April 13-19, 2015 / Vol 34, No 15 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Experts Meet at LSA Workshop to Discuss Lunar Surface Missions, Science, Goals

5th LSAThe 5th International Workshop on Lunar Surface Applications is being held April 14-17 in Cocoa Beach Fl at the Courtyard by Marriott. LSA is sponsored by Flexure Engineering, which also hosts LunarCubes workshops, Scientific Opportunities in Cislunar Space and The Lunar Conferences. Featured speakers are Astronaut Cady Coleman, Bob Richards (Moon Express), Nathan O’Konek (Masten Space Systems), David Kring (LPI), Dan Hendrickson (Astrobotic), Jim Keravala (Shackleton Energy), Rob Kelso (PISCES), Wes Faler (Part-Time Scientists), Russell Cox (Flexure Engineering), and many others. Presentation topics will include 3D fabrication and construction, enabling human industrial operations on the Moon by 2020, helium-3 and lunar volatiles extraction, LRO and the lunar flashlight. There are also 8 Design Challenges in which participants will brainstorm to address challenges and solutions for Lunar Architecture & Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, Subsystems, Precursors & Mission Concepts, and Science & Science Investigations. The annual NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge (formerly the Great Moonbuggy Race) is being held Apr 17-18 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville AL for students to display their designs for exploring planets, moons, asteroids and comets. (Image Credit: Flexure Engineering, NASA, MSFC, Emmett Given, Alex Washburn / Wired, LPI, PT Scientists)



Apr 13 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 43 preparing for Dragon CRS-6 arrival with 1,950 kg of supplies, loading Progress 57P with waste, participating in Ocular Health study & muscle ultrasounds, testing station for pressure leaks & radiation environment.

Apr 13 — Opportunity, Marathon Valley, Mars: Veteran rover, over 10 years on Mars, experiencing periodic flash memory problems; landscape scenes of interest selected by astronauts aboard ISS will be imaged & uploaded when next data set is sent back to Earth.

Apr 13 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Now 448 days & 321M km from Jupiter insertion, is 568M km from Earth traveling 11 km per second relative to Sun, in excellent health & operating nominally.

Apr 13 — Blue Origin LLC, Kent WA: NewSpace company liquid hydrogen & oxygen fueled rocket BE-3 (Blue Engine 3) to begin test flights this year, will power New Shepard suborbital craft; plans for New Shepard orbital flights in the next few years with BE-4 powered by liquefied natural gas.

Apr 13 — Firefly Space Systems, Austin TX: Preparing for Q4 2017 launch of Firefly Alpha rocket able to lift 400 kg to LEO, working to raise US$85M in private investment, engine testing could start in May.

 Apr 13 — Copenhagen Suborbitals, Copenhagen, Denmark: Testing Nexø parachute, designing seat & interior layout of Tycho capsule, planning for upcoming tests of BPM-5 rocket engine.

Apr 13 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / CRS 6, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch 8th Dragon spacecraft on 6th operational cargo delivery mission to ISS; 16:33 EDT, live coverage available; will attempt to land on floating platform.

Apr 13 — Silicon Valley Space Center, Mountain View CA: Tech Talks: Government for Geeks; presented by Alex Saltman, Senior Advisor to Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Apr 13-16 — Space Foundation, Colorado Springs CO: 31st National Space Symposium; featuring Buzz Aldrin; at the Broadmoor hotel.

APR - JUN 2015 = 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: Venus (W), Mars (W), Jupiter (S); Morning Planets: Saturn (S).

IAA Highlighting Planetary Defense at Conference in Italy

calendar feature - IAA Planetary defence

The European Space Research Institute operated by ESA in Frascati, Italy will host the 4th International Academy of Astronautics Conference on Planetary Defense, taking place April 13-17. The overall theme is Assessing Impact Risk and Managing Response and the major focus points in the program are Planetary Defense: Recent Progress & Plans, NEO Discovery, NEO Characterization, Mitigation Techniques & Missions, Impact Effects that Inform Warning, Mitigation & Costs, and Consequence Management & Education. As part of the conference there will be a Hypothetical Asteroid Impact Exercise to encourage researchers and disaster response experts to assess risks, evaluate responses and discuss overall strategies for Planetary Defense in a realistic scenario. Attendees will be presented with updates during the course of the meeting to simulate how an actual threat could evolve. The Keynote titled “Chelyabinsk: Are we ready for a recurrence?” will be presented by Cosmonaut Oleg Atkov. IAA is devoted to fostering the development of astronautics for peaceful purposes and promoting international cooperation in the advancement of aerospace science. It has 1,162 members in 83 countries, is headquartered in Paris (France) and has Study Center Branch Offices in Bangalore (India) and Beijing (China), as well as regional offices in Abuja, (Nigeria), Tunis (Tunisia), Buea (Cameroon) and Nairobi (Kenya). (Image Credit: IAA, ESA)

Apr 13-17 — International Academy of Astronautics, Frascati, Italy: 4th Planetary Defense Conference.

Apr 13-17 — ESO, Santiago, Chile: ESO Workshop: Satellites and Streams in Santiago.

Apr 13-24 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: 54th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Apr 13 — Asteroid 2015 FG36: Near-Earth flyby (0.060 AU).

Continued from…

Oct 16, 2014 – Jun 11 — NASA, University of Hawai`i, Mauna Loa HI: Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 3.

Mar 1 – Jan 1, 2016 — Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Multiple Locations: Cycle 3 of science flights to observe universe consists of science flights grouped into multi-week observing campaigns totaling about 450 research flight hours.

Apr 6 – May 8 — Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China: Workshop: The Next Detectors for Gravitational Wave Astronomy.

Apr 7-24 — International Astronomical Union, NASA, Online  / Paris, France: Extended deadline for Public to Name Features on Pluto.

Apr 12-17 — European Geosciences Union, Vienna, Austria: European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015.


Apr 14 — MESSENGER OCM-16, Mercury Orbit: Only spacecraft at Mercury to perform Orbital Correction Maneuver #16 today; expected to impact surface this month / end mission; launched Aug 2004.

Apr 14 — National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, Cerro Panchón, Chile: Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) stone-laying ceremony; featuring NSF Director France A. Córdova, Associate Director of U.S. Office of High Energy PhysicsJames Siegrist.

Apr 14 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson AZ: Colloquium: Mercury’s Magnetic Field – Stories from the Planet, Present and Past; presented by Dr. Catherine Johnson, Professor at University of British Columbia.

Apr 14-17 — Flexure Engineering, Cocoa Beach FL: 5th International Workshop on Lunar Surface Applications; featuring Astronaut Cady Coleman, Moon Express, Astrobotic, Masten, Part-Time Scientists, Interorbital Systems.

Apr 14 — Moon: 1.5° SSW of asteroid 15 Eunomia, 18:00.


 Apr 15 — ISS, CRS 6 Rendezvous, Grapple & Berthing, LEO: SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to reach ISS; 11:14 UT, live coverage available.

Apr 15 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / Thor 7 & Sicral 2, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA222, to launch Thor 7 & Sicral 2 satellites.

Apr 15 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Investigating early lunar evolution through U-Pb chronology of the Northwest Africa 773 Clan Meteorites; presented by Barry Shaulis from University of Alberta.

Apr 15 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Goddard Scientific Colloquium: Eta Carinae: Astrophysical Laboratory for the Study of the Most Massive Stars; presented by Theodore Gull.

Apr 15 — Moon: 3.5° NNW of Neptune, 01:00.


Apr 16 — Secure World Foundation, Colorado Springs CO: From Response to Resilience: Space and Disaster Risk Management.

Apr 16 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Rosetta – A Sleeping Beauty! presented by Simon Barraclough.

Apr 16 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: The Young and the Restless Stars; presented by Professor Lynne Hillenbrand of Caltech.

Apr 16 — Moon: At perigee (distance 360,598 km), 17:47.

Apr 16 — Asteroid 2004 GD: Near-Earth flyby (0.098 AU).


Apr 17 — Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada: Trottier Observatory Grand Opening.

Apr 17 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Is Early Development of Large Volcanic Channels Typical of all Rocky Planets? presented David Leverington at Texas Tech University.

Apr 17-18 — Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA, Huntsville AL: 2015 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge; at U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Apr 17-18 — Magdalena Chamber of Commerce, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club, Magdalena NM: Enchanted Skies Star Party.

Apr 17 — Moon: 0.08° SW of Uranus, 15:00.

Apr 17 — Venus: At perihelion (distance 0.7184 AU from Sun), 15:00.


Apr 18-19 — Rockland Astronomy Club, Suffern NY: Northeast Astronomy Forum; featuring Marc Rayman, NASA/JPL Chief Engineer for Dawn mission, and Bill Gerstenmaier, Director of NASA Human Space Flight Program.

Apr 18 — Moon: New Moon, 08:57.


Apr 19 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with John Jurist & Kobi Hudson about ATK 5 segment booster test for SLS, and ISS student project.

Apr 19-24 — International Academy, Research and Industry Association (IARIA), Barcelona, Spain: 7th International Conference on Advances in Satellite and Space Communications (SPACOMM 2015).

Apr 19 — Moon: 3.4° SSE of Mercury, 03:00; 3.0° SSE of Mars, 10:00.

Apr 19 — Mercury: At perihelion (distance 0.3075 AU from Sun), 10:00.

Apr 19 — Venus: 7.4° N of Aldebaran, 14:00.

Apr 19 — Comet C/2014 W9 (PANSTARRS): Near-Earth flyby (0.889 AU).