January 8-14, 2018 / Vol 37, No 2 / Hawai`i Island, USA

AIAA Starts 2018 with SciTech Forum and Exposition in Florida

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is hosting 2018 Science and Technology Forum on January 8-12 in Kissimmee FL with support by Lockheed Martin Corp, ULA, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman, Airbus and others. 11 technical conferences and 9 courses / workshops that comprise SciTech 2018 will have ~4,000 participants exploring cutting edge aerospace research and technology findings in fields including Propellants and Combustion, Communications Systems, Space Operations, Space Resource Utilization, Spacecraft Structures, Aerospace Sciences, and Terrestrial / Wind Energy. There will also be an Exhibition Hall with 55 exhibitors. Some of the 2,000 technical papers will be from (L-R) Surendra Sharma of NASA Ames and Sunil Chintalapati of Florida Institute of Technology discussing Emerging Technologies for Mars and Other Planetary Exploration; Michael Grant of Purdue University and Zachary Putnam of University of Illinois talking on Launch Vehicle, Entry Vehicle, and Projectile Flight Dynamics; and 2 sessions on Asteroid and Non-Earth Orbiting Missions featuring Jay McMahon of University of Colorado Boulder. Aerospace representatives will be attending from NASA, JAXA, DLR, Canadian Space Agency, India, S Korea, China, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy and nearly 1,300 institutions from 40 countries. The Rising Leaders in Aerospace program features a leadership exchange / speed mentoring, networking events and a panel sponsored by AIAA Diversity Working Group on Moving Us Forward: Growing Diversity in the Aerospace Sector with Jandria Alexander of Booz Allen Hamilton, Melissa Sampson of ULA, and Janet Nickloy of Harris Corporation. (Image Credit: AIAA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing Co., ULA)


Jan 8 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 54 six-member crew transferring cargo from Dragon CRS-13, working on Biolab Incubator, Synthetic Bone, Circadian Rhythms experiments; in-flight events to occur with Hamagin Space Technology Museum in Kanagawa, Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics.

 Jan 8 — NewSpace: SpaceX expected to soon perform static fire of Falcon Heavy 27 Merlin engines; Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic hoping for 1st human commercial flights this year; Icarus Interstellar new website up-and-running; Sea Launch owned by S7 Group aiming for return to flight of Zenit by end 2019.

Jan 8 — Solar System: New Horizons on extended mission through 2021 planning 1st Kuiper Belt Object flyby Jan 1, 2019 and dozens of other observations; asteroid Psyche mission launching 2022 being designed with help from PI Lindy Elkins-Tanton; Astronomy from the Moon gains further support / interest.

 Jan 8 — Galaxy: Dimming and brightening of well-studied Tabby’s Star located 1,000 LY away could be caused by dust; star-forming region 30 Doradus in Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy reveals abundance of massive stars; China Dark Matter Particle Explorer detecting high energy gamma rays, electrons, cosmic ray ions.

Jan 8 — Global: India Chandrayaan-2 Moon South Pole lander / rover being prepared for launch ~3 months; Mike Greenley is new Canada Group President at MDA; ESA and JAXA planning 2-orbiter BepiColombo Mercury mission launch Oct; China may log more than 35 launches in 2018; Thailand-based mu Space Corp planning to raise US$9.2M for satellite communications / space tech.

Jan 8 — USA: SLS Exploration Mission-1 gets maiden mission patch; Commercial Crew Program should see Boeing and SpaceX first uncrewed flights to ISS by August and crewed flights by Dec 2018; still awaiting full Senate vote on NASA Administration nominee Jim Bridenstine.

 Jan 8 — Hawai`i: PISCES planetary rover ‘Helelani’ and HI-SEAS habitat to be featured in episode of The Verge’s Space Craft; Hawaii Akamai 2018 applications open for student summer work experience at observatory, company, science / tech facility; International MoonBase Alliance hoping to build Mahina Lani Simulator ~Oct.

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

Lunar Science for Landed Missions Workshop at NASA Ames this Week

On January 10-12 at Ames Research Center in California, NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) and Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) are holding a workshop focused on science targets for near-term Moon landers. This 2.5-day workshop is intended to result in a report on the community consensus of scientifically prioritized lunar surface targets, to be delivered to NASA Headquarters within this month. Greg Schmidt from SSERVI and Clive Neal from LEAG are chairing the workshop, with a 9-member Science Organizing Committee consisting of long-time lunar scientists such as Ben Bussey and Carle Pieters. There will be a panel on the first day on commercial landing opportunities with representatives from Moon Express, Astrobotic, Team Hakuto and Blue Origin. Another panel will discuss global opportunities with Russia IKI, Japan JAXA, Korea KARI and ESA. About 50 people will give oral presentations, including Jack Burns from University of Colorado Boulder who will discuss the lunar farside and its potential for low frequency radio astronomy and cosmology. Apollo Astronaut Jack Schmitt is giving a talk on “How the last Apollo samples were collected”. All the workshop participants will be invited to help evaluate and rank potential target sites on the Moon. For those unable to be present, remote participation will be possible online as well. (Pictured: SSERVI Greg Schmidt, LEAG Clive Neal; Image Credit: NASA, LEAG, U. of Notre Dame)

Jan 8-12 — American Astronomical Society, USRA, Orbital ATK, NSF, TMT, NASA, et al, Washington DC: 231st Meeting of the AAS; at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Jan 8-12 — AIAA, Kissimmee FL: 2018 AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (SciTech 2018); AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference; Space Flight Mechanics Meeting; at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.

Jan 8 — Moon: At last quarter, 12:25.

Jan 8 — Venus: At superior conjunction, 20:00.

Jan 8 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 XT61: Near-Earth Flyby (0.029 AU).

Jan 8 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 YX4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.038 AU).

Continued from…

NET Dec – Feb 2018 — 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.

Dec 19 – Mar 6, 2018 — 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.

Jan 7-13 — University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, Applied Physics Laboratory, Peking University, Kona HI: Conference: Fundamental Physical Processes in Solar-Terrestrial Research and Their Relevance to Planetary Physics 2018.


Jan 9 — CNSA, Launch Long March 2D / Superview 1-03 and 04, Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China: Long March 2D rocket to launch two SuperView 1 (GaoJing) Earth observation satellites for Beijing Space View Technology Co.

Jan 9 — Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC), Brussels, Belgium: APPEC Launch Event: New European Physics Roadmap.

Jan 9-11 — Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan: ELSI 6th International Symposium: Building Bridges from Earth to Life – From Chemical Mechanism to Ancient Biology.


Jan 10 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Delta 4 / NROL-47, Vandenberg AFB CA: United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket to launch classified spacecraft payload for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Jan 10-12 — LEAG, NASA SSERVI, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field CA: Lunar Science for Landed Missions Workshop; to produce priority targets for near-term landed missions on Moon, primarily from commercial exploration firms interested in pursuing ventures on the Moon.

Jan 10 — Moon: 4.3° N of Jupiter, 19:59.

Jan 10 — Aten Asteroid 2004 FH: Near-Earth Flyby (0.051 AU).


Jan 11 — NRAO, National Science Foundation, Associated Universities, Inc., National Harbor MD: The Very Large Array Today and Tomorrow: First Molecules to Life on Exoplanets; and NRAO Town Hall.

Jan 11 — Lunar and Planetary Society, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Understanding the global distribution and formation processes of water and hydroxyl on the Moon by Joshua Louis Bandfield from Space Science Institute, 15:30; and Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series: The potential for life within Enceladus after Cassini by Jonathan Lunine from Cornell University, 19:30.

Jan 11 — Moon: 4.6° N of Mars, 00:03.

Jan 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 YX5: Near-Earth Flyby (0.077 AU).

Jan 11 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 XR61: Near-Earth Flyby (0.085 AU).


Jan 12 — ISRO, Launch PSLV / Cartosat 2ER & NovaSAR-S, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: Launch window opens for Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle flying on PSLV-C40 mission, to launch India Cartosat 2ER high-resolution Earth observation satellite, NovaSAR-S radar remote sensing satellite for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of UK and ~30 smaller payloads.

Jan 12 — Royal Astronomical Society, London, United Kingdom: 198th Observation of RAS founding (1820); preparing for 200th year in 2020.

Jan 12 — Moon: 0.7° N of Mercury, 22:00.


 Jan 13 — ISS, Dragon CRS-13 Undocking / Return to Earth, 330-435-km LEO: SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to be released from ISS 04:30 EST and splashdown in Pacific Ocean returning experiments and gear; during Earth atmosphere reentry Dragon trunk will separate from resupply ship for disintegration with waste including old RapidScat experiment.

Jan 13 — Virginia Living Museum, Newport News VA: Virginia Skies program; staff astronomer will discuss seasonal constellations above VA as well as planets and celestial happenings.

Jan 13 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, Pasadena CA: Educator Workshop: The Math of NASA Missions; for teachers grades 7-12.


Jan 14 — Tucson L5 Space Society – NSS Chapter, Tucson AZ: Tucson L5 Space Society monthly meeting.

Jan 14 — Moon: At apogee (distance 406,466 km – farthest in the year), 16:00; 2.6° N of Saturn, 16:13; 3.4° N of Mercury, 21:24.

Jan 14 — Aten Asteroid 2017 YU3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.046 AU).

Jan 14 — Amor Asteroid 2017 YA6: Near-Earth Flyby (0.087 AU).