April 11-17, 2016 / Vol 35, No 15 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Cosmonautics Day and Yuri’s Night 2016 Celebrate Future of Space Exploration

Yuris Night 2016

The 55th commemoration of Cosmonautics Day occurs April 12, honoring Yuri Gagarin, the first human to orbit Earth, followed by Yuri’s Night 2016 celebrations. In Russia a procession will begin at Gagarin’s statue in Korolyov, lead to Gagarin’s grave at Red Square and continue on to Cosmonauts Alley near the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The new Russia spaceport, Vostochny Cosmodrome at 51°N 128°E, intended to reduce the use of Kazakhstan Baikonur Cosmodrome, may carry out its first launch on April 27 with a Soyuz rocket lofting research satellites. Some of the 160 Yuri’s Night events planned in 45 countries on 7 continents and in space will be held at University of the Western Cape in South Africa, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica and at McMurdo Station, Austral Hotel in Adelaide, Brazil Planetarium, and MIT in Cambridge MA. The ISS is in its 16th year of continuous human occupation. China is planning to launch Tiagnong-2 in Q3 2016 and have its Space Station complete by 2020. Blue Origin, SpaceX and other commercial companies are advancing reusable rockets, while NASA is developing SLS / Orion, China Long March 5 & 7 and India GSLV with the Human-rated CARE capsule. Others aim for the Moon (Astrobotic, Moon Express) and Asteroids (Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries). (Image Credit: NASA, ROSCOSMOS,  Discovering Cleveland, Chop Shop)


April 11 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 47 six-member crew with Timothy Kopra as Commander unloading 2,500 kg of cargo from Progress MS-02, practicing emergency drill simulations, planning to facilitate Bigelow BEAM attachment to ISS with Canadarm2 this Saturday, set up Rodent Research experiment & transfer 3,130 kg of cargo from Dragon CRS-8.

April 11 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Craft operating nominally and in good health, traveling at 23.6 km/sec is 659 million km from Earth and less than 3 months from reaching Jupiter with one-way radio signal of 38 minutes.

 April 11 — New Horizons, KBO 2014 MU69 Trajectory: NASA craft more than 3,735 days in space, heading toward Kuiper Belt and continuing to rely data from Pluto system flyby to Earth for at least 3 more months, expected to encounter selected KBO in 2019.

 April 11 — Blue Origin LLC, Kent WA: NewSpace company evaluating data from third successful landing of suborbital rocket utilizing BE-3 engine and launch of capsule to 103 km, planning for crewed test flights of New Shepard next year, is four years into development of BE-4 – expected to be begin testing soon & be flight qualified 2017.

April 11Celestis Inc., Houston TX: Planning for memorial suborbital / return flight in June (US$1,295), flight to Earth Orbit in Q4 from Cape Canaveral ($4,995), 4 flights in 2017 including one delivery to Moon surface via Astrobotic lander ($12,500), co-founded & led by Charles Chafer.

April 11Spaceport America, Las Cruces NM: Working with MARS Scientific to offer reduced cost for first time suborbital launch of flight campaign and reduced cost for telescopic imaging / tracking; EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies signs 5-year contract to develop & test Suborbital Active Rocket with GuidancE (SARGE) vehicle on site.

Apr 11-14 — Space Foundation, Colorado Springs CO: 32nd Space Symposium; at the Broadmoor Hotel.

APRIL - JUNE 2016 = All times

for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for space events, and…

= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time;’ Greenwich, England).

Weekly Planet Watch – Evening Planets: Mercury (WNW), Mars (S), Saturn (SW), Jupiter (SE).

15th ASCE Earth and Space 2016 Gathers Engineers for Extreme Environments

ASCE 2016

The Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is holding its 2016 Earth and Space Conference April 11-15 in Orlando FL, marking the 15th Biennial ASCE International Conference on Engineering. Over 150 abstracts were submitted and accepted for the conference, and 4 symposia topics will include Granular Materials in Space Exploration (anchoring in soils, exhaust plume effects, regolith stimulants) and Exploration & Utilization of Extra-Terrestrial Bodies (space commercialization, surface site preparation, in-situ manufacturing). Welcome remarks will be given by (L-R) Tom Moser (Aerospace Consultant) on “Commercial Lunar Propellant: Opening a Gateway to the Solar System” and Jim Keravala (Shackleton Energy Co.) “Building an Energy Industry in Space for the Benefit of Humankind: The Off-World Consortium.” Plenary session speakers are Alan Stern (SwRI) “The Exploration of the Pluto System,” Luther Beegle (JPL) “Drilling on the Martian Surface with the Mars Science Laboratory” and Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar (Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station) “An Engineer-Astronaut Perspective on Planetary Exploration: Past, Present and Future.” There will also be an 8-hour short course on “Space Mining and Planetary Surface Construction,” tour of KSC, Yuri’s Night hosted by SEDS, and 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge display. (Image Credit: ASCE, NASA)

Apr 11-15 — American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Aerospace Division, Orlando FL: ASCE Earth & Space Conference 2016; 15th Biennial ASCE International Conference on Engineering: Science, Construction and Operations in Challenging Environments; at Rosen Centre Hotel.

Apr 11-15 — Institute of Astronomy of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Cozumel, Mexico: Conference: The Interplay Between Local and Global Processes in Galaxies.

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 FV13: Near-Earth flyby (0.005 AU).

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 GU: Near-Earth flyby (0.007 AU).

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 363599 (2004 FG11): Near-Earth flyby (0.050 AU).

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 GF134: Near-Earth flyby (0.061 AU).

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2009 BC11: Near-Earth flyby (0.081 AU).

Apr 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 GW: Near-Earth flyby (0.097 AU).

Continued from…

Apr 4-16 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: 55th Session of the Legal Subcommittee of the UNOOSA.

Apr 8-14 — Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Dayton Beach FL: PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1601.


Apr 12 — 55th Commemoration of Human Spaceflight / Cosmonautics Day, Worldwide: Celebrating Yuri Gagarin of Russia, the 1st human to orbit Earth on Vostok 1 spacecraft in 1961; the flight lasted 108 minutes at 27,400 kph and 327 km above Earth.

Apr 12 — Yuri’s Night Celebrations, Global: Yuri’s Night 2016; annual worldwide party to celebrate Yuri Gagarin’s 1st flight into space and promote space exploration.

Apr 12 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Jacobs Engineering, A&M University, Houston TX: 35th Observation of STS-1 and STS-2; celebrating the first two NASA Shuttle missions and Astronauts John Young, Robert Crippen, Richard Truly, Joe Engle; dinner with 3 out of 4 Astronauts & optional tour of JSC.

Apr 12 — Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, NASA, Online / Moffett Field CA: Abstracts Due: 3rd Exploration Science Forum (ESF 2016); to be held in person July 20-22.

Apr 12-13 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: European Space Technology Harmonisation (THAG) Meeting.

Apr 12-15 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: Conference: Water in the Universe – From Clouds to Oceans; at European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC).

Apr 12 — Moon: 6.0° S of M35, 02:00.

Apr 12 — Comet 9P Tempel 1: Nearest to Earth (distance 0.981 AU), 13:00.


Apr 13-14 — University of Portsmouth, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Portsmouth, United Kingdom: Electronic Materials and Processes for Spacecraft; to present results of studies, promote new materials & develop an awareness of materials and manufacturing processes for Spacecraft Applications.

Apr 13 — Moon: 14.6° S of Castor, 12:00; 11.1° S of Pollux, 17:00; at first quarter, 17:59.

Apr 13 — Aten Asteroid 2005 GR33: Near-Earth flyby (0.020 AU).

Apr 13 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 GC134: Near-Earth flyby (0.023 AU).

Apr 13 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 FL12: Near-Earth flyby (0.024 AU).

Apr 13 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 EK27: Near-Earth flyby (0.057 AU).


Apr 14-15 — ESA, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands: ESA Space Technology Workshop.

Apr 14 — Moon: 4.9° S of Beehive Cluster, 19:00.

Apr 14 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 FL13: Near-Earth flyby (0.025 AU).


Apr 15 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Lecture: Volatile Reservoirs in the Outer Solar System; Silvia Protopapa from University of Maryland, 15:30.

Apr 15 — Caltech, Pasadena CA: Lecture: Astronomy From the Bottom of the Earth – Telescopes at the South Pole; Abby Crites, 20:00.

Apr 15-17 — Lockheed Martin Corp., Washington DC: USA Science and Engineering Festival; at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, featuring more than 1,000 corporations & organizations, more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits & stage shows.

Apr 15 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 FL13 : Near-Earth flyby (0.025 AU).

Apr 15 — Amor Asteroid 2016 GE134 : Near-Earth flyby (0.043 AU).


Apr 16 — ISS, LEO: Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to be installed on ISS, Canadarm2 will attach BEAM to Tranquility module aft berthing location; will be tested for 2 years; live coverage begins 09:30 UT.

Apr 16 — Oregon L5 Society – NSS Chapter, Vancouver WA: Oregon L5 Society monthly meeting; at Pearson Air Museum, 14:00.

Apr 16 — Moon: 2.4° SSW of Regulus, 14:00.

Apr 16 — Apollo Asteroid 2008 HU4: Near-Earth flyby (0.013 AU).

Apr 16 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 GM2: Near-Earth flyby (0.032 AU).


Apr 17-22 — European Geosciences Union, Vienna, Austria: European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2016.

Apr 17 — Moon: 2.1° SSW of Jupiter, 17:00.

Apr 17 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 FY12: Near-Earth flyby (0.015 AU).