January 23-29, 2012 / Vol 31, No 4 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Orion Spacecraft Full-Scale Test Version to be Featured in 3 Cities

Residents in 3 states will have the chance to see a full-scale test version of the NASA Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle spacecraft (TR), which will one day serve as the vehicle to transport astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. One of the planned stops includes the Science Museum Oklahoma (BL) in Oklahoma City on January 23-25. The 23-ton spacecraft built by Lockheed-Martin has a diameter of 5m and is designed to carry 4 astronauts (C). In 2014, NASA plans to conduct the 1st Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) of Orion aboard a Delta 4 Heavy rocket (BR) from Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL. The spacecraft will fly 2 high-apogee orbits and conclude with a high-energy re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere. NASA Officials plan to launch Orion aboard the US$10B giant rocket, Space Launch System (TL), a heavy lifter capable of lifting up to 70 tons of payload, NET 2017 and possible human missions by 2021. To date NASA has spent nearly US$5B on Orion. Orion will continue to make its cross-country journey on Jan 27-29 in Dallas TX and Jan 31-Feb 2 in Huntsville AL. (Image Credit: NASA, launchphotography.com, wired.com, Science Museum OK)

ILOA Galaxy Forum 2012 and Galaxy Poster Advancing 21st Century Education Worldwide

International Lunar Observatory Association’s Galaxy Forums are advancing 21st Century Education worldwide with the launch of a Galaxy Poster and exciting initiatives in Africa, Europe and South America. The ILOA 2012 Galaxy Poster is a powerful resource representing the next dimension beyond maps of the World and Solar System. Distributed free by the non-profit ILOA to Galaxy Forum participants and associated institutions around the world, the Poster includes a Milky Way schematic based on the latest research and insets outlining dimensional / compositional features. Since taking flight on July 4, 2008 to support ILOA’s mission to expand human understanding of the Galaxy and Cosmos through observations from the Moon, the Galaxy Forum initiative has resulted in 33 events spanning 16 unique centers of science, education, exploration and enterprise from Vancouver to Cape Town, from New York and Kansas to Bangalore and Beijing. This year a pan-Africa forum will build on joint efforts with SAAO and the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development. In Europe, the program is being boosted by collaboration with the International Space University at Strasbourg. Program development in South America is focused on cutting edge astronomy in Chile and Brazil. (Image Credit: ILOA)

= 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), Mars (E), Jupiter (S), Saturn (E).


Jan 23 — International Space Station, LEO: E-30 crew make last minute preparations for undocking of Progress 45 cargo ship today from the Pirs docking compartment at 17:10 EST for a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Jan 23 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: LRO continues to function nominally in its 50±15 km near-circular orbit as it makes digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Jan 23 — Mars, Tempe AZ: Arizona State University Center for Meteorite Studies recently acquires new sample of rare Martian meteorite that fell in Southern Morocco, July 2011; 1st Martian fall in nearly 50 years, with less than 0.5% of meteorite falls originating from Mars.

Jan 23 — China Lunar New Year, Worldwide: China Lunar New Year 2012 Spring Festival marks the Year of the Dragon.

Jan 23 — Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, Cambridge MA:3rd Zero Robotics SPHERES Challenge,’ for high school students teams across the World.

Jan 23 — The NSTA Learning Center, Webinar:Weather and Climate: Satellite Meteorology,’ Rudo Kashiri & Kristy Hill.

Jan 23-24 — Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi:Conference: Milsatcom Middle East.’

Jan 23-25 — NASA, Oklahoma City OK: Test version of NASA Orion spacecraft at the Science Museum Oklahoma will give residents a chance to see a full scale test version of the vehicle that will take humans into deep space.

Jan 23-25 — The Purple Mountain Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China:2nd Symposium: Cutting Edge of Astrophysics and Related Physics.’

Jan 23-27 — Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo, Puerto Rico:Planets Around Stellar Remnants.’

Jan 23 – Feb 3 — The University of Tokyo, Institute for Physics & Mathematics of the Universe, Kashiwa, Japan:Workshop: Testing Gravity with Astrophysical and Cosmological Observations.’

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

Jan 23 — Asteroid 2012 AC3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.073 AU).

Continued from…

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

Jan 14 — 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; Jan 23.

Jan 22 — American Meteorological Society (AMS), New Orleans LA:92nd AMS Annual Meeting,’ through Jan 26.

Jan 22 — The National Academies – Transportation Research Board, Washington DC:91st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board;’ through Jan 26.


Jan 24 — 2012 USA State of the Union Address, Washington DC: President Obama to give annual speech to Congress at 21:00 EST.

Jan 24 — Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island VA: ‘Wallops Media Roundtable,’ with NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck at 11:00 EST.


NET Jan 25 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Progress 46P, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: A Russian government Soyuz rocket set to launch the 46th Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station.

Jan 25 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘A Guide to Lakefront Vacationing on Titan: Hydrocarbon Lakes and their Role in the Methane Cycle,’ Alex Hayes.

Jan 25 — Stennis Space Center, Mountain View CA: Media invited to observe facilities used for testing the J-2X engines which will be used aboard new deep space rocket, Space Launch System (SLS).

Jan 25 — Colorado State University, Pueblo CO: ‘Space Exploration Seminar.’

Jan 25-26 — Glenn Research Center, Cleveland OH: ‘Exploring the Planetary Science Achievable from a Balloon-Based Observatory.’

Jan 25 — Asteroid 7341 (1991 VK): Near-Earth Flyby (0.065 AU).


Jan 26 — Moon: 6.3° NNW of Venus; 04:00.

Jan 26 — Comet 255P / Levy: Closest Approach to Earth (0.236 AU).

Jan 26 — Asteroid 5641 McCleese: Closest Approach to Earth (0.876 AU).


Jan 27 — NASA, Washington DC: Application deadline for NASA Astronaut Candidate Class 2012.

Jan 27 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX:Lunch With an Astronaut,’ David Hilmers.

Jan 27-29 — NASA, Houston TX: Test version of NASA Orion spacecraft at the American Airlines Center will give residents a chance to see a full scale test version of the vehicle that will take humans into deep space.

Jan 27 — Moon: 5.5° NNW of Uranus; 13:00.


Jan 28 — 26th Challenger 51-L Observation, Nationwide USA: Shuttle accident took place 28 January 1986 killing seven crew members including Commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, its pilot, Michael J. Smith, and its crew, 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.

NET Jan 28 — 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.

Jan 28 — US Dept. of Energy, Space Coast Science Education Alliance, BCC Planetarium & Observatory, Cocoa FL:US Dept of Energy Middle School Science Bowl.’


Jan 29 – Feb 2 — American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Charleston SC:22nd AAS / AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Winter Meeting.’

Jan 29 – Feb 3 — International Astronomical Union, Stellenbosch, South Africa:IAU Symposium 287: Cosmic Masers – From OH to HO.’

Jan 29 — Asteroid 3414 Champollion: Closest Approach to Earth (1.047 AU).

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