Spaceflight Vol 56 No 07 – July 2014

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On a Critical Path: NASA’s Tracking & Data Relay Satellite System
Joel Powell links current developments in connecting Earth-orbiting satellites and spacecraft with their ground control centres and examines NASA’s TDRS system. A network of satel-lites first launched in April 1983 is now a robust and widely used tracking and relay network without which much of the data obtained by orbiting platforms would be lost.

The Plutonium in the Closet
Dwayne Day recounts the fascinating story of how plutonium 238 fuel for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators used to power deep-space spacecraft has come, gone and re-turned with only vague explanation for the reasons why! He shows how a resurgence of ‘new-found’ plutonium has doomed a potential replacement for the standard RTG which could have been a valuable technology boost.

Flashback
As we come up to the 50th anniversary of the start of the space race, when Russia officially approved a dash to put cosmonauts on the Moon before NASA, Spaceflight begins a new series. Each month we will look back at events 50 years ago which play into the events of today, recalling how the space programmes of all the space-faring nations have been shaped by that seminal event in the history of the Cold War.

Yuri Gagarin: A Contribution to Peace
Chronicler, author and broadcaster Gurbir Singh offers a view which places Yuri Gagarin outside the propaganda machine of the USSR. Was he a product of a well oiled publicity campaign for encouraging uncommitted countries to warm to Russia and its communist sys-tem? The evidence, says Singh, is there but was that also a fabrication?

Regular Features

Britain in Space – Rosetta homes in on Comet 67P

World News Analysis – Replenishment slowdown for GPS – Air-Launched Boost for An-tares – Seeding Mars, Literally

Briefing notes – news shorts from around the world

From the Editor

Satellite Digest – 498 April 2014

ISS Operations Summary – 16 April – 15 May 2014

Off the Shelf – America’s Great Endeavour – GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones – The Surprising Science of our Sun

Inbox – Credit where due – Wrong man

Obituary – Colin Pillinger (1943-2014) – Wubbo Ockels (1946-2014)

Society News – Cosford IV-People, Places and Projects – Council Elections

Diary Notices

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