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Friday, June 23 2017 @ 07:01 AM CDT

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They did it again!

SpaceSouth Dakota State University's women's basketball team leads all women's college basketball teams, from all divisions, in team grade point average again in 2007-08, as compiled by the WBCA:
NCAA Division I
South Dakota State is making quite a name for itself on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll as the Jackrabbits secured the top spot amongst NCAA Division I institutions for the third consecutive season. In addition to compiling the top GPA in their division, Aaron Johnston's team also claims the top overall team GPA amongst all divisions which is yet another distinction they have captured for the third year in a row. Aside from its classroom successes, South Dakota State also enjoyed another great year on the court as the Jackrabbits advanced to the Women's NIT before falling in the first round to Creighton.

"The women on our team have made our entire university and community very proud," said Johnston. "They have truly committed themselves to success in the classroom, on the court and in the community. Being recognized for the top GPA the third consecutive year is a tremendous accomplishment for our student-athletes."
That's three straight #1 finishes for the Jackrabbits.

Try to top that, Tennessee!
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Private space station up by 2010

SpaceSpace.com reports:
SAN JOSE, Calif. If the planned Jan. 30 launch of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis 2 space module on a Russian Dnepr rocket is successful, Las Vegas entrepreneur Robert Bigelow plans to send a human-rated habitat into orbit in either the second half of 2009 or the first half of 2010.
. . .
At a luncheon speech today in San Jose, Calif., at the AIAA Space 2006 Symposium, Bigelow said his third module, dubbed Sundancer, would have a mass of 8,618.4 kilograms and be equipped with life support systems, attitude control, three windows, on-orbit maneuverability, reboost and de-orbit capability.

He plans to place it at an altitude of 250 nautical miles at an orbital inclination of 40 degrees. Bigelow said that while Sundancer will be a scale model of the large, human-rated habitat he eventually plans to launch into orbit, it will nonetheless have 180 cubic meters of habitable space.

"We're pretty damn serious," Bigelow said in his lunch address.

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Whew! Pluto IS a planet

SpaceFrom Yahoo News:

Opponents of Pluto, which was named a planet in 1930, still might spoil for a fight. Earth's moon is larger; so is 2003 UB313 (Xena), about 70 miles wider.

But the IAU said Pluto meets its proposed new definition of a planet: any round object larger than 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles) in diameter that orbits the sun and has a mass roughly one-12,000th that of Earth. Moons and asteroids will make the grade if they meet those basic tests.

Roundness is key, experts said, because it indicates an object has enough self-gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape. Yet Earth's moon wouldn't qualify because the two bodies' common center of gravity lies below the surface of the Earth.

"People were probably wondering: If they take away Pluto, is Rhode Island next?" Binzel quipped. "There are as many opinions about Pluto as there are astronomers. But Pluto has gravity on its side. By the physics of our proposed definition, Pluto makes it by a long shot."



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Atlantis on the launch pad

SpaceShuttle Atlantis makes it to the launch pad:
After two stalled attempts, NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis rolled out to its Florida launch pad Wednesday as workers ready the space plane for a planned liftoff later this month.

Atlantis reached Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida just after 8:00 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) following a seven-hour trek from the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building.
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The Shuttle is up

SpaceThe Shuttle launched on July 4th without a hitch--the first ever launch on Independence Day for the Shuttle.
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Replace the Shuttle NOW!

SpaceAs time goes, on, the overly complex Space Shuttle system becomes more and more ridiculous--the Shuttle has been grounded for over a year due to insulating foam. Now, the latest attempt to launch is in doubt due to more problems with . . . insulating foam.

Insulating foam, for crying out loud.

It's way past time for NASA to get out of the way and let private entrepreneurs take a real crack at access to space. The good news is that current NASA Administrator Michael Griffin seems to be edging towards the same conclusion with this testimony in April before the Senate:
We also need your support for our effort to leverage the capabilities of commercial industry to demonstrate potentially cheaper means to deliver cargo, and later crew to the International Space Station.
Nice, but this doesn't go far enough. NASA needs to bite the bullet and outsource human space flight completely. It's time.


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Going to Pluto

SpaceNASA is about to launch their New Horizons mission to Pluto. Very neat.
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Global warming on Mars

SpaceThe BBC reports on climate change on Mars:
(NASA's) scientists also say that deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near the planet's south pole have shrunk for three summers in a row.

They say this is evidence to suggest climate change is in progress.

Must be those pesky robot rover SUV's we've got up there.