December 13-19, 2010 / Vol 29, No 50 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Expedition 26 Trio Set to Launch to ISS

Three remaining Expedition 26 crew members are set to launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-20 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 15. Flight Engineers Catherine Coleman, Paolo Nespoli and Dmitry Kondratyev (BR) will join Cmdr Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka who have been on board the ISS since October 9. Skripochka and Kondratyev will conduct 2 planned spacewalks (EVA-27,28) in January and February 2011 to relocate a video camera on the Rassvet Module (MRM1) as well as install a radio antenna, deploy a nano satellite and install two additional experiments. The E-26 mission is set to last until March 2011, when Kondratyev will become Cmdr of Expedition 27. E-26 crew members currently on board the ISS have maintained scheduled tasks and experiments. Meanwhile, Discovery STS-133 has been rescheduled for NET Feb 3, 2011. (Credit: NASA)

Space, Earth Scientists Converge in San Francisco for AGU 2010 Fall Meeting

The 2010 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting will be held at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California on December 13-17. Over 16,000 space and Earth scientists are expected at this mega-conference and the preliminary program lists 770 scientific sessions covering such subjects as climate change, space weather, planetary exploration, volcanism, seismology and Earth’s magnetic field. John Holdren (L), Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, will deliver AGU’s inaugural Science and Policy Union Lecture entitled ‘Scientists, Science Advice and Science Policy in the Obama Administration’ on the morning of the 13th. Wednesday afternoon will feature a global environmental change lecture by Michael Oppenheimer (R) of Princeton University. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with a dozen authors of bestsellers on the subject. AGU is the world’s largest, not-for-profit, professional society of Earth and space scientists, with more than 58,000 members in over 135 countries. (Credit: AGU, 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: Venus (SE), Saturn (SE) / Evening Planets: Mars (SW), Jupiter (S).


Dec 13 — International Space Station, LEO: E-26 crew members continue with ongoing maintenance and scientific projects while preparing for arrival of 3 additional flight engineers on Dec 17.

Dec 13 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: All systems nominal in scientific phase of mission as LRO continues to return data from the Moon.

Dec 13 — Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Red Planet: Odyssey spacecraft to break space exploration record when it starts its 3,340th day on the job on Dec. 15

Dec 13-15 — The National Academies, Washington DC:Meeting: Assessment of NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs.’

Dec 13-17 — American Geophysical Union, San Francisco CA:AGU Fall Meeting.’

Dec 13-17 — Lorentz Center, Leiden, The Netherlands:Human – Agent – Robot Teamwork.’

Dec 13-17 — International Astronomical Union, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso:IAU Symposia 277: Tracing the Ancestry of Galaxies (on the Land of Our Ancestors.’

Dec 13Geminids Meteor Shower Peak: Radiating from Constellation Gemini, this meteor shower will produce 60-120+ meteors every hour.

Dec 13Mercury: 1.0° NNE of Mars; 13:00.

Dec 13Moon: At 1st Quarter, 03:58; 6.6° NNW of Jupiter, 11:00.

Dec 13 — Asteroid (Near Earth Flyby): 2006 VB14 (0.080 AU); 2010 VV21 (0.081 AU).


Dec 14 — Johnson Space Center, Houston TX: Live satellite interviews with Expedition 25 astronauts Shannon Walker and Doug Wheelock on NASA television 05:00 – 06:00 CST and 06:10 – 07:00 CST.

Dec 14 — NASA Advisory Council, Washington DC:NAC Commercial Space Meeting.’

Dec 14Asteroid 2002 XS90: Near-Earth Flyby (0.075 AU).


Dec 15 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / ISS 26S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the manned Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the Expedition-26 crew.

Dec 15 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Bringing a Chemical Laboratory Named Sam to Mars on the 2011 Curiosity Rover,’ Paul Mahaffy.

Dec 15-17 — RMD Engineering College, Tamil Nadu, India:International Conference on Signal and Image Processing 2010,’ event will present latest technological advances and research results in the fields of theoretical, experimental, and application of signal, image and video processing.

Dec 15-20 — The American Chemical Society, Canadian Society for Chemistry, Chemical Society of Japan, et al, Honolulu HI:International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies.’


Dec 16— Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo HI: The Mystery of the Christmas Star,’ trace the footsteps of ancient Babylonian astronomers when the popular holiday planetarium show Mystery of the Christmas Star returns to ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Dec 16— IEEE Photonics Society – Santa Clara Valley Chapter, Santa Clara CA: SVC – Photonics Annual Holiday Event,’ to feature networking opportunity, holiday dinner and presentation by SETI Astronomer Seth Shostak on ‘The Scientific Search for ET.’


Dec 17 — Cassini OTM-271, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #271 today.

Dec 17Asteroid 2010 TP54: Near-Earth Flyby (0.062 AU).


Dec 18— Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: Astronaut Training Experience,’ hands-on training and preparation for the rigors of spaceflight.

Dec 18— Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: Overnight Adventures,’ a night of exploration for groups of children age 8-14 camp-out beneath a real Moon rocket.

Dec 18— Zero Gravity Corporation, Cape Canaveral FL: Commercial weightless flight on board G Force One.

Dec 18Moon: 1.5° SSW of Pleiades; 16:00.


Dec 19-24— Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: Astronaut Encounter with Charlie Walker,’ a half-hour, interactive Q&A oriented program aims at inspiring children and adults alike to strive for excellence.

NET Dec 19 — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / KA-SAT, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: International Launch Services Proton Rocket with Breeze M upper stage to deploy KA-SAT communications satellite for Eutelsat to provide broadband internet services to Europe.

Dec 19Moon: 7.5° N of Aldebaran; 13:00.

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