January 22-28, 2018 / Vol 37, No 4 / Hawai`i Island, USA

ISS Expedition 54 Continues Repairs to Canadarm2 with 3 Upcoming EVAs

International Space Station Expedition 54 six-member crew in LEO, orbiting Earth once every 92 minutes at 7.6 km per second, are scheduled to perform 3 upcoming Extra Vehicular Activities (EVAs). On January 23, U.S. EVA 47 is planned to start 07:10 EST, last 6.5 hours and be broadcast live on NASA TV. Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei will lead the U.S. EVAs. Astronaut Scott Tingle will assist on Jan 23 to service Canadarm2 by replacing one of two redundant latching end effectors (LEE). Astronaut Norishige Kanai will assist on the 6.5-hour EVA 48 Jan 29 to secure the LEE B as a spare on the station Mobile Base System rail car. These excursions will be the third and fourth for Vande Hei, and first for both Tingle and Kanai. Russia EVA 44 is set for Feb 2 by Commander Alexander Misurkin and Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Among other tasks, the duo will check the ISS Russia external segments for potential damage and changes.  ISS crews are expected to complete nearly 300 experiments through 2024, when the station is slated for retirement. There are hopes the ISS will become commercially operated – and that an international, permanently-crewed Deep Space Gateway will be established in cislunar orbit. China Space Station Tianhe-1 core module is expected to launch to LEO 2019, followed by Tianzhou-2 cargo and Shenzhou-12 crew ships; Tiangong-2 Space Lab at ~375-km altitude carries 14 mission and experiment packages, and was last visited by Astronauts October 2016. (Image Credit: NASA, Lockheed Martin, CMSA)


Jan 22 — ISS, 405-km LEO: Expedition 54 six-member crew preparing for / performing EVAs, working on Transparent Alloys experiment and measuring changes in Nitric Oxide Exhalation; station has spent over 7,000 days in space; SAGE III experiment producing monthly data on NO3 in atmosphere using lunar occultation method; NanoRacks 3rd external commercial platform mission commences.

Jan 22 — NewSpace: Astrobotic lunar Mission 1 planning mid-2020 launch of Peregrine lander with at least 11 payloads; Virgin Galactic VSS Unity performs high speed glide test; Generation Orbit working toward small payload launches, completes captive carry flight test; Las Cruces Coalition seeks US$20M in public funding for Spaceport America.  

Jan 22 — Solar System: Updated topography map of Titan using Cassini end-of-mission data; deposits of ice may be found near Mars surface;  NASA Juno heading toward Jupiter Perijove 11 / 10th science close flyby; ESA Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer passes ground segment requirements review.

Jan 22 — Galaxy: 100 hydrogen clouds found to be moving away from Milky Way center into intergalactic space; 9-year study from Hubble data on 10,000 Sun-like stars reveals variously aged stars in Milky Way bulge; simulation of center of Milky Way with 360-degree view.

Jan 22 — Global: ISRO Chandrayaan-2 flight models simulating soft landing tests, mission is on track for Mar-Apr launch; Arianespace planning final 23 launches of Ariane 5; new Space Minister for UK not yet appointed; Russia Luna-27 mission advancing with ESA contract work.

Jan 22 — USA: NASA administrator nominee Jim Bridenstine full senate vote may occur in February; second of four engines for SLS Exploration Mission-2 being tested; James Webb Telescope optical instrument will be mated to spacecraft and sunshield in coming months.

Jan 22 — Hawai`i: Data from W. M. Keck Observatory reveal exoplanets orbiting the same star tend to be similar sizes and regularly spaced; Hawaii false missile warning attracts worldwide media coverage; TMT so far has donated US$3.5 million to Hawaii STEM education.

= 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’).

Weekly Planet Watch – Evening Planets: Uranus (SW), Neptune (WSW); Morning Planets: Mars (ESE), Jupiter (SE), Saturn (SE).

UNOOSA Director Briefs Monday on UNISPACE+50 Conference

United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, will give a briefing on Monday January 20 about the UNISPACE+50 conference to be held on June 20-21 in Vienna. This gathering will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1st UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE I) in 1968. Since then, UN has held UNISPACE II and III conferences in 1982 and 1999, respectively, all in Vienna. The goal for UNISPACE+50 is to build a “Space2030” agenda for the contribution of space activities to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, based on the peaceful exploration and uses of outer space. This conference will be a special segment of the 61st session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. COPUOS has identified 7 thematic priorities for UNISPACE+50, such as promoting global partnership in space, assessing the 5 UN outer space treaties, enhancing space-related information exchange, strengthening space weather response, improving space use for global health, enhancing satellite systems for climate change monitoring and mitigation. The 7th priority is capacity building and encouraging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education especially for women in developing countries. The UNOOSA Director briefing will begin at 10:00 at Vienna International Centre. (Pictured: Simonetta Di Pippo; Image Credit: UNOOSA)

Jan 22 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Vienna, Austria: UNOOSA Director’s Briefing on UNISPACE+50.

Jan 22-24 — National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Meeting: Extraterrestrial Sample Analysis Facilities.

Jan 22-25 — NASA, Galveston TX: 2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop: Gateway to Mars; with a focus on Exploration Medical Capability, Human Factors and Behavioral Performance, Human Health Countermeasures, International Space Station Medical Projects, Space Radiation.

Jan 22 – Feb 2 — Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan: 2018 ELSI Origins Network-Earth-Life Science Institute (EON-ELSI) Winter School.

Jan 22 — Aten Asteroid 306383 (1993 VD): Near-Earth Flyby (0.037 AU).

Jan 22 — Amor Asteroid 2006 AL4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.055 AU).

Continued from…

Dec 19, 2017 – Mar 6 — CNSA, Online / Beijing, China: CNSA collecting 20,000 digital messages from public to be stored in Chang’e-4 relay satellite launching May-June 2018 to Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange Point to support Moon South Pole missions.

NET Jan – Mar — CNSA, Tiangong-1 Earth Atmosphere Reentry, LEO: China 1st Space Lab to disintegrate during Earth atmosphere reentry; predicted to reenter between 43°N and 43°S latitudes during this time frame.

Jan 15 – Feb 16 — International Space University, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia: 2018 Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program; intensive, five week, live-in experience built around an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary educational philosophy.

Jan 16 – Feb 16 — NASA, Online / Chico CA: Kickstarter Campaign: First to the Moon – The Journey of Apollo 8; to create a feature documentary film about Apollo 8 mission that brought back ‘Earthrise’ photo and the three astronauts that crewed it – Commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders.

Jan 20-28 — Rocket Lab, Launch Electron “Still Testing”, Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand: Nine-day launch window for second test launch of Electron rocket.

Jan 21-24 — Pacific Telecommunications Council, Honolulu HI: 40th Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC 2018); expecting 7,000+ members and industry attendees to share and explore the critical transformational shifts of the next four years, and the next forty years.


 Jan 23 — ISS, U.S. Extra Vehicular Activity #47, 400-km LEO: Expedition 54 two-member crew to perform 6.5-hour spacewalk for Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Canadarm2 Latching End Effector (LEE) B Removal and Replacement (R&R); starts 07:10 EST, live coverage available.

Jan 23 — SETI Institute, Menlo Park CA: Lecture: 1I/’Oumuamua, The First Known Interstellar Visitor; by Matija Cuk, and Meg Schwamb from SETI and Gemini Observatory based in Hilo, Hawai’i.

Jan 23 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Colloquium: The Geologic History Of Water On Mars; Robert Craddock, Geologist from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 15:45.

Jan 23-24 — National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Space Studies Board of US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Guangzhou, China: 7th Forum for New Leaders in Space Science; to provide opportunities for select group of young scientists to discuss their research activities.

Jan 23-25 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MD: ATI Course: Satellite Communications Design; instructor Chris DeBoy of JHU/APL.

Jan 23 — Moon: 4.4° SSE of Uranus, 18:00.

Jan 23 — Venus: At aphelion, 0.7283 AU from Sun, 04:00.

Jan 23 — Apollo Asteroid 2018 AJ: Near-Earth Flyby (0.012 AU).

Jan 23 — Apollo Asteroid 2018 AK12: Near-Earth Flyby (0.018 AU).

Jan 23 — Apollo Asteroid 2018 AV11: Near-Earth Flyby (0.029 AU).


NET Jan 24 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon Heavy Demo, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX maiden falcon heavy planned to launch by the end of the month; rocket consists of standard Falcon 9 rocket core with two additional strap-on boosters (total of 27 Merlin engines); may be launching Telsa Roadster.

Jan 24 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Colloquium: Clouds – Regulators of Earth’s Radiation Budget; by GSFC Scientist Lazaros Oreopoulos.

Jan 24 — Moon: At first quarter, 12:19.

Jan 24 — Mercury: 1.5° S of Pluto, 09:00.


Jan 25 — Opportunity, Mars Surface: Rover begins 15th year on Mars; holds “off-world” record for having driven the greatest distance; launched 2003, landed 2004.

Jan 25 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / SES 14 & Al Yah 3, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA241, to launch SES 14 and Al Yah 3 communications satellites.

Jan 25 — Frontier Development Lab, NASA, Mountain View CA: Big Think Workshop 2018; to discuss and define key problems and opportunities for 2018 FDL program, 13:00-20:00.

Jan 25, 26 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series: 2018: Explorer One 60th Anniversary – A Celebration of Six Decades of Earth Science Discoveries; featuring Blaine Baggett, Erik Conway, Jim Green, Carmen Boening, Erika Podest, Jason Craig.

Jan 25-26 — Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC), National Science Foundation, Alexandria VA: AAAC Meeting.

Jan 25-28 — The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand: 22nd International Microlensing Conference.

Jan 25 — Mercury: At aphelion, 0.4667 AU from Sun, 01:00.


Jan 26 — Caltech, Pasadena CA: Lecture: When Galaxies Collide – Snapshots of the Universe’s Largest Battles; Anne Medling, 19:00.

Jan 26 — Cuyahoga Valley Space Society (CVSS) – National Space Society Chapter, Parma OH: Monthly meeting of Cuyahoga Valley Space Society; Parma Library, 18:45-20:45.

Jan 26 — Moon: 9.2° SSE of Pleiades, 08:00.

Jan 26 — Apollo Asteroid 2018 AL12: Near-Earth Flyby (0.21 AU).

Jan 26 — Aten Asteroid 2011 CD66: Near-Earth Flyby (0.079 AU).


Jan 27 — Apollo 1 51st Observation, Nationwide USA: Increasing space awareness and education, remembrances and events honor three Apollo 1 crew members lost during a launch pad test: Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee.

Jan 27, 28 — National Philharmonic, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Bethesda MD: Orchestral Concert featuring Sea and Space: Debussy’s La Mer and Holst’s The Planets.

Jan 27 — Moon: 0.67° NNW of Aldebaran, 00:00.

Jan 27 — Apollo Asteroid 2018 BQ: Near-Earth Flyby (0.024 AU).


Jan 28 — Challenger STS-51L 32nd Observation, Nationwide USA: Educational and ceremonial events held worldwide to advance space technology / education and honor 7 crew members killed in shuttle accident 28 January 1986: Commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Astronaut Christa McAuliffe (the 1st ‘Teacher in Space’), Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnick and Ronald E. McNair, along with Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis.

Jan 28 — Moon: 4.5° S of M35 cluster, 13:00.