March 16-22, 2015 / Vol 34, No 11 / Hawai`i Island, USA

NewSpace Commercialization Conference Addresses Legal Challenges Facing Industry

McGill Conference

The 3rd Manfred Lachs International Conference on NewSpace Commercialization and the Law is being held March 16-17 at the Institute of Air and Space Law of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Private NewSpace companies currently utilizing, and planning to gain further access to markets in LEO, near / on the Moon and in deep space, emphasize the need to create policies and laws for safety, property rights and security issues. Representatives from private, government and academic institutions will speak on topics including SmallSats, Commercial Space Stations and Launches for Trips to the Moon & Mars, Funding Sources, and On-Orbit Servicing & Active Space Debris Removal.  Paul Dempsey, Nancy Graham and Ram Jakhu (shown L-R) will give welcoming remarks. Other speakers include Bob Richards (Moon Express), Yaw Nyampong (Pan-African University), Jim Keravala (Shackleton Energy), Joseph Pelton (Arthur C. Clarke Foundation) and Jinyuan Su (Xi’an Jiaotong University). The conference will be followed by the ICAO / UNOOSA AeroSPACE Symposium on Mar 18-20. (Image Credit: McGill University, NASA, B. Smegelsky, IAWA, Y. Nyampong, Bigelow Aerospace, Pan-African University)


Mar 16 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 43 three-member crew participating in interviews for NASA & ESA, installing cables in Harmony module for upcoming International Docking Adapters installation, loading Progress 57P with waste, conducting airflow monitor tests, measurements & calibrations.

 Mar 16 — Chang’e-3, Sinus Iridum / Mare Imbrium, 44.12°N 19.51°W, Moon Surface: Now in lunar night 16, China spacecraft may study Lunar terminator / dust dynamics, make optical & ultraviolet observations during Apr 4 lunar eclipse.

 Mar 16 — Gaia, Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange Point: ESA mission mapping 1B stars within 30K light years to create largest, most precise 3D map of Milky Way Galaxy; first data set expected to be released in June.

Mar 16 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Polydeuces flyby scheduled at 35,000-km altitude.

Mar 16 — Firefly Space Systems, Austin TX: NewSpace company planning to develop & launch (in 2017) reusable Firefly Alpha rocket able to lift 453 kg to LEO for ~US$8-9M with help of NASA Space Act Agreement.

Mar 16 — Virgin Galactic, Las Cruces NM: May begin flight tests this year on second SpaceShipTwo; hiring employees for New Mexico, Mojave & Long Beach facilities.

Mar 16 — Nanoracks LLC, Houston TX: NanoRacks External Payload Platform to be launched to ISS on Japan HTV-5 & mounted to Japan Experiment Module External Facility for future CubeSat deployment.

Mar 16 — ESA, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Online: Due: Proposals for joint 2021 Europe-China space mission to study astronomy, Solar System or physics.

MAR - MAY 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), Mars (W), Jupiter (SE); Morning Planets: Saturn (S).

Planetary Scientists Gather in Texas for LPSC 2015


International specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology and astronomy will present the latest results of their planetary science research at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on March 16-20 at The Woodlands TX. With active missions sending back valuable data from all over the solar system, funded by a 2015 NASA planetary science budget of US$1.4B, the conference promises to feature a variety of interesting presentations and conversations. Special Sessions are scheduled on early results from the MAVEN mission, the Rosetta mission so far, accurate age dating of planetary features, and the evolution of the ancient Mars atmosphere and climate. Additional sessions will cover subjects such as lunar volatiles, exobiology,  and Pluto and Kuiper Belt objects / the New Horizons mission. Several highlighted events will precede and coincide with LPSC 2015 including user workshops for LRO & MESSENGER Data, a NextGen Lunar Scientist workshop, a Lunar Cubes Mission Opportunities overview, and a plenary session featuring the Masursky Lecture on Solar System evolution by Lars Borg of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Image Credit: NASA, ESA, LPI)

Mar 16-17 — Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 3rd Manfred Lachs International Conference on NewSpace Commercialization and the Law.

Mar 16-19 — SES, Thales Alenia Space, Eutelsat America, Hughes, et al, Washington DC: Satellite 2015 Conference; at Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Mar 16-20 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, The Woodlands TX: 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC); at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Mar 16 — Moon: 1.2° NNW of asteroid 15 Eunomia, 14:00.

Mar 16 — Asteroid 2015 BZ310: Near-Earth flyby (0.054 AU).

Mar 16 — Asteroid 2015 DB199: Near-Earth flyby (0.096 AU).

Continued from…

Oct 16, 2014 – Jun 11 — NASA, University of Hawai`i, Mauna Loa HI: Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 3.

Mar 1 – Jan 1, 2016 — Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Multiple Locations: Cycle 3 of science flights to observe universe consists of science flights grouped into multi-week observing campaigns totaling about 450 research flight hours.

Mar 15-16 — Brown University, Vernadsky Institute, Brown-MIT, NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), The Woodlands TX: Microsymposium 56: The Crust of the Moon: Insights Into Early Planetary Processes; at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Mar 15-19 — Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL), Sintra, Portugal: Conference: Latest Results from the Deepest Astronomical Surveys.


Mar 17 — MESSENGER, Mercury Orbit: First craft to enter orbit around Mercury reaches 4 full years in orbit today; launched August 2004.

Mar 17 — United Rocket & Space Corp (URSC),  Khrunichev State Research & Space Production Center (KhSC), Washington DC: Russian Space Industry Press Conference; during Satellite 2015 Conference, 13:30 – 14:45.

Mar 17 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: Starspots and the dynamic evolution of hot-Jupiter exoplanet systems; presented by Jeremy Tregloan-Reed of SETI, 12:00.

Mar 17 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Henry Vanderbilt, Space Access Society.

Mar 17-19 — Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Workshop: Light from Dark Side of the Universe.

Mar 17 — Mercury: 1.5° SSE of Neptune, 22:00.


Mar 18 — MESSENGER OCM 13, Mercury Orbit: NASA spacecraft with limited fuel supply to perform last expected Orbital Change Maneuver today to extend life of craft before impact onto planet surface NET Apr.

Mar 18 — RSA, Launch Proton / Express AM7, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Proton Express AM7 satellite for Russia Satellite Communications Co.

Mar 18 — The British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Stepping Out – Celebrating 50 years of EVA; presented by Dave Shayler.

Mar 18 — Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD: Colloquium: Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets in the Super-Earth Era; presented by Heather Knutson of Caltech.

Mar 18-20 — International Civil Aviation Organization, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs,  Montreal, Quebec, Canada: ICAO / UNOOSA AeroSPACE Symposium.

Mar 18-21 — Astronomical Society of Japan, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan: Astronomical Society Japan (ASJ) 2015 Spring Meeting; at Osaka University Toyonaka Campus.

Mar 18 — Moon: 3.5° NNW of Neptune, 14:00; 4.9° NNW of Mercury, 16:00.

Mar 18 — Asteroid 2012 RJ15: Near-Earth flyby (0.088 AU).


Mar 19 — Cassini OTM-407, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #407 today.

Mar 19 — RSA, Launch Proton / Express AM7, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Russian Proton rocket to launch Express AM7 satellite for Russian Satellite Communications Co.

Mar 19 — Oregon L5 Society, United States Parks Service, Vancouver WA: Lecture: Designs on Personal Space Exploration; presented by Dr. Cameron Smith of Portland State University; at Pearson Air Museum.

Mar 19 — Canadian Space Commerce Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: CSCA bi-monthly meeting; with guest speaker Peter Vischer Chief Technology Officer at Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG).

Mar 19-20 — The National Academies, Washington DC: Meeting: National Security Space Defense and Protection.

Mar 19 — Moon: At perigee (distance 357,158 km), 09:30; New Moon, 23:38.


Mar 20 — Total Eclipse of Sun: Total eclipse in Norway & Faroe Islands; partial eclipse in Europe, N & E Asia, N & W Africa; starts 07:41 UT, greatest eclipse 09:45, ends 11:50.

 Mar 20 — Spring / Vernal Equinox: The Sun rises exactly in east traveling through sky for 12 hours, sets exactly in west; every place on Earth experiences a 12-hour day; 12:45.


Mar 21 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat 1, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch TurkmenAlem52E / MonacoSat 1 communications satellite for Thales Alenia Space & Turkmenistan government.

Mar 21 — The British Interplanetary Society, Droitwich, United Kingdom: Space Day 2015.

Mar 21 — Moon: 0.15° WNW of Uranus, 01:00; 0.93° SSE of Mars, 12:00.


Mar 22-27 — Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço – IASTRO), Porto, Portugal: Conference: Habitability in the Universe – From the Early Earth to Exoplanets.

Mar 22 — Moon: 2.8° SSE of Venus, 11:00.

Mar 22 — Asteroid 2015 DJ215: Near-Earth flyby (0.084 AU).