Category: Earth Observation
Date: Friday, September 6, 2002
Location: Salt Water Pavilion - Rockport Beach, Rockport, TX US
FROM CONESTOGA, THE HORSE DRAWN COVERED WAGONS, USED BY THE PIONEERS AS TRANSPORTATION TO GET TO NEW FRONTIERS IN THE WEST.
TO THE CONESTOGA I, (20 YEARS AGO), THE 1ST SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF A ROCKET BY AMERICAN INGENUITY FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR, PIONEERING COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION.
NOW 20 YEARS LATER, THESE SAME PIONEERING AMERICAN CITIZENS, ARE BRINGING TO THE WORLD A NEW MODE OF TRANSPORTATION (SOLAR SAILING), TO PROPEL HUMANITY'S FIRST STARSHIP INTO NEW FRONTIERS.
WHO: All Citizens of Rockport City WHAT: 20 year anniversary of the Conestoga, preview of the solar sail WHEN: Friday, September 6th at 11:00 a.m. WHERE: Salt Water Pavilion - Rockport Beach
ROCKPORT, TEXAS TO BECOME FIRST CITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS HISTORIC DEEP SPACE MISSION
Twenty years ago on a cow pasture in Matagorda Island, Texas, a group of space visionaries set out to open the door to the privatization of commercial space transportation. Applauded by President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush after its maiden rocket, the "CONESTOGA I" (named for covered wagons used by the pioneers of the early western settlers), successfully lifted off, while the worldwide media captured the magical moment. These visionary entrepreneurs changed the space business forever, leading to landmark legislation regarding commercial space issues, and leaving the question of where will the commercial space industry go?
The same visionaries and developers of the Conestoga I are now, through a company called Team Encounter, announcing yet another major milestone in the field of space exploration. Humanity's First Starship. These pioneering efforts have evolved into a unique turnaround in the space arena, where once only government space agencies were launching rockets, now private companies have joined and are developing space missions to involve the worldwide public.
Team Encounter is now building a state-of-the-art solar sail to power the Team Encounter spacecraft beyond the solar system. When fully deployed (at almost 1.2 acres), the Team Encounter solar sail will be visible in the night sky with the naked eye for approximately one week, and will be the largest structure ever deployed in space. This solar sail will propel the Team Encounter spacecraft into deep space at approximately 67,000 miles per hour (four times the speed of the Space Shuttle). In development for several years, a solar sail uses an endless supply of photons from the sun to exert force on the solar sail enabling the spacecraft to be propelled forward into deep space.
This is the first space mission around the world where people will have the opportunity to actually become part of mission control. Team Encounter is now offering the worldwide public the opportunity to participate in this historic space mission, allowing them to submit their photos, messages, and biological "signatures" (in the form of micro-hair samples), for placement on-board the spacecraft. The Team Encounter spacecraft will carry this payload, like a "cosmic message in a bottle," beyond the solar system as an "archive of humanity" for whomever or whatever might discover the spacecraft in the years to come.
"As the solar sail unfurls in space, people throughout the world will view via live broadcast (Internet and TV), a spectacle on par with the 1997 landing of the Mars pathfinder." said Charles Chafer, president of Team Encounter. "The solar sail technology provides a low cost alternative to conventional propulsion approaches, opens a new opportunity to develop missions outside of the solar system, and enables a variety of new technologies allowing the exploration of the universe."
This most unique mission has already proven itself to be a tremendous academic inspiration for school children. The Rockport school district, and school districts around the nation have included the Team Encounter mission in their curriculum. Team Encounter is encouraging schools worldwide to use this as an educational component to build upon.
Team Encounter believes that this mission shows that with the emergence of global cooperation, even amidst international unrest, countries can peacefully join together in offering this unprecedented opportunity to everyone.
"The Encounter team believes that this is the first opportunity for all of us to reach beyond our solar system with our dreams, thoughts, and essence," said David Hannah, Jr., founder of Space Services Inc. and current senior advisory board member of Team Encounter. "The Encounter team is encouraging schools worldwide to use this as an educational component to build upon."
Team Encounter hopes that the magical moment of the launch of Conestoga I will be relived again through the Team Encounter mission and opening new frontiers in space.
For more information on the Team Encounter mission, visit www.TeamEncounter.com, or call 1-800-ORBIT-11.
Web Site Address: http://www.TeamEncounter.com