January 26 – February 1, 2015 / Vol 34, No 4 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Celebrating Human Endeavor, Rising Above Challenges: Remembering Apollo 1, Challenger STS-51L, Columbia STS-107

calendar feature -- celebrate and remember 2015

In dedication to the bright future of exploration and evolution of human understanding out among the Galaxy Stars, we pause to remember and celebrate the great individuals who sacrifice everything in the pursuit of knowledge and ability, in peace for all. On January 27, 48 years ago Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were lost in a fire during an Apollo 1 launch simulation test. January 28 is the 29th anniversary of the catastrophic breakup of Space Shuttle Challenger STS-51L at 73 seconds after launch, which took the lives of seven astronauts, Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnick and Ronald McNair. The passing of fellow astronauts Richard Husband, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown and Kalpana Chawla, due to disintegration upon reentry of Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 is remembered for the 11th year on February 1. The silver lining on these somber clouds is that the Space Age surges on with more and more pioneering individuals and enterprises, ambitious countries emerging as actors on the space exploration frontier, and the 6 major spacefaring powers continuing to expand human reach to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto and beyond. (Image Credit: NASA, R. Williams (STScI) / the Hubble Deep Field Team and NASA)


Jan 26 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 42 preparing spacesuits & gear for upcoming EVAs, loading SpaceX CRS 5 with experiments / samples to return to Earth; ISS deboost by ATV-5 to occur Jan 28.

 Jan 26 — Chang’e-3 Lander & Yutu Rover, Sinus Iridum / Mare Imbrium, 44.12°N 19.51°W, Moon Surface: Now hibernating in Lunar Night 14 until ~Jan 31, instruments in good health continue to make observations; first-ever image of spiral galaxy (M101) from Moon obtained / published in collaboration with ILOA.

 Jan 26 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Taking gravity measurements of moon Titan to detect liquid water / ammonia ocean underneath its surface & radar measurements for sand dunes, river channels, land formations.

Jan 26 — SpaceX, Multiple Locations: NewSpace company receiving US$1B of new investment funding, bringing company value to ~US$10B; analyzing data from recent Falcon 9 booster landing attempt; preparing for next launch Feb 8.

Jan 26 — Flexure Engineering, Seattle WA: Hosting 5th International Workshop on Lunar Surface Applications Apr 15-17, other Lunar workshops to advance knowledge of LunarCube technologies, opportunities in cislunar space, lunar science & ISRU.

 Jan 26 — Mars One, The Hague, The Netherlands: Planning to send student science project to germinate Arabidopsis Thaliana seeds in a container to Mars surface on lander in 2018.

Jan 26 — Google Lunar X Prize Foundation, San Francisco CA: GLXP Milestone Prizes winners announced today; Astrobotic has already been awarded US$750K, remaining milestone competitors are Hakuto (Japan), Team Indus (India), Moon Express (U.S.), Part-Time Scientists (Germany); at California Academy of Sciences, 18:00 – 22:00 PST.

Jan 26 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Online / Houston TX: NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Discuss Plan for Launching American Astronauts from the U.S. in 2017; featuring Charles Bolden, Kathy Lueders, Gwynne Shotwell, John Elbon, Mike Fincke, Ellen Ochoa; 11:00 CST, live coverage available.

Jan 26 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Marc Rayman, Dawn Chief Engineer & Mission Director at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

JAN - MAR 2015 = 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 (SW), Venus (SW), Mars (SW), Jupiter (ENE), Uranus (SW), Neptune (SW); Morning Planets: Saturn (SE).

Humans in Space – Busy with Science, Preparing for EVAs

ISS Exp 42

The International Space Station six-member Expedition 42 crew (T-B, L-R) Commander Barry Wilmore (NASA), Elena Serova (RSA), Alexander Samokutyaev (RSA), Anton Shkaplerov (RSA), Terry Virts (NASA) and Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA) continue science / technology experiments, cargo transfers from ESA ATV-5 and SpaceX Dragon CRS-5, routine maintenance and preparation for USA Extra-Vehicular Activities planned for February 16, 20 and 25. Virts and Wilmore will help prepare the station for the installation of 2 docking adapters that will allow commercial spacecraft to connect to ISS by installing power and data cables and a communications gear. They will also grease the station’s 17.6-meter long robotic Canadarm2. Other living guests orbiting ~418 km above Earth include flatworms, fruit flies and lettuce plants. The crew will remain aboard until March 12 when 3 members will return to Earth, marking the start of Expedition 43. On March 27 the long-awaited full-year mission for NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russia Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will begin. (Image Credit: NASA, RSA, ESA)

Jan 26-30 — National Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Bonamanzi, KwaZulu-Natal, South AfricaCosmology on Safari.

Jan 26 — Moon: At first quarter, 18:48.

Jan 26 — Asteroid 357439 (2004 BL86): Near-Earth flyby (0.008 AU) about 3 times distance from Earth to Moon; ~549 meters across, will be closest any space rock this large flies by Earth until 2027; should be visible in N America with amateur binoculars / telescopes.

Jan 26 — Asteroid 2015 AK45: Near-Earth flyby (0.012 AU).

Continued from…

Oct 16, 2014 – Jun 11 — NASA, University of Hawai`i, Mauna Loa HI: Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 3.

Nov 19, 2014 – Jan 31  — Foundation for Space Development, Online / Cape Town, South Africa: Africa2Moon Mission fundraising campaign.

Dec 20, 2014 – Mar 15 — Cantor Arts Center, Stanford CA: Exhibition: Loose in Some Real Tropics: Robert Rauschenberg’s “Stoned Moon” Projects, 1969–70; 34 large-format lithographs with scenes of Apollo 11 astronauts, machinery, facilities.

Jan 18-27 — Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics, Korea Institute for Advanced Studies, Busan, South Korea: 9th Asian Winter School on Strings, Particles and Cosmology.


Jan 27 — 48th Apollo 1 Observation, Nationwide USA: Increasing space awareness and education, remembrances / events honor three Apollo 1 crew members, Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee, whose lives were lost when a launch rehearsal test resulted in a cabin fire.

Jan 27 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: The Surprising State of the Earth after the Moon-Forming Giant Impact; presented by Sarah Stewart of UC Davis.

Jan 27-29 — NASA HQ, Cocoa Beach FL: 2015 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium; to discuss humans in space & on planetary surfaces, robotics & space probes, propulsion & power, space debris removal, NEO mitigation, imaging & communications; at Hilton Cocoa Beach.

Jan 27-30 — Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment (KSCSTE), Kerala National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), Kerala, India: 27th Kerala Science Congress: Traditional Industries.

Jan 27 — Asteroid 2015 BQ: Near-Earth flyby (0.072 AU).

Jan 27 — Asteroid 2015 BM: Near-Earth flyby (0.087 AU).


Jan 28 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 42 In-flight event with Air Force Times and the Houston Chronicle; live coverage available, 13:25 UT.

Jan 28 — 29th Challenger STS-51L Observation, Nationwide USA: Educational and ceremonial events held worldwide to advance space technology / education and honor 7 crew members killed in shuttle accident: Commander Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Astronaut Christa McAuliffe (the 1st Teacher in Space), Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis, Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka (the 1st Asian American Astronaut), Judith A. Resnick and Ronald E. McNair.

Jan 28 — Foothill College, The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Ames Research Center, SETI Institute, Los Altos CA: Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: New Horizons Mission to Pluto; presented by Dr. Mark Showalter of SETI.

Jan 28 — University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Life in the Universe Lecture Series: What is Life? presented by Guy J. Consolmagno, Planetary Scientist of Vatican Observatory Research Group.

Jan 28 — Arizona State University, Tempe AZ: SESE New Discoveries Lecture Series: Building Earth-like planets; presented by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, 19:30 – 20:30 MST.

Jan 28 — Moon: 7.8° S of Pleiades, 12:00.


Jan 29 — JAXA, Launch H-2A / IGS Radar Spare, Tanegashima Space Center, Japan: Japan H-2A rocket to launch Information Gathering Satellite with radar reconnaissance payload for Japan government.

Jan 29 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Delta 2 / Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, Vandenberg AFB CA: Launch of NASA JPL Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft aboard Delta 2 rocket from Complex 2 between 06:20:42 – 06:23:42 PST.

Jan 29 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Signposts of Planetary Systems Around Evolved Stars; presented by Professor Roman Rafikov of Princeton University.

Jan 29 — Moon: 1.6° NE of Aldebaran, 08:00.


Jan 30-31 — Stanford University, Stanford CA: Stanford Symphony Orchestra presents Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Jan 30 – Feb 1 — Queen University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada: Queen’s Space Conference 2015: Space Technology: Beyond the Final Frontier; to connect undergrad & graduate students with space industry professionals.

Jan 30 – Feb 4 — American Astronautical Society Rocky Mountain Section, Breckenridge CO: 38th Annual AAS Guidance and Control Conference; at Beaver Run Resort.

Jan 30 — Mercury: At inferior conjunction with Sun (distance 0.659 AU from Earth), 3.46° N of Sun, 04:00.

Jan 30 — Asteroid 2015 BE: Near-Earth flyby (0.083 AU).


Jan 31 — Cassini OTM-402, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #402 today.

Jan 31 — SRR/PTMSS, CIM, Online / Golden CO: Abstracts Due: 6th Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium and Space Resources Roundtable and Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) 2015 Convention.

Jan 31 – Feb 2 — University of Oslo – Norway, National University of Sciences and Technology – Pakistan, Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Shanghai, China: 2015 Conference on Astrophysics and Space Science (APSS 2015).

Jan 31 — Moon: 5.9° S of M35, 01:00.

Jan 31 — Asteroid 2008 CQ: Near-Earth flyby (0.012 AU).


NET Feb — Chang’e 5-T1 Service Module, Moon Orbit: China service module equipped with navigation receiver compatible with GPS & GLONASS, dual-resolution camera, components for guidance, navigation & control center, micro-star sensor, star-sensing anti-debris mechanism, technical experiment camera to perform long-range guidance test for lunar orbit rendezvous & docking.

Feb 1 — Deep Space, Main Asteroid Belt: Dawn spacecraft imaging dwarf planet Ceres, scheduled to enter orbit Mar 6 for planned 16-month study, will have traveled more than 4.8B km.

Feb 1 — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / Inmarsat 5 F2, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: International Launch Services Proton rocket to launch Inmarsat 5 F2 communications satellite for Inmarsat of London.

Feb 1 — RSA, Launch Soyuz 2-1v / Kanopus ST, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia: An RSA Soyuz 2-1v rocket with Volga upper stage to launch Kanopus ST Earth observation satellite.

Feb 1 — 12th Columbia STS-107 Observation, Nationwide USA / Global: Annual international conferences and events take place to further space exploration efforts in remembrance of Columbia 7 loss: Commander Richard D. Husband, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon (the 1st Israeli Astronaut), Astronauts William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla (the 1st Indian American Astronaut and 1st Indian woman in space).

Feb 1 — Moon: 11.6° S of Pollux, 19:00.

Feb 1 — Venus: 0.78° SSE of Neptune, 09:00.