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Author Topic:   British Interplanetary Society's Spaceflight
cspg
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posted 01-07-2012 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dom:
David, you might have gotten off to a bad start with this story - if early analysis of its contents are to be believed.
Although I agree with the above post, nobody knows what instruments are carried aboard the X-37B and why its mission has been extended. Speculation can only flourish when secrecy abounds, on both sides.

dbaker
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posted 01-08-2012 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dbaker   Click Here to Email dbaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In response to previous messages:

Yes I have seen the comments made by Jim Oberg. Criticism appears to focus on two issues: (first) the orbital position of the two spacecraft and the pre-selection of the orbital inclination; and (second) expressing incredulity that the US could have known the orbital inclination of Tiangong before it was launched (which was after X-37B).

On the former - of course the right-ascension influences exactly when they pass but the fact that they do pass each other is admitted and a matter of fact. The velocity of the flyby does not hinder electronic diagnosis of Tiangong and associated ground facilities in China and Africa and this latter aspect is the point.

There is a lot of activity going on across the surface of the globe within this orbital belt and there could be many reasons why X-37B has been placed in this highly unusual path.

Moreover, the orbit allows it to pass every four days over all China's domestic and foreign tracking stations which is inferred in the article.

On the latter criticism regarding the selection of the X-37B's orbit - all China's manned flights since 1999 have occupied precisely this path. I am greatly surprised that someone of Jim Oberg's high calibre and worthy reputation expresses astonishment that anyone should know beforehand that, when launched, Tiangong would be in that orbit.

Jim had not seen the article when he posted his statements and only asked me to send a copy after his views were out on the web. I ask all those making comment to read these two pages on the X-37B first.

I might also add that it has been a tradition of the BIS, and certainly Spaceflight magazine, to publish features trying to decipher the activities of both Russian and US intelligence gathering satellites during the Cold War. These articles were almost routine in Spaceflight but since the end of the Cold War that kind of analysis and speculation has been absent. It is in this tradition that the story was published.

Lastly, and most important, this story has nothing to do with 'pecuniary objectives' as some have claimed. I have no intention of using claimed sensationalism as a means of broadcasting the name of the magazine or the BIS with a view to recruiting subscriptions.

David Baker

cspg
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posted 01-08-2012 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dbaker:
I ask all those making comment to read these two pages on the X-37B first.
Makes you wonder why some don't do just that...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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posted 01-08-2012 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems the BIS provided comments to the BBC before releasing the article in question for all to read, and even when released, it will only be available to subscribers. Given the response, it would be a good idea for BIS to post the article in its entirety to its website.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 01-08-2012 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dbaker:
Yes I have seen the comments made by Jim Oberg.
Jim has replied to David's response:
Mr. Baker does not appear to understand the basis of my objections at all, let me try to make the points clearer.

For point 1, he writes, "of course the right-ascension influences exactly when they pass but the fact that they do pass each other is admitted and a matter of fact." If Mr. Baker now is satisfied that the two vehicles are not and never will be co-planar, than this totally demolishes the significance he appears so enamored of - that the two inclinations happen to be very close. This demolition is caused by the fact that if criss-cross intercepts are all you are interested in [his new fall-back position, apparently], ANY two orbits of ANY plane will have exactly the same number - 2 per rev [so the coincidence of the orbital inclinations becomes moot].

Baker adds: "The velocity of the flyby does not hinder electronic diagnosis of Tiangong and associated ground facilities in China and Africa and this latter aspect is the point." Perhaps I need to study the original article further because I don't see the point. The undeniable ability of any space vehicle to carry out exactly such observations, from ANY low Earth orbit, totally dispels anything special about the X-37's orbit, and so the apparent central thesis of the article dissolves.

In fact, the very closeness of the orbital period of X-37 and Tiangong makes the former vehicle an extremely inconvenient observer of Tiangong, especially in light of the obvious requirements it be observed during specific short intervals of special activities, such as docking. This inconvenience is related to the repeatability of the close passes, which as with the synodic period of planets, is defined as the reciprocal of the difference of the reciprocals of the two orbiting objects. For current values this runs about ten days between repeat passes (a pair of close passes every ten days). During most of the rest of that period the X-37B actually remains totally out of line-of-sight of Tiangong, in one of the BLINDEST POSSIBLE orbits for observation, not hardly the BEST possible orbit.

For point 2, he writes that I "express[ed] incredulity that the US could have known the orbital inclination of Tiangong before it was launched (which was after X-37B)" This is an incorrect reading of my words leading to a misrepresentation of my objection. I expressed incredulity that the US could have predicted the orbital PLANE of Tiangong months before it was launched, not the orbital INCLINATION [it's possible some editor garbled this - I will check]. The plane depends both on the inclination, to be sure, as well as the Right Ascension of the Ascending Node, or RAAN. To achieve a co-planar orbit with Tiangong-1, which I surmised was the assertion of the to-appear article, would require prescience of a supernatural form to know the exact TIME it would be inserted into orbit, and hence define its RAAN.

I had suspected from my interpretation of the BBC article that Mr. Baker was not conversant in the significance of the RAAN in determining orbit-to-orbit accessibility, and this new misunderstanding only underscores my original concern about his understanding of orbital mechanics.

cspg
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posted 01-09-2012 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has Mr. Oberg read the article (I haven't)?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 01-09-2012 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, he has read it. Here was his response.
I have now read the as-published Spaceflight article and its technical argument is as unjustified as it originally looked, based on the second-hand BBC account [which was very professionally accurate].

The one-page article [no author], entitled "Is X-37B stalking China's space station?", describes the X-37B and Tiangong-1 as being "in almost exactly the same orbit", with the X-37B having "the ability to approach Tiangong-1 for diagnostic tracking and systems monitoring." [graf 1]. It then describes maneuvers by X-37B that "would bring it into a co-planar orbit with Tiangong-1." [graf 3]

The specific claim that the two vehicles are in the same orbit and co-planar is factually false.

The initial impressions of a 'horrendous' mistake in orbital mechanics are validated by the actual article.

By the way: An introduction to the article, by 'THE EDITOR' on page 1, actually endorses the theorized mission as prudent and justified, and applauds it.

Philip
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posted 02-01-2012 04:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Received the February issue this morning. Three great articles but no report on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

Lots of new BIS-members though...

dbaker
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posted 02-02-2012 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dbaker   Click Here to Email dbaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sir, with respect you are wrong. Cover story and four pages inside on MSL.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 02-02-2012 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dbaker:
Cover story and four pages inside on MSL.
I don't have the issue, and maybe this is just a typo, but MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) and the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity are separate missions...

dbaker
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posted 02-03-2012 02:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dbaker   Click Here to Email dbaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's okay Robert — an in-house joke to the recipient and a few others on the Mars track! "Is this an 'Opportunity' or mere 'Curiosity'? Will they ever know the difference?" See next month's thrilling episode...

johntosullivan
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posted 02-08-2012 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have the issue in front of me, but there is mention of Gerry Griffon, former NASA Administrator being connected to Stratolaunch.

Surely, this should have been Mike Griffin. Wrong first name and incorrect spelling of surname? Probably one of the most famous people in the Spaceflight sector? Who dropped the ball on that one?

Tykeanaut
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posted 02-08-2012 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I've mentioned previously, they either don't have proof-readers or incompetent ones?

dbaker
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posted 02-20-2012 05:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dbaker   Click Here to Email dbaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As part of an evolving process of widening the information flow to its readers, Spaceflight magazine has begun a web-based section with comment and analysis on events associated with the space programme worldwide.

Just go to bis-space.com, scroll down and click on Spaceflight News at the bottom of the front page to open current and archived features and comment.

Concerned at the lack of immediacy suffered by all print-magazines, news is being increasingly shifted to the web, as Spaceflight magazine gives more space to analysing the implications of the news rather than the announcement itself and to historical subjects.

Other BIS publications are also increasing web-based news and comment and those too can be found on the lead page.

Philip
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posted 05-26-2012 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just curious to know how many collectSPACE forum members would be interested in getting the monthly magazine "Spaceflight" in a digital format.

A few years ago "Sky & Telescope" offered a 12 DVD-set to its readers, which has all magazines from 1942 to 2009 in scanned format.

Wouldn't it be great to have a DVD-set with all "Spaceflight" magazines from 1956 to 2012?

mama04
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posted 05-26-2012 05:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mama04   Click Here to Email mama04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would love to have that DVD! Have been a BIS member for a long time and have all Spaceflight magazines from 1986 onwards but would really, really like to have them in a digital format.

hoorenz
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posted 05-26-2012 05:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be very much interested in the older issues on a dvd.

Philip
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posted 05-31-2012 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the year 2013, the British Interplanetary Society will celebrate its 80th birthday and it would be amazing to produce a BIS DVD-set with either Spaceflight and/or JBIS publications as a digital heritage of our beloved space advocacy organization!

ed zigoy
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posted 06-12-2012 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ed zigoy   Click Here to Email ed zigoy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 2005 suggested the scanning of back issues idea to them twice, the BIS response, cold silence.

Philip
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posted 06-13-2012 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed, what a pity... maybe the new BIS team could put it on the (anniversary) agenda ?

Dave Shayler
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posted 06-14-2012 01:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Shayler   Click Here to Email Dave Shayler     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To scan every copy of Spaceflight is a massive undertaking for such a small team at the BIS. It is a challenge to produce each new magazine. It would be great but I remember the effort my brother Mike and I had to put in just to organise a CD of the Spaceflight Index some years ago.

There are plans to scan both the complete issues of ZENIT and ORBITER magazine which Astro published between 1984-1992. This is quite time consuming for small organizations. Perhaps the BIS could attempt the task in sections,such as by each decade?.

I have a cloth bound set of the first volumes of Spaceflight from the 1950s thru 1969 produced by a Dutch company in the early 1970s, well thumbed and cherished. My single issues date back to the early 1970s so it would by handy to refer back to specfic items on a disc to find an obscure paper I could then retrieve from the archive easier and quicker - we shall see.

Philip
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posted 06-14-2012 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed a huge undertaking but scanning could be done by several teams of volunteers.

ed zigoy
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posted 06-16-2012 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ed zigoy   Click Here to Email ed zigoy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few points of clarification, the suggestions were my personal opinion based on being an overseas member. It was only given to the Society President and the Executive Secretary as a consideration based on the "will you help us" box in the July 1967 issue, which quoting from: "Our strength depends upon an active and influential membership."

It was not an attempt to put the onus on the BIS staff to complete. In fact this writer even volunteered his time to assist once the various legal details had been resolved. The only interests were for the Society to embrace newer technologies and to give members everywhere easier access to excellent reference materials.

heng44
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posted 06-17-2012 02:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Articles I have written for Spaceflight in the past years were sent to me for proofreading in pdf-form. Surely the BIS must have an archive of issues in pdf-format for at least the past 10 years? Maybe even more. These would not have to be scanned...

cspg
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posted 06-17-2012 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ed zigoy:
In 2005 suggested the scanning of back issues idea to them twice, the BIS response, cold silence.
Way too much work, believe me. But would you read back issues?

Dave Shayler
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posted 06-18-2012 06:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Shayler   Click Here to Email Dave Shayler     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I understand the topic of making available back issues of publications, prepared by volunteers, is under discussion at the BIS. This will no doubt please those who would wish to add new-media versions (to be decided upon) of historic volumes to their collections - I will be one of them!

There are some great articles and historic news items in the old pages of both Spaceflight and the Journal that I often refer back to in my research. Having them available in a more accessible format — instead of pulling the papers by hand would be of great help — it would also save time in putting everything back in the files once I have finished with them — always the downside of research!

Philip
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posted 06-19-2012 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed Dave, we kept those issues because we could refer back to them as there's an annual index of authors & articles in each December issue.

Until now Spaceflight brought items which were nowhere else available although the internet age has changed things. Certainly something to be considered in the choice of aticles to be published. Nowadays "In Brief" section prints items widely available on the net.

Almost every issue of Spaceflight was worth keeping aside... otherwise I would only tear those "interesting" pages out for storage

Last year's index is available as a .pdf and was not printed in the December 2011 issue...

cspg
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posted 06-19-2012 02:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Last year's index is available as a .pdf and was not printed in the December 2011 issue...

And I didn't even notice that! That's a dumb idea/move.

kyra
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posted 06-22-2012 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Spaceflight there are detailed STS Mission Reports written by Roelof Shuiling that to this day are a gold standard of what realy happened on these missions.

The best other source was Countdown/Dixon Otto and this now "extinct" magazine has been digitized to PDF. AW&ST was focused on specifc technical areas, and as for popular press it was mostly fluff. STS Mission Profiles/Alan Fritsche was short lived 1992-1995, I believe.

So summing up, Spaceflight had the best general reporting of STS, with continuity.

I would be very much interested in seeing an archive in pdf - Even a compilation of the mission reports, perhaps an "STS Legacy DVD" would be of immense value.

Philip
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posted 06-23-2012 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said, that continues with the monthly ISS Operations Summary articles by George Spiteri (FBIS). I know at least five people who just buy Spaceflight magazine for those articles...

Philip
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posted 08-29-2012 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With only three issues to go for the 2012 calendar year, we would appreciate some feedback about the new layout and contents... Does the contents lean too much towards "Executive summary," too "British history" oriented, photos large enough, print quality, etc...

I do like the web-based section with comments and analysis on events associated with the space programme worldwide, but the added value of the "In Brief" page in the magazine is a ? for some...

cspg
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posted 08-29-2012 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would rather see the "In Brief" section turn into a summary of space-related events by date, much like the NASA Aeronautics & Astronautics publications of the 70s (afterwards they've lost it...and stopped publishing it!).

Philip
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posted 08-31-2012 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I especially enjoy reading the "History" articles, both manned & unmanned spaceflight. However the photos are printed smaller than used to be the case in previous years.

Leaving the "In Brief" page out could save some place for larger format pictures, especially these never printed before (e.g. Curiosity panos, historic B&W, Ed Hengeveld paintings, etc...).

cspg
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posted 08-31-2012 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an example for nice big pictures (among other things), look at the French magazine Espace & Exploration (www.espace-exploration.com). You can order on a one copy at a time or subscribe.

Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 09-05-2012 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just noticed that some Spaceflight issues are out-of-print. Another reason to make the complete series available on DVD.

Philip
Member

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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 09-25-2012 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very good October issue with an 8-pages special tribute article on Neil Armstrong. Also good to see 6-pages long articles so the magazine will remain a reference with in-depth data to go through within a couple of years.

Is there still a "slow" delivery time to the USA? From next year on, BIS Spaceflight will become available as a .pdf download... and that's good news!

Philip
Member

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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 10-05-2012 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
November issue has that "Executive Summary" feel to it, politics, budget talk...

DChudwin
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posted 10-05-2012 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is the BIS still in operation? I have been a Fellow for a number of years but have not received any responses to e-mails. I sent an article and also inquired about my membership status, since I have not received any issues of Spaceflight recently.

Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 10-06-2012 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check the renewed website.

British Interplanetary Society must unfortunately announce a small increase in the annual subscription rates and a revised structure that reflects more accurately the costs involved in producing and posting our favorite "Spaceflight" magazine...

Philip
Member

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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 11-29-2012 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
January 2013 BIS Spaceflight issue has a special section on "40 years Apollo 17"... For BIS-members who have chosen the digital issue, it's already possible to get out favorite Spaceflight magazine as a handy digital .pdf download!


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