August 5-11, 2013 / Vol 32, No 31 / Hawai`i Island, USA

JAXA HTV-4 to Berth with ISS, Deliver Cargo and Talking Robot

HTV 4The 4th JAXA H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV-4) is set to be captured by the Canadarm2, manipulated by Karen Nyberg (L), on August 9 and berthed with the Harmony module. Chris Cassidy (C) is the back-up for Nyberg, and Luca Parmitano (R) will monitor HTV systems during grapple and berthing operations. It is scheduled to be launched Aug 4 on an H-2B rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in Southern Japan. Also called Kounotori (White Stork), the HTV is a 10-m long, 4.4-m diameter spacecraft with 4 main thrusters and 28 attitude control thrusters. It will deliver about 5,400 kg of cargo including a talking robot named Kirobo that will participate in the first human-robot conversation in space, Adzuki beans for the APRSAF educational space experiment project (SSAF2013), and a Vietnam / Japan low-resolution Earth imaging cubesat ‘PicoDragon’ to be deployed from the Kibo module. After being filled with ISS waste, including NASA engineering experiment module STP-H3, HTV-4 is scheduled to undock September 8 and burn up upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere. JAXA is planning to add a return capsule option capable of returning 1,600 kg of cargo to Earth in 2018, and hopes to develop capsules which could accommodate a 3-person crew and up to 400 kg of cargo by 2022. (Image Credit: JAXA, NASA)

27th Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University

calendar feature - small sats 2013The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, in collaboration with Utah State University, is hosting Small Satellite Constellations: Strength in Numbers the 27th joint conference on small satellites on August 10-15 at the Taggart Student Center, UT, USA. The main Technical program runs Aug 12-15 with Pre-Conference Workshops taking place Saturday and Sunday Aug 10-11. The aim is to provide awareness of the capabilities, resilience, flexibility and affordability enabled by multi-spacecraft fractionated systems. The program includes 11 technical sessions and explores leading edge enabling technologies as well as yet to be resolved technical challenges. Recent advances in cooperative autonomous micro robot swarms and new flexible rideshare launch opportunities have thrown open the scope of possibilities. The Keynote Address is being given by Dr. Michael Gazarik, Associate Administrator of the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate. He has extensive experience in the design, development and deployment of spaceflight systems and has contributed to technology with application to NASA’s Exploration systems, Space Operations and Science missions. Over 90 exhibitors will be participating at the event – from huge veterans of the industry like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to renowned academic institutions like JHU Applied Physics Lab and Southwest Research Institute to upstarts like NovaWurks, Space Micro, Pumpkin and Tethers Unlimited. (Image Credit: SST-US, JAXA, NASA)

Aug - Oct = 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), Saturn (SW); Morning Planets: Mercury (ENE), Mars (ENE), Jupiter (ENE).


Aug 5 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 36 crew preparing for HTV-4 arrival set for Aug 9, continuing eye scans for Ocular Health study, transferring cargo from Progress 52P; Misurkin, Yurchikhin reviewing procedures / timeline for EVA scheduled Aug 16.

Aug 5 — XMM Newton, GTO: With 3 X-ray telescopes, each containing 58 concentric mirrors, helping to determine atmosphere size of blue ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanet HD 189733b, 63 light years away.

 Aug 5 — Spitzer, Heliocentric Orbit: Studying YLW 16A, young stellar system that ‘blinks’ every 93 days; likely to be 3 developing stars surrounded by ‘hula hoop’ disk of material which may spawn planets, celestial bodies.

Aug 5 — Sierra Nevada Corp., Louisville CO: NewSpace company signs US$1.7M contract for MDA to develop engineering concept to provide on-board communication signal processing capabilities for Dream Chaser spaceplane.

Aug 5 — XCOR Aerospace Inc., Mojave CA: Working on car-like piston engine for upper-stage rocket motor; plans to use piston pumps in Lynx suborbital passenger spaceships.

Aug 5 — Space Angels Network LLC, San Francisco CA: Collaborating with Satellite Applications Catapult to develop start-up and investment system for commercial space entrepreneurs and investors in the United Kingdom.

Aug 5 — ESA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Beijing, China: Artificial Intelligence in Space Workshop; held in conjunction with International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence occurring Aug 3-9 at Beijing International Convention Center.

Aug 5 — The Planetary Society, Online / Pasadena CA: Google+ Hangout: Celebrate Curiosity’s First Year on Mars; with Deputy Project Scientist of Curiosity, Ashwin Vasavada; 16:00 PDT.

Aug 5 — AIAA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Online / Pasadena CA: Due: Abstracts for SpaceOps 2014: Exploring Innovation; 13th International Conference on Space Operations to occur May 5-9, 2014.

Aug 5-7 — NASA HQ, Washington DC: Workshop: Analog Sites for Mars Missions II – Past, Present and Future Missions to Mars; at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Aug 5-8 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada: Conference: Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution; featuring Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt.

Aug 5-9 — Federation of Galaxy Explorers, Chantilly VA: Summer Camp; featuring Mars Base for middle school students, Rockets & Payloads for high school students; US$200.

Aug 5 — Moon: 6.3° SSW of Beehive Cluster, 21:00.

Aug 5 — Asteroid 2013 LF7: Near-Earth flyby (0.027 AU).

Continued from…

Apr 22 – Aug 31 — Mars One, Online / The Hague, The Netherlands: Accepting applications from those interested in one-way tickets to Mars to set up permanent Human settlement; US$38 to apply.

Apr 29 – Aug 14 — Icarus Interstellar Inc., Online / Anchorage AK: Registration Period for Icarus Interstellar Starship Congress on Aug 15-18.

Jul 3 – Sep 1 — Aerospace Research and Engineering Systems Institute, Inc., Online / Melbourne FL: LunarSail Kickstarter campaign; requesting US$11K in pledges to fund CubeSat amateur satellite containing solar sail to orbit Moon.

Jul 4 – Sep 2 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Online / Houston TX: ‘Name the Shuttle’ contest for Texas residents; contest to name Shuttle replica as part of new attraction under development.

Jul 21 – Aug 11 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Aspen Summer Workshop: The Milky Way as a Laboratory for Galaxy Formation.


Aug 6 — NASA HQ, ISS, Online / Washington DC: ISS Expedition 36 In-Flight Event: Curiosity’s First Year on Mars: The Path to Future Robotic and Human Exploration; featuring ISS crew, Charles Bolden, Jim Green, Sam Scimemi, Prasun Desai; live coverage starts at 16:00 UT.

Aug 6 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium: New Optical Tricks to Find and Study Habitable Exoplanets; presented by Olivier Guyon of University of Arizona and Subaru Telescope, Hawai`i, 12:00 PDT.

Aug 6 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin talks with host Dr. David Livingston.

Aug 6-10 — Space Foundation Discovery Center, Colorado Springs CO: Summer of Discovery: A Taste of Space Technology; featuring astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao, ‘Launch to the Moon’ exhibit and artifacts, space technology demonstrations, Lego NXT robotics demonstrations.

Aug 6 — Moon: New Moon, 11:50.


Aug 7 — Cassini OTM-357, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #357 today.

Aug 7 — The National Academies, Online / Washington DC: Teleconference: Review of NASA’s Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks; 11:30 – 12:45 EDT.

Aug 7 — Space Florida, Miramar Beach FL: Space Florida Board of Directors Public Meeting; at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, 14:30 EDT.

Aug 7 — Moon: 5.2° SSW of Regulus, 17:00.


Aug 8-11 — Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Saskatchewan Centres, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada: Saskatchewan Summer Star Party.

Aug 8 — Asteroid 2013 NX: Near-Earth flyby (0.084 AU).

Aug 8 — Asteroid 2009 CP5: Near-Earth flyby (0.088 AU).


Aug 9 — ISS, Capture and Berthing of HTV-4, LEO: The 4th H-2 transfer vehicle to be captured and berthed with ISS; live coverage starts 10:30 UT.

Aug 9 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, David Hilmers; US$49.95 adult.

Aug 9-10 — Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, Yellowstone National Park WY: 16th Annual Star Party: Stars Over Yellowstone.

Aug 9 — Moon: 4.8° SSW of Venus, 13:00.

Aug 9 — Asteroid 277475 (2005 WK4): Near-Earth flyby (0.021 AU).


Aug 10-15 — AIAA, Utah State University, Logan UT: Conference: Small Satellite Constellations – Strength in Numbers; to discuss new classes of missions for small satellites and diverse launch opportunities.


Aug 11-15 — American Astronautical Society, AIAA, Hilton Head Island SC: AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference; at Hilton Head Marriott Resort.

Aug 11-17 — Rencontres du Vietnam, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: Conference: Windows on the Universe; at International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science Education (ICISE).

Aug 11 — Moon: 1.0° NW of Spica, 22:00.