ExplorersWeb 2009 Year in Review: Technology and Space

Posted: Dec 22, 2009 01:51 am EST

In previous years, ExplorersWeb have published one big Year in Review on January 1st. This year we are cutting it up in sections, to be posted every day until the awards, with the compiled report to go up early 2010.

Today a rewind of the year's main tech- and space news at ExplorersWeb.


The 2009 edition of the Everest tech week kicked off with a brush-up of the most basic and important expedition communications tools: the radio and the satellite phone.

It continued with a cost-cut 8848 high-speed "stimulus package" including Wideye (dropping the price by more than 50%), low-cost solid state mini laptops and the P50 battery. The series rounded off with user reviews of P50 and HEAT plus an interview with HET CTO Tom Sjogren.

During the spring season, climbers in Nepal reported problems related to SMS, refills and registration to the Thuraya network. The sat comm company acknowledged problems with its no. 2 satellite and ExWeb/HET posted fixes while the problems lasted.

Inmarsat's repositioning of satellites led to a lower aiming angle for Himalaya users in Everest BC.


- Last December Iridium introduced its latest satellite phone, Iridium 9555, considerably lighter and smaller than the previous three models. But should you get it? "Depends," wrote HumanEdgeTech.

- Thuraya continues to roll out the most exciting handheld satellite phones on the market. HET ran a review of the new XT and an overview of the competition such as Terrestar's Genius announced for early 2010.

- Introduced at HET early 2008, these days Netbooks are blowing up in US computer stores. Choosing has become complicated, significantly for high altitude climbers and other explorers. HumanEdgeTech checked hundreds of models for the HET expedition Netbook review.

Special reports

With true global coverage and speeds up to 128kb/s Iridium's Open Port radically stretches polar possibilities, albeit with some important limitations stated HET's special report.

Attempts to generate power have been imaginative among explorers and the military. ExWeb ran a 2-part series featuring some of them, plus the latest and the most efficient. The power special covered walk-and-charge, the crank, Solio, generators and more.

An Antarctica technology roundup covered ALE's requirements, GPS, Satellite phone and VHF, the latest on Yellow brick, Spider and EPIRBS, Iridium and Open Port, PDA's vs. netbooks, power, Contact, maps, costs and testimonies from last year's skiers.

Find all the stories at HumanEdgeTech.com.


The private space industry as well as NASA lost some steam this year.

XPrize competitions were held behind locked doors, and while Virgin Galactic unveiled SpaceShipTwo; its private astronauts were treated to official parades around the world and visits at Branson's Caribbean home as there's no launch deadline.

With just five flights remaining, the space shuttle is about to retire with no replacement on the near horizon. For the first time in half a century, US will no longer be a spacefaring nation unless Elon Musk's SpaceX shows real progress with Falcon 9 set to launch next year.

Poor in resources but an excellent launch pad for earth-bound missiles; we blew a hole in the moon partially to confirm ice but also perhaps to send a message to China gearing up for lunar bases.

Cern keep struggling in their search for the God-particle; a series of technical difficulties have postponed physics until first quarter of 2010.

One promising enterprise is Robert Bigelow's inflatable space stations - the cheapest yet in orbit - now serving as testing beds for the next project: the Sundancer, a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex.

Is interstellar travel possible in our lifetime? Is there any money in space? Rooftop solar, biofuel and wind - are they our only chances to go green?

ExplorersWeb 2009 4-part Space Conference report covered all the latest buzz, chances for interstellar travel, Space Solar Power and the budding $257 billion space industry.

Find the stories at Pythom.com.

#Tech #Space #Review #feature

Main sponsor of ExWeb: HET ran a number of reviews of the latest sat phones such as the new XT and Terrestar's Genius announced for early 2010.
HET power customized for extreme kayaks.
Check out the new GoPro mini HD video camera for priceless memories.
HET smart battery, HET solar panel, and the coolest netbook this year - another sweet deal in 2009.
HET's Contact software speeds up sat transmissions in addition to specialized features for extreme expeditions. Expect an exciting update in 2010.
It was favorable to buy American this year.
A space station few know about: Genesis 1 checking the surf at Baja California. Image courtesy Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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