July 27 – August 2, 2015 / Vol 34, No 30 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Pacific Space Access: Expanding Horizons

PSA July 2015Inauguration of Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, a new world-class Pacific-based space launching center and Moonport at Hainan Island off of China’s South-East coast line, expected in 2016, will set a new era of Pacific Space Access diversification. With direct seaport access, southernmost territorial position and other upgrades, Wenchang will be capable of accommodating larger China rockets for crewed spaceflight and deep space missions. China is also reported to be considering orbital sea-launching technologies. Southeast Asia rising as a cohesive entity similar in ways to Europe (population, land area, diversity, regional organizations) signals a potential 7th spacefaring power in the making. Malaysia and Vietnam have human spaceflight experience via international partnerships. Indonesia spanning 1/8th of the equator has a space agency established for over 50 years and serious launch ambitions. Thailand has some of the leading astronomical resources in Asia. Philippines maintains strong meteorological programs driven by necessity of monitoring typhoons. Singapore is a major cultural, commercial and logistics hub. These resources could coalesce in to “SEASA” a Southeast Asia Space Agency. Further afield in East Asia as whole are various programs, developments, initiatives and potentials in Russia, Korea, Japan to the North, Australia, New Zealand to the South, as well as long standing opportunity for space access from central pacific Hawai`i. (Image Credit: Sea Launch, Google, NARIT, ANGKASA, LAPAN, STI, NASA)


Jul 27 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 44 six-member crew transferring cargo from Progress 60P & 58P / loading with waste, participating in in-fight interviews, preparing for Aug 10 Russia EVA, keeping up with hardware / software maintenance, experiments as well as exercising ~2 hours a day; Kononenko, Yui & Lindgren undergoing ISS orientation; Robotic Refueling Mission tests continue.

Jul 27 — Kepler, Heliocentric Orbit: K2 mission now in its 5th campaign, observing more than 25,000 stars; campaign 4 data to be made public in Aug; confirmed exoplanet Kepler-452b is 1,400 LY away, larger than Earth with a 385-day orbit & 5% farther from its parent star than Earth is; star Kepler-452 has same temperature as Sun, 20% brighter & 10% larger diameter.

Jul 27 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: On revolution 219, orbiting planet with a period of 21.8-days, inclined 0.5° from equator, images 879 routine targets within Saturn system; took image of Pluto during historic New Horizons flyby Jul 14.

Jul 27 — Golden Spike Company, Boulder CO: NewSpace company working with various organizations on engineering, business planning, research & development toward ~2020 goal of human commercial missions to Moon surface.

Jul 27 — XCOR Aerospace, Mojave CA: Working on Lynx suborbital craft electrical wiring, plumbing, landing gear bays & installing control system; new division of company to focus on science / promote suborbital research and education missions.

Jul 27 — Ecliptic Enterprises, Pasadena CA: LightSail prime contractor, developing concepts including spinning lander for lunar & planetary missions, video system & experiment controller for inflatable habitable module, video system for commercial crew capsules.

Jul 27 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Dr. Robert Pappalardo from JPL about the Europa Clipper Mission.

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 (SW); Morning Planets: Uranus (S), Neptune (S).

Interstellar Phenomena of this Decade


Interstellar–focused entities are shooting for the Stars with conferences, advocacy / outreach methods and research projects. Icarus Interstellar is accepting abstracts until July 31 for its Starship Congress 2015: Interstellar Hackathon in Philadelphia PA, September 4-5. With the mission to realize interstellar flight before 2100, Icarus has 10 projects with experts including Adam Crowl, Jim Benford and Louis Friedman. Icarus launched in 2009 at the British Interplanetary Society and was registered in Alaska in 2011. 100 Year Starship aims to create a business plan and lay foundations for interstellar travel. It was announced by Simon “Pete” Worden (former director of NASA Ames) in 2010 and incorporated in 2012 with a US$500K DARPA award given to the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence led by Mae Jemison. The 4th 100YSS will be held in Silicon Valley in October. Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop is planned for February 28 – March 2, 2016. Its main objective is to sustain and spread interstellar innovation, research and ideas. It was created in 2011 by Les Johnson, Greg Matloff and Robert Kennedy. Other interstellar groups / projects include the Tau Zero Foundation, Centauri Dreams, Faces from Earth, Starship Century, SpaceGAMBIT (Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar Technologies), Global Starship Alliance, and Institute for Interstellar Studies. Yuri Milner has donated $100M for ‘Project Breakthrough’ to search  for interstellar life around the nearest million stars and 100 nearest galaxies beginning January 2016. (Image Credit: Icarus, TVIW, 100YSS, Jill Tarter, SETI Institute, NASA, Centauri Dreams, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team, STScI, AURA)

Jul 27 — NASA, Online: Due: Curriculum vitae and cover letter for gravity and radiation working groups to provide guidance on using Europa Multiple Flyby mission.

Jul 27-29 — AIAA, Orlando FL: AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition (Propulsion and Energy 2015): Energize Innovation. Boost Value, Propel the Future; at Hilton Orlando.

Jul 27-29 — Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore MD: Workshop: Mocking the Universe: Better Science through Data Simulation.

Jul 27-30 — Federation of Galaxy Explorers, Chantilly VA: FOGE Moon Base Summer Camp; at Chantilly High School, US$215.

Jul 27-31 — Meteoritical Society, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley CA: 78th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society.

Continued from…

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

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.

Jul 20 – Aug 3 — NASA, NOAA, Aquarius Reef Base, Key Largo FL: NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 20; space analogue mission 19 meters below sea level.

Jul 25 – Aug 2 — Canadian Space Agency, Kaskawulsh Glacier, Yukon, Canada: Astronaut Training Mission; CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques & team participating in training expedition.

Jul 26-31 — Sally Ride Science, Stanford University, Stanford CA: Sally Ride Science Camp.


Jul 28 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, NASA, University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley CA: Brown Bag Discussion: Seeking Input to the Mars 2020 Landing Site Selection from the Sample Community.

Jul 28 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: Imaging a habitable planet at Alpha Centauri with a small space telescope; presented by Ruslan Belikov from Ames Research Center, 12:00.

Jul 28 – Aug 4 — University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO: Heliophysics Summer School: Seasons In Space – Cycles of Variability of Sun-Planet Systems.


Jul 29-31 — Chinese Academy of Sciences, NAOC, Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), Guiyang, Guizhou, China: Symposium: Frontiers in Radio Astronomy 2015.

Jul 29-31 — U.S. Geologic Survey, Flagstaff AZ: Introduction to GIS for Planetary Mappers.

Jul 29 — Moon: 3.2° N of Pluto, 10:00.

Jul 29 — Mars: 5.7° S of Pollux, 13:00.


Jul 30 — Saturn Rings Discovery 405th Observation, Global: Today marks the 405th commemoration of Galileo first observing Saturn rings in 1610 with modest 30 power telescope.

Jul 30 – Aug 6 — Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), The Hague, The Netherlands: 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC).

Jul 30 — Southern Delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak: Shower mostly visible in Southern Hemisphere, meteors appear to radiate from Aquarius constellation; may produce up to 20 meteors per hour with speed of ~41 km/sec.


Jul 31 — Icarus Interstellar, Online / Philadelphia PA: Abstracts Due: Starship Congress 2015: Interstellar Hackathon; to be held Sep 4-5.

Jul 31 — Moon: Full (Grain / Blue Moon), 00:43.

Jul 31 — Venus: Passes 6.5° from Jupiter.

Jul 31 — Asteroid 2015 NA14: Near-Earth flyby (0.061 AU).


NET Aug — New Horizons, Kuiper Belt Trajectory: This month mission team to decide which Kuiper Belt Object – Potential Target 1 (40 to 70-km wide) or Potential Target 3 (a little larger) – craft will encounter Jan 2019.

NET Aug — ISRO, Launch GSLV Mk. 2 / GSAT 6, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota: India Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2, flying on the GSLV-D6 mission, to launch the GSAT 6 communications satellite.

NET Aug — RSA, Launch Proton / Express AM8, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Proton Rocket to launch the Express AM8 satellite for Russian Satellite Communications Co.

Aug 1 — Deep Space: Dawn spacecraft aiming to orbit at 1,500-km altitude above dwarf planet Ceres this month; bright mysterious spots of interest have yet to be studied; infrared spectrometer, experiencing occasion problems, could determine between ice or salt.

Aug 1 — The Space Station Museum, Winans Investments, Pacheco Plaza LLC, Wreyford Family Foundation, State Farm Insurance – Katie Chase, Novato CA: Novato Space Festival 2015; featuring Astronauts Al Worden, Jerry Ross, Dan Bursch, Yvonne Cagle, Rhea Seddon, Hoot Gibson; Moon rock from Apollo 15, lunar module & lunar rover.


Aug 2-7 — Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, Singapore: 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).

Aug 2 — Moon: At perigee (distance 361,745 km), 00:08; 2.8° NNW of Neptune, 04:00.

Aug 2 — Asteroid 2015 LG2: Near-Earth flyby (0.075 AU).