SpaceX CRS-2 Launch, Continuing Commercial Enterprise in Space
The Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch the Dragon spacecraft with 575 kg of cargo to the ISS on March 1 at 10:10 EST from Cape Canaveral AFS Florida, USA. Its success will mark the 2nd commercial resupply mission out of 12 under a US$1.6B NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. The capsule, expected to reach the ISS Mar 2, will be captured with the Harmony Node robotic arm being manipulated by Commander Kevin Ford (R) and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn (L). It is scheduled for a Pacific Ocean splashdown Mar 25 and will carry about 1,043 kg of equipment and science samples back to Earth. The 3rd resupply mission is scheduled September 30. SpaceX is also developing the Falcon Heavy rocket which will meet NASA human rating standards and include three Falcon 9 first stages, each with 9 upgraded Merlin 1D engines. Orbital Sciences Corporation, under a US$1.9B contract for 8 commercial resupply flights, is working toward its 1st test flight to the ISS with the Antares rocket / Cygnus cargo freighter scheduled for June. CRS contracts stimulate the market for private LEO space transportation services and the Commercial Crew Integration Capability program advances human exploration technologies. (Image Credit: SpaceX, NASA)
Herschel Space Observatory Advancing the Frontiers of Space Astronomy as Primary Mission Winds Down
During March the Herschel Space Observatory (HSO) is expected to deplete the 2,300-liter supply of liquid helium used since 2009 to cool the instruments to operating temperatures within 8 degrees of absolute zero. The European Space Agency project, ringing in a total cost of about US$1.46B, observes the Universe at far-infrared and submillimeter wavelengths between 55-672 µm. The post-operations phase scheduled to begin in July will have the spacecraft either park in solar orbit for a rendezvous in a few hundred years or crash into the Moon to search for water. ESA has plans for an international conference, ‘The Universe Explored by Herschel,’ on October 15-18 in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, to present the scientific breakthroughs of HSO and look to the future of Space Astronomy. One highly anticipated HSO release expected soon is a complete map of the Milky Way’s plane that will help identify star forming regions. This will be followed up by the ESA Gaia mission launching September 29 to survey a billion stars and create a 3-D map of our Galaxy. Also pioneering the future of Space Astronomy, the International Lunar Observatory Association plans to establish independent observation capabilities on the surface of the Moon by 2015. (Image Credit: ESA)
= 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 (W), Mars (W), Jupiter (SW), Saturn (E).
Feb 25 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 34 crew performing Dragon CRS-2 hardware preparations; periodically running 90 mins on treadmill for PZE-MO-3 Test; discussing handover procedures as Ford, Novitskiy, Tarelkin return to Earth Mar 15, making Hadfield 1st Canada ISS Commander; Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer dark matter findings to be published soon.
Feb 25 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Traveling at an average 34,700 kph relative to Sun, detecting particles being accelerated to ultra-high energies around Saturn, providing insight about shockwaves / stellar explosions; Rhea flyby scheduled Mar 9 at 997-km altitude.
Feb 25 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Approaching Mars’ orbital path, spacecraft is now 222 days from Earth flyby gravity assist; mission team is planning for this critical move to set Juno on final flight path to Jupiter (arrival Jul 2016), boost velocity by 26,280 kph.
Feb 25 — Stratolaunch Systems Inc., Huntsville AL: NewSpace company with new hangar at Mojave Air & Space Port developing 540,000-kg carrier aircraft with 117-m wing span, six 46,000-66,500 lbf thrust engines; 1st test flight expected 2015, orbital testing of launch vehicle 2016.
Feb 25 — Masten Space Systems Inc., Mojave CA: Completing Xaero-B vertical takeoff and landing rocket vehicle capable of achieving 20-km altitude, high-accuracy landings within 5 cm; performing hot-fire test in Mar, flights in Apr; hoping to perform 6-km altitude demonstration to qualify for NASA Flight Opportunities contracts.
Feb 25 — Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc., Atlanta GA: Developing GOLauncher1 to carry 15-100-kg payloads on suborbital research flights; GOLauncher 2 will launch 20-30-kg payloads to LEO; parent company SpaceWorks is projecting more than 120 nano / micro satellites will need launches annually starting 2020.
Feb 25 — ISRO, Launch PSLV / Multiple Payloads, Sriharikota, India: Launch of India / France SARAL ocean altimetry satellite to measure sea surface height, Canada Sapphire space surveillance payload, Canada NEOSSat space telescope to detect / track Near Earth Asteroids and satellites, Canada BRITE smallest space telescope and its twin BRITE-AUSTRIA / TUGSAT-1 (1st Austria satellite), UK STRaND-1 the 1st smartphone satellite; 17:56 local time.
Feb 25 — SpaceX, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX to perform hot-fire engine test of Falcon 9 rocket.
Feb 25 — AIAA, Silicon Valley Space Center, Mountain View CA: TechTalk: Mission Control Technologies; presented by Jay Trimble of NASA Ames; held at Hacker Dojo, 18:30 – 20:00 PST; free and open to public.
Feb 25 — The Aerospace Industries Association, Washington DC: Space in our World Discussion Series; panel discussion on how investments in space endeavors, research, science affect everyday life; this session topic ‘Forecasting the Next Super Storm;’ speakers include Frank Slazer, Jon Malay, Cory Springer.
Feb 25-27 — University of Hawai‘i, NASA Astrobiology Institute, Kauai HI: 1st Workshop on Experimental Laboratory Astrophysics; held at Sheraton Kauai Resort.
Feb 25 – Mar 1 — European Southern Observatory, et al, Garching, Germany: Shaping European Extremely Large Telescope Science and Instrumentation Workshop.
Feb 25 – Apr 29 – USA National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, Nanoracks LLC, NASA, Global: SSEP Mission 4 to ISS; microgravity experiment design and proposal writing period for students in grades 5-16 / student communities; selected experiments will fly to ISS mid-Oct.
Feb 25 — Moon: Full Moon (Snow Moon), 10:28.
Feb 1-28 — Austrian Space Forum, Ibn Battuta Center, Erfoud, Morocco: Morocco 2013 Mars Analog Field Simulation; small field crew to conduct engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology and other experiments to prepare for human Mars missions.
Feb 11-28 — NASA, Hancock County MS: To begin new round of tests on next-generation J-2X rocket engine designated 10002 from John C. Stennis Space Center; engine will help power Space Launch System.
Feb 13 – Apr 3 — Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, MassChallenge, Online: MassChallenge Startup Accelerator; accepting proposals for flight-ready ISS research projects; winners may receive up to US$100K in grant funding.
Feb 13 – Apr 24 — The Golden Spike Company, Online: GSC Indiegogo Crowdsourcing Campaign: Help Send Nations and People to the Moon.
Feb 14 – Jun 2, 2014 — NASA NSPIRES, Online: Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2013; proposal and submission period for those interested in advancing research concepts and technologies for Space and Earth sciences.
Feb 21 – Mar 3 — NASA, Tucson and Phoenix AZ: Destination Station Experience; events being held in various locations for public to learn about living in space aboard the ISS.
Feb 24-26 — Space Exploration Alliance, Washington DC: Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz; for space advocates to inform Congress about their strong support of an ambitious space program.
Feb 26 — NASA, Washington DC: NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Committee: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Subcommittee Meeting; free and open to public; 08:30 – 16:30 EST.
Feb 26 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium: Star Formation through Radio Eyes: Probing Magnetic Fields with CARMA; presented by Chat Hull of UC Berkeley, 12:00 PST.
Feb 26 — Space Foundation, Space Generation Advisory Council, et al, Online: Application Due, for Space Generation Fusion Forum 2013; for young professionals to discuss their perspectives on space issues; to occur Apr 7-8.
Feb 26-28 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Caltech/JPL, Pasadena CA: Engineering Resilient Space Systems Workshop: Leveraging Novel System Engineering Techniques and Software Architectures – Part II.
Feb 26 — Asteroid 2013 BX2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.073 AU).
Feb 27 — Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, Online: MEPAG Meeting 2013; an electronic meeting 11:00 – 15:00 EST; scheduled in lieu of in-person meeting originally set for Feb 26-27.
Feb 27 — Inspiration Mars Foundation, The National Press Club, Washington DC: Announcement of privately-led mission to Mars in 2018 consisting of a modified Dragon spacecraft, 501-day round trip; speakers include Dennis Tito, Taber MacCallum, Dr. Jonathan Clark, Jane Poynter.
Feb 27 — NASA, Ventura CA: Astronaut Stephen Bowen Talks with Ventura County Students; astronaut will discuss his work at NASA and his spaceflight experiences; Our Lady of the Assumption Elementary and St. Bonaventure High School.
Feb 27 – Mar 1 — John C. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, et al, Hancock County MS: Stennis Industry Days; to promote awareness of Stennis Business Consortium (SBC), provide businesses with networking opportunities.
Feb 27 — Asteroid 2013 DF: Near-Earth Flyby (0.064 AU).
Feb 28 — AFFECTS Consortium, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium: AFFECTS User Workshop; to include demonstration of AFFECTS space weather products; held at Royal Observatory of Belgium.
Feb 28 — International Academy of Astronautics, Polytechnic University of Turin, Online: Abstract Due, for the 8th IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration: Towards the Stars; on Jul 3-9.
Feb 28 — NASA/JPL, Online: Submission Due: Essay Contest for Missions to Icy Worlds; for USA students to explain why missions to Titan, Europa, outer solar system are interesting / important.
Feb 28 — Ahoora Foundation, Conrad Foundation, NASA, Online: Project Due: What If? Propulsion Competition; for students to create propulsion vehicles; Submission Due: What If? Essay Competition; for students to ‘keep Curiosity alive.’
Feb 28 – Mar 1 — NASA, Washington DC: NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics and Committee Meeting; NASA requests research, technical information relevant to program planning.
Feb 28 — Moon: 1.1° WNW of Spica, 19:00.
Mar 1 — Deep Space: Voyager 1 is now about 123 AU from Earth traveling at approximately 61,351 kph relative to Sun; Voyager 2 is about 101 AU from Earth traveling approximately 55,566 kph relative to Sun; radio signals take more than 17 hours to get to Earth.
NET Mar — SpaceX, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: Upgrading Dragon spacecraft to carry humans to space for NASA CCiCAP, Pad Abort Test Review to occur this month.
Mar 1 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Dragon CRS-2, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch 4th dragon spacecraft on 2nd operational cargo delivery mission to ISS, 10:10 EST; NASA live launch coverage begins 08:30.
Mar 1 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Glonass K, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia: An RSA Soyuz rocket with Fregat upper stage to launch Glonass K navigation satellite.
Mar 1 — Herschel Space Observatory, Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange Point: Infrared space telescope may run out of helium reserve this month, ending the primary operation phase.
Mar 1 — Cassini OTM-342, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #342 today.
Mar 1 — NASA, Centennial CO: NASA Advisory Council Commercial Space Committee Meeting; NASA requests research, technical information relevant to program planning; 08:00 – 11:30 MST.
Mar 1 — National Science Foundation, Arlington VA: Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee Meeting.
Mar 1 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, NASA Lunar Science Institute, Online: Application Due: Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program; for students to participate in lunar exploration activities; runs May 28 – Aug 2.
Mar 1 — ESA Education and Knowledge Management Office, Online: Application Due: ESA Educational CubeSat Program – Fly Your Satellite; for students building CubeSats with educational objectives to launch their satellites for free NET Jun.
Mar 1 — Space Foundation, Online: Scholarship Application Due: Educators in Florida and Hawaii; scholarship offers space-related STEM courses to USA educators.
Mar 1 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Ken Cameron; US$49.95 adult.
Mar 1 – Jan 24, 2014 — NASA NSPIRES, Online: Notice of Intent & Step-1 Proposal Due for Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2013; submission period for advanced research concepts and technologies for Space and Earth sciences.
Mar 2 — ISS / Dragon – Rendezvous, Grapple & Berthing, LEO: SpaceX Dragon CRS-2 scheduled for ISS rendezvous and grapple at 11:30 UT, live coverage begins 08:30.
Mar 2 — AIAA, Huntington Beach CA: 2013 Region 6 Public Policy Colloquium.
Mar 2 — Space Tourism Society, Los Angeles CA: Seminar: Space Experience Economy (SEE).
Mar 2-8 — Space Tourism Society, Los Angeles CA: Space Tours – Los Angeles; week-long tour of space facilities in Los Angeles including SpaceX, XCOR, Mojave Space Center; US$4,985.
Mar 2-9 — IEEE, AIAA, Big Sky MT: 2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference.
Mar 2 — Moon: 3.3° S of Saturn, 05:00.
Mar 3-8 — NASA, Cambridge MD: 2013 LWS Solar Dynamics Observatory Science Workshop: Solar Activity on Many Scales.