February 13-19, 2012 / Vol 31, No 7 / Hawai`i Island, USA

FAA Advancing NewSpace Initiatives at Washington DC Event

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will hold its ‘15th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference’ on February 15-16 in Washington DC. Co-Sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the annual 2-day event will bring together over 400 space industry entrepreneurs, engineers, academics, government regulators, and legislators to discuss this year’s theme, “Commercial: The New Future of Space.” Commercial enterprises will play a critical  role in USA space exploration. FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, George Nield, will open the event, followed by Keynote Speaker NASA Associate Administrator for Human Explorations and Operation, William Gerstenmaier (CL). On Thursday, Feb 16, a panel discussion  featuring the latest developments in the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program will be moderated by AIAA Executive Director Bob Dickman. The event will also include a special presentation on the Stratolaunch Concept by Stratolaunch Systems Corp CEO Gary Wentz (TL). On Feb 15, the Space Transportation Association will hold a dinner reception with Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats (BL) from 17:00-19:00 EST. (Image Credit: FAA, AIAA, NASA, Eads Astrium, Stratolaunch Corp.)

Sea Launch Receives Boost From Joint Plans With Roscosmos

Sea Launch operator RSC Energia and Russian space agency Roscosmos announce a joint business plan to build profitability by ensuring at least 3-4 launches from the floating Odyssey platform per year. Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said in a radio interview “we already have contracts for launches for the next two years.” At least three satellites are docked to fly this year from 154 degrees west longitude in the middle of the Pacific, one Eutelsat and two Intelsat spacecraft. Intelsat 19 and 21(CR) will be the first and second of five launches that were contracted in a 2010 multiple launch services agreement between Intelsat and Sea Launch. Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch said, “We greatly value the trust and confidence placed in the entire Sea Launch team.” After a 2.5-year hiatus, bankruptcy, change of ownership and relocation to Switzerland, the equatorial ocean based launch operation returned to flight on September 24 of 2011. That launch, on the Zenit-3SL(TR), saw the 4,600-kg Atlantic Bird 7 into healthy geostationary transfer orbit. (Image Credit: Sea Launch, Boeing)

= 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 (S), Saturn (S) / Evening Planets: Venus (SW), Jupiter (SW).


Feb 13 — International Space Station, LEO: E-30 crew members Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov prepare for their upcoming 6-hr spacewalk on Feb 16 to move 1 of the 2 Strela hand-operated cranes to the Poisk module and install 5 debris shields on the Zvezda service module.

Feb 13 — Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: NASA LRO continues to function nominally in its 50±15 km near-circular orbit as it makes digital elevation and surface maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Feb 13 — Mars Science Laboratory, En Route to Red Planet: NASA MSL spacecraft continues trek to Mars, having already traveled over 205 million km) of its 567-million-km flight, moving approximately 28,600 km / hr relative to Earth.

NET Feb 13 — Arianespace, Launch Vega / LARES, Kourou, French Guiana: The European Vega rocket set to launch 1st flight with the Laser Relativity Satellite (LARES), a small spacecraft named ALMASat and 9 CubeSat payloads.

Feb 13 — Space Show, Nationwide: This week’s Space Show continues to cover important space issues with informative interviews from space advocates.

Feb 13 — NASA Headquarters, Washington DC: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson to brief reporters about the agency’s fiscal year 2013 budget at 14:00 EST.

Feb 13, 15-16 — Canadian Space Agency, Sarnia, Ontario; Martensville, Saskatchewan; Saint Louis, Prince Edward Island; Montreal, Quebec, Canada:Q&A Session with CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield.’

Feb 13 — The Australia Telescope Users Committee (ATUC), Sydney, Australia:ATUC Extraordinary Meeting: Parkes Instrumentation.’

Feb 13-15 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, San Diego CA:Conference on Life Detection in Extraterrestrial Samples.’

Feb 13-17 — California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, et al, Pasadena CA:Science With a Wide-Field Infrared Telescope in Space / 16th International Conference on Gravitational Microlensing.’

Feb 13-17 — Italian Space Agency, ESA, Bologna, Italy:Astrophysics from the Radio to the Submillimeter – Planck and Other Experiments in Temperature and Polarization;’ event to include media briefing on new observations of the Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies by ESA’s Planck mission, Feb 13.

Continued from…

Jan 9 — International Space University, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia:Southern Hemisphere Summer Program;’ Feb 11.

Jan 23 — International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, Switzerland:World Radio Communication Conference 2012;’ through Feb 17.

Feb 6 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria:49th Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space – Scientific and Technical Subcommittee;’ through Feb 17.

Feb 12 — Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, Tegernsee, Germany:Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment;’ through Feb 21.

Feb 12 — The GLOBE Program, The National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Global:GLOBE at Night: Less of Our Light, More Star Light,’ event to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone; through Feb 21.


NET Feb 14 — ILS, Launch Proton / SES 4, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An ILS Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage set to deploy the SES 4 satellite to provide telecommunications services over the Americas, Africa, Europe and Middle East.

Feb 14 — NASA, University of Maryland, College Park MD: Free public event with astronauts Mike Fossum, Ron Garan, Cady Coleman to discuss recent International Space Station expedition missions at 17:30 EST.

Feb 14 — NASA Headquarters, Washington DC: NASA invites its Twitter followers to a special tweetup with astronaut Ron Garan at 13:30 EST. Be sure to follow Space Calendar on Twitter!

Feb 14 — Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville AL:Industry / Academia Day,’ event to share information on an upcoming research opportunity relating to the Space Launch System’s (SLS) advanced development at 09:30 CST.

Feb 14-16 — Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand:Square Kilometer Array – New Zealand 2012: Pathways to SKA Science in Australasia.’

Feb 14 — Moon: At Last Quarter; 07:05.

Feb 14 — Asteroid 30857 Parsec: Closest Approach to Earth (1.101 AU).


Feb 15 — Space Transportation Association, Washington DC: ‘STA Reception,’ with Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats, 17:00-19:00 EST.

Feb 15 — Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD: Registration deadline for ‘Titan Through Time 2,’ Apr 3-5.

Feb 15 — Ohio State University, Columbus OH:The Future of Space Exploration.’

Feb 15 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Mysteries of the Oscillations of Gas Accreting onto Black Holes, Neutron Stars, and White Dwarfs,’ Bob Wagoner.

Feb 15 — Crayton Middle School, NASA, Columbia SC: South Carolina students to speak with NASA E-30 Cmdr Dan Burbank and flight engineer Don Pettit aboard the ISS at 09:55 EST.

Feb 15 — NASA, Charlotte NC: Registration deadline for ‘4th Annual NASA STEM Educators Workshop Series,’ to be held on Feb 28 – Mar 1.

Feb 15-16 — Federal Aviation Administration, Washington DC:15th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference.’

Feb 15 — Cassini OTM-310, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #310 today.

Feb 15 — Moon: 4.5° NNE of Antares; 09:00.


Feb 16 — International Space Station, LEO: E-30 crew members Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov perform 6-hr spacewalk to move 1 of the 2 Strela hand-operated cranes to the Poisk module and install 5 debris shields on the Zvezda service module; NASA TV to broadcast spacewalk at 07:45 CST.

NET Feb 16 — ULA, Launch Atlas 5 / MUOS 1, Cape Canaveral FL: A ULA Atlas 5 rocket set to launch 1st Mobile User Objective System Satellite for the US Navy.

Feb 16-17 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA:The von Karman Lecture Series: Climate Sciences and the Climate Center of JPL.’


Feb 17 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Inflation and the Landscape of String Theory,’ Alexander Westphal.

Feb 17 — Committee on Space Research, Indian Space Research Organization, Online: Abstract submission deadline for the ‘39th Scientific Assembly of Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).’

Feb 17 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX:Lunch With an Astronaut,’ John Blaha.

Feb 17 — Asteroid 1993 DA: Near-Earth Flyby (0.041 AU).

Feb 17 — Asteroid 1221 Amor: Closest Approach to Earth (0.736 AU).


Feb 18 — Zero Gravity Corporation, Las Vegas NV:Zero-G Flight Experience,’ a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience weightlessness onboard a specially modified Boeing 727.

Feb 18 — Asteroid 2012 BJ11: Near-Earth Flyby (0.097 AU).


Feb 19-22 — American Geophysical Union (AGU), Kailua-Kona HI:AGU Chapman Conference on Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle.’

Feb 19 — Asteroid 162421: Near-Earth Flyby (0.045 AU).

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