January 30 – February 5, 2017 / Vol 36, No 5 / Hawai`i Island, USA

UAE Space Agency Hosts Global Space Congress 2017 in Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates Space Agency is advancing the Global Space Congress under patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE on  January 31 – February 1 at St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in the coastal city of Abu Dhabi along the northeastern Persian Gulf. Billed as an exclusive, strategic gathering of space industry leaders worldwide, the Congress comprises public and private stakeholders evaluating the biggest opportunities and getting exposure to some of the most vibrant and energetic new space programs. There are more than 600 experts from well over 200 organizations attending, including Heads of Agencies as well as C-level executives from leading space and aerospace companies, government ministries, top researchers and academics. Featured Speaker Marsha Sue Ivins is an aerospace engineer and former NASA Astronaut, veteran of 5 Space Shuttle missions. The UAE Space Agency has a new US$27M Space Science Research Center, a Mars Mission and employs about 75 people, which it hopes to double by 2020. Abu Dhabi is the Capital and second largest city of UAE, which gained independence from the United Kingdom on December 2, 1971. The total population as of 2013 was 9.2 million, with approximately 85% being expatriates. (Imaged Credit: UAESA)


star-grey Jan 30 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 50 six-member crew participating in Astronaut remembrance ceremonies, working with microgravity fluid shift studies, preparing Combustion Integrated Rack for Cool Flames Investigation, performing ultrasounds of eyes and calf muscles; SpaceX with Dragon V2.0 and Boeing with CST-100 Starliner continuing Commercial Crew Transportation Capability progress.

star-grey Jan 30 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Performing orbits from high above Saturn North Pole gradually nearing planet, taking images of moons, collecting data on gravity and magnetic fields & particles; atmospheric impact planned for Sep 15.

 Jan 30 — BepiColombo, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: ESA & JAXA mission of dual orbiters to Mercury now scheduled to launch Oct 2018, undergoing thermal testing at ESTEC to withstand 350° C, will undergo vibration testing in April.

Jan 30 — Rocket Lab Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand: NewSpace company first test launch of carbon-composite launch vehicle Electron with 5,000 lbf Rutherford engine planned NET February from commercial orbital Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula; founder Peter Beck.

circle-full-grey Jan 30 — Bigelow Aerospace, Las Vegas NV: Inflatable BEAM at ISS being tested / monitored – may stay at station longer than scheduled 2 years, working to launch two B330s to LEO by 2020 for commercial operations (US$25M for 1 person on 2-month stay), planning for cislunar & deep space habitats.

circle-full-grey Jan 30 — Google Lunar X Prize, Santa Monica CA: Currently 5 teams from 4 countries remain in competition (Team Indus and Hakuto, Moon Express, SpaceIL, Synergy Mooon); GLXP to divide US$1M among 16 teams that originally set out to participate as gift; Fred Bourgeois of Team FREDNET passes on.    

Jan 30 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/Caltech, Online / Pasadena CA: Application Due: STEM Teacher and Researcher Program – Summer 2017.

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

British Interplanetary Society Lectures Focus on Space Law and UN Treaty at 50

On January 31, British Interplanetary Society Fellows Michael Franks, Adam Manning, Mike Leggett and Jerry Stone will present a BIS SPACE Project Study to re-examine space settlement plans from the 1970s including the legality of using Moon / asteroid resources, how a space settlement might be governed, and the implications the UN Treaty on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space might have for private companies seeking to utilize space. A one-day BIS symposium in October will also focus on the 50th observation of the UN Treaty. The U.S. 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act to legalize private ownership of resources obtained from space for US citizens aims to qualify under the UN framework Article VI that States Parties have the obligation to ensure companies conform with international law. This may conflict with UN Treaty concept that the rights to Space, Moon and other bodies are the common heritage of all humankind. USA companies such as Deep Space Industries, Planetary Resources, Moon Express, Blue Origin and SpaceX, as well as governments of China, India, Russia, Japan and S. Korea are building craft to travel to the Moon, Mars and Beyond – with sample return missions, science, space settlement and resource extraction in mind. The U.S. sought to make Apollo landing areas into heritage sites, which may soon become a trend as more nations / peoples land on the Moon and lay claim to areas representing other historical firsts. (Image Credit: BIS, NASA, Planetary Resources, CNSA, CAS, NAOC, CCTV, fightforspace; Pictured: Jerry Stone)

Jan 30 — University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson AZ: College of Science Lecture Series: Rethinking Reality; by Keith R. Dienes, Professor of Physics at UA.

Jan 30 – Feb 2 — Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Napoli, Italy: Bright & Dark Universe Workshop.

Jan 30 – Feb 10 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: 54th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.

Jan 30 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 AX3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.084 AU).

Continued from…

NET Jan – Nov — ExoMars 2016 Orbiter, Mars Orbit: ESA Trace Gas Orbiter scheduled to enter Aerobraking phase from Jan-Nov to enter 400-km orbit; set to adjust orbit inclination to 74° on Jan 17.

Jan 9 – Feb 10 — International Space University, Adelaide, Australia: 2017 Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program; at Mawson Lakes Campus, University of South Australia.

Jan 29 – Feb 3 — American Geophysical Union, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia: AGU Chapman Conference on Submarine Volcanism: New Approaches and Research Frontiers.


Jan 31 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Space Law and the UN Treaty; Michael Franks, Adam Manning, Mike Leggett, Jerry Stone.

Jan 31 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Weekly Colloquium: How Stars Form; Christopher McKee from UC Berkeley, 12:00.

Jan 31 — Mapbox, Digital Globe, Azavea, Development Seed, et al, Washington DC: SatSummit 2017; at District Architecture Center and Impact Hub DC.

Jan 31 — 59th Observation of Explorer 1 Launch, Nationwide USA: Commemorating the launch of the first US Satellite on this day in 1958 atop the first Juno booster, it was the spacecraft to detect Van Allen radiation belt; more than 2,271 satellites are currently estimated to be in orbit.

Jan 31 – Feb 1 — UAE Space Agency, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Global Space Congress 2017; at St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Jan 31 — Moon: 4.1° S of Venus, 04:34; 2.3° S of Mars, 15:09.

Jan 31 — Jupiter: 3.5° S of Spica, 03:11.


Feb 1 — Deep Space, Interstellar Space & Heliosheath: Voyager 1 and 2, operating nominally, are most recent craft to visit Uranus and Neptune, no craft has orbited either planet or studied their intricate moon systems; flagship missions to Jupiter system may be followed by robotic exploration of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Kuiper Belt.

Feb 1 — Columbia STS-107 14th 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’) and Astronauts: William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown and Kalpana Chawla (the ‘1st Indian American astronaut’ and ‘1st Indian woman in space’).

Feb 1 — University of California – Riverside, Riverside CA: Lecture: Ocean Worlds: Missions to Icy Moons and Dwarf Planets; Kevin Hand, Deputy Project Scientist, Solar System Exploration Directorate, JPL.

Feb 1 — Astronauts Memorial Foundation, NASA, Space Foundation, Online / Colorado Springs CO: Submissions due for 2017 Alan Shepard Award; for educators who have demonstrated a commitment to inspiring students’ interest in STEM; to be presented Apr 3 during Space Foundation 33rd Space Symposium.

Feb 1 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY:  Lecture: On the Spin-axis Dynamics of Planets; Gongjie Li from (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 12:15.

Feb 1-3 — URSI-France, Sophia Antipolis, France: Workshop: Radio Science for Humanity.

Feb 1 — Aten Asteroid 364136 (2006 CJ): Near-Earth Flyby (0.080 AU).


Feb 2 — Juno, Jupiter Orbit: Spacecraft to reach 4th perijove, mission leaders to decide whether to keep Juno in 53-day orbit or attempt engine burn for 14-day orbit.

Feb 2 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Unveiling the Origin of Planetary Systems by Dynamical and Statistical Approaches; Gongjie Li from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 16:00.


NET Feb 3 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / EchoStar 23, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch EchoStar 23 communications satellite for EchoStar Corp to provide direct-to-home television broadcast services over Brazil; launch window 12:07-02:37.

Feb 3 — International Academy of Astronautics, Littleton CO: International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Regional Meeting.

Feb 3-5 — Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada: Queen’s Space Conference: The Next Giant Leap.

Feb 3-8 — American Astronautical Society Rocky Mountain Section, Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Breckenridge CO: 40th Annual AAS Guidance & Control Conference; at Beaver Run Resort.

Feb 3 — Moon: At first quarter, 18:19.


Feb 4 — Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee, Mauna Kea HI, 2,800-meter level: The Universe Tonight: Perspectives of Astronomy; presentation by Emily Peavy, Planetary Support Facilitator & Technician at ʻImiloa 18:00, followed by stargazing program, at Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center.

Feb 4 — Aten Asteroid 2005 VL1: Near-Earth Flyby (0.023 AU).

Feb 4 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 CE1: Near-Earth Flyby (0.061 AU).


Feb 5 — Moon: 0.2° N of Aldebaran, 11:14.

Feb 5 — Apollo Asteroid 2013 FK: Near-Earth Flyby (0.018 AU).

Feb 5 — Aten Asteroid 2011 EP51: Near-Earth Flyby (0.090 AU).