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The Space Review October 24, 2011

Charles Rector's Weblog; Oct. 25, 2011; By Charles Rector
Type: News

Welcome to this week's issue of The Space Review:

A gateway to space emerges in the desert
Last Month Virgin Galactic formally dedicated its "Gateway to Space", the new terminal building and hangar at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Jeff Foust reports on the event as well as the work still in progress for both Virgin's spacecraft and the spaceport itself.

Recalling the Mars flagships
November is shaping up to be a critical month for Mars exploration, with the planned launches of Russian and American missions to the Red Planet. Lou Friedman notes that ongoing debates within the administration could also spell doom for long-term Mars exploration plans.

Propellant depots: the fiscally responsible and feasible alternative to SLS
While NASA begins development of the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, some have proposed propellant depots as an alternative architecture. Andrew Gasser argues that depots, despite the criticisms of some, offer a feasible and less expensive approach to human space exploration.

The Moon Treaty: failed international law or waiting in the shadows?
The Moon Treaty is widely regarded as a failed treaty since the biggest spacefaring nations, including the United States, have not signed on to it. Michael Listner warns, though, that elements of the treaty could make their way into international law even if the US doesn't sign or ratify the treaty.

Review: The Space Shuttle
With the shuttle now retired, books recounting the history of the program are making their way onto bookstore shelves. Jeff Foust reviews one such book that includes stunning imagery from various shuttle missions, but has one surprising omission.

If you missed it, here's what we published in our previous issue:

Space is getting its groove back
This week's dedication of Spaceport America in New Mexico is the latest milestone in an emerging commercial space industry. Alan Stern sees these developments as signs of a new era in innovation in spaceflight analogous to the early aviation industry.

Linking JWST and human spaceflight
Cost overruns with the James Webb Space Telescope will require NASA to take money from other programs, perhaps including human spaceflight, to cover its costs. Michael Kaplan explains how the two programs can instead be synergistic.

Launch industry transitions
While most of the recent attention on new launch systems has focused on NASA's Space Launch System and SpaceX's plans for a reusable Falcon 9, other vehicles are reshaping the industry landscape as well.  Jeff Foust reports on some recent developments by several vehicles, and renewed concerns about overcapacity in the market.

Is a human asteroid mission a non-starter?
NASA's announced design of the Space Launch System rocket enables the space agency to pursue the goal set by the president of a human mission to an asteroid by 2025. Anthony Young wonders, though, if such a mission is compelling enough to hold interest over the years leading up to it.

Revisiting the Liability Convention: reflections on ROSAT, orbital space debris, and the future of space law
Another month, another falling satellite; in this case ROSAT, forecast to reenter later this month. Michael Listner discusses some of the legal issues specific to ROSAT's reentry as well as broader liability concerns about satellite collisions.

We appreciate any feedback you may have about these articles as well as
any other questions, comments, or suggestions about The Space Review.
We're also actively soliciting articles to publish in future issues, so
if you have an article or article idea that you think would be of
interest, please email me.

Until next week,

Jeff Foust
Editor, The Space Review

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