Space Talks & Lectures
2015 May 23
Saturday, Day 143
Talks and Lectures
Any of the topics covered by the zarya.info web site can be delivered as talks or lectures to schools, clubs or societies. Talks can be pitched at any level from a simple introduction to a deeper insight for those who already have some astronautics or astronomical knowledge.
For schools, astronomical societies and local clubs in the UK, the only cost will be transport to/from Tyneside, usually the cost of running a car. For more formal groups, a fee may be involved but we can discuss it. Distance is no particular bar because public transport is available.
Given the prices charged by low-cost airlines, locations elsewhere in Europe may be possible too.
For some ideas, follow the general links in the menus of the zarya.info web site or click on the titles of the topics below to get a better feel. Use the 'Mail' button near the top of the page for further information or to discuss anything.
A lot has happened since the Sputnik entered orbit in 1957. This talk looks at the major events, how they happened at what they led to. It can be tailored to deal with specific topics or series like Exploring the Moon, Space Shuttles, Space Stations, How Satellites Work...... easy to understand, plenty of unique pictures.
Following their interception of signals from the Soviet Union's first Korabl Sputnik in 1960, the tracking team at the school grew into a group of teachers and pupils who dedicated their spare time to decoding satellite signals and analysing orbits in an attempt to understand the Soviet Space Program. By the time history had run its course, the group consisted of dozens of space experts dotted around the globe.
There's more to following what goes on in space than reading pages on the web. Collate a few items of public information and data, and patterns start to emerge. The results can be used to see what's really going on. Here, an analysis from thirty years ago of events in the Soviet space programme leads to a new insight of China's current Shenzhou piloted misions.
The first satellite in orbit was launched by the Soviet Union. The first human traveller in space was Russian. Since then, a lot has gone on, some things publicly and some not. There is strong interlinking between Soviet/Russian piloted and unmanned space vehicles. It's a complex story.
Most of Sergei Korolyov's early designs involved spherical shapes for sound engineering reasons. This is a review covering Sputnik, early Luna spacecraft and the Vostok/Zenit spacecraft capable of returning to Earth. They were a significant factor in space exploration, launched by the world's most-used orbital rocket. Zenit still exists today, the latest version going into space during 2013 as the Bion M-1 spacecraft.
The title is borrowed from a book by Dr Desmond King-Hele who, in turn, took it from a literary source. The talk looks at basic satellite orbits and their evolution into specialist orbits for particular tasks. It then looks at how the orbits of the Salyut, Mir, ISS and Tiangong space stations dictate the specific dates on which visiting missions can be launched.
The most obvious public face of the Chinese space programme is the series of piloted missions being undertaken by the Shenzhou spacecraft. Hidden more deeply are the clandestine eyes in the sky, comsats and navsats that keep the Chinese economy ticking over.
Sometimes satellite tracking comes across as simply noting a satellite and listing the frequency - a little like train spotting. Sometimes, people use satellites like, for example, amateur radio operators. Then there are people who, out of interest log the signals they detect, measure the Doppler shift and actually learn something about what they are listening to.
Often, many aspects of the space programme seem to lack information. In fact, it's all there but not necessarily all in the same place. Sometimes it is necessary to read between the lines of innocuous press releases or actually crunch some numbers through a spread sheet. Then it can become very interesting!.
Use the 'Mail' button near the top of the page for further information or to discuss anything.
Copyright © Robert Christy, all rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited