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  Infinity Beckoned: Adventuring Through the Inner Solar System (Jay Gallentine) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Infinity Beckoned: Adventuring Through the Inner Solar System (Jay Gallentine)
ColinBurgess
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posted 10-30-2009 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is with great pleasure that I announce a new title in the Outward Odyssey series of books, covering in its entirety the extraordinary social history of space exploration.

By now, many of you will have purchased and read Jay Gallentine's quite remarkable book, "Ambassadors from Earth", and may have felt that the book ended a little prematurely, with many of the latter-day probes and planetary missions going unreported. Jay and I realised early on that the scope of "Ambassadors" was just far too broad for one book, so with the approval of the University of Nebraska Press, Jay was recently asked to prepare a submission for a follow-on book. That proposal has now been warmly accepted by them, and Jay has already begun research work and writing on this new volume, which will bring the story right up to date, basically looking at and backgrounding several unmanned missions from Luna 15 through to Mars Pathfinder.

I'm certainly every bit as excited about this new book as I was when I first read Jay's draft manuscript for "Ambassadors", which is a beautifully-crafted overview of the first decades of unmanned space exploration. The original working title of "Views from Infinity" has subsequently been discarded by Jay, and the book's new working title is "Seekers of Wonder: The Second Great Age of Solar System Exploration".

However, don't go looking for this new book anytime soon; Jay does not expect to submit the manuscript until the latter part of 2012, so it will be some four years before the book hits the shelves.

My sincere congratulations go out to the multi-talented Jay, who has proved an absolutely perfect fit for his first book, and I know he will do an equally entertaining and informative job on this new project.

MCroft04
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posted 10-30-2009 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given the obvious tremendous amount of research done for Ambassabors from Earth, it is no surprise that the next book will take years to write. But oh it will be so worth it. Jay is a very talented writer; kind of like reliving the past over a keg of beer. Jay, don't cut any corners; just please deliver another book worhty of Ambassadors!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 10-31-2009 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems a bit trite to say, but: "Colin, thanks so much for that wonderful introduction!"

Yes, work is well underway, and these new stories will begin with the curious tale of Luna 15. Launching within days of Apollo 11, the real intent of this craft was not immediately known. So, how might it interfere with Apollo 11? Would the orbits cross? Would the radio frequencies collide? I'll be contrasting the experiences of the Luna 15 controllers with that of Frank Borman, who was tasked by Christopher Kraft to find out "What the hell's going on". I've just completed new interviews with both Kraft and Borman, which proved to be very interesting.

As with Ambassadors, I'll try to keep everyone posted on the progress.

Many thanks to Colin and the University of Nebraska Press for taking on a second book about unmanned exploration! I still can't believe it.

Philip
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posted 10-31-2009 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Jay... keep up the excellent work

GoesTo11
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posted 10-31-2009 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay... I've just begun reading "Ambassadors from Earth," and so far it's everything I've anticipated. It's great to hear that you're embarking on a "sequel" of sorts as well. I have no doubt that it will be as compelling, informative, and entertaining as the other "Outward Odyssey" chronicles.

BUT...

"Seekers of Wonder?" Really? You may want to re-think that title. Sounds like the introductory pamphlet for some sort of New Age comet-worshipping sect or something. This series is well on its way to being a watershed achievement in its field...PLEASE come up with something better than that.

minipci
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posted 10-31-2009 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for minipci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree on the comment above on the title. While "Views from Infinity" might not be technically correct, I think it sounds much better than "Seekers of Wonder".

Richard Easton
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posted 10-31-2009 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats Jay! Have read about half of your (first) book and am enjoying it.

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-01-2009 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Following the very welcome and thoughtful comments above on the new working title, Jay and I have been in discussion about this particular title, and we have both decided that we hold no significant allegiance to "Seekers of Wonder" and would like to invite further suggestions.

Jay and I agree that somewhere out there is the perfect title, and so we're going to ask our collectSPACE colleagues to come up with any ideas for Jay and I to consider. As a thank-you prize for the winning submission, Jay will send them a signed copy of "Ambassadors from Earth". It's an open competition, so please submit your suggested titles here and not to our email addresses. It will also show others what has already been considered.

So ladies and gents, thinking caps on and let's see if a new working book title (which may also be the published title) can be found out there in collectSPACE World!

Kevmac
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posted 11-01-2009 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Surveying the Cosmos"

Richard Easton
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posted 11-01-2009 11:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"To Pluto and Beyond" is a possible title.

However, with Pluto's demotion from being a planet, "To Neptune and Beyond" is an alternative, but it doesn't have the same ring to it.

cspg
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posted 11-01-2009 11:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Easton:
...but it doesn't have the same ring to it.
Since Neptune has rings...

cspg
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posted 11-02-2009 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"From Here(Earth?) to Infinity"?

GoesTo11
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posted 11-02-2009 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"From Earth to Infinity" works for me. It's appropriate, and dovetails nicely with "Ambassadors from Earth."

Richard Easton
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posted 11-02-2009 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ripping off the title of a James Bond movie, "The Solar System is Not Enough".

cspg
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posted 11-03-2009 12:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mine was probably inspired from an Iron Maiden song, "From here to eternity" from the album "Fear of the Dark"!

johntosullivan
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posted 11-03-2009 05:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Following on from ambassadors, "Emissaries to the Stars".

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-06-2009 02:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any other suggested main titles for this book out there? I know Jay would love to have a whole bunch to choose from.

ejectr
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posted 11-06-2009 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Witnesses To The Edges of The Universe

Jay Gallentine
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posted 11-09-2009 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks to all of you for these excellent suggestions. It really does mean a great deal that people I've never met will take time to think up a title for someone else's book!

An appropriate title is something I've always struggled with in my writing. For this book, I was after a title that not only conveyed the fascinating unknowns to be discovered, but did so with a nod to those who were actually doing this work.

I really liked the idea of exploration as 'wonder', and the rest of the title evolved from there. However, it sure doesn't seem to be going over too well - and I thank those who posted for their honesty.

I'll continue to let the naming suggestions trickle in over the rest of November, then Colin and I will compare notes and decide what the best candidate is.

hendric
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posted 11-15-2009 07:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hendric   Click Here to Email hendric     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Planets to Places: The second age of space exploration

Philip
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posted 11-17-2009 03:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Towards wandering stars: planets and their moons!

cspg
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posted 11-17-2009 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Question: since I haven't yet read Ambassadors from Earth, does the follow-on volume focuses only on interplanetary probes or does it include observatories like Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer?

It's a question that popped up with the special issue about Space from National Geographic and could affect the book's title.

dom
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posted 11-17-2009 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Through Different Eyes: The second age of space exploration'

This title plays on the fact that this second generation of space probes were not only using more sophisticated artificial eyes to see the outer planets for us but that we also saw the Solar System with 'different eyes' when we analysed their discoveries!

canyon42
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posted 11-18-2009 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for canyon42   Click Here to Email canyon42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about "Eternity Road" (a nod to an old Moody Blues song from an album "inspired" by the space program--"To Our Children's Children's Children" seems a bit too long, ha)?

Or along a similar vein, "Eyes Toward Eternity" or "Eyes of Eternity" or "Eternal Eyes."

"Candles in the Darkness," perhaps. Or "On the Shore of Infinity."

Jay Gallentine
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posted 11-30-2009 10:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's Last Call for title suggestions!

I really appreciate all the input on this.

After tonight, I'll compile a list of the offered titles and spend a few days coming up with the winner.

Thanks to all!

Philip
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posted 12-11-2009 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay Jay, we're all looking forward to a next title.

canyon42
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posted 12-12-2009 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for canyon42   Click Here to Email canyon42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would claim that if one of my suggestions wasn't picked I would boycott the book, but boy, would that be a big fat lie.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 12-25-2009 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for hanging in there while the title options were sorted through.

The winning title is "Touching Infinity", which was suggested by... someone who preferred not to post on cS. They sent a private e-mail.

Chris, I don't believe I ever answered your question. This follow-on book will cover lunar and planetary probes - nothing is planned for Hubble or Spitzer.

Many thanks to all who made contributions, and please know it was a difficult decision.

Thanks for your support! It really means a great deal.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 11-10-2010 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's sure been an interesting series of months, here. To date I have completed about four chapters or so - they're always in flux - and have parts of about three or four more sketched together.

In addition to Kraft and Borman, I've since conducted two highly fascinating interviews.

In late May I spent three wondrous days speaking with Dr. Roald Sagdeev in person at his Maryland offices. He is not a household name, but Dr. Sagdeev spent fifteen years as Director of the Soviet Space Research Institute. This happened during some of the most amazing missions through our solar system: Venera on the surface of Mars, plus Vega to Halley's Comet. This time period was also marked by some rather spectacular failures - including four Mars probes in a row, not to mention the very public barfing of twin Martian Phobos ships.

In very basic terms, Sagdeev was a reluctant director. He did not ask for the job, did not want it, and spent part of those fifteen years trying to quit. Repeatedly. He talked at length about what the Soviets did well in space, where they fell short, and offered many insights into why the Soviet Union did what it did in space between the early Seventies through the late Eighties.

You may wonder, what was his take on the Buran shuttle? "That was absolutely stupid."

Here's a picture of Dr. Sagdeev working. He really likes his Blackberry.

And here's the two of us together on the last day.

Each morning I'd walk from my hotel, fifteen minutes up the street to the University of Maryland campus, lugging a notebook of questions, Sagdeev's own book, a recorder, and other materials. I've never seen so many white columns on a single college campus. We took lunch together on one day, and were joined by several others from the UofM space physics department. Out of seven I do believe I was the only non-PhD at the table. Sometimes it was a real struggle to keep pace with what these guys were talking about. Sagdeev likes a Corona with lunch. Over appetizers the discussion turned at one point to ball lightning. "The person who figures out ball lighting," Sagdeev predicted, "will instantly get the Nobel Prize." One student was Russian himself and had come to Maryland specifically to study under Sagdeev. He told us how Russian beer seems to be improving in quality. All in all, the kind of lunch I'll probably never have again.

My more recent interview was Alexander Basilevsky, a Russian geologist who worked on the mostly-forgotten Lunokhod program of the very early Seventies. The Soviets landed two of these things: eight-wheeled rovers filled with cameras and science experiments, remotely driven from a little town on the north end of the Black Sea. A few years back Richard Garriott actually bought Lunokhod 2... but hasn't quite recovered it yet.

A lighthearted man, Dr. Basilevsky filled my ears with one fascinating story after another about his work during Lunokhod, as well as his efforts to choose landing sites for the first Soviet cosmonauts to visit the moon.

And that's about where I'm at for now!

MCroft04
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posted 11-10-2010 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gee Jay, Kind of boring stuff! Guess I'll have to buy the book when it is released to get the "real stuff"! Congrats.

Philip
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posted 11-11-2010 03:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing those photos and keep up the good work Jay!

Jay Gallentine
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posted 02-12-2011 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy, how time flies.

At this point, I'm about a third of the way through the draft manuscript and have completed 'Act 1'. This takes us from Luna 15 through the end of Lunokhod 2. The emphasis is really on the Soviets, with some American missions thrown in to illustrate the ongoing 'Race to the Planets'.

I'm excited to report the completion of new interviews with key members of the Lunokhod team. Some of these have been entirely in Russian, which has definitely been a challenge. I picked up some of those language tapes from the library, but they haven't taught me how to ask things like "At what point did Lunokhod's buffer batteries exceed their design specifications?", although from the tapes I did learn how to say, "I need to use the restroom," plus "I have a medical emergency." Strangely, neither of which have worked their way into any conversation about Lunokhod.

Now I am transitioning into the quest to land on Mars - first by the Soviets. Then will come the spectacular success of the American Viking program.

Thanks to all for your continued interest, and I certainly hope to meet many of you at Spacefest this summer.

Philip
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posted 10-26-2011 04:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, Any updates on the second book?

Jay Gallentine
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posted 10-26-2011 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Philip, I appreciate your prodding me into an update.

The manuscript has been moving along. Recently I managed to ‘land’ the Viking spacecrafts, as it were, and have just un-stuck the sampler-arm pin on Viking 1. From there we’ll hear about the mission’s biology experiments – and reasons why such long-standing disagreement exists about whether Viking found life, or whether it didn’t. I have been working closely with a few of the key players who created Viking’s biological and organic-detection experiments. Thrilling to have these folks still around and willing to talk.

On ‘Ambassadors’, my goal was to reach the bottom of the gravity-assist controversy, and to do it without using any really big words. I think I was able to pull that off - although gravity-assist wasn’t so much big words as it was big math, and leaving out the big math was easy. Here, the goal is similar: get to the bottom of whether Viking found life. I think I’m nearing that point. But the closer I get, the longer the words seem to be. There’s a whole greasy wad of chemical minutiae, which prompted me into calling on reinforcements. So a biophysical chemist friend of mine has been of immense assistance in translating and understanding concepts that go way beyond the semester of college chemistry I had back in the day.

In parallel with Viking, the story of Soviet Russia’s attempts to land on Venus and Mars in the 1970s and early 1980s are going to be explored in some detail. This material is in the early early draft stage, although I have completed the tale of two early, egg-shaped Soviet Mars landers who went for broke in 1971.

The remaining chapters will touch on American orbital missions to Venus and Jupiter, plus the Soviets’ gamble at reaching Phobos in the late 1980s. By and large though, that’ll be a pretty quick overview because I’m running out of space. The bulk of ‘Act III’ will focus on the development and flight of Mars Pathfinder and the third rover on Mars, Sojourner. That’s right – Sojourner was not the first rover to put down on the Red Planet.

The photographic selections are shaping up, and I’m pleased to report that this book will compete with Ambassadors for the number of previously-unpublished images – including some from a high-school photographer present at JPL during the Viking missions. Several Soviet engineers have also graciously dug through their personal photo albums to provide rare glimpses from behind the Iron Curtain.

Thank you!

dss65
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posted 10-26-2011 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, that just sounds terrific. I'll really be looking forward to this book!

ColinBurgess
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posted 10-28-2011 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As series editor, I have been privileged to read Jay's chapters as they have been fully or partially completed. I can tell you that this is going to be a terrific book, and a great follow-on volume to "Ambassadors from Earth." We have undoubtedly found and nurtured a wonderful writing talent in Jay. For those who have attended any of his talks on space subjects - such as at Spacefest III - he is an absolutely brilliant orator with a wicked sense of humour that combines perfectly with his meticulous research of the subject under discussion. The wait, folks, will be well worth it.

Jay Gallentine
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posted 02-02-2012 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At this point, I'm into the final sections of the book.

The scope has changed slightly, after I made a sobering realization. In order to keep the book length under control and still cover Pathfinder/Sojourner, I was going to have to gloss over much of the Soviet explorations of the 1970s and 80s. And I have all these original interviews and whatnot from that period. I conferred with a couple of trusted colleagues, who both had virtually identical opinions: Jay, write things we haven't heard. With somewhat mixed feelings, I discontinued my Sojourner research.

So the new theme of the book is "our first intensive explorations of the inner solar system." It will cover the first lunar sample-return attempts, through the final landings on Venus, with much in-between.

I've finished detailing the Viking surface operations, and have an additional chapter coming together on what they really seem to have found. These next months will also be consumed with telling the story of Roald Sagdeev and others who reared crafts to Venus and the Martian moon Phobos.

I'll keep you posted!

canyon42
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posted 02-02-2012 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for canyon42   Click Here to Email canyon42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, duh. Sounds like a third book is pretty much a necessity, then.

Philip
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posted 02-22-2012 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking forward to Jay's second book... any prospects on a publication date (before Christmas)?

Jay Gallentine
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posted 02-22-2012 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't speak for the publisher, but I'll turn it in around November/December of 2012 and I would anticipate a good calendar year before it's out. So maybe holiday-time of 2013 but I think too soon to tell!

Working now on the later Venera flights!


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