August 21-27, 2017 / Vol 36, No 34 / Hawai`i Island, USA

ISS Crew Ready for Great American Eclipse and Dragon CRS-12 Experiments

Expedition 52 international 6-member crew is hard at work 400 km above the Earth. Among the hundreds of experiments running at ISS at any given time, the arrival of SpaceX Dragon CRS-12 has brought multiple studies involving cosmic rays, cacti, crystal growth, bacteria, pharmaceuticals, stem cells, roundworms, freeze drying, science literacy (aka “Story Time from Space”), multiple Student Spaceflight Experiments and CubeSats to be deployed via Nanoracks Deployer. They are also studying more efficient solar arrays, physics of neutron stars, and adverse effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart. Expedition 52 is predicted to observe the Great American Eclipse as a partial eclipse and view the Moon’s shadow cast across the continent 3 times Aug 21 while orbiting at 27,577 kph. Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson are getting Soyuz MS-04 ready for their return to Earth Sep 3. Peggy Whitson holds the record for cumulative time in Space by any American Astronaut. On her landing, Whitson will have spent nearly 667 days in Space. Paolo Nespoli, Randy Bresnik and Sergey Ryazanskiy will remain aboard ISS and begin Expedition 53. (Image Credit: NASA, Roscosmos, ESA)


Aug 21 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Exp 52 crew cleaning and stowing equipment used for recent Russia EVA, performing eye checks & other biomedical research, preparing for Solar Eclipse observations, transferring 2,900 kg of supplies and cargo from Dragon CRS-12 resupply ship.

Aug 21 — Solar System: Cassini diving through Saturn rings continues sending unique images / data back to Earth; Juno heading into 7th near flyby of Jupiter Sep 1, Great Red Spot images released; NASA discussing 2020 Mars sample return techniques.

Aug 21 — Galaxy: Scientists studying orbit of 15-solar-mass star S2 at center of Milky Way see irregularity in each loop which may support Einstein theory of general relativity; Trappist-1 system with multiple rocky exoplanets believed to be 7-9B years old, good candidate for life; ESO observes supermassive back holes being fueled by surrounding gas of “jellyfish galaxies.”

Aug 21 — Global: Jim Bridenstine likely to be named NASA Administrator; Promethean Labs joins Canadian Space Commerce Association; Students from Space Kidz India and Moscow Aviation Institute creating ‘friendship’ satellite.

Aug 21 — NewSpace: GLXP extended to March 31, 2018 – five teams remaining; Rocket Lab details 1st launch anomaly, planning 2nd test launch perhaps before October; Space Systems Loral progressing design for LEO Satellite servicing; Japan Interstellar Tech. working toward 2nd flight of MOMO rocket.

 Aug 21 — Hawai`i: International MoonBase Summit planned Oct 1-5; Judge rules in favor of TMT permit, oral court arguments ongoing through Sep; PISCES interns present Space Tech projects; China’s “Hawaii” (Hainan Island) advancing Moon missions; Sea Launching which was also proposed for Honolulu port will boost Space commerce & economy in China / Pacific.

= 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: Jupiter (WSW), Saturn (SSW); Morning Planets: Venus (E), Uranus (SE), Neptune (SE).

Australia Advancing Trajectory for Astronautics and Astrophysics

Touring the Land Down Under this week advocating for space exploration and development in Brisbane (August 22 at Great Hall, BCEC), Sydney (Aug 24 at State Theatre) and Melbourne (Aug 25 at Palais Theatre) is Chris Hadfield a Canadian Astronaut and space musician. Now may be an opportune time for Australia to create an official Space Agency. All major space agencies, as well as many related professional associations, institutions and companies from around the world, will be present in Adelaide, South Australia at the preeminent global civilian space conference International Astronautical Congress 2017 September 25-29 hosted in partnership with Space Industry Association of Australia. The continent has significant and early Space Age connections. Three Australian-born Astronauts have flown in space, Philip Chapman, Paul Scully-Power and Andy Thomas. Woomera launch site has been used by NASA and ESA — at one point it was second only to Cape Canaveral in terms of quantity and rate of rocket launches. Vital relay assets at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex supported Apollo Moon landings. Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Siding Spring Observatory, Mt Pleasant Observatory and a dozen other professional astronomical facilities are being operated. An expert review of Aussie space industry under Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science Arthur Sinodinos is expected to report March 2018, while Shadow Minister Kim Carr called for more urgent movement toward a bona fide Space Agency. Canada space technology innovation and human spaceflight participation offers potential models for continued development in Australia. (Image Credit: Astronomical Society of Australia, AGDC, DSTO Salisbury, NASA)

Aug 21 — Total Solar Eclipse: Dubbed the “Great American Eclipse” it will be the first total eclipse visible only in USA since 1776, totality will last 2 minutes 40.2 seconds; hitting West Coast 08:46 Pacific time and traveling across USA to East Coast / South Carolina 14:45; next total solar eclipse across continental U.S. will be 2024 Great North American Eclipse.

Aug 21 — Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, NASA, Wallops Island VA: Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Event; 12:00-16:00, 81.5% partial eclipse visible from this site.

Aug 21 — Colorado School of Mines, Golden CO: Space Resources Fundamentals course begins today, followed by Spring 2018 Space Systems Engineering course, with graduate program in Spaces Resources full program implementation in Fall 2018.

Aug 21 — PBS Broadcasting, WGBH Boston, Broadcast / Boston MA: Nova: Eclipse Over America to premier 21:00 EDT.

Aug 21-24 — The Australian National University, CAASTRO – ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics Canberra, Australia: Conference: From Black Hole to Environment – Galaxy Evolution Across Multiple Wavelengths.

Aug 21-25 — American Astronomical Society Solar Physics Division, Portland OR: 48th Meeting of the AAS Solar Physics Division.

Aug 21 — Moon: New Moon, 08:30; 5.9° NNE of Mercury, 23:00.

Continued from…

Jun 26 – Aug 25 — International Space University, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland: ISU 30th Space Studies Program (SSP 2017).

Aug 5 – Sep 18 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: Campaign 4: Mission 2 – Human Exploration Research Analog; 45 day analog spaceflight / Moon / Mars mission.

Aug 19-26 — Union of Radio Science, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 32nd URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium.

Aug 20-24 — Boise State University, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Mississippi State University, et al, Boise ID: Conference: Exoclipse 2017 – Exploring New Worlds In the Shade.

Aug 20-24 — American Astronomical Society, Washington DC: Conference: Molecules in Space – Linking the Interstellar Medium to (Exo)planets.


 Aug 22 — ISS, NASA, Canadian Space Agency, LEO and Longueuil, Quebec, Canada: 2017 Astronaut Class Joshua Kutryk and Jenni Sidey talk to Expedition 52 crew, and news conference to follow; live coverage available, 12:45 EDT.

Aug 22 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson AZ: LPL Colloquium: Gravity Science at Jupiter: Initial Results from Juno (Plus a Teaser from Cassini); by Dr. William Hubbard, 15:45.

Aug 22, 24, 25 — Great Hall – Brisbane, State Theatre – Sydney, Palais Theatre – Melbourne, Multiple Locations, Australia: Canada Astronaut Chris Hadfield to tour Australia, advocating for Australia space development.

Aug 22-24 — Applied Technology Institute, Littleton CO: Space Mission Structures; taught by Tom Sarafin,President and Chief Engineer of Instar Engineering and Consulting Inc.

Aug 22 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 PX24: Near-Earth Flyby (0.096 AU).


Aug 23-25 — International Academy of Astronautics, Mongolian Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, MonMap Engineering Services, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: 1st IAA North East Asia Symposium on Small Satellites- Serving the Needs for the Benefits of the Region.

Aug 23-25 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Geneva, Switzerland: UN/WHO/Switzerland Conference on Strengthening Space Cooperation for Global Health.


Aug 24 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Formosat 5, Vandenberg AFB CA: Falcon 9 rocket to launch Formosat 5 Earth observation satellite for Taiwan National Space Organization; Falcon 9 first stage to attempt landing on a platform in Pacific Ocean.

Aug 24, 25 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/Caltech, Pasadena CA: 2017 von Kármán Lecture Series: 40 Years in Space – Voyager’s Remarkable Journey Continues; Alan Cummings of Caltech.

Aug 24-27 — Bradley University, Caterpillar, Bechtel, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Edwards IL: NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.

Aug 24-27 — Explore Mars Inc., Waterville Opera House, Waterville ME: One Way Trip to Mars Rock Opera; written by Peter Alexander and Johannah Harkness, directed by Dennis St. Pierre.

Aug 24 — Moon: 0.62° NNE of comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 09:00.

Aug 24 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 PE: Near-Earth Flyby (0.050 AU).


Aug 25 — Spitzer Space Telescope, 1-AU Earth Trailing Orbit: In warm mission phase, spacecraft begins 15 years in space today, launched 2003.

Aug 25 — Voyager 1, Interstellar Space: NASA spacecraft begins 6th year in interstellar space, data indicates it became first human-made object to enter interstellar space Aug 25, 2012; launched Sep 5, 1977.

Aug 25-26 — Orbital ATK, Launch Minotaur 4 / ORS 5, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: Orbital ATK Minotaur 4 rocket to launch ORS 5 mission for U.S. military Operationally Responsive Space program; launch window 23:15 – 03:15.

Aug 25 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Online: Eugene M. Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award Proposals Due; US$2,500 award winner announced at annual GSA conference, Oct 22-25.

Aug 25-27 — International Space Elevator Consortium, Seattle WA: ISEC Space Elevator Conference 2017; featuring 3-day technical program, Robo Climb 2017 – A Youth Robotics Competition, 1-day Family Science Fest; at Museum of Flight.

Aug 25 — Moon: 3.3° NNE of Jupiter, 0:500; 6.6° NNE of Spica, 11:00.

Aug 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2005 QQ87: Near-Earth Flyby (0.087 AU).


Aug 26 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Titan scheduled at 736,000-km altitude.

Aug 26 — Saturn: 12.6° ENE of Antares, 00:00.

Aug 26 — Mercury: Inferior conjunction with Sun, 0.625 AU from Earth and 4.22° S of Sun.


Aug 27 – Sep 1 — International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, International Association for the Physical Sciences of Oceans, Cape Town, South Africa: Conference: Good Hope for Earth Sciences.

Aug 27 – Sep 17 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Workshop: Vorticity in the Universe – From Superfluids to Weather and Climate, to the Universe; Workshop: Developing New Tools for Dark Matter Searches.