February 27 – March 5, 2017 / Vol 36, No 9 / Hawai`i Island, USA

China Set to Host GLEX 2017 in Beijing, Launch Tianzhou-1 and CE-5 from Hainan

Pioneering China space activities are planned for 2017 including Tianzhou-1 cargo ship launching to Tiangong-2 space lab in April, Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) & ILOA Galaxy Forum (GF) in June, and China first lunar sample return mission Chang’e-5 launching November from Hainan Island. International Astronautical Federation and Chinese Society of Astronautics are hosting GLEX 2017 at Beijing International Convention Center June 6-8 to advance space technology and Human exploration planning and objectives. GF Beijing on June 5 will be themed Astronomy From The Moon and International Human Moon Missions. Wenchang Space Launch Center at Hainan ‘Moonport’ 19° N latitude is supporting China’s ambitious 21st Century space program with crew and cargo launches to its new Space Lab in LEO, next-generation rockets Long March 5 and 7, and progressively more advanced missions to the Moon while planning for Mars 2020 and Jupiter system ~2030. Chang’e-5 sample return mission, launching from Hainan Nov 2017, will attempt to dig 2 meters into the lunar surface and return at least 2 kg of regolith to Earth, landing in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia. CE-4 orbiter and lander / rover are scheduled to reach Moon far side 2018. CE-6 may launch 2020 as the last robotic mission before Human Moon missions. (Image Credit: CNSA, CAS, NAOC, IAF, Xinhua, Zeng Tao, IC)


star-grey Feb 27 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 50 six-member crew transferring cargo from Dragon CRS-10 including 1st ISU Experiment in Space (MMARS1) and from Progress 66P carrying ~3,000 kg of supplies, training / testing Robonaut, working with Microgravity Science Glovebox experiment to cultivate human stem cells; external Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer analyzing cosmic ray events, has identified 9M electrons / positrons (antimatter).

Feb 27 — Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope, LEO: Gamma-ray signal at center of neighboring Andromeda galaxy (similar to one seen at center of Milky Way) could indicate presence of dark matter, lead scientist Pierrick Martin says “we expect dark matter to accumulate in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies, which is why finding such a compact signal is very exciting.”

 Feb 27 — Juno, Jupiter Orbit: Will stay in current 53-day orbit for remainder of mission allowing for exploration of far reaches of Jovian magnetosphere, next close flyby of gas giant at 4,100 km is planned March 27, mission planned through July 2018 with a total of 12 science orbits.

circle-full-grey Feb 27 — Made in Space, Moffett Field CA: NewSpace company 3D printer at ISS produces first sculpture made in space – a representation of a human laugh’s sound waves, continues printing spare parts, tools, other gear for Astronauts; company is creating a system to produce high-value optical fibers in space; CTO Jason Dunn.

  Feb 27 — Rocket Lab, Auckland, New Zealand: On track for first test launch of carbon composite Electron rocket (dubbed “It’s A Test”) from Mahia Peninsula site in April, has contracts with Moon Express for GLXP mission to Moon in Dec, and smallsat missions with Spire, Planet & NASA.

  Feb 27 — UK Space Developments, United Kingdom: Department of Transport Spaceflight Bill to outline new laws allowing launch of satellites from UK, suborbital horizontal flights for science experiments; 6 sites still under study to establish spaceport; Reaction Engines developing SABRE engine, Orbital Access plans to design horizontal take off space launch systems.

= 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), Mars (W), Jupiter (S), Uranus (SW); Morning Planets: Saturn (SE).

NASA Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop Focuses Long-Range, Solar System Complete

The Planetary Science Division (PSD) is planning to host a community workshop at NASA headquarters in Washington DC February 27 – March 1 to discuss space exploration on a 35-year scale containing one or multiple paths forward. Organizers include (L-R) James Green (PSD Director), Stephen Mackwell (USRA), Gregory Schmidt (ARC) and Dana Hurley (JPL). 2050 Workshop objectives involve planning over-arching planetary science themes for each decade leading to notional technologies and missions; identifying technology challenges / knowledge gaps that will need early investment to overcome; and considering cross-cutting opportunities with other disciplines in the larger context of international planetary science and human exploration. Five discussion themes are Solar Systems Origins, Workings, Life, Defense & Resources, and Policy, Pathways, Techniques and Capabilities. Also thinking ‘beyond Mars in 2030’ Robert Walker, U.S. Administration space policy advisor, notes a “stretch goal” which may be implemented is human exploration of the complete Solar System by the start of the 22nd Century to accelerate technology developments and deep space achievements. Planning for Jupiter and Beyond in 2040s, 50s could enable ground-breaking science and Human exploration of the Moon – its equatorial and polar regions in 2020s, Mars and its moons 2030s, and the Main Asteroid Belt 2035. (Image Credit: NASA, PDS, LPI, ARC, JPL Infographics / neomam)

Feb 27 — Silicon Valley Space Center, Santa Clara CA: SVSC TechTalk: SSI and the High Frontier; Space Studies Institute President Gary Hudson.

Feb 27 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Activated Asteroids, Missing Family Members, and Pieces of Planets; Seth Jacobson – Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Bayreuth / Côte d’Azur Observatory, 12:15.

Feb 27 — Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore MD: 2017 Grand Seminar featuring NASA Goddard Space Flight Center senior astrophysicist / 2006 Nobel Prize winner in Physics John Mather.

Feb 27 – Mar 1 — NASA Planetary Science Division, Washington DC: Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop; leading experts in solar system planetary science & space technologies to identify potential science goals and enabling technologies that can be implemented by the end of 2040s to support next phase of Solar System exploration.

Feb 27 – Mar 2 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MD: Space Systems Fundamentals; taught by Dr. Mike Gruntman, Professor of Astronautics at University of Southern California.

Feb 27 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 BM123: Near-Earth Flyby (0.027 AU).

Continued from…

Oct 15, 2016 – Sep 4 — 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.

Feb 20 – Mar 3 — Committee on Space Research, National University of Río Negro, Viedma, Argentina: COSPAR Capacity Building Workshop in High Energy Astrophysics.


 Feb 28 — International Astronautical Federation, Online / Paris, France: IAF Newsletter 2017 March Submissions Due.

Feb 28 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Lecture: Exoplanet Demographics versus Host Star Mass – Clues to Formation from Direct Imaging; Michael Meyer, Prof. at University of Michigan.

 Feb 28 – Mar 2 — INFN of Padova, INAF, University of Padova Physics Department, Padova, Italy: eASTROGRAM Workshop: The Extreme Universe.

Feb 28 – Mar 2 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MDSatellite Communication – Introduction; taught by Mark R. Chartrand.

Feb 28 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 DJ16: Near-Earth Flyby (0.010 AU).


 Mar 1 — Deep Space, KBO 2014 MU69 Trajectory: New Horizons set to arrive at first Kuiper Belt Object January 1, 2019 and flyby at 12,500 km or closer; if mission is extended it could explore ~20 more KBOs over its lifetime; New Horizons team asking IAU to change the definition of what a planet is.

Mar 1 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / NROL-79, Vandenberg AFB CA: ULA Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-068 to launch classified spacecraft payload for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

 Mar 1 — Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy: Colloquium: Fundamental Lessons From String Theory.

Mar 1 — Moonbots, International Locations / Online: Registrations due for students to enter Moonbots Challenge; grand prize winner could send video to Moon & meet GLXP winners in person.

Mar 1-4 — International Union of Radio Science, Tirupati, India: 3rd URSI Regional Conference on Radio Science 2017.

Mar 1 — Moon: 4.3° S of Mars, 08:58.


Mar 2 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: The formation and evolution of the inner Solar System; David Patrick O’Brien, Planetary Science Institute, 15:30.

Mar 2 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: CMB Lensing: Fundamental Physics from Maps of the Invisible; Blake Sherwin of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 16:00.

Mar 2 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Lecture: Solar Storms, Space Radiation and Their Effects on Earth and Space Travel; Joe Giacalone, Prof. at LPL.

Mar 2 — Moon: At perigee (distance 369,065 km), 21:24.

Mar 2 — Aten Asteroid 2012 DR32: Near-Earth Flyby (0.007 AU).

Mar 2 — Apollo Asteroid 2011 OJ45: Near-Earth Flyby (0.079 AU).

Mar 2 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 BU6: Near-Earth Flyby (0.087 AU).

Mar 2 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 CQ1: Near-Earth Flyby (0.093 AU).


Mar 3 — Caltech, Pasadena CA: Lecture: The Elusive Origins of Hot Jupiters; Konstantin Batygin, Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences, 19:00.

Mar 3-5 — Stanford University, Pasadena CA: Conference: New Horizons in Inflationary Cosmology; in Kavli Auditorium.

Mar 3-8 — Federal University of Espírito Santo, Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Anchieta, Espirito Santo, Brazil: Quantum Summer 2017.

Mar 3 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 RZ17: Near-Earth Flyby (0.078 AU).


Mar 4-11 — IEEE, AIAA, Prognostics and Health Management Society (PHM), Big Sky MT: IEEE Aerospace Conference; at Yellowstone Conference Center.


Mar 5-8 — Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, NASA, Schloss Ringberg, Germany: Conference: Spectroscopy with SOFIA – New Results & Future Opportunities.

Mar 5-10 — Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel: Conference: Planetary Systems Beyond the Main Sequence II.

Mar 5 — Moon: 4.3° S of Mars, 08:58.