Amateur Space News May 19, 2014

Today’s headlines include Australian students exploring Near Space, follow up on the student rocketry championships, crowdfunded lunar landers, meteors over the American South, amateur astronomy youth programs… and local Mars One reports.

Meteor over Georgia. (Source: American Meteor Society)

Meteor over Georgia. (Source: American Meteor Society)

Last week’s fireball over the American South? Yeah, there were two of them. The American Meteor Society updated its analysis of the May 15 fireball reports from people in states as far apart as South Carolina and Ohio. There were two separate events. One fireball streaked over eastern Georgia at 1:38pm UT with sightings in surrounding states. A second fireball passed over Kentucky and Ohio at 2:15pm UT. The AMS has Android and iOS apps that will let you report fireballs.

University of South Australia helps students explore Near Space above Victoria. As part of a program to encourage 10th year students choose science and mathematics courses, the university brought 41 students from across Victoria to plan a Near Space exploration mission called Wilkins 1. Last week they attended a workshop in high-altitude balloon design. At the end of the workshop the students assembled a test balloon that rose 20 kilometers. The students will come back June 16 to launch their Wilkins 1 mission into Near Space.

Student rocket champions getting ready for international contest. One of the rocket teams at Canton, Georgia’s Creekview High School won the Team America Rocketry Challenge earlier this month. Now the students are preparing to represent the United States in an international fly-off in London. (Via Cherokee Tribune) The Daily Breeze recognized the 14th place finish of the Palos Verdes Peninsula High School’s 4H rocket team. The Oregonian recognized the 54th place finish of David Douglas High School’s rocket team which also won a $500 prize from SpaceX for designing the most creative rocket.

Pocket Spacecraft spoke with BBC Radio 4 about their crowdfunded lunar lander project. The Scout lunar landers are paper-thin discs which, when released from a CubeSat mothership, will drift down to the Moon’s surface. Everything the Scouts need to operate - computer chips, solar cells, and radios are mounted on the thin, flexible disc. The project’s Kickstarter effort failed (they received £69,000 towards a £260,000 goal) but the publicity let Pocket Spacecraft attract outside backing from private individuals, companies, and government sources. Backers who contributed £99 are customizing a Scout that will be released in Earth orbit to drift back to Earth’s surface. Backers at the £199 level or higher will customize a Lunar Scout. (Via Southgate Amateur Radio News)

Youth Astronomy Academy raises a new generation of amateur astronomers. The Oregonian wrote about the Rose City Astronomers’ weekend program to recruit kids into amateur astronomy.

Mars One Headlines:

Farmington, Massachusetts, resident Ken Sullivan is waiting for his Mars One interview. (via Daily Clipper)

Dallas-area Mars One candidate Cole Leonard weighs Mars and law school (Texarkana Gazette, subscription required)