August 15-21, 2016 / Vol 35, No 33 / Hawai`i Island, USA

ISS Expedition 48 Prep for EVA, Dragon CRS-9 Departure, Satellite Deployments

ISS Exp 48

ISS Expedition 48 six-member crew with Commander Jeff Williams and flight engineers Kate Rubins, Takuya Onishi, Anatoly Ivanishin, Oleg Skripochka, and Alexey Ovchinin are gearing up for a busy month including a spacewalk, cargo ship transfers and nearly 280 new and ongoing science investigations. The 6.5-hour U.S. EVA 36 will begin August 18 at 12:05 UT. It will be the 194th spacewalk for ISS. Williams and Rubins will exit from Quest airlock to install the 526-kg International Docking Adapter-2 on Harmony module to enable docking of future commercial crew spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX. On August 24, Williams will set the record for most cumulative time spent in orbit by an American astronaut at 520 days. Dragon CRS-9 and ~2,000 kg of cargo, experiments and live plants are being prepared for return to Earth Aug 29 via Pacific Ocean parachute landing. The crew is also transferring cargo from Progress MS-02 and Progress MS-03 and filling with waste. Ivanishin, Onishi and Rubins are set to return to Earth September 6. The 7th Orbital ATK Cygnus freighter OA-5 (dubbed S.S. Alan Poindexter) and 2,400 kg of cargo are now scheduled to launch mid-September on an Antares rocket with two RD-181 first-stage engines and a Castor 30XL second-stage from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. (Image Credit: NASA, SpaceX, Orbital ATK, CSA)


Aug 15 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 48 reviewing EVA procedures and emergency guidelines, working with fluid pressure tests for head and eyes, examining effects of microgravity on human heart at cellular & molecular levels, using OsteoOmics experiment to determine if Earth-based magnetic levitation can properly simulate microgravity conditions, setting up satellites inside Destiny lab for SPHERES Zero Robotics competition.

Aug 15 — ASTRO-H (Hitomi), Defunct / Disintegrating in Earth Atmosphere: Data from recently lost JAXA craft with 4 instruments & 6 sensors intended to study extremely energetic processes in Universe reveals surprisingly quiet environment in active center of Perseus cluster (240M LY away); JAXA may build replacement craft for 2020 launch.

 Aug 15 — Korea, South and North: Both states actively planning to reach Moon; S Korea to launch Space Launch Vehicle-2 / Moon Orbiter in 2018, Lander & Rover 2020 and complete indigenous third-stage rocket by March 2021; N Korea announces it wants to launch advanced satellites into orbit by 2020 & reach Moon within 10 years.

Aug 15 — Ad Astra Rocket Company, Webster TX: NewSpace company aiming for 1-hour plasma firing test of VASIMR prototype VX-200SS in late October, even longer pulses in 2017 and 100-hour continuous firing at 100 kilowatts in 2018; 150-square meter vacuum chamber reconfigured to handle 3M degree plasma exhaust; President / CEO Astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz.

Aug 15 — Bigelow Aerospace LLC, Las Vegas NV: Receiving funding to develop ground prototypes & concepts for deep space habitats within 24 months for NASA; 16-cubic meter BEAM habitat at ISS being monitored for 2 years for solar radiation, space debris, extreme temperature fluctuations.

 Aug 15 — Open Space Society, Huntsville AL: Non-profit research & education organization working to advance commercial Space exploration, aiming for Earth Orbital missions and potential Lunar Missions providing high bandwidth communications to Earth; Founder Fred Bourgeois.

AUG - OCT 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 (WSW), Venus (WSW), Mars (SW), Jupiter (W), Saturn (S); Morning Planets: Uranus (E), Neptune (SE).

2016 ISEC Refining 21st Century Space Elevator Concepts

Space Elevator 2016

The 2016 International Space Elevator Conference (ISEC) with theme Apex Anchor, Geo Node, and Communication Architecture is being held in Seattle at the Museum of Flight August 19-21. It will feature a 3-day technical program, family science fest, robo climb competition and Boeing’s centennial traveling exhibit “Above and Beyond” including a simulated space elevator ride. Key speakers will be David Horn, Pete Swan, Bryan Laubscher, Vernon Hall, Hidemi Sasaki, Michael Fitzgerald and Sunao Kai. Topics will include Space Elevator System Overview and Status, Patent Enforcement, UN Space Treaty and the U.S. Space Act of 2015, Modalities of a Modular Tether and Biomimicry & Motion Capture. The 2017 ISEC theme will also be announced. Dr. David Livingston and Peter Antoinette will be discussing carbon nanotubes on The Space Show Aug 15. Carbon nanotubes, nitride nanotubes and diamond nanothreads are thought to be promising technologies for Earth-based space elevators. Tethers of these materials would stretch from Earth surface beyond geostationary orbit (35,800 km). Robotic climbers would ascend to release payloads into orbit. Canada company Thoth Technology and Japan Obayashi Corp. plan Earth-based Space Elevators. Liftport Group (Founder Michael Laine) is developing a Moon Elevator concept and banking on Kevlar ribbon to withstand a 250,000-km stretch from the surface of the Moon to a counterweight placed within the bounds of Earth gravity. LiftPort estimates a basic Moon elevator system would cost US$800M. (Image Credit: LiftPort, Obayashi, NASA, 100YSS, Moonandback Media, JSEA)

Aug 15 — Canadian Space Agency, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada: Last Day to Apply: 4th Astronaut recruitment campaign for CSA; will announce selected candidates in Summer 2017.

Aug 15 — Reproduction IO, NASA, Online / Melbourne, Australia: Apollo 11 Flight Plan Re-Issue Kickstarter Campaign Ends Today; reproducing Apollo 11 Final Flight Manual with minute-by-minute flight plan activities.

 Aug 15 — The Space ShowOnline / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Peter Antoinette of Nanocomp Technologies about carbon nanotubes.

 Aug 15-16 — Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), Cambridge MA: Chandra Cal/CIAO Workshop.

Aug 15-19 — Tohoku University, Center for Planetary Science, Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Intelligent Cosmos Scientific Foundation, et al, Sendai, Japan: 9th Cosmic Dust conference.

Aug 15 — Mercury: At aphelion (distance 69,817,326 km from Sun), 06:00.

Aug 15 — Amor Asteroid 2016 PO: Near-Earth flyby (0.065 AU).

Continued from…

Jul 12 – Sep 1 — International Space University, Technion Institute, Israel Space Agency, Haifa, Israel: ISU 29th Space Studies Program (SSP 2016).

Aug 1-19 — The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Kigali, Rwanda: African School for Fundamental Physics and Applications 2016 (ASP 2016).

Aug 7 – Sep 30 — Airbus, Perlan Project, Teachers in Space, El Calafate, Argentina: Teachers in Space Ground Crew Education Program; team members will fly experiments at 27,500-meter altitudes in air as thin as Mars atmosphere, verify operations and retrieve data for posting to internet.

Aug 8 – Sep 2 — Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Nordita, Stockholm: Program: Black Holes and Emergent Spacetime.

Aug 14-18 — URSI, Aalto University, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, Espoo, Finland: 2016 International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Commission B International Symposium on Electromagnetic Theory (EMTS 2016).


Aug 16-17 — Space Foundation, San Francisco CA: Space Technology & Investment Forum; at JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square.

Aug 16-17 — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder CO: Space Weather: Operations to Research (O2R) Workshop.

Aug 16-18 — The National Academies, Washington DC: Meeting: Review of NASA’s Planetary Science Division’s Restructured Research and Analysis Program.

Aug 16-19 — Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics, Bamberg, Germany: Meeting: Stars on the Run – Run-away and Hyper-velocity Stars.

Aug 16 — Mercury: At greatest elongation east, 27.4° from Sun, 11:00.

 Aug 16 — Amor Asteroid 2016 PG: Near-Earth flyby (0.094 AU).


Aug 17 — Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia: Colloquium: Fast Radio Bursts, Video Game Cards, and the Largest Telescope in the Southern Hemisphere; Chris Flynn of Swinburne University.

Aug 17-19 — Planetary Crater Consortium, Providence RI: 7th Planetary Crater Consortium meeting, at Planetary Geosciences Group in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown University.

Aug 17-19 — Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC), NASA, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge MA: Conference: Chandra Science for the Next Decade.

Aug 17-20 — Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Nordita, Stockholm: Inward Bound – Conference on Black Holes and Emergent Spacetime.

Aug 17 — Kappa Cygnids Meteor Shower Peak: Shower appears to line up in sky by Cygnus and star Kappa Cygni, typically produces slow (25 km/sec) mostly faint meteors 3-5 per hour with a few very bright.

Aug 17 — Moon: Penumbral eclipse 23:24-00:01 Aug 18; Full (Sturgeon / Fruit Moon), 23:27.


Aug 18 — Finance Information Group LLC, San Francisco CA: Interdisciplinary SatelliteFinance Conference – Summer 2016 on financial and business issues related to global satellite industry, including opportunities for investment; held in conjunction with Space Technology & Investment Forum.

 Aug 18 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 NA1: Near-Earth flyby (0.072 AU).


Aug 19 — ISS, U.S. EVA 36, LEO: Expedition 48 members Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins to perform spacewalk to install International Docking Adapter- 2 (IDA-2) installation, live coverage available, 12:05 UT.

Aug 19 — Cassini OTM-459, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #459 today.

Aug 19 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Delta 4 / AFSPC 6, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Delta 4 rocket to launch U.S. Air Force AFSPC 6 mission for the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.

Aug 19-21 — International Space Elevator Consortium, Seattle WA: 2016 International Space Elevator Conference: Apex Anchor, Geo Node, and Communication Architecture; at Museum of Flight.

Aug 19 — Moon: 1.0° NNE of Neptune, 11:00.

Aug 19 — Mercury: 3.8° SW of Jupiter, 11:00.

Aug 19 — Comet 43P Wolf-Harrington: At perihelion (1.3579 AU from Sun), 06:00.

Aug 19 — Asteroid 2 Pallas: At opposition, 20:00.


Aug 20 — Voyager 2, Heliosheath: NASA spacecraft enters 40th year in space today, launched Aug 20, 1977 – seventeen days before Voyager 1; expected to enter Interstellar space this year & send data to Earth until ~2025 when power may run out.

Aug 20 — Milwaukee Lunar Reclamation Society, Bayfield WI: Milwaukee Space Exploration Meetup; for anyone interested in space exploration, Moon, Mars, Asteroids, other planets.

Aug 20-30 — Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), Malaysia Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sultan Mizan Antarctic Research Foundation, National Antarctic Research Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 34th Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Biennial Meetings/SCAR Open Science Conference: Antarctica in the Global Earth System: From the Poles to the Tropics.

 Aug 20 — Amor Asteroid 2014 RW22: Near-Earth flyby (0.056 AU).


Aug 21-25 — Korean Institute of Electromagnetic Engineering and Science, URSI, Seoul, South Korea: 2016 International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Asia-Pacific Radio Science Conference.

Aug 21-26 — University of Exter, Exter, United Kingdom: Conference: Star Formation 2016.

Aug 21-28 — University of Belgrade, European Commission COST QSPACE action, Belgrade, Serbia: School: Quantum Structure of Spacetime and Gravity.

Aug 21 – Sep 8 — Iran School of Astronomy at Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences, Tehran, Iran: 38th International School for Young Astronomers (ISYAs).

Aug 21 — Moon: At perigee (distance 366,651 km), 15:21.