July 13-19, 2015 / Vol 34, No 28 / Hawai`i Island, USA

New Horizons Encountering New Worlds

New Horizons Pluto 2015

New Horizons on the brink of discovery, traveling farther and faster than any spacecraft ever before, with advanced technologies and 21st century capabilities, is set for its close approach of Pluto and Charon as it continues onward toward the ‘true’ Outer Solar System – the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons’ 9.5 year, 5 billion kilometer journey to Pluto will culminate in a 12,500-km altitude flyby at 49,000 kph on July 14, 11:49:59 UT. Seven science payloads will make visible / infrared / ultraviolet observations and measure atmospheric composition, temperature, solar wind, plasma and energetic particles. New Pluto moons may be revealed, along with astrobiological potential, evidence of an ocean, icy geysers and rings. The New Horizons science team and Principal Investigator Alan Stern expect to continue collecting data on Pluto and its complicated satellite system for at least another year following the flyby. The journey into the unknown will continue until at least the 2020s to the unexplored Kuiper Belt, the largest zone and largest structure in the Solar System. By August the team will decide which of the two Kuiper Belt Objects, Potential Target 1 (40 to 70-km wide) or Potential Target 3 (a little larger), New Horizons will fly by in January 2019, at about the same distance as it does Pluto or closer. The greatest challenge will be plotting a course and homing in on the KBO while New Horizons is farther away from Earth and thus more limited in communications and power. (Image Credit: NASA, Hubble, JHU/APL, SwRI,Ron Miller, Alan Stern, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, GSFC)


Jul 13 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 44 transferring cargo from Progress 60P, collecting samples for Aseptik hardware sterilization study, conducting experiments for protein crystal growth, botany research, stem cells; discussions continue to open ISS to more NewSpace research.

Jul 13 — Gaia, Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 2: Scanning sky to measure positions & velocities of 1 billion stars (less than 1% of the Milky Way Galaxy’s total star population), observe stellar density & interstellar clouds of gas and dust.

 Jul 13 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Less than one year from reaching Jupiter, craft collecting data on position; science team reviewing flight path & mission plans to optimize science time at planet.

Jul 13 — Astrobotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh PA: NewSpace company working on flight software for Griffin lander to navigate safely to Lacus Mortis on Moon Surface, planning to carry payload for Mexico Space Agency & “Moon Arts Ark” project for Carnegie Mellon University.

Jul 13 — Nosanov Consulting LLC, Washington DC: Conducting research on PERIapsis Subsurface Cave Optical Explorer (PERISCOPE) Moon orbiter concept to use laser pulses to accurately map lunar craters / caves by measuring reflectivity.

 Jul 13 — Spire, Multiple Locations: Singapore-based company planning to have about 1 satellite per month launched starting in Sep 2015 to monitor global weather, working to have 20 satellites in orbit and 20 ground stations receiving data.

Jul 13 — W. M. Keck Observatory, Kamuela HI: NASA Spacecraft New Horizons Pluto Flyby; presented by NASA Scientist Eliot Young, 19:00-21:00 in Hualalai Conference room of Keck HQ.

Jul 13 — Silicon Valley Space Center, Mountain View CA: How Nanosatellites Can Complement LandSat Imagery; presented by Chris Biddy, CEO of Aquila Space; at Hacker Dojo.

Jul 13-15 — UK Space Agency, et al, Liverpool, United Kingdom: UK Space Conference 2015: Space-enabled Futures; at Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool.

Jul 13-17 — CNES, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Bern University, et al, Berne, Switzerland: Conference: Pathways Towards Habitable Planets II.

JUL - SEP 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: Venus (W), Jupiter (W), Saturn (S); Morning Planets: Mercury (ENE), Uranus (SE), Neptune (S).

SpaceWeek 2015 Begins Apollo@50 Considerations, Preparations

Calendar feature -- new space 2015

The week of July 16-24 marks the 20th Century’s signature event, Apollo 11 launch on Saturn 5 rocket from Kennedy Space Center July 16, Neil Armstrong / Buzz Aldrin landing on the Moon July 20 and with Michael Collins the return to Earth via Pacific Ocean splash down on July 24 in 1969. As the Apollo 50th anniversary in 2019 approaches efforts are rising to regain the ultimate “high ground” that can open the rest of the Solar System to Human exploration — the Moon. Space Frontier Foundation presents NewSpace 2015 in Silicon Valley CA July 16-18. A very diverse program includes “The Martian” author Andy Weir (CR), San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (CL), speakers from larger firms like Airbus, XCOR, Masten, ULA and Thales Alenia as well as smaller companies and startups such as Firefly, Made In Space, UrtheCast, NanoRacks, Astrobotic, PoliSpace, Deep Space Industries and Vulcan Aerospace. Academics, journalists and NASA / FAA / DARPA government representatives will also participate. Future Space Leaders conference takes place on July 16 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington DC with the goal of advancing education and professional enrichment of young space professionals and future leaders pursuing careers in the fields of space and satellites. The program includes US Congress representatives Mo Brooks (AL), Donna Edwards (MD), Steve Knight (CA) as well as Senator Cory Gardner (CO). In addition to the many other events during this special 8 day period, on July 18 there will be a launch gala for Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation hosted by John Travolta at Kennedy Space Center FL and Moon Day 2015 events at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas TX. (Image Credit: SFF, FSLF, NASA)

Jul 13-17 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: 2015 Lunar Workshop for Educators; grades 6-9 science teachers learn about LRO & mission data, lunar science, exploration, how our understanding of the Moon is growing.

Jul 13-17 — Federation of Galaxy Explorers, Chantilly VA: FOGE Mars Summer Camp; FOGE Robotics Summer Camp; at Chantilly High School.

Jul 13-31 — Exosphere, Budapest, Hungary: Copernicus Series: An Endogenously-Powered Space Elevator; focusing on modeling & economics of space elevators, will also feature GLXP Team Puli.

Continued from…

Jun 1 – Aug 7 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: 2015 LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science.

Jun 8 – Aug 7 — International Space University, Glenn Research Center, NASA, Ohio University, Athens OH: ISU 28th Space Studies Program (SSP 2015).

Jul 1-13 — University of Hawai`i, European Astrobiology Network Association, Iceland: 3rd Nordic-Hawaii Summer School: Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe.

Jul 12-16 — AIAA, Texas Tech University, Paragon Space Development Corp., UTC Aerospace Development Corp., Bellevue WA: 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES).


Jul 14 — New Horizons, Pluto Flyby: Spacecraft conducts long-awaited encounter with Pluto today at 01:49:59 HST (11:49:59 UT); expected to fly by at 12,500 km altitude / 49,000 kph; launched Jan 19, 2006.

Jul 14 — Museums, Planetariums, Space Agency Offices, Worldwide: Pluto Palooza; events, activities and celebrations held around the World including Lowel Observatory and U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Jul 14 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: Kepler 138b – A Mars size planet in a Tug of War; presented by Jason Rowe from SETI, 12:00.

Jul 14 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Dr. Jack Burns from NASA.

Jul 14-16 — National Astronomical Observatories of China, Peking University, Changchun, Jilin, China: East-Asia Active Galactic Nuclei Workshop 2015; at Sheraton Changchun Jingyuetan Hotel.

Jul 14 — Moon: 5.9° S of M35, 00:00; 5.5° S of Mercury, 19:00; 5.8° S of Mars, 22:00.


Jul 15 — ULA, Launch Atlas 5 / GPS 2F-10, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to launch U.S. Air Force 10th Block 2F navigation satellite for Global Positioning System.

Jul 15 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 ECA / Star One C4 & MSG 4, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA224, to launch Star One C4 and MSG 4 satellites.

Jul 15 — NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate, Online / Washington DC: Applications Due: NASA Flight Opportunities (FO): Technology Advancement Utilizing Suborbital Flight Opportunities.

Jul 15-25 — Jagiellonian University, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland: Cosmology School: Introduction to Cosmology.

Jul 15 — Moon: 14.9° S of Castor, 11:00; New Moon, 15:24.

Jul 15 — Mercury: 0.17° SW of Mars, 17:00.

Jul 15 — Asteroid 2011 YC29: Near-Earth flyby (0.063 AU).

Jul 15 — Asteroid 385186 (1994 AW1): Near-Earth flyby (0.065 AU).


Jul 16 — Future Space Leaders Foundation, ULA, Arianespace, Lockheed Martin, The Tauri Group, Washington DC: Future Space Leaders 2015; at Dirksen State Senate Office.

Jul 16 — Canadian Space Commerce Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: CSCA membership meeting; featuring Eva Martinez, Vice-President of Women in Aerospace Canada.

Jul 16, 17 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series: Discovery at Mars; presented by Blaine Baggett.

Jul 16-18 — Space Frontier Foundation, San Jose CA: NewSpace 2015; bringing space startups, established companies, government agencies together with Silicon Valley investors & tech innovators; at Double Tree San Jose.

Jul 16 — Moon: 5.5° SSW of Beehive Cluster, 19:00.

Jul 16 — Mercury: At perihelion (0.3075 AU from Sun), 09:00.

Jul 16 — Asteroid 2015 JJ2: Near-Earth flyby (0.090 AU).


Jul 17-19 — SpaceX, Space Frontier Foundation, Google, et al, San Jose CA: Space Startup Weekend; at DoubleTree Hotel.

Jul 17-19 — Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Eccles Ranch Observatory, Caroline, Alberta, Canada: 2015 Alberta Star-B-Q.


Jul 18 — Frontiers of Flight Museum, The Moon Society, National Space Society of North Texas, Dallas TX: Moon Day 2015; featuring private space traveler Anousheh Ansari, 3 dozen exhibitors, inflatable planetariums, model rocket builds, Solar telescopes, robots, Moon Academy classes, adult-oriented Lunar University lectures, teacher workshops.

Jul 18 — ShareSpace Foundation, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, KSC FL: Launch gala for Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation; hosted by John Travolta.

Jul 18 — National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton OH: Family Day; to commemorate 1st humans landing on Moon with Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, and Apollo 15 – all Air Force crew landing on Moon on July 30, 1971.

Jul 18 — USS Hornet Museum, Alameda CA: Apollo Splashdown Anniversary Celebration; Joe Holt gives a firsthand account of recovering the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission on July 24, 1969.

Jul 18 — University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Tucson AZ: Space Imagery Center at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) Open House: Summer Science Saturday.

Jul 18 — Moon: 4.0° SSW of Jupiter, 05:00; 0.40° SSW of Venus, 15:00; 3.2° SSW of Regulus, 15:00.

Jul 18 — Mercury: 8.9° S of Castor, 21:00.

Jul 18 — Asteroid 242191 (2003 NZ6): Near-Earth flyby (0.083 AU).


Jul 19-25 — Rencontres du Vietnam, International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science Education, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: Conference: Planetary Systems – A Synergistic View.

Jul 19 — Asteroid 436724 (2011 UW158): Near-Earth flyby (0.016 AU).