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Space FAQ 01/13 - Introduction

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Archive-name: space/intro
Last-modified: $Date: 96/09/17 15:40:26 $

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
    Compilation copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996 by Jonathan P. Leech. This
    document may be redistributed in its complete and unmodified form. Other
    use requires written permission of the author.



    This is the long FAQ for the hierarchy. It will soon be split
across the newly created{tech,science,policy} groups, but for
now, it's being posted to all of them. The moderator posts a
more frequent short FAQ with concise answers; this is the place to go for
more detail and references.

    If you have corrections or answers to other frequently asked questions
that you would like included in this posting, send email to
(Jon Leech).

    If you don't want to see the FAQ, add 'Frequently Asked Questions' to
your KILL file for this group (if you're not reading this with a newsreader
that can kill articles by subject, you're out of luck).

    The current hypertext version of the FAQ is at

    The current FTP version is at

    Corrections and good summaries are welcome in place of the answers given
here. The point of this is to circulate existing information, and avoid
rehashing old answers. Better to build on top than start again. Nothing more
depressing than rehashing old topics for the 100th time. References are
provided because they give more complete information than any short

    Questions fall into three basic types:

    1) Where do I find some general information about space?

    Try your local public library first - and try browsing the Web, starting
    with some of the many pages referred to in this FAQ. Enormous amounts of
    information are online, and there's more being added constantly. If you
    can't find an answer to your query after putting in some research time
    of your own, post a question - but make it clear that you've done your
    homework first. Usenet provides a forum for discussion, not a reference

    2) I have an idea which would improve space flight?

    Hope you aren't surprised, but 9,999 out of 10,000 have usually been
    thought of before. Again, contact a direct individual source for
    evaluation. NASA fields thousands of these each day.

    3) Miscellanous queries.

    These are addressed on a case-by-case basis in the following series of
    FAQ postings.


    Read news.announce.newusers if you're on Usenet.
    Minimize cross references, [Do you REALLY NEED to?]
    Edit "Subject:" lines, especially if you're taking a tangent.
    Send mail instead, avoid posting follow ups. (1 mail message worth
	100 posts).
    Internet mail readers: send requests to add/drop to SPACE-REQUEST
	not SPACE.
    Read all available articles before posting a follow-up. (Check all
    Cut down attributed articles (leave only the points you're
	responding to; remove signatures and headers). Summarize!
    Put a return address in the body (signature) of your message (mail
	or article), state your institution, etc. Don't assume the
	'reply' function of mailers will work.
    Use absolute dates. Post in a timely way. Don't post what everyone
	will get on TV anyway.
    Some editors and window systems do character count line wrapping and
	some do not. Keep lines under 70 characters for those using ASCII
	terminals, to allow quoting of responses, and end lines with hard
	carriage returns.


    I've attempted to break the postings up into related areas. There isn't
    a keyword index yet; the following lists the major subject areas in each
    posting. Only those containing astronomy-related material are posted to
    sci.astro (indicated by '*' following the posting number).

    #	Contents

    1*	Introduction
	(See "space/intro")
	    Suggestions for better netiquette
	    Index to linked postings
	    Notes on addresses, phone numbers, etc.

    2*	Network resources
	(See "space/net")
	    Mailing lists
	    Periodically updated information
	    Warning about non-public networks

    3*	Online (and some offline) sources of images, data, etc.
	(See "space/data")
	    Viewing Images
	    Online Archives
		Center for Advanced Space Studies
		Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)
		Infrared Processing & Analysis Center
		NASA Ames
		NASA Astrophysics Data System
		NASA Directory of WAIS Servers
		NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (Mission Information and Images)
		NASA Johnson Space Center (Manned Space Images)
		NASA Langley (Technical Reports)
		NASA Spacelink
		National Space Science Data Center
		Space Telescope Science Institute Electronic Info. Service
		Astronomical Databases
		Astronomy Programs
		Orbital Element Sets
		SPACE Digest Archives
		World-Wide-Web (WWW)
	    GeoSphere Project (full Earth image)
	    Landsat & NASA Photos
	    Planetary Maps
	    Solar System Tours
	    Cometary / Minor Planet Orbital Data

    4*	Performing calculations and interpreting data formats
	(See "space/math")
	    Constants and equations for calculations
	    Computing spacecraft orbits and trajectories
	    Computing planetary positions
	    Computing crater diameters from Earth-impacting asteroids
	    Map projections and spherical trignometry
	    Performing N-body simulations efficiently
	    Interpreting the FITS image format
	    Sky (Unix ephemeris program)
	    Nearby star/galaxy coordinates

    5*	References on specific areas
	(See "space/references")
	    Publishers of space/astronomy material
	    Careers in the space industry
	    SL-9 Comet/Jupiter Impact
	    DC-X single-stage to orbit (SSTO) program
	    How to name a star after a person
	    LLNL "great exploration"
	    Lunar Prospector
	    Lunar science and activities
	    Mars Direct / Lunar Direct
	    Orbiting Earth satellite histories
	    Spacecraft models
	    Rocket propulsion
	    Spacecraft design
	    Esoteric propulsion schemes (solar sails, lasers, fusion...)
	    Spy satellites
	    Space capsule locations
	    Space shuttle computer systems
	    SETI computation (signal processing)
	    Amateur satellies & weather satellites
	    Astronomical Mnemonics

    6	Contacting NASA, ESA, space agencies/companies, and individual
	(See "space/addresses")
	    NASA Centers / Arianespace / CSA / CNES / DARA / ESA / ISAS /
		NASDA / NPO Energia / RSA / Soyuzkarta / Space Camp / Space
		Commerce Corporation / Spacehab / SPOT Image
	    Other commercial space businesses

    7	Space shuttle answers, launch schedules, TV coverage
	(See "space/schedule")
	    Shuttle launchings and landings; schedules and how to see them
	    Why does the shuttle roll just after liftoff?
	    How to receive the NASA TV channel, NASA SELECT
	    Amateur radio frequencies for shuttle missions
	    Solid Rocket Booster fuel composition

    8	Planetary probes - Historical Missions
	(See "space/probe")
	    US planetary missions
	    Mariner (Venus, Mars, & Mercury flybys and orbiters)
	    Pioneer (Moon, Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn flybys and orbiters)
	    Ranger (Lunar lander and impact missions)
	    Lunar Orbiter (Lunar surface photography)
	    Surveyor (Lunar soft landers)
	    Viking (Mars orbiters and landers)
	    Voyager (Outer planet flybys)
	    Soviet planetary missions
	    Soviet Lunar probes
	    Soviet Venus probes
	    Soviet Mars probes
	    European planetary missions
	    Japanese planetary missions
	    Planetary mission references

    9	Upcoming planetary probes - missions and schedules
	(See "space/new_probes")
	    Mars Observer
	    Other space science missions
	    Proposed missions

    10	Controversial questions
	(See "space/controversy")
	    Space shuttle mission costs
	    What happened to the Saturn V plans
	    Why data from space missions isn't immediately available
	    Risks of nuclear (RTG) power sources for space probes
	    Impact of the space shuttle on the ozone layer
	    How long can a human live unprotected in space
	    How the Challenger astronauts died
	    Using the shuttle beyond Low Earth Orbit
	    The "Face on Mars"

    11	Space activist/interest/research groups and space publications
	(See "space/groups")
	    Network Groups and Resources
	    Undocumented Groups

    12	How to become an astronaut
	(See "space/astronaut")

    13	Orbital and Planetary Launch Services
	(See "space/launchers")


    Unless otherwise specified, telephone numbers, addresses, and so on are
    for the United States of America. Non-US readers should remember to add
    the country code for telephone calls, etc.


    Eugene Miya (then under the authority of the Computer Systems Division,
    NASA Ames Research Center) started a series of linked FAQ postings some
    years ago which inspired (and was largely absorbed into) this set.

    Peter Yee and Ron Baalke have and continue to spend a lot of their own
    time setting up the SPACE archives at NASA Ames and forwarding official
    NASA announcements.

    Many other people have contributed material to this list in the form of
    old postings to and sci.astro which I've edited. Please let me
    know if corrections need to be made. Major contributors I've managed to
    keep track of are: (Steven Fisk)		- publication refs.
    akerman@bill.phy.queensu.CA (Richard Akerman)   - crater diameters (Lisa Weigel)	- SEDS info (Srinivas Bettadpur) - tides (Alan Wm Paeth) - map projections (Ron Baalke)	- planetary probe schedules (Timothy Banks)	- map projections,
	variable star analysis archive (Ben Huset)		- AAS info (Bill Arnett)		- solar system tour URLs (Bobby Weaver)		- commercial space resources
	periodic posting, miscellaneous info on space publishers,
	publications, and other refs. (Bernie Rosen)	- Space Camp (Bruce Dunn)	- propulsion refs. (Barry Schlesinger)   - FITS format (Craig E. Ward)		- space group contact info (Tom Chapin)		- planetary positions (D. Alan Cunningham)	- NASA Spacelink
    cyamamot@kilroy.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Cliff Yamamoto) - orbital elements (Anthony Datri)		- PDS/VICAR viewing software (Dave Rickel)		- orbit formulae (Phil Fraering)		- propulsion (Dani Eder)		- Saturn V plans, SRBs (Eugene N. Miya)	- introduction,
	NASA contact info, started FAQ postings (Francis Reddy)	- map projections (Patrick M. French)	- space group contact info (Gary Morris)		- amateur radio info (Terry Gaetz)		- N-body calculations,
	orbital dynamics (Geoffrey A. Landis)	- survival in vacuum, AAS &
	Artemis Society info
    gmcquary@Ingres.COM (George F. McQuary)	- nearby star refs (Steve Grandi)		- planetary positions (Dale M. Greer)   - constants (Greg Bollendonk)	- space model catalog (Henry Spencer)	- survival in vacuum,
	astronaut how-to, Challenger disaster, publication refs, DC-X
    higgins@fnal.bitnet (William Higgins) - RTGs, publishers, shuttle
	landings, spysats, propulsion, "Face on Mars", and general
	assistance with FAQ upkeep. (Andrew Higgins)	 - gun launcher refs. (Hal Mueller)	- map projections,
	orbital dynamics (Josh Hopkins)	- launch services (Jim Bowery)		- propulsion, launch services (James N. Head) - atmospheric scale heights (Jim Scotti)	- planetary positions (Kieran A. Carroll)- refs for spacecraft design
    ken@orion.bitnet (Kenneth Ng)		- RTGs (Ken Jenks)	- shuttle roll manuever (Larry Klaes)		- planetary probe history (Jon Leech)		- crater diameters (Lou Adornato)			- orbital dynamics (Maury Markowitz)   - propulsion (Erik Max Francis)	- equations (Joe Mazzarella)	- IPAC
    mbellon@mcdurb.Urbana.Gould.COM		- N-body calculations (Marc Wayne Mcconley)    - space careers (Mark Brader)			- Mariner 1 info. (Mark Maimone)			- SPACE Digest (Nick Watkins)	- models, spysat refs (Olivier R. Hainaut)	- publishers, STARCAT (Graham O'Neil)	- Lunar Prospector (Kenneth W Durham)	- cometary orbits, IAU (Paul Blase)	- propulsion (Pete Banholzer)	- Clementine (Peter Scott)	- RTGs (Paul W. Schleck)	- AMSAT, ARRL contact info (Paul Tarr)	- Shuttle computer refs (Rodney Brown)		- propulsion refs (Ran Atkinson)	- FTPable astro. programs (R. Michael Jungclas)- models (Richard Osborne)	- UK-SEDS (David Seal)	- Cassini mission schedule (Mary Shafer)	- photos, shuttle landings (Allen W. Sherzer)	- Great Exploration (Willie Smith)	- photos (Stephen Dixon)	- shuttle audio frequencies (Ray Sterner)	- planetary positions (Phil Stooke)	- planetary maps (Ted Anderson)	- propulsion (Terry Hancock)	- NASA center info (Bill Thorson) - FITS info (Todd L. Masco)	- SPACE Digest (Tom Horsley)	- refs for algorithms (Veikko Makela)	- orbital element sets (Wales Larrison) - groups & publications (Wayne Hayes)	- constants (Matthew P Wiener) - Voyager history (Yoshiro Yamada)	- ISAS/NASDA missions (Peter Yee)		- AMES archive server,

    In Net memoriam:
	Ted Flinn

NEXT: FAQ #2/13 - Network Resources

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