. The trips will be expensive. Tickets will cost $200,000, but promoters of space tourism say the costs should come down quickly after that.They envision orbital resorts with spectacular views of the earth, with eventual resorts on the moon, and maybe other planets.

Source: Voice of America

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::

read more: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7646263/ Space tourism’s next giant leap
New sites planned for suborbital rides

Bear Stearns - XM Satellite Radio - Outperform

XM Satellite Radio "outperform"

New Ratings - Apr 29, 2005

NEW YORK, April 29 (newratings.com) - Analyst Robert S Peck of Bear Stearns reiterates his "outperform" rating on XM Satellite Radio (XMSR: NASD).

Share Price target = $39.

http://www.newratings.com/analyst_news/article_802840.html

China Satellite: Satellite navigation industry to post 10 bn Yuan output

http://english.people.com.cn/200504/30/eng20050430_183368.html

UPDATED: 13:59, April 30, 2005

Satellite navigation industry to post 10-odd bln output


China's satellite navigation application industry had output value of about 2 billion yuan in 2002. In 2004 the figure exceeded 6.5 billion yuan and in 2005 it would top 10 billion, said Huang Yunkang, secretary-general of China Technical Application Association for Global Position System, at an achievement exhibition for satellite navigation electronic mapping technology organized by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.


China's independently developed satellite navigation electronic mapping products are currently able to cover the whole China except the
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao areas.

By People's Daily Online

Friday, April 29, 2005

L'exploration de Titan Pose de Nouvelles énigmes

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3244,36-644616@51-627749,0.html


L'exploration de Titan pose de nouvelles énigmes

LE MONDE 29.04.05 14h01 • Mis à jour le 29.04.05 14h01
es scientifiques connaissent bien ce délicieux supplice. Plus leurs observations les rapprochent de l'objet étudié, plus celui-ci les nargue de sa complexité. Les astronomes qui explorent Titan sont actuellement en proie à ces tourments. Plus de trois mois après la percée réussie par la sonde Huygens, complétée par cinq survols rapprochés de la surface par l'orbiteur Cassini, la vision de la plus grosse lune de Saturne a radicalement évolué (Le Monde du 19 janvier).


Les instruments ont dépouillé Titan de ses voiles, ces couches d'atmosphère orangées qui la dérobaient aux yeux humains. Mais cette plongée du regard a surtout révélé de nouveaux mystères. "Nous ressemblons à des paysans du Moyen-Age à qui l'on montrerait des photos du Grand Canyon du Colorado ou des lagons de Polynésie, résume André Brahic (CEA-Saclay/Paris-VII), de l'équipe de l'imageur de Cassini. Rien, dans ces paysages, ne ressemble à ce que nous connaissons. Il faudra beaucoup de temps pour les comprendre."Entre découvreurs de Titan, l'euphorie du succès de Huygens a donc laissé place à la stimulation des échanges d'idées et des débats d'interprétations.

LES BIZARRERIES DE HUYGENSE

En milieu hostile, le premier réflexe est de se raccrocher à ce que l'on connaît : la sonde elle-même, qui a "survécu" trois heures et quart après son impact sur la surface glacée de Titan, le 14 janvier. Les scientifiques ont ausculté ses réactions, mais même leur propre engin les confronte à des phénomènes qu'ils peinent à expliquer.

Au cours de sa descente, la sonde de l'Agence spatiale européenne (ESA) s'est mise à tourner sur elle-même dans le sens inverse à la rotation qui avait été planifiée. Aucune cause mécanique ne semble pouvoir expliquer ce fait. Dans sa chute, après avoir enregistré de forts vents (450 kilomètres/heure), Huygens a traversé, entre 80 et 60 kilomètres d'altitude, une étonnante zone de calme plat, coïncidant avec une nette remontée des températures, qui suscite la perplexité des chercheurs. La sonde a ensuite été de nouveau ballottée, jusqu'à son contact avec la surface où elle semble avoir rebondi avant de se stabiliser, en position légèrement inclinée.

Une équipe britannique a tiré de ses simulations la conviction que l'engin a pu tomber sur l'un de ces galets de glace d'eau visibles sur les photos du site d'arrivée, avant de glisser sur le sol proprement dit. Les appareils d'analyse chimique de Huygens ont alors noté une vaporisation immédiate de méthane qui s'est poursuivie durant toute la période d'activité de la sonde. Le bouclier thermique de l'engin, échauffé par la traversée de l'atmosphère, a sans doute transformé en gaz cet hydrocarbure qui semble imbiber le sol. Seul capable de demeurer liquide à la température glaciale (­ 180 oC) qui règne sur Titan, le méthane voit sa densité augmenter parmi les éléments de la basse atmosphère, jusqu'à atteindre 5 % au niveau de la surface.

PLEUT-IL DU MÉTHANE ?

Pour expliquer les contrastes entre surfaces claires et sombres, visibles sur les premières images prises par Huygens, certains astronomes ont eu recours, dans le feu de l'action, à des métaphores aquatiques. Les masses foncées pouvaient être des lacs de méthane, bordées par des zones littorales parcourues de rivières. Trois mois plus tard, tout le monde semble revenu à l'orthodoxie des premières observations, en altitude, de la sonde Cassini. Rien ne laisse soupçonner une quelconque étendue liquide à la surface de Titan. En revanche, de nombreuses traces subsistent de ce qui pourrait faire penser à des écoulements. "Les zones claires correspondent aux reliefs de Titan, qui peuvent s'élever jusqu'à 100 mètres. Elles paraissent avoir été lessivées par un liquide qui se serait ensuite écoulé, par un réseau très ramifié, vers des lacs aujourd'hui asséchés, avance Bruno Bézard (CNRS, Observatoire de Meudon), coresponsable de l'imageur de Huygens. Dans ces zones, les éléments sombres évoquent des alluvions qui auraient été entassées là par le méthane liquide. Cela pourrait être ces particules qui tombent en permanence de l'atmosphère comme de la suie."
Pour que ce scénario d'un lessivage fonctionne, il paraît indispensable qu'il y ait eu des précipitations. Or ni Huygens ni Cassini n'en ont aperçu. Venu faire le bilan de ses découvertes, avec les équipes de Huygens, le 8 avril à la Cité des sciences, Jean-Pierre Lebreton, le responsable de la mission, avait prudemment transformé en interrogation le titre triomphal de la soirée : "Il pleut du méthane sur Titan !" Pour l'heure, les seuls nuages visibles, qui se distinguent du brouillard ambiant, stationnent sur le pôle Sud. Une saison durant sept ans sur Titan, seuls les survols répétés par Cassini prévus durant quatre années esquisseront une météorologie de la lune. "Je ne crois pas que les dernières pluies remontent à des millions d'années, affirme Bruno Bézard. Ni qu'il en faille forcément des grosses quantités."

UN CRYOVOLCANISME ?

L'absence d'étendue de méthane liquide soulève une autre énigme. Cet hydrocarbure a en effet la particularité d'être détruit très rapidement ­ vingt mille ans ­ par les rayons du Soleil. Ses quantités importantes sur Titan ne s'expliquent donc que par un renouvellement permanent des éléments décomposés.
Où peut donc être stocké tout ce méthane ? Dans le sous-sol, a répondu, avant même que Huygens n'arrive sur Titan, une équipe du Laboratoire de planétologie et de géodynamique de Nantes (LPGN, CNRS/université de Nantes), dans la revue Icarus. Les modèles déduits de la gravité de Titan prédisent en effet l'existence d'un océan d'eau souterrain. A la surface de ce liquide, des glaces ont pu emprisonner le méthane qui, par lent réchauffement, se libère.


Comment se fraye-t-il un chemin jusqu'à la surface ? Les caractéristiques de certains canaux rectilignes aperçus par Huygens laissent envisager des résurgences de méthane et de glace. Mais, surtout, les premières observations dans l'infrarouge par Cassini commencent à conforter l'hypothèse d'une activité cryovolcanique, où la lave serait remplacée par de la glace d'eau, à la surface de la planète.

A l'assemblée générale européenne des géosciences, lundi 25 avril à Vienne (Autriche), Christophe Sotin, directeur du LPGN, et son équipe chargée du spectromètre infrarouge VIMS, embarqué sur Cassini, ont confirmé la découverte, dès le survol du 26 octobre, d'un dôme d'une trentaine de kilomètres de diamètre. Leur travail, bientôt publié par Nature, interprète cette structure en forme de coquille d'escargot comme un volcan qui relâcherait du méthane issu du sous-sol et de l'eau, immédiatement gelée à la surface de Titan. La détection par Huygens d'un autre gaz dans l'atmosphère, l'argon 40, connu pour être le produit d'une décomposition souterraine, renforce la crédibilité de ce processus d'éruptions de glace et de gaz.

Ce cryovolcanisme dissipera-t-il deux mystères de la lune de Saturne : la provenance du méthane mais aussi l'aspect étonnamment juvénile de la surface de Titan, très peu marquée par les cratères d'impact des météorites ? Comme si une activité incessante rectifiait en permanence un portrait que les hommes peinent à déchiffrer.
Jérôme Fenoglio



Biologie improbable et chimie complexe
Les exobiologistes ne se faisaient guère d'illusion. De fait, la composition du méthane de Titan, en particulier le rapport entre carbone lourd et carbone léger, analysée par Cassini-Huygens, ne plaide pas pour une origine biologique. Ce constat annihile pratiquement tout espoir de trouver une forme de vie dans l'océan souterrain de Titan, seul milieu a priori hospitalier : température d'environ ­ 20 oC avec présence d'eau liquide et, sans doute, de composés organiques. Néanmoins, dans la haute atmosphère, Cassini a découvert, lors de son survol rapproché du 16 avril, des hydrocarbures beaucoup plus élaborés que le méthane. Plus bas, Huygens a détecté de l'acide cyanhydrique, poison violent sur Terre mais l'une des premières briques de la vie. Plus bas encore, ces molécules gazeuses se condensent et de l'acide cyanhydrique apparaît directement. Pour les chimistes, le plus compliqué commence. Pour élaborer un cycle du carbone sur Titan, il faudra élucider les conditions de formation des composants puis comprendre les évolutions entre les différents étages de l'atmosphère et la surface de la Lune.
Article paru dans l'édition du 30.04.05

Orissa Government to Put GPS Collars on Elephants

Other innovative applications include the tracking of elephants by the Orissa government. By fitting GPS collars on elephants, forest officials will be able to track their movements.

http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20050502/technology03.shtml
Global Positioning System

What is global positioning system or GPS?

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system through which the user can calculate his or her position anywhere on earth. The system is formed with the help of the constellation of 27 satellites and their ground stations. The system’s accuracy ranges from 100 to 10 meters for most equipment. The technology, which was developed for US defence forces, allies and government users, was freed for public use from May 2000. As of now there are two sets of GPS satellites—one provided by the US (Navstar) and the other being Glonass of Russia.

Why do we need GPS-based systems?

GPS was initially used in scientific applications but these days, GPS devices are becoming part of our daily life. Currently, GPS devices are used in mobile phones, cars, planes and boats. It is primarily used for navigation and tracking.

How does it work?

GPS signals are transmitted to a GPS receiver, which are detected and decoded and the output is then returned to the user. Each of these solar-powered satellites circle the globe at about 12,000 miles (19,300 km) making two complete rotations every day. Each satellite is equipped with a computer, an atomic clock and a radio. The most important component of the GPS are the automatic clocks that are required to transmit precise timing of when it should send its position to the ground-based observer. The receiver does not require a precise clock but does need an automatic watch that can receive signals from four satellites and find its own latitude, longitude and elevation. If the data is collected on the basis of reports of three satellites, then one can know the longitude and the latitude, within 100 meters. If the receiver has a display screen then it can show the precise position on the map.

Does the technology have any shortcomings?

One problem with GPS based systems is the level of accuracy. While in vacuum, the signals tend to be accurate but the moment they enter the atmosphere the level of accuracy is off by at least 10 meters. Signals also get blocked due to obstacles like mountains, high buildings, tunnels or thick-branched trees.

Can these be overcome?

Differential GPS systems (DGPS) use ground-based reference stations that co-ordinate with each other. These receivers compare their location information to the satellite location. What these stationary receivers do is calculate the range errors. T hese receivers also use ground reference stations to calculate corrections of GPS errors, which are then transmitted to additional satellites in the geosynchronous orbit.

What are the applications to which GPS is put to?

GPS systems currently are commonly used for tracking vehicles such as trucks and cars. For example, ICICI Bank uses GPS to locate its fully loaded cash vans. GPS can also be a great help in warning or preventing disasters. The Konkan Railway has developed an anti-collision device, which uses GPS technology to convey any danger on the tracks to the driver inside the engine cabin. GPS when used in conjunction with GIS can also be used in sectors such as agriculture. For example, tractors provided with GPS guidance systems can be used for accurate ploughing and harvesting.

Other innovative applications include the tracking of elephants by the Orissa government. By fitting GPS collars on elephants, forest officials will be able to track their movements. Similarly, the Delhi government is planning to install GPS in over 5,000 trucks of the Food Corporation of India carrying food grains to ration shops in an attempt to prevent theft.

For more information on GPS visit www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/gps/gps_f.html

NOAA Uses Satellites to Locate 'Convergence Zones'

NOAA SCIENTISTS BATTLE OCEAN GHOSTNETS
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2429.htm
April 29, 2005 — Thousands of miles from any human habitation, fishing nets hundreds of meters long and balls of net tens of meters across, lost or abandoned by their former owners but still an environmental hazard, foul huge swaths of the Pacific Ocean. However, the sheer mass of those so-called ghostnets floating freely in waves has come as an unpleasant surprise to NOAA scientists studying the phenomenon.

(for view of turtle entangled in fishing net: Click here )

Concentrated in relatively small areas of ocean by winds and currents, ghostnets present a hazard to wildlife, entangling marine mammals, turtles and sea birds and a largely unseen form of environmental pollution.


Because the synthetic materials currently used in fishing nets decay extremely slowly, they can continue to drift for years. Many end up trapped on the coral reefs, where entanglement rates are even higher than in the open ocean and where they damage the fragile coral.

The nets not only damage the reefs, but are extremely costly and time-consuming to remove.
One strategy to prevent the reef damage is to develop a way to predict where in the open ocean the debris is likely to accumulate and from which clean-up is much easier.

NOAA scientists are using satellite and other technologies to predict area where current and winds combine to funnel and accumulate debris into what are called convergence zones. However, a recent field deployment to confirm that the satellites accurately predicted the existence of a possible convergence zone off Hawaii gave a first substantive look into the severity of the ghostnet problem in the open ocean.

According to James Churnside, a researcher with the
NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., the bottom line is that, “There is a lot more trash out there than I expected."

Using data from several satellites, scientists from the
NOAA Satellite and Information Service and the NOAA Fisheries Service tracked the Pacific convergence zone through the winter. The data they collected were combined with more recent satellite data to determine the most likely areas to find aggregations of debris.

In late March and early April, Churnside headed a field survey of areas in the Pacific from a NOAA P-3 Orion Aircraft based in Honolulu. The survey was joint project of NOAA and Airborne Technologies, Inc. of Wasilla, Alaska.

Over three days, the plane overflew the convergence zone to allow scientists to make visual observations and to use an electronic imaging system with automated pattern recognition to determine how much and what kinds of debris had accumulated.

Churnside said that about 2,000 individual pieces of debris were seen. These included at least 100 that were identified as nets or pieces of net. A number were balls of net up to 10 meters (30 feet) across."One piece of driftnet that was still stretched out, and presumably still fishing, was 200-300 meters long," Churnside said.

Although surprised by just how much material was found in the convergence zone, Churnside said that a lot of analysis will need to be done to sort out whether convergence zones are more efficient at trapping debris than predicted or whether there simply is much more material floating free and available for capture than suspected.

"Those are the two possibilities, and we don't have data yet to pick one or the other," he said. Meanwhile, based on the success of the Orion flights, planning is underway to develop a cost-effective removal effort. There are also plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles instead of the larger Orion to identify and track the debris in the convergence zones. A pilot project for at-sea removal could begin as early as next year.

This year, NOAA has also undertaken efforts to re-establish a centralized marine debris capability within the agency. The
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration is coordinating these efforts by working with Churnside and other NOAA scientists to bring together, strengthen and increase the visibility of activities related to the prevention, reduction and mitigation of debris in the marine environment. One area of focus will be coordinating activities that identify and reduce the impacts of sea-based sources of marine debris (i.e. fishing nets and derelict gear) on endangered, threatened or protected species, and sensitive habitats in United States waters.

NOAA, an agency of the
U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Ghostnets
NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory
Media Contact:Peter West, NOAA Research, (301) 713-2483 ext. 181

DISH Network Expands High-Definition Package with Addition of VOOM Programming

DISH Network Expands High-Definition Package with Addition of VOOM Programming

http://www.flatscreens.biz/200504/dish_expands_HD_package-_addition_of_voom

Lineup Will Include 10 Original VOOM HD Channels

EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) announced that its DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service will expand its high-definition television (HDTV) package by adding 10 original VOOM HD networks, expected to be available May 1, 2005. With the addition of these originals to its current slate of HD programming, DISH Network further establishes itself as the leader in high-definition TV.

The 10 VOOM HD networks will include RUSH HD, Gallery HD, Rave HD, Ultra HD, Equator HD, Monsters HD, Animania HD, Majestic HD, HD News and Guy TV HD. These networks will give viewers a high-def experience in such entertainment categories as science fiction, fashion, travel, music concerts and more.

"The addition of these original channels makes the DISH Network high definition package the best in the pay-TV industry," said Eric Sahl, vice president of programming for EchoStar. "With programming offering the finest clarity and resolution, customers enjoy a better TV watching experience."

Customers can sign a one-year agreement and receive six free months of HD programming with high-definition receivers in up to two rooms at no charge. For a limited time, those who sign up can also receive more than 180 standard definition channels for only $19.99 a month for the first three months, plus a free DVR upgrade, with next-day installation.

For more information on DISH Network, visit www.buymydish.com, call (800) 765-7283 Mention Promo Code: 1007 or contact your local DISH Network retailer.

About EchoStar
EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) serves more than 11 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network(TM), the fastest growing U.S. provider of advanced digital television services in the last five years. DISH Network offers hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service. DISH Network ranks No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction among Cable/Satellite TV Subscribers by J.D. Power and Associates.


Visit DISH Network at www.buymydish.com or call (800) 765-7283 Mention Promo Code: 1007

Prank Research Paper Makes the Grade

SCIgen - An automatic computer science paper generator ... http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.

Prank research paper makes the grade

Denise Brehm, MIT News OfficeApril 15, 2005

Sometimes jargon really is gibberish.

Take the "scientific" papers generated by a computer program and submitted by three MIT computer science students to a scientific conference. One of the papers, "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy," was accepted by World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics 2005 as a non-reviewed paper. "The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking" was rejected.

Graduate students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo had doubts about the standards of some conference organizers, who they say "spam people with e-mail."

"We were tired of getting these e-mails from these conference people, so we thought it would be fun to write software that generates meaningless research papers and submit them," said Stribling. All three of the students are doing research in the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems Group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT.

The paper's acceptance proves their point, Stribling said. Their computer program generates research papers using "context-free grammar" and includes graphs, figures and citations. The program takes real words and places them correctly in sentences, but the words used don't make sense together.

"Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence," say the three on their web site.
They were so amused when the paper was accepted that they told their story on the web, asking people for donations to help them attend the conference in Orlando, Fla., July 10-13 to present the "Rooter" paper.
"Our current plan is to go there and give a completely randomly generated talk, delivered entirely with a straight face," say the three on their web site. "However, this is very expensive for grad students such as ourselves. So, we ask that you consider making us a small PayPal donation to help us toward this dream of ours."

When the web site became the topic of e-conversation on slashdot.org, donations to Stribling, Krohn and Aguayo shot up to than $2,311, more than they needed to attend, before they removed the donation button.
But alas, the conference organizers must have heard the talk; the invitation was rescinded. "As you can imagine, we are heartbroken. And still determined to go to the conference," write Stribling, Krohn and Aguayo on
their site, which lets users type in an author's name and generate their own random research papers; the three have also made the code available for free and are asking others to provide them with additional "patches" of context-free grammar to augment the program.

Their once-accepted paper's abstract says: "Many physicists would agree that, had it not been for congestion control, the evaluation of web browsers might never have occurred. In fact, few hackers worldwide would disagree with the essential unification of voice-over-IP and public-private key pair. In order to solve this riddle, we confirm that SMPs can be made stochastic, cacheable, and interposable."
Random gibberish, just like it sounds.

Airbus Giant Will Stretch Many Airports' Ingenuity


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/29/business/worldbusiness/29airbus.html?
April 29, 2005

NY Times

Airbus Giant Will Stretch Many Airports' Ingenuity

By
MARK LANDLER

FRANKFURT, April 28 - Now that the Airbus A380 has taken to the skies on its first test flight, this giant bird needs someplace to land. For Airbus, selling its new superjumbo jet to the world's airports has been only slightly less strenuous than selling it to airlines.

Representatives of airports in Europe, Asia and the United States and Asia gathered here on Thursday, energized after Wednesday's smooth flight, to discuss how they are getting ready for the A380, which is scheduled to go into service in the middle of next year with Singapore Airlines.

But as the talk at the conference drifted to the costly, unglamorous business of reinforcing taxiways and retrofitting gates, some of the excitement faded. The A380, people here acknowledge, is going to be more of a burden, and a risk, for airports than Airbus likes to suggest.

"What's going to happen when two of these planes arrive at the same time and dump 1,000 people into immigration and baggage claim?" said John D. Kasarda, an expert on airports and professor of business administration at the University of North Carolina.

Preparing for all these people, and buttressing runways for a plane that can weigh 1.2 million pounds on takeoff, is not cheap. It will cost airports an average of $100 million to upgrade their facilities, according to industry studies. Heathrow Airport near London is spending $857 million.

For Heathrow, one of the world's most congested fields, that heavy investment may pay off. By 2016, analysts estimate, the A380 could account for one of every eight flights there. That would increase Heathrow's capacity by nearly 10 million people without adding a single new flight.

But for airports that will attract only a handful of A380's, the arithmetic is more troubling. Among the busiest airports, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta has said it plans no upgrades for the A380; O'Hare in Chicago has not yet decided. Only Kennedy, Los Angeles International, San Francisco International and Miami International among American airports are committed to the plane.

"What happens if you spend $100 million, and your only airline with an A380 flight cancels it?" said Professor Kasarda, who was chairman of the conference here. "This industry is turbulent and unforgiving."

Airbus, which is based in Toulouse, France, brushed aside such worries. "Why would airports not want to adapt? They'll have to adapt," said Richard Carcaillet, the head of product marketing for the A380.

Mr. Carcaillet's confidence stems from what he describes as the A380's remarkably strong order book. Airbus has firm orders and commitments for 154 planes from 15 customers - distributed among Europe, the Middle East and Asia. But among American carriers, only FedEx and United Parcel Service have ordered A380's - 10 freighters each.

Few people predict that major airports will not be ready for the A380. But there may be some close calls. Los Angeles International wants to move one of its four runways several feet to the south to create a center taxiway wide enough to be used by A380's after they land.

But the plans have been bogged down in litigation, and Los Angeles World Airports, the authority that runs the airport, is not sure it will finish construction before the first flight is expected there, in November 2006. It says it has a backup plan: obtaining Federal Aviation Administration approval for the plane to land on one of the other runways.

The airport has had to compromise in other ways. Because space is at such a premium, it is converting only two gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal to serve A380's. To compensate, it is setting up two other gates on the airfield away from the terminal.

"The airlines would prefer not to use these, but it gives us overflow capacity," Mark Massman, deputy executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, said in a telephone interview.

Virgin Atlantic Airways, one of the first buyers of the A380, has cited the restrictions in Los Angeles as one reason it pushed back delivery of its six planes until early 2008.

Mr. Massman predicted that Los Angeles would nonetheless be a hub airport for the A380, because it is a gateway for travelers from Asia. But as to the A380's potential for easing congestion, one of the advantages cited by Airbus, he said it would be only a "minor improvement."

It may be little surprise that most American airports seem less enthusiastic about the A380 than their European counterparts. Airbus, after all, is a European pet project - owned by its military contractors and backed by the leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Spain.

United States airports are limited by tight budgets and aging facilities. At Kennedy, for example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $130 million on two mundane projects to accommodate the A380: reinforcing two bridges that carry planes over highways, and shifting a taxiway that rings the terminals. The authority estimates that the A380 will generate $233 million a year in benefits for the region by 2016 in new jobs and other revenue.

Fraport, the company that owns Frankfurt airport, did not even mention costs in outlining its plan to build 12 A380 gates in two terminals. It also plans a cavernous maintenance building for Lufthansa's 15 superjumbos. And Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris is building a satellite terminal with six A380 gates.

But the Europeans have nothing on the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai. Its airline, Emirates, ordered 43 A380's, the largest single order, and the home airport is thinking big. Coming in 2008: a $4.1 billion terminal, with two concourses able to handle 23 A380's. Passengers will board on both the lower and upper decks.

Dubai is not stopping there. Betting that 100 million passengers a year will pass through by 2020, it is building a second airport nearby. "We're building a special airport for the A380," said Rimzie Ismail, the marketing manager for Dubai's civil aviation department.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/29/business/worldbusiness/29airbus.html?pagewanted=print&position=

NS.N - New Skies Satellites sets 11.9 mln share IPO

UPDATE 1-New Skies Satellites sets 11.9 mln share IPO

Mon Apr 25, 2005 06:05 PM ET (Adds company and offering details)

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters)

New Skies Satellites Holdings Ltd. may sell up to 11.9 million shares of stock for between $18 and $20 a share in an initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

The lead underwriters for the offering are Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Lehman Brothers, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

New Skies operates a network of five "fixed satellite services" satellites positioned at different orbital locations above the earth. As of Dec. 31, the company said it had the youngest fleet of its kind in the industry, according to the filing.

It will use $131.2 million of the net proceeds from the offering to repay debt and about $71.1 million to pay a dividend to existing shareholders, according to the prospectus.

For 2004, New Skies reported a net loss of $20.6 million on revenues of $210.7 million from telecommunication services, according to pro forma financial data.

Assuming the offering prices at $19 a share, the mid-point of the expected range, the company would have an initial market capitalization of $581.4 million, according to expected share information included in the filing.

The Bermuda-based company says it plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange on the symbol "NSE" (NSE.N:
Quote, Profile, Research) .


© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


http://www.reuters.com/financeNewsArticle.jhtml?type=bondsNews&storyID=8288214

May 11: AIAA 2005 Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala

May 11: AIAA 2005 Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala

http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=230&lumeetingid=1301

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics cordially invites you to participate in a night dedicated to honoring achievement in aerospace. Join us along with the most influential and inspiring individuals in the industry, as they are recognized during this momentous celebration. Reserve a place for your company or organization and support this year's featured guests of honor including the newly elected AIAA Fellows and Honorary Fellows as well as recipients of some of the industry's most notable awards. This black-tie occasion provides you with the unique opportunity to invite officials and constituents from the DoD, NASA, FAA, and other government agencies to attend this distinguished event. As honored guests, these representatives will afford exceptional opportunities for networking and information sharing. Please note that the 2005 AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala is organized according to the government directives. Government guest selection, invitation, and seating will be administered solely by AIAA in accordance with government policy. For additional information or questions, contact AIAA's Aerospace Awards Gala Coordinator:
Ms. Carol Vargas E-mail:
carolv@aiaa.org Phone: 703/264-7532

International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking: Volume 23, Issue 3 (May/June 2005)

International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/102525899

CURRENT ISSUE:

Basic capacity calculation methods and benchmarking for MF-TDMA and MF-CDMA communication satellites

Examination of the data rate obtainable with low-gain non-tracking antenna applied to user terminal used for mobile communications and broadcasting services provided by quasi-zenithal satellites

Managing logical channel configurations in complex satellite architectures

        www.1space.biz        



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