Space Month 2013 Accelerating with Astrophysics and Astronautics
Interstellar perspectives, research and development have the power to shape and enhance Humanity’s long-term future among the stars. The NASA SOFIA airborne observatory is at USA Antarctic Program facilities at Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand through the 1st of August. Nine science flights are being made aboard the Boeing 747SP at altitudes up to 13,700 meters to observe celestial objects visible from the Southern Hemisphere, including Sagittarius A* (the black hole believed to be at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy) and the Magellanic Clouds (dwarf galaxies in our galactic neighborhood). The telescope with a 250-cm effective diameter can image in visible, infrared and submillimeter spectrum. Scheduled to begin scientific operations in 2022 the planned Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii will study the most distant sectors of the observable universe. The Aspen Center for Physics is hosting a Summer Workshop on the Milky Way as a Laboratory for Galaxy Formation July 21 – August 11. Led by Kathryn Johnston of Columbia University the workshop brings together observers, simulators modelers and theorists to focus on how star surveys of the Galaxy can be used to reconstruct its formation history. The Icarus Interstellar Starship Congress is being held in Dallas TX, USA to engage the interstellar research community in discussion and tangible action moving humanity toward becoming an interstellar civilization with a broad campaign of exploration and migration to begin by the year 2100. (Image Credit: R. Mewaldt & P. Liewer at JPL, Icarus Interstellar, NASA, TMT)
New Class of USA Astronauts Begin Training in ‘Space City’
The 2013 class of Astronaut candidates will begin its 2-year training and evaluation period at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA. The 8 candidates, chosen from more than 6,100 applicants, are Dr. Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Tyler Hague, Christina Hammock, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Dr. Jessica Meir and Dr. Andrew Morgan (pictured in order). The first American astronauts, ‘The Mercury 7,’ were chosen from 500 applicants in 1959. The 2013 class is expected to go farther into space than any human has ventured before. It may be the first to visit an asteroid (between 2021-2025) and Mars (in the 2030s). To prepare for these missions, the candidates will spend long periods of time training with international partners in other countries and have to successfully complete training in extravehicular activities, robotics, Russian language, aircraft flight readiness, altitude chambers and microgravity. They will begin their space travels by flying to the ISS in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In 2021 they should launch from American soil and fly around the Moon in the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Orion is a 21st Century space vehicle designed to propel humankind into a new era of deep space exploration. (Image Credit: NASA)
= 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), Saturn (SW); Morning Planets: Mercury (ENE), Mars (ENE), Jupiter (ENE).
Jul 29 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 36 Parmitano, Cassidy, Nyberg investigating spacesuit water leak with ground specialists; Misurkin working with Vzaimodeistviye experiment to observe interactions between international crew members.
Jul 29 — Planck Space Observatory, Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange Point: Continuing to scan skies over broad range of far-infrared wavelengths to survey Cosmic Microwave Background radiation; complete results will be released in 2014.
Jul 29 — Kepler, Heliocentric Orbit: Over the next 10 days engineering team will analyze wheel friction data from recent exploratory recovery tests on spacecraft’s Reaction Wheels 2 and 4 to determine if either can be returned to operation.
Jul 29 — Final Frontier Design, Brooklyn NY: NewSpace company, fulfilling 2 NASA contracts related to EVA spacesuit technologies, has finalized “3G” spacesuit designed for orbital and suborbital commercial space industry.
Jul 29 — HyperV Technologies Corp., Chantilly VA: With 23 days left on US$250,000 Kickstarter campaign, hopes to build ‘Slingatron’ mechanical hypervelocity non-rocket launcher to enable large-scale space utilization.
Jul 29 — NanoRacks LLC, Houston TX: Providing standard rack-mounted laboratory facilities at ISS to commercial customers; sponsoring Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, 40 experiments will launch on SpaceX CRS-3 Dec 9; won AAS ISS Innovation Award.
Jul 29-31 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: PLATO 2.0 Science Workshop; to discuss proposed mission to detect habitable-zone rocky-sized planets around bright solar-type stars; at European Space Research and Technology Centre.
Jul 29-31 — NASA HQ, Washington DC: NASA Advisory Council Science Committee Meeting; to discuss subcommittee reports, program status, 2013 science plan.
Jul 29 – Aug 2 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: NASA 25th Annual Planetary Science Summer School (Session 1); at JPL.
Jul 29 – Aug 2 — NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech, Pasadena CA: 2013 Sagan Exoplanet Summer Workshop: Imaging Planets and Disks; Canceled.
Jul 29 – Aug 4 — EAA Aviation Center, Lockheed Martin Corp. Boeing Co., ATK, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Oshkosh WI: 2013 Oshkosh AirVenture; featuring exhibits on Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft, ISS, Crew Space Transportation spacecraft (CST-100), human space exploration.
Jul 29 — Moon: At last quarter, 07:44.
Jul 29 — Asteroid 2003 DZ15: Near-Earth flyby (0.020 AU).
Jul 3 – Sep 1 — Aerospace Research and Engineering Systems Institute, Inc., Online / Melbourne FL: LunarSail Kickstarter campaign; requesting US$11K in pledges to fund CubeSat amateur satellite containing solar sail to orbit Moon.
Jul 18 – Aug 1 — NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, DLR, Christchurch, New Zealand: SOFIA airborne observatory, at US Antarctic Program’s airfield, to study Milky Way Galaxy center, star forming regions and supernova remnants in southern sky, companion dwarf galaxies, Magellanic Clouds.
Jul 21 – Aug 11 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Aspen Summer Workshop: The Milky Way as a Laboratory for Galaxy Formation.
Jul 22 – Aug 2 — National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Science Foundation, Boulder CO: 2013 CISM (Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling) Space Weather Summer School; at National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Jul 26 – Aug 3 — University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: 2013 Microgravity Flight Week; UNL College of Engineering team to conduct experiment consisting of parabolic reduced-gravity flights in specially-equipped aircraft reaching 10,668-meter altitude.
Jul 28 – Aug 1 — American Astronomical Society, Monterey CA: Giants of Eclipse; to discuss physics of cool giant stars.
Jul 30 — NASA HQ, Washington DC: Human Exploration and Operations Committee Meeting; Commercial Space Committee Meeting; NASA Advisory Council Technology and Innovation Committee Meeting; Education and Public Outreach Committee Meeting.
Jul 30 — International Space University, Strasbourg, France: International Astronaut Panel: The Astronaut Experience, When Can We All Go to Space?; Astronauts Chiaki Mukai (JAXA), Bob Thirsk (CSA), Jean-Jacques Favier (CNES), Paolo Nespoli (ESA) compare short and long-duration space missions; open to public.
Jul 30 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium: Mapping Io’s Surface Topography Using Stereo Images and Photoclinometry; presented by Oliver White from LPI; 12:00 PDT.
Jul 30 — Asteroid 2003 DZ15: Near-Earth flyby (0.023 AU).
Jul 30 — Asteroid 2013 BO76: Near-Earth flyby (0.053 AU).
Jul 31 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Sampling the Mysteries of Space by Sample Return of Comets and Asteroids; with speaker Natalie Starkey; at BIS, 19:00 UT.
Jul 31 — Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, Online / Laurel MD: Due: Abstracts for 2013 Annual Meeting of the LEAG.
Jul 31 — NASA HQ, LEGO Group, Online / Washington DC: Last Day: NASA-LEGO Design and Build Contest; for students of all ages to build models of future airplanes and spacecraft with toy bricks.
Jul 31 — Moon: 5.6° SSE of Pleiades, 06:00.
Aug 1 — Deep Space: This month Juno spacecraft reaches perihelion, closest point to Sun in its orbit; continuing ‘Inner Cruise 3’ phase heading toward Earth for flyby gravity assist on Oct 9.
Aug 1 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: 8 new astronaut candidates selected to participate in first mission to Mars in 2030s to begin 2-year training / evaluation period: Dr. Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Tyler Hague, Christina Hammock, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Dr. Jessica Meir, Dr. Andrew Morgan.
Aug 1 — AIAA – San Francisco, Online / San Francisco CA: Due: Input For 2014 Congressional Visits Day Key Issues; soliciting input on space, aeronautics, STEM education, workforce development, national security.
Aug 1-2 — Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD: Comet ISON Observer’s Workshop; to discuss observing plans and needs to facilitate maximal observing of ISON.
Aug 1-4 — International Space University, Strasbourg, France: Alumni Conference; featuring Career Fair and Poster Session.
Aug 1 — Moon: 3.2° N of Aldebaran, 03:00.
Aug 2 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: 5-member Spacewalk Mishap Investigation Board to begin identifying the cause(s) of recent water build up in Astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet during US EVA-23; will work with NASA engineering team already examining spacesuit, life support equipment.
Aug 2 — ESA, Toulouse, France: Gaia spacecraft to be shipped from manufacturing site to French Guiana in preparation for Oct launch; will provide 3-D map of 1B stars in Milky Way, plot their movement, mass, composition, age.
Aug 2 — Lockheed Martin Corp., Littleton CO: Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft to be shipped to Cape Canaveral AFS FL in preparation for Nov 18 launch; will study Martian upper atmosphere, role of atmospheric gas loss in changing Martian climate over time.
Aug 2 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Greenbelt MD: Due: Information on Potential NASA Partnerships for Industry-Led Development of Robotic Lunar Landers; services of interest include lunar polar volatile prospecting, sample return, geophysical network deployment, landing 2 classes of payloads at various sites on Moon.
Aug 2 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Leroy Chiao; US$49.95 adult.
Aug 2 — Moon: At apogee (distance 405,386 km), 23:00.
Aug 2 — Asteroid 2013 OF: Near-Earth flyby (0.068 AU).
Aug 3 — Glenn Research Center, NASA, Cleveland OH: Free 1-hour tour of Flight Research Building; first tour starts 10:00 EDT.
Aug 3 — Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, Mauna Kea HI: The Universe Tonight: Gemini Northern 8-meter Telescope; at 2,800-meter altitude on Mauna Kea, 18:00 HST.
Aug 3 — Moon: 4.0° S of Jupiter, 12:00.
Aug 4 — JAXA, Launch H-2B / HTV 4, Tanegashima Space Center, Japan: An uncrewed Japan H-2B rocket set to launch 4th H-2 transfer vehicle to deliver about 5,400 kg of equipment and supplies to ISS; 04:48 local time; will deliver Kirobo talking robot and NanoSatisfi Inc. ArduSat 1 & ArduSat X CubeSats.
Aug 4 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Sara Howard, Aerospace engineer on Saturn V during Apollo program, talks with host Dr. David Livingston about her new book Mischief at Michoud.
Aug 4 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Model Rocket Launches; up to 609-meter altitude; 13:00 – 14:00 EDT.
Aug 4 — Moon: 11.4° SSW of Pollux, 17:00; 4.3° SSW of Mercury, 19:00.