July 31 – August 6, 2017 / Vol 36, No 31 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Accelerating Deep Space and Interstellar Observation, Technologies, R&D

Interstellar groups including Icarus Interstellar, 100 Year Starship, Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, Tau Zero & Centauri Dreams, Global Starship Alliance, Ad Astra Kansas and SETI are advancing this “Starship Century” by sharing propulsion research  & concepts, engaging public support, and exploring societal issues of Human interstellar travel and extraterrestrial life. Breakthrough Initiatives created by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking consists of the Listen program to survey 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth, scan the center of Milky Way Galaxy, and listen to the 100 closest galaxies. Breakthrough Watch aims to identify and characterize Earth-sized, rocky planets around Alpha Centauri and other stars within 20LY. Breakthrough Starshot will demonstrate proof of concept for ultra-fast light-driven nanocrafts and lay the foundations for a launch to Alpha Centauri. The first vital step into the Galaxy could be catalyzed by a Human return the Moon in 2020s, followed by advances toward Mars and Jupiter 2030s-2040s. Traveling through the farthest expanses of deep space a Human-made object has ever reached, the Voyagers in interstellar space and the heliosheath will record their 40th year in Space this fall. New Horizons is clarifying the 3rd Zone of the Solar System by entering Kuiper Belt, expanding our definition of deep space to beyond the Moon and Mars. With a field of view covering 0.25% of the sky, Kepler / K2 has found 4,554 exoplanet candidates and 2,491 confirmed exoplanets. (Image Credit: NASA Ames, W. Stenzel, Breakthrough Initiatives, JPL)


Jul 31 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 52/53 new crew members Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, Bresnik of NASA, Nespoli of ESA join Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin; preparing Orlan spacesuits for EVA #43 scheduled Aug 11, using Lower Body Negative Pressure suit to counteract fluid shifts in body, working with Robonaut, Spheres, Rodent Research, Seedling Growth experiments.

Jul 31 — Solar System: Cassini to dive 5 more times through Saturn rings before impact Sep 15, collecting data on atmosphere elements and Saturn length of day; NEOWISE scanning entire sky at infrared wavelengths finds 3-5 times as many long-period comets (take 200 years for 1 revolution) pass by the Sun than predicted; Brown University study using Chandrayaan-1 data shows water on Moon may have been widespread.

Jul 31 — Galaxy: Spitzer space telescope / Galaxy observatory may become commercially operated after 2019; superluminous supernova DES15E2mlf occurring 10 billion years ago thought to be brighter than all of Milky Way Galaxy stars combined; ESA releases new video of star motions through Milky Way created from Gaia; discussion of why astrobiology and search for extraterrestrial life is beneficial.

Jul 31 — Global: Lockheed Martin plans to repurpose Space Shuttle Donatello multi-purpose logistics module (MLPM) for NASA deep space habitat test prototype and astronaut training module; China National Space Science Center and efforts for space science, exploration, international collaboration highlighted; Iran reports successful launch of Simorgh (Phoenix) rocket with satellite; Ad Astra ~ India Space Pioneer, 4th Chair of ISRO and an ILOA Founding Director Prof U. R. Rao passes on.

Jul 31 — NewSpace: Moon Express announces progress on ILO-1 lunar lander; ILOA and SPC advance First Woman on Moon initiative; Asgardia Space Nation collecting citizen applications, currently working on 1st satellite & constitution; Astrobotic chooses ULA to launch Peregrine lander to Moon 2019;  Spaceport America names Melissa Kemper Force as new General Counsel; Japan Interstellar Technologies Inc expecting to launch 1st rocket to at least 100-km altitude.

= 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: Mercury (W), Jupiter (WSW), Saturn (S); Morning Planets: Venus (E), Uranus (SE), Neptune (SE).

31st SmallSat Conference Meets in Utah

Utah State University and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics host the 31st Annual Small Satellite Conference on August 5-10, 2017 in Logan, UT. The theme is Small Satellites | Big Data: Developing a New, Expanded, & Timelier Understanding of Our World! and the Keynote Speaker is Robert Cardillo, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The Committee, led by Director of Advanced Concepts at USU Space Dynamic Laboratory Pat Patterson, has planned 11 regular and 13 technical sessions covering all aspects of the industry from design, planning and innovation, to launch and operations, as well as responsible decommissioning. Over 150 diverse exhibitors are schedule and more than 24 Side Meetings have been officially sanctioned including the Next-Gen Night Out, Smallsat Jeopardy!, Hill Aerospace Museum Tours, Meeting of the Commercial SmallSat Spectrum Management Association, Mitigating Risk Using Desktop Satellite Simulators, and International Launch Services. There is also a special group of 24 University Exhibits with leading American institutions and international organizations such as the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport in Egypt, the Masdar Institute at the Khalifa University of Science and Technology in UAE and University of Tokyo. Space Dynamics Laboratory is a USU-owned nonprofit research corporation leading the design, fabrication and operation of sensors on over 400 payloads since 1959. AIAA is a professional society for aerospace engineers with over 30,000 members worldwide currently helmed by Astronaut Sandra H. Magnus. (Image Credit: USU, AIAA, NASA, ESA, JPL)

Jul 31 — Chinese Academy of Sciences, General Office of Lunar and Deep Space Exploration – CAS, Beijing, China: Abstracts / registration due for Beijing International Forum on Lunar and Deep Space Exploration; being held Sep 19-22.

Jul 31 – Aug 2 — Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA, ESA, CSA, Baltimore MD: Meeting: Spectral Diagnostics to Explore the Cosmic Dawn with JWST.

Jul 31 – Aug 2 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MD: Rockets & Missiles Fundamentals; taught by Edward Keith, Launch Vehicle System Engineer.

Jul 31 – Aug 4 — UNOOSA, Boston College, NASA, International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Chestnut Hill MA: UN/USA Workshop: Space Weather – The Decades after the International Heliophysical Year 2007.

Jul 31 – Aug 5 — National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, IAU, UNESCO, Institut d’Optique, Chiang Mai, Thailand: NARIT-Institut d’Optique Graduate School: Optical Design Summer School 2017.

Jul 31 – Aug 13 — Space Exploration Project Group of United Nations Program on Space Applications, Mars Society, ESA, European Space Foundation, Rzepiennik Biskupi, Poland: Mars Analogue Simulation 2017; six volunteers live in habitat for 2-week Moon / Mars Human exploration simulation.

Jul 31 — Mars: 0.18° SSW of Beehive Cluster, 20:00.

Continued from…

Jul 11 – Aug 11 — Mars Spacecraft, Mars Orbit: Superior Solar Conjunction to prevent normal operations for international Mars missions, craft undergo critical operations stand-down, most will rely on automated systems.

Jun 15 – Aug 15 — International Space Elevator Consortium, Online: ISEC 2017 Summer Internship Program.

Jun 26 – Aug 25 — International Space University, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland: ISU 30th Space Studies Program (SSP 2017).

Jun 17 – Aug 19 — Singularity University, Moffett Field CA: SU 2017 Global Solutions Program.


NET Aug — ISRO, Launch PSLV-C39 / IRNSS 1H, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: India Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on C39 mission to loft 8th spacecraft in Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.

NET Aug 1 — CNSA, Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, Hainan Island, China (19° N): Chang’e-5 to be transferred to Hainan launch site this month to undergo multiple joint testing in preparation for launch; mission will attempt to collect up to 2 kg of lunar regolith near Mons Rumker Region 40.8° N, 58.1° W and transport back to Earth (Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia) within 1 month from launch.

Aug 1 — Arianespace, Launch Vega / Optsat 3000 & Venus, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV10, to launch Optsat 3000 high-resolution reconnaissance satellite for Italy military, French-Israeli Venus environmental satellite to monitor vegetation health & test plasma thruster system, and 3 SAMSON nanosatellites for Technion to conduct autonomous cluster operations in orbit.

Aug 1 — Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, Online / Columbia MD: Abstract Deadline: Annual Meeting of LEAG: Activities Enabled by Getting to the Lunar Surface.

Aug 1-4 — National Science Foundation, Washington DC: 1st International Workshop on Small Satellites for Space Weather Research and Forecasting.

Aug 1-4 — São Paulo State University, Sao Paulo, Brazil: Workshop: Precision Spectroscopy – Towards Earth 2.0.

Aug 1-8 — Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science, Heliophysics Division of NASA Science Mission Directorate, Boulder CO: Heliophysics Summer School 2017: Long-term Solar Activity and the Climates of Space and Earth.

Aug 1 — Moon: 9.6° N. of Antares, 23:00.

Aug 1 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 KV4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.081 AU).


Aug 2-4 — Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), Kavli Foundation, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Berkeley CA: U.S. Radio/Millimeter/Submillimeter Science Futures III.

Aug 2-5 — Centre for Extragalactic Theory, South African Astronomical Observatory / University of the Western Cape, Kruger Park, South Africa: Workshop: The Circle of Life – Connecting the Intergalactic, Circumgalactic, and Interstellar Media; at Protea Hotel Kruger Gate.

Aug 2 — Moon: At apogee (distance 405,026 km), 07:55; 3.5° N of Saturn, 21:31.

Aug 2 — Mercury: At aphelion (0.4667 AU from Sun), 03:00.

Aug 2 — Venus: 2.4° S of M35 cluster, 05:00.


Aug 3 — Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5), Huntsville AL: Monthly Meeting featuring Lewis Wooten from NASA MSFC on Space Launch System: The Next Steps Toward the Giant Leap; at U.S. Space and Rocket Center Education Training Facility.


Aug 4 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Leroy Chiao, adult US$69.95.

Aug 4-13 — Petnica Summer Institute, Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Valjevo, Serbia: Summer School on Cosmology.

Aug 4 — Apollo Asteroid 2011 CN22: Near-Earth Flyby (0.040 AU).


Aug 5 — Curiosity, Mars Surface: Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) rover begins 6th year of operations on Mars surface today; launched Nov 26, 2011 – landed Aug 5, 2012 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Aug 5 — Juno, Jupiter System: NASA spacecraft begins 7th year in Space today, launched in 2011; entered orbit around Jupiter Jul 4, 2016.

Aug 5-10 — Utah State University, AIAA, Logan UT: 2017 Small Satellite Conference; keynote Robert Cardillo, Director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Aug 5-10 — Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Iran Science Elites Federation, Iran National Science Foundation, Tehran, Iran: Tehran Meeting on Cosmology.

Aug 5 – Sep 18 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: Campaign 4: Mission 2 – Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA 2017); 45 day analog spaceflight / Moon / Mars mission.

Aug 5 — Moon: 2.4° N of Pluto, 02:00.


Aug 6 — Winans Investments, The W Foundation, Pacheco Plaza, The Wreyford Family Foundation, Novato CA: 2017 Novato Space Festival; featuring Astronauts Al Worden, Jerry Ross, Nicole Stott, Bruce Melnick, Dan Bursch, Yvonne Cagle; at the Space Station Museum, 10:00-16:00.

Aug 6-11 — Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, Singapore: 14th Annual Meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS); providing opportunity to exchange scientific knowledge and discuss important geo-scientific issues among academia, research institutions and public.

Aug 6-13 — Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan: Conference: Exploring the Energetic Universe 2017 (ECL17).