July 6-12, 2015 / Vol 34, No 27 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Jupiter / Saturn Systems Mission Planning and the Search for Life

Europa Enceladus 2015

The second week of July “Space Month” overflows with excitement as New Horizons prepares for its close encounter with the Pluto system, Juno passes the 1-year mark from Jupiter insertion, and the USA and Europe solidify plans to visit the diverse water / ice / volcanic / rocky moons at the planetary center of the Solar System. On July 11 the University of Oxford, United Kingdom hosts Think Tank 2015 with the theme The Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Europa and Enceladus: The Challenges Ahead. Main topics will revolve around cost, funding, benefits and the current state of our knowledge for this strategic and comprehensive Solar System research. As stated by Dr. Alex Rogers (L-R), University of Oxford Department of Zoology, “This is not just about whether or not life is found, but also the benefits in terms of human and technical advance.” Some experts speaking at the conference will be Dr. Chris McKay (NASA Ames), Dr. Bill Stone (Stone Aerospace, Shackleton Energy Company), Dr. Andy Clarke (British Antarctic Survey), Dr. Kris Zacny (Honeybee Robotics) and Dr. Sanjay Vijendran (ESA Ice Penetrator Project). Proposals have been made for landers, orbiters and penetrator crafts to explore the potential salty, subsurface ocean worlds displaying tidal flexing from induced energy sources, water vapor and eruptive plumes. NASA 2016 budget request includes US$30M to plan its Europa orbiter mission intended for a 2020 launch. ESA is preparing to spend at least $1.1B on the 2022 JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) mission, already under development, which may include a Russia Ganymede lander.  (Image Credit: NASA, ESA, University of Oxford, IPSO, R. Silberman, iStar, Honeybee, BBC, T. Pike, M. Malmer, UCLA-MSSL, E. Twyford, Objective Europa)


Jul 6 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 44 transferring cargo from Progress 60P, preparing for August arrival of Japan Kounotori HTV-5, continuing to study dynamic forces caused by vehicle dockings & spacewalks, collecting data on how plants sense gravity & how roots grow in space.

 Jul 6 — Rosetta, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Orbit: Viewing more than 100 patches of water ice on surface – each a few meters in size, data indicates deep, circular pits on comet surface may be sinkholes formed when ices beneath surface sublimate or turn directly to gas.

Jul 6 — New Horizons, Pluto System Approach: Craft now one-week away from historic approach of Pluto and its moons, capturing detailed images of system, detecting frozen methane on Pluto, tracking moon orbits.

Jul 6 — Tethers Unlimited, Bothell WA: NewSpace company working to launch demo late 2015 of SpiderFab system capable of manufacturing 50-meter truss from carbon fiber spools on Earth, offering Terminator Tape for decommissioning satellites, researching ways for ISS to recycle packing material into tools or radiation shielding with 3D printer.

 Jul 6 — Rocket Lab, Auckland, New Zealand: Developing carbon composite Electron rocket with battery-powered Rutherford engines composed mostly of 3D printed parts, planning to use Birdlings Flat in Canterbury to test & launch vehicles.

Jul 6 — Ellington Spaceport, Houston TX: Becomes the 10th FAA approved commercial Spaceport in the USA, will develop necessary infrastructure to accommodate Reusable Launch Vehicles.

Jul 6-9 — AIAA, Glasgow, Scotland: 20th AIAA International Spaceplanes, Hypersonics Systems and Technology Conference.

Jul 6-10 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: 2015 Lunar Workshop for Educators.

Jul 6-10 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Caltech/JPL, Pasadena CA: Workshop: Don’t Follow (Just) the Water: Does Life Occur in Non-Aqueous Media?

Jul 6-11 — Sexten Center for Astrophysics, Sexten, Italy: Conference: Galaxy Clustering within Euclid OULE3.

Jul 6 — Earth: At aphelion, (1.01668 AU / 152,093,163 km from Sun), 10:00.

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 (E), Neptune (SE).

AAS Holding ISS Research and Development Conference in Boston

Calendar feature - ISS R&D 2015

The 4th International Space Station Research and Development Conference takes place July 7-9 at the Marriott Copley Hotel in central Boston MA. It is jointly organized by the American Astronautical Society, NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). The 3-day program includes leaders from across industry and academia connecting the latest innovations, breakthroughs and discoveries onboard ISS in areas such as microgravity, life sciences, materials development and remote sensing. There are sessions centered around teaching researchers how to take advantage of opportunities to send experiments to the ISS, and about game-changing innovations that will improve the way we live and work in space and on Earth. Featured speakers include SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, CNN Digital Correspondent Rachel Crane, Space Angels Network Director Chad Anderson, NASA Chief Technologist David Miller and Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, Sierra Nevada Corporation VP Mark Sirangelo, NASA Director for ISS Sam Scimemi, Teledyne Brown Engineering Segment President Janice Hess, NanoRacks Managing Director Jeff Manber, and NRC Human Spaceflight Committee Member Mary Lynne Dittmar. Organizers are expecting almost 700 participants. Resupply of ISS is likely to be a high priority issue with failure of 3 different robotic resupply craft in the last 8 months. This may predicate opportunity and advantage of growing new ISS collaboration with rising space powers India and China. (Image Credit: NASA, AAS, CASIS)




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 3-5 — Kyushu Institute of Technology, University of Tokyo, IAA, Tokyo, Japan: Third University Space Engineering Consortium UNISEC-Global Meeting.

Jul 4-10 — JAXA, Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, Kobe, Hyōgo, Japan: 30th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science, 34th International Electric Propulsion Conference & 6th Nano-Satellite Symposium; with the theme Space Voyage – Frontier for Better Life on Earth.

Jul 5-9 — Royal Astronomical Society, Conwy, United Kingdom: Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting 2015; at Venue Cymru, the Promenade.


Jul 7 — University of Hawai`i – Hilo, Hilo HI: Lecture: Exoplanets and the Kepler Mission; presented by Kepler project scientist Dr. Steve Howell at UH Hilo Science & Technology Building – Room 108, 19:00.

Jul 7 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: Extreme Environments: Hydrothermal settings for early life on Earth or Mars; presented by Kathy Campbell from University of Auckland.

Jul 7 — Sheffield Astronomical Society, Yorkshire, United Kingdom: Presentation: Grand Tour of the Solar System.

Jul 7-9 — International Academy of Astronautics, Turin, Italy: 9th IAA Symposium on the Future of Space Exploration – Towards New Global Programmes.

Jul 7-9 — American Astronautical Society, Boston MA: 4th International Space Station (ISS) Research and Development Conference; at Boston Marriott Copley Place.

Jul 7-9 — Ames Research Center, NASA, Moffett Field CA: 1st International Workshop on Potentially Hazardous Asteroids Characterization, Atmospheric Entry and Risk Assessment.

Jul 7 — Asteroid 2015 HM10: Near-Earth flyby (0.003 AU).

Jul 7 — Asteroid 2015 MO116: Near-Earth flyby (0.013 AU).

Jul 7 — Asteroid 2005 VN5: Near-Earth flyby (0.032 AU).

Jul 7 — Asteroid 2015 MY53: Near-Earth flyby (0.060 AU).

Jul 7 — Asteroid 2015 JY1: Near-Earth flyby (0.062 AU).


Jul 8 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / Star One C4 & MSG 4, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA224, to launch Star One C4 broadcast and MSG 4 weather imagery satellites, 17:42-18:17.

Jul 8 — The British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Finding Beagle; presented by Terry Ransome.

Jul 8-9 — BRICS Group, Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia: 7th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit; may discuss potential to develop joint space station and methane-propelled rocket.

Jul 8 — Moon: At last quarter, 10:24; 0.75° SSE of Uranus, 17:00.

Jul 8 — Asteroid 2015 MO89: Near-Earth flyby (0.052 AU).


Jul 9-12 — North Bay Astronomy Club, Marten River Provincial Park, Marten River Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada: Annual Gateway to the Universe Star Party.

Jul 9 — Moon: 1.3° S of M35, 15:00.

Jul 9 — Venus: At greatest illuminated extent, planet daytime side is covering more square area of sky than at any other time, therefore it is at its brightest, 19:00.

Jul 9 — Asteroid 2015 JH2: Near-Earth flyby (0.079 AU).


Jul 10 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #416 today.

Jul 10 — ISRO, Launch PSLV / DMC3, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: India Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, flying on PSLV-C28 mission, to launch DMC3 disaster monitoring satellites for Beijing-based imaging company AT21.

Jul 10 — Asteroid 2014 WU200: Near-Earth flyby (0.079 AU).


Jul 11 — ARTEMIS P2, Moon Orbit: Craft begins 5th year in Moon orbit today; NASA craft collecting data on Moon interaction with Sun, originally launched with constellation of 5 satellites in 2007 to study Earth magnetosphere.

Jul 11 — University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom: Think Tank 2015: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Europa and Enceladus – The Challenges Ahead; first conference in series to investigate potential & possibility of sending craft to explore Europa, Enceladus & their oceans.

Jul 11 — Moon: 8.2° S of Pleiades, 14:00.

Jul 11 — Asteroid 164202 (2004 EW): Near-Earth flyby (0.070 AU).


Jul 12 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Al Globus about space settlement.

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 12 — Moon: 1.4° NE of Aldebaran, 08:00.