August 22-28, 2011 / Vol 30, No 34 / Hawai`i Island, USA

China Launch of Tiangong 1 Mini-Space Station Laboratory Aboard Long March 2F Rocket

China is advancing its space efforts with the possible launch of Tiangong-1 (TR) by the end of the month from Jiuquan, China. Tiangong, or “Heavenly Palace,” is an 8.5 ton space laboratory module which will serve as a test-bed for docking maneuvers and the development of orbital technologies. Over the next 2 years, China plans to launch 3 missions to Tiangong-1 using Shenzhou Spacecraft 8, 9 and 10. The 3rd mission, Shenzhou 10 (B), is expected to transport China astronauts to live and work aboard the orbiting facility. Tiangong-1 will be followed by 2 more labs, the Tiangong 2 and 3, for the construction of a 70-ton space station planned NET 2020. Other space endeavors include the launch of the Chang’e 3 lunar lander / rover NET 2013. (Credit: China Manned Space Ofc,

USA Lectures Demonstrate Advances in Milky Way Science & Exploration

With over 200 Billion stars and a diameter of 100,000 light years, the Milky Way Galaxy may contain a multitude of habitable planets, alien life and countless other exciting discoveries. Several events this week highlight humanity’s 21st Century Galactic exploration goals and achievements. On August 24, at the SETI Institute in Mountain View CA, Professor Geoff Marcy (TR) will review the results of the NASA Kepler mission, dedicated to discovering the first Earth-like worlds around other stars. Marcy and his UC Berkeley team discovered the 1st multiple-planet system, the 1st Saturn-mass planet and the 1st Neptune-mass planet. In his lecture he will discuss what properties make a planet suitable for life, and strategies for estimating the occurrence of life in the universe. On the other side of the continent, Jim Zimbelman (BL) will present a lecture on 2 human-made objects that have left the confines of our Solar System, Voyagers 1 and 2. The Smithsonian Geologist’s talk, on Aug 24 at the National Mall in Washington DC, will focus on the current, interstellar locations of the 2 probes. On Aug 27, the International Lunar Observatory Association continues its successful Galaxy Forum program with the 3rd annual Galaxy Forum Kansas at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Huntsville. (Credit: SETI, Kansas Cosmosphere, NASA)

= 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 – Morning Planets: Mars (E), Jupiter (SE) / Evening Planets: Saturn (WSW).


Aug 22 — International Space Station, LEO: The 6 E-28 crew members continue station maintenance and a variety of science experiments; Progress 43 to undock from the aft port of the Zvezda service module tomorrow at 05:35 EDT for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Aug 22 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: All systems nominal in scientific phase of mission as LRO continues to make digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Aug 22 — Mars, Red Planet: Some scientists speculate that recent high-res imagery showing river-like channels were created not by water but by massive, fast-moving lava flows of a type not seen on Earth.

Aug 22 — NASA Media Teleconference: Announcement on proposals selected for Technology Demonstration Mission program.

Aug 22 — NASA Juno Mission, Deep Space: Juno continues Inner Cruise Mode 1 phase of mission.

Aug 22 — NASA GSFC Visitor Center, Greenbelt MD: Proposal Writing Workshop

Aug 22-24 — International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group (IPBEWG), Pasadena CA: ‘IPBEWG 2011 Workshop,’ participants to discuss areas for future collaboration, such as missions / payloads, data sharing policies, ITAR, agency plans, Decadal survey and implications, human-based exploration, planetary protection and more.

Aug 22-25 — Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam, Germany:7th Potsdam Thinkshop: Magnetic Fields in Stars and Exoplanets.’

Aug 22 — Cassini OTM-288, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #288 today.

Aug 22 — Asteroid 17744 Jodiefoster: Near-Earth Flyby (0.657 AU).

Aug 22 — Moon: 6.4° N of Aldebaran; 12:00.

Continued from . . .

Jun 27 — Google Lunar X Prize Foundation, LEGO Group, Playa Vista CA; Online:LEGO Moonbots 2.0;’ through Aug 15.

Jul 11 — International Space University – Space Studies Institute, Graz, Austria: ‘24th Space Studies Program;’ through Sep 9.

Aug 21The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), San Diego CA: ‘SPIE Optics + Photonics 2011 Conference;’ through Aug 25.

Aug 21 — Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Central Observatory, et al, Tatranska Lomnica, Slovakia:2011 International Space Weather Initiative – Europe Summer School in Space Science;’ through Aug 27.


Aug 23 — Keele University, Royal Astronomical Society, Keele, United Kingdom:Building Bridges: Cooperation of UK and Iranian Astronomers.’


NET Aug 24 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Progress 44P, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch 44th Progress cargo delivery ship to ISS.

Aug 24 — CPA Australia, Sydney, Australia:An Audience with Neil Armstrong,’ celebrating 125th Anniversary of CPA Australia.

Aug 24 — Engineers Australia, Adelaide, Australia:Technology Futures Summit,’ featuring spotlight on Square Kilometer Array and Sensing from Space.

Aug 24 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Kepler and Doppler Searches for ExoEarths and Optical SETI,’ Geoff Marcy.

Aug 24 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: ‘Ask an Expert: Voyagers 1 and 2 – Where are They Now?,’ Jim Zimbelman.

Aug 24 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2000 CP101 (0.069 AU); 2011 OY17 (0.078 AU).


NET Aug 25 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Glonass K, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia: A Russian government Soyuz rocket set to launch a Glonass K navigation satellite.

Aug 25 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: ‘National Air and Space Museum / NASA Art Show.’

Aug 25-26 — NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Pasadena CA: ‘5th Meeting of the SBAG.’

Aug 25-27 — Primland Astronomy, Meadows of Dan VA: ‘Star Master Weekend,’ featuring SETI Astronomer Seth Shostak.

Aug 25 — Moon: 2.6° S of Mars, 03:00; 9.4° SSW of Pollux, 17:00.

Aug 25 — Northern Iota Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from the constellation Aquarius, this meteor shower produces 5-10 meteors per hour.

Aug 25 — Gamma Leonid Meteors: A daylight meteor shower appearing to radiate from Constellation Leo.

Aug 25 — Asteroid 2011 BL45: Near-Earth Flyby (0.099 AU).


Aug 26 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: ‘LPI Seminar Series: Investigating the Evolution of Lunar Impactors with New Crater Distributions,’ Michelle Kirchoff.

Aug 26 — San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego CA: ‘Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon,’ book-signing event with Apollo Astronaut Al Worden.

Aug 26 — Theatre West Virginia, Beckley WV: Debut of Broadway bound ‘Rocket Boys The Musical.’

Aug 26 — US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville AL: ‘2011 Space Exploration Celebration & Space Camp Hall of Fame: Salute to the Space Shuttle Program.’

Aug 26 — State of California, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Los Alamitos CA: ‘Aerospace and Defense Supplier Development Forum: Building California’s Future Today.

Aug 26 — Moon: 5.0° SSW of Beehive Cluster; 17:00.

Aug 26 — Asteroid 2007 UT3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.090 AU).


Aug 27 — International Lunar Observatory Association, Space Age Publishing Company, Hutchinson KS: ‘Galaxy Forum 2011 Kansas: Galaxy Education in the 21st Century.’

Aug 27 — Johnson Space Center, Houston TX: ‘Salute Our Space Shuttle.’

Aug 27 — Aerospace Legacy Foundation, Downey CA: ‘Meet Moon Voyager Al Worden – Columbia Memorial Space Center.’

Aug 27 — Zero Gravity Corporation, Miami FL: Commercial weightless flight aboard G-Force One.

Aug 27 — Moon: 2.4° SSW of Mercury; 14:00.


Aug 28 – Sep 1 — International Living With a Star Steering Committee, Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Space Science and Applied Research, Beijing, China:2011 ILWS Workshop: Towards the Next Solar Maximum.’

Aug 28 – Sep 1 — American Chemical Society, Denver CO: ‘American Chemical Society Fall 2011 National Meeting.’

Aug 28 — Moon: 5.2° SSW of Regulus, 09:00; New Moon, 17:03; 6.4° SSW of Venus.

Aug 28 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2000 CP101 (0.051 AU); 2011 OY17 (0.078 AU).

Leave a Reply