Storms in Space
Imagine what an extra-terrestrial Weather Channel would be like, with a professional space weatherman as your forecaster, and you get rather close to the astounding aspects of nature described in John Freeman's Storms in Space. Known only to a handful of space scientists, yet capable of disrupting technical systems as extensive as communication satellites and electric power grids Storms in Space is the first book to unveil the unseen elements of outer space. Opening with a series of vignettes (describing how the Northern and Southern lights [the aurora] are a visible manifestation of space storms, or how satellites serve as weather stations in space), Freeman provides visual analogies to help illustrate the effects of a storm in space on people. These vignettes explore the chain of events that lead to the storm and to connect the facets of the storm with the scenes in the vignettes. Freeman details the state of the art in forecasting space storms, the models that are used, and the prospects for their future improvement. He also describes the hazards of space storms for human technological systems including human space flight. Storms in Space provides both a new understanding and appreciation of how seemingly insignificant disturbances out there can have major effects right here. John W. Freeman is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. Over the past 35 years he has directed a number of satellite instrumentation projects, including the Apollo 12, 14, and 15 projects for which he was awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1973). He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Space Power. Freeman is currently working to develop a model that will forecast the intensity of the Van Allen Radiation Belts and helping to build a National Space Weather Service.
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Page 9 - Suddenly, a small jet of gas squirts out from a miniature rocket thruster on the side of the spacecraft. Unlike the usual satellite orientation adjustment bursts which last only a few seconds, this time the attitude control thruster does not shut off. The satellite begins to tumble, slowly at first, then more rapidly. Back in the satellite control room, all four TV monitors go blank and a warning beep is heard from the spacecraft status monitors.