April 24-30, 2017 / Vol 36, No 17 / Hawai`i Island, USA

China Space Day 2017 Celebrates Tiangong-2, Tianzhou-1, CE-5, 2020 Mars Rover

China second annual Space Day on April 24 will center around Xi’an, capital city of northwest Shaanxi Province, containing more than 200 aerospace research centers and enterprises. It marks the anniversary of the launch of China’s first satellite in 1970 Dongfanghong-1 (“The East is Red”). Astronauts and scientists will give talks, and space exhibitions are being held at Xi’an Technology University. China has much to celebrate with its strategic successes of Tiangong-2 Space Lab, Shenzhou 11 crewed mission, Tianzhou-1 cargo ship, Long March 5, Long March 7, Wenchang Spaceport at Hainan, next-gen space tracking ship Yuanwang-7, and Chang’e-3 lander still operating on Moon surface. Upcoming innovations include Chang’e-5 sample return mission being prepared for November 2017 launch, development of a permanently crewed Space Station Tianhe-1 (“Heavenly River” / Milky Way), Chang’e-4 orbiter, lander, rover to Moon South Pole 2018, Chang’e-6 lunar sample return mission 2020 around the same time China will seek to launch its 1st independent Mars mission. The official name and logo for the 2020 Mars orbiter, lander, rover is set to be announced Apr 24. China is testing life-support systems at Tiangong-2, has launched 11 Astronauts to space so far, and will work toward Human lunar missions. It plans to become “one of the world’s top three space programmes by 2030” according to CNSA Deputy Administrator Wu Yanhua. China has also discussed plans for Jupiter missions, and currently there is speculation it may collaborate with ISS partners on a lunar orbiting base. (Image Credit: CNSA, Li Yang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, NAOC, Xinhua, CCTV)


Apr 24 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 51 crew of 6 transferring 3,450 kg of experiments and cargo from Cygnus OA-7 “John Glenn”, 28 CubeSats (for QB50 project) to be deployed from NanoRacks deployer in May, SAFFIRE-3 space combustion experiment will be conducted on craft departure.

Apr 24 — Solar System: Titan ‘disappearing islands’ may be 1″+ nitrogen bubbles making way to surface of ethane / methane seas; 7th European Conference on Space Debris reports amount of debris big enough to destroy a spacecraft has more than doubled in under 25 years; Mars impact basin Argyre 1,200-km deep may have hosted life and volcanism; ISRO seeks payload input for Venus mission similar to MOM.

Apr 24 — Galaxy: NIAC Phase I Award given to Breakthrough Propulsion for Interstellar Precursor Missions; University of Arizona researchers find diffuse hydrogen gas engulfs Milky Way Galaxy; Royal Astronomical Society scientists compile 1st composite image of a dark matter filament consisting of 23,000 galaxy pairs; Breakthrough Listen reviewing 11 significant signals & allowing public to look for narrowband signals in initial 692 stars observed.

Apr 24 — Global: Canadian Space Agency latest RFP includes Development of Enabling Space Technologies beyond LEO; South Africa nanosatellites nSight1 & ZA-Aerosat to study thermosphere over 18 months; Japan plans September 2024 Martian Moons Exploration sample return mission; ISRO Chair Kiran Kumar talks about upcoming GSLV-Mk III-D1 launch; NASA SLS under development as US surpasses longest stretch of no crewed spaceflights 2,089+ days.

Apr 24 — NewSpace: Rocket Lab still planning first Electron test launch this month; Planet has over 100 smallsats in orbit, purchases Terra Bella; Blue Origin BE-4 engine being tested in West Texas by ULA for potential use in Vulcan rocket; Promethean Labs of Alberta working to launch smallsat constellation; HE Space hopes to raise 50M euros (US$53.6M) to send the 1st German woman to ISS 2020.

Apr 24 — Hubble Space Telescope, LEO: Spacecraft with 2.4 meter diameter main telescope begins 28th year in space today, launched Apr 24, 1990; expected to continue operations until at least 2022.

Apr 24 — People’s Republic of China, Nationwide: National Day of Space Flight 2017; commemorating the launch of China’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1 on April 24, 1970.

= 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: Mars (W), Jupiter (SE); Morning Planets: Venus (E), Saturn (S).

Lunarcubes Meeting, CubeSat Developers’ Workshop and Space 2.0 Conference in California

California Polytechnic State University, founding home of CubeSats, hosts the 14th Annual Cube Sat Developers’ Workshop on April 26-28 at the new larger venue, Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. The program brings together participants from around the world and covers the latest developments in space and CubeSat technology. Keynote presentations will be provided by James Reuter of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate and Yu Xiaozhou of Shaanxi Engineering Laboratory for Microsatellites. Lunarcubes Workshop 2017, focused specifically on CubeSat missions to the Moon, will take place at each end of the broader event with sessions on the afternoon of Apr 25 and 28. Scientists with ideas for lunar and deep space investigations and instruments have the opportunity to meet with engineers and designers of small spacecraft payloads to evolve innovative solutions for the challenging requirements of deep space exploration. The invite-only event is being coordinated by Pamela Clark of JPL. Space 2.0 and Earth Pixels are Apr 25-27 at Crowne Plaza San Jose – Silicon Valley. Organizer Infocast is a leading producer of industry specific events with a strong focus on deal-making and relationship-building. NewSpace companies and newer startups with actionable business models network with VC, equity, incubator and bank related investors. (Image Credit: CalPoly, ASU)


Apr 24 — CNSA, Online / Beijing, China: China to announce name & logo for 2020 Mars mission, will be China 1st Mars mission; will include orbiter, lander, rover & study topography, soil, environment, atmosphere, water ice, internal structure & search for signs of life.

Apr 24 — Canadian Space Agency, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains to reveal identity of top Astronaut candidates; livestream 10:00 EDT, with CSA Astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

Apr 24-27 — Applied Technology Institute, Littleton CO: Space Mission Structures; taught by Tom Sarafin and Poti Doukas.

Apr 24-28 — International Academy of Astronautics, DLR, Berlin, Germany: 11th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation.

Apr 24-28 — Arizona State University, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Mesa AZ: Astrobiology Science Conference 2017 (AbSciCon 2017).

Apr 24-28 — Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, German Physical Society, Bad Honnef, Germany: Seminar: Do Black Holes Exist? – The Physics and Philosophy of Black Holes.

Continued from…

Oct 15, 2016 – Sep 4 — Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA: Lunar Attraction Exhibit; featuring 60 Apollo memorabilia, paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, movies, jewelry that illustrate our profound connection to Moon.

 Apr 13 – May 16 — NASA, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Deep River, Ontario, Canada: Eyes on the Universe; interactive exhibit in Deep River Town Hall.

Apr 23-28 — EGU, Vienna, Austria: European Geosciences Union: General Assembly 2017.


Apr 25 — DigitalGlobe, UrtheCast, Latham & Watkins, Milpitas CA: Earth Pixels.

Apr 25 — Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore MD: JWST Community Lecture Series – The JWST Calibration Pipeline; H. Bushouse.

Apr 25 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with space historian and author Bob Zimmerman.

Apr 25-26 — Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Washington DCFAA COMSTAC Meeting.

Apr 25-26 — National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Long Baseline Observatory, Morelia, Mexico: NRAO/LBO Community Day @ UNAM-Morelia.

Apr 25-28 — California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo CA: Lunarcubes Working Group meeting (Apr 25 and 28) and Cubesat Developers Workshop (Apr 26-28).


Apr 26 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Atlas scheduled at 74,000-km altitude, Daphnis at 83,000-km, Janus at 99,000-km, Epimetheus at 104,000-km.

Apr 26 — Air & Space Academy, University of Rome, Rome, Italy: Tethers in Space The fascinating technology of the first Italian manned mission 25 years ago; featuring ESA Astronaut Franco Malerba.

Apr 26 — American Museum of Natural History, New York NYThe Spring Lunch: Science, Society, and our Environment – Resilience to Climate Change; 12:00-14:00.

Apr 26-27 — Infocast, DigitalGlobe, UrtheCast, Latham & Watkins, Milpitas CA: Space 2.0; at Crowne Plaza San Jose – Silicon Valley.

Apr 26-27 — SMi Group, Exo Analytic, Finger Lakes Instrumentation, London, United Kingdom: 12th Annual Military Space Situational Awareness Conference.

Apr 26 — Moon: New Moon, 02:16.


Apr 27 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Too Many Planets? Exoplanets in the Era of TESS, JWST, and Beyond; Joshua Pepper from Lehigh University, 105 Space Sciences Bldg. at 16:00.

Apr 27 — The National Academies, Washington DC / OnlineWeb Conference: Review of NASA’s Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks; 12:30.

Apr 27 — Kennedy Space Center, NASA, Conrad Foundation, KSC FLThe 2017 Innovation Summit / Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge Events; innovation and entrepreneurship competition for international students.

Apr 27 — Moon: At perigee (359,325 km), 06:18.

Apr 27 — Amor Asteroid 2017 FS101: Near-Earth Flyby (0.077 AU).


Apr 28 — International Astronautical Federation, Paris, France: Submission of proposals due for organizers / municipalities / countries interested in hosting International Astronautical Congress in 2020.

Apr 28-30 — NASA, CSCA, SkyWatch, et al, Online / Multiple Locations: NASA International Space Apps Challenge; NASA SpaceApps: Kitchener-Waterloo; NASA SpaceApps: Toronto.

Apr 28 — Moon: 0.5° N of Aldebaran, 07:19.

Apr 28 — Aten Asteroid 2016 HF2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.090 AU).


Apr 29 — The Astronomical League, Global: Spring Astronomy Day 2017; astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, observatories sponsoring public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops.

Apr 29 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 FE157: Near-Earth Flyby (0.048 AU).


Apr 30 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / NROL-76, LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch classified spacecraft payload for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Apr 30 — 50th Observation of 1st Image of Earth taken from Moon Surface, Worldwide: Today marks 50th anniversary (1967) of NASA Surveyor 3 first image of Earth from Moon surface, currently China is only country operating / observing from lunar surface.