SPACE/INTRO - Introduction

Last-modified: $Date: 94/03/01 17:24:37 $



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 version of the FAQ is FTPable at

along with more information expanding on topics in the FAQ. The hypertext version of the FAQ is at

Good summaries will be accepted 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 generalization.

Questions fall into three basic types:

1) Where do I find some information about space?

Try your local public library first. The net is not a good place to ask
for general information. Ask INDIVIDUALS (by email) if you must. There
are other sources, use them, too. The net is a place for open ended

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:
keep lines under 80 characters for those using ASCII terminals
(use 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
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)
Infrared Processing & Analysis Center
Lunar and Planetary Institute
NASA Astrophysics Data System
NASA Directory of WAIS Servers
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (Mission Information and 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)
Landsat & NASA Photos
Planetary Maps
Cometary Orbits

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)
Three-dimensional star/galaxy coordinates

5* References on specific areas
(See "space/references")
Publishers of space/astronomy material
Careers in the space industry
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
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, and other space agencies/companies
(See "space/addresses")
NASA Centers / Arianespace / CNES / ESA / NASDA / 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")
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 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 (Allen W. Sherzer) - Great Exploration (Ron Baalke) - planetary probe schedules (Timothy Banks) - map projections,
variable star analysis archive (Bernie Rosen) - Space Camp (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 (Steve Grandi) - planetary positions (Dale M. Greer) - constants (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. (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 (Dr. Nick Watkins) - models, spysats (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 (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 (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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This is a static and possibly incomplete copy of the USEnet SCI.SPACE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document dated March 1994 (before the material was copyrighted). The official copyrighted and and up-to-date FAQ is maintained by Jon Leech ( and is posted to Network News and available via the World Wide Web . KSC's Hypertext converter last run Thursday June 15 10:22:12 EDT 1995