Launch Flurry Marks Record Year, Sets Tone for 2017
Seven rocket launches spread across six launch complexes involving a wide array of customers, providers and missions profiles emphasizes the diversification of spaceflight in the early 21st Century. The projected global total of orbital launches for 2016 is 88, if all currently scheduled launches proceed and are successful. This year has also seen inauguration of 2 major new Pacific spaceports, Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on China’s Hainan Island and Vostochny Cosmodrome at Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East. On December 12 Orbital ATK launches 8 Cyclone GNSS NanoSats from Cape Canaveral; Dec 16 ULA launches EchoStar 19 from the Cape; Dec 19 CNSA launches TanSat climate change satellite from Jiuquan; Dec 20 JAXA launches ERG radiation in geospace exploration satellite from Tanegashima and Arianespace launches Star One D1 & JCSAT 15 from Kourou; Dec 22 ILS launches EchoStar 21 from Baikonur; and Dec 26 CNSA launches SuperView 1 & 2 from Taiyuan. USA in 2016 took the lead in successful orbital rocket launches with 20 (all uncrewed), ahead of China and Russia with 18 each (by country of origin of rocket). There are at least 94 total global orbital launches on the table for 2017, with USA projecting up to 46. (Image Credit: CNSA, RSA, Orbital ATK, ULA, JAXA, Arianespace, ILS)
= 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 (SW), Venus (SW), Mars (SSW), Uranus (S), Neptune (S); Morning Planets: Jupiter (SE).
AGU 49th Fall Meeting Expects 24,000 Attendees
| Dec 12 — Orbital ATK, Launch Pegasus XL / Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS 1-8), Cape Canaveral AFS FL: Launch of 8 hurricane-tracking nanosatellites developed by Southwest Research Institute, Surrey Satellite Technology of Colorado, Langley Research Center, NASA.
Dec 12-16 — UNOOSA, Survey Department of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management of Nepal, International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Kathmandu, Nepal: United Nations/Nepal Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
Dec 12-16 — American Geophysical Union, San Francisco CA: 49th Fall Meeting of AGU; with over 24,000 attendees.
Dec 12 — Moon: 9.0° SSE of Pleiades, 03:00; at perigee (distance 358,113 km), 13:27; 0.47° NNW of Aldebaran, 18:00.
Dec 12 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 XA: Near-Earth Flyby (0.018 AU).
Dec 12 — Atira Asteroid 2008 UL90: Near-Earth Flyby (0.039 AU).
Dec 12 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 XA18: Near-Earth Flyby (0.051 AU).
Oct 15 – Sep 4, 2017 — Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA: Lunar Attraction Exhibit; featuring 60 Apollo memorabilia, paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, movies, jewelry that illustrate our profound connection to the Moon.
Dec 8-11 — ICISE, Quy Nhon University, Tay Nguyen University, Buon Ma Thuot & Quy Nhon, Vietnam: Tropical School in Undergraduate Astronomy: Astronomical Observations.
Dec 11-16 — Rencontres du Vietnam, Vietnam National University, IAU, Qhy Nonh, Vietnam: Rencontres du Vietnam: Search for Life: From Early Earth to Exoplanets.
Dec 11-16 — University of Heidelberg – Institute for Theoretical Physics, Passo del Tonale, Italy: 10th TRR33 Winter School on Cosmology: Theory for Observers & Observations for Theorists.
Dec 13 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Unlocking the Secrets of Nearby Exoplanets with the TESS Mission; George Ricker of MIT.
Dec 13-14 — The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, Irvine CA: Meeting of the Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.
Dec 13 — Moon: Full (Moon Before Yule / Cold Moon), 14:06.
Dec 13 — Comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova: 1.3° SSE of 29P Schwassman-Wachman 1, 08:00.
Dec 13 — Aten Asteroid 2015 XX169: Near-Earth Flyby (0.019 AU).
Dec 13 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 YA: Near-Earth Flyby (0.025 AU).
Dec 13 — Aten Asteroid 2014 XU6: Near-Earth Flyby (0.095 AU).
Dec 14 — Chang’e-3 Lander, Guang Han Gong, Sinus Iridum / Mare Imbrium, 44.12°N 19.51°W, Moon Surface: Spacecraft enters 4th year of operations on Moon; landed 2013.
Dec 14 — NEOWISE, LEO: NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft (redubbed Near-Earth Object WISE – NEOWISE) begins 8th year in Space; launched 2009.
Dec 14-16 — ESA, CNES, DLR, IEEE, AESS, Bundeswehr University Munich, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: 8th Navigation Conference (NAVITEC 2016).
Dec 14 — Geminids Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from constellation Gemini, shower can produce 80-130 meteors per hour; bright, medium-slow meteors (35 km/sec), few leave persistent trains.
Dec 14 — Moon: 5.4° S of M35, 06:00.
Dec 14 — Amor Asteroid 2016 XL2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.095 AU).
Dec 15 — Cannock Photographic Society, Cannock, United Kingdom: Odyssey Dramatic Presentation: Pale Blue Dot; at Mill Street Methodist Church, 19:30.
Dec 15 — Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy: Lecture: Stellar Cooling Bounds on New Light Particles – Including Plasma Effects; Edward Hardy (ICTP), 16:30-18:00.
Dec 15, 16 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series 2016: Spinning Black Holes, Exploding Stars, and Hyperluminous Pulsars: Recent Results from the NuSTAR Satellite; Daniel K. Stern, NuSTAR Project Scientist at JPL.
Dec 15 — Moon: 13.7° S of Castor, 13:00; 10.1° S of Pollux, 17:00.
Dec 16 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / EchoStar 19, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-071, to launch EchoStar 19 (also known as Jupiter 2) communications satellite to provide high-speed Internet services for HughesNet in North America.
Dec 16 — Moon: 3.7° S of Beehive cluster, 17:00.
Dec 17 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Downey CA: Educators Workshop: Making Moon Craters; teachers for grades 1-6, free, 10:00-14:00; provides hands-on experiments for teachers on how to make a Moon-like crater demonstration for students in classrooms, camps or at home.
Dec 17-18 — International Academy of Astronautics, International Global Monitoring Aerospace System, Global Centre for Compliance, Hazards and Disaster Management, Bamenda, Cameroon: 3rd International Symposium on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, Space Economy, Climate Change, Vulnerability, ICT and Entrepreneurship: An integrated Solution for Sustainable Development in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries.
Dec 18 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby scheduled of Pandora, in Saturn F-ring, at 13,800-km altitude.
Dec 18-20 — University of California – San Diego, La Jolla CA: UCSD Interplanetary Scintillation (IPS)-Based Workshop.
Dec 18 — Moon: 0.98° SSW of Regulus, 08:00.
Dec 18 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 XK18: Near-Earth Flyby (0.015 AU).