March 7-13, 2016 / Vol 35, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Global Launch Industry Expanding Diversified Access to Space

calendar feature - launch 2016

European commercial carrier Arianespace is set to launch the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite via Ariane 5 ECA rocket VA229 from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, on Wednesday March 9. The spacecraft is built by Space Systems/Loral as a multimission broadcast / broadband satellite to provide services in Brazil and across Latin America over the next 15 years. India space agency ISRO has two launches set this month, IRNSS-1F Mar 10 and IRNSS-1G Mar 31, in order to complete the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. Both satellites will be launched aboard India’s very own workhorse rocket PSLV in the XL configuration from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India. The IRNSS system of 3 satellites in GEO, 4 satellites in GSO and 2 on the ground as stand-by, is designed to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the surrounding 1,500-km area. International Space Station human spaceflight and support operations anticipated soon include RSA Soyuz MS-01 / ISS46S flight of 3-member crew to ISS on Mar 18, ULA Atlas 5 / Orbital ATK OA-6 Cygnus cargo flight Mar 22 (delayed from March 10 and March 20), SpaceX Falcon 9 / CRS 8 & BEAM cargo flight with new Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on Mar 29/30, and RSA Soyuz Progress 63P robotic resupply on Mar 31. (Image Credit: Arianespace, ISRO, RSA, ULA, SpaceX)


Mar 7— ISS, LEO: Expedition 47 three-member crew with Timothy Peake, Yuri Malenchenko & Commander Tim Kopra to release satellites from Kibo airlock, conduct in-flight interviews, welcome 3 more Astronauts to station Mar 18; one-year crew members Kornienko and Kelly, back on Earth, undergoing tests / exercises; 2-part PBS / TIME series on “Year in Space” to air in 2017.

Mar 7 — Kepler, Heliocentric Orbit: Craft searching for exoplanets begins 8th year in space today; operating in K2 extension mission after two reaction wheels failed, altering original mission goals; launched 2009.

Mar 7 — Mars Express, Mars Orbit: Circling planet in highly elliptical, polar orbit from 350 to 10,500 km altitude, monitoring ancient water flow patterns & impact craters, images from craft’s ~13 years at Mars shown in high-resolution stereo camera video.

 Mar 7 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Traveling at 25,857 kph, now more than 665M km from Earth, has traveled 2.765B km; Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of SwRI and team prepare for Jupiter orbit insertion in 119 days.

 Mar 7 — Astroscale PTE Ltd., Singapore: NewSpace company preparing Lunar Dream Capsule payload to launch to Lacus Mortis region of Moon on Astrobotic lander in 2017, developing ‘Mother’ satellite and ‘satlets’ to deorbit defunct spacecraft, secured ~US$35M from recent investors; founder & CEO Nobu Okada.

Mar 7 — Blue Origin LLC, Kent WA: Company owned by Jeff Bezos working on New Shepard reusable suborbital vehicle, planning to operate at KSC, partnering with ULA & U.S. Air Force to develop Vulcan rocket engine utilizing two BE-4 (550,000-lbf thrust) engines, BE-4 continues to be tested.

 Mar 7 — Open Space Orbital, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Working to expand Canada space access & research, planning to develop orbital launch vehicles, consulting with international aerospace companies, suggesting northern Nova Scotia as launch location for Sun-synchronous & polar orbit, and to reach ISS; founder & CEO Tyler Reyno.

MARCH - MAY 2016 = 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: Jupiter (E), Uranus (W); Morning Planets: Venus (ESE), Mars (S), Saturn (SE).

UNOOSA Hosts Simultaneous Conferences Emphasizing Human and Satellite Space Technologies


United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is holding Human Space Technology Workshop in San Jose, Costa Rica March 7-11. The President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera (TL) will give opening remarks. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (TC) and Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz (TR) CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company will give keynote addresses. Other Astronaut attendees include Marcos Pontes (Brazil), David Saint Jacques (CSA), Luca Parmitao (ESA), Takso Doi (JAXA) and Kenneth Cameron (NASA). Co-hosted with IAA within the framework of the UN Programme on Space Applications, this workshop aims to promote international cooperation and the participation of developing countries in human space exploration, discuss commercialization of Space, and help prepare for UNISPACE+50 conference to be held in 2018 – celebrating 50 years since the 1st UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (1968). The UN / India Workshop on March 8-11 is on the Use of Earth Observation Data in Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: Sharing the Asian Experience. Jointly organized with ISRO, this conference in Hyderabad will build on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 which was endorsed by 187 states. The Global Aerospace Summit, being held March 7-8, in Abu Dhabi will feature (BL-R) Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, H.E. Mohammed Al Ahbabi and Sheikha Al Maskari of UAE Space Agency and Sir Martin Sweeting of Surrey Satellite Tech. (Image Credit: UNOOSA, EODC/EUMETSAT, Global Aerospace Summit, NASA, Ad Astra Rocket Co, et al)

Mar 7 — Stanford University, Stanford CA: European SpaceTech Startups @ European Space Agency; featuring Frank Salzgeber, Harm Botter, Hauke Windmüller, Mark Evans; at Hewlett 201 Auditorium, 16:30.

Mar 7 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Saturn’s Small Inner Satellites – How Much Will We Know Before Cassini is Vaporized? Peter Thomas.

Mar 7 — International Astronautical Federation, Mexican Space Agency (AEM), Online / Guadalajara, Mexico: Abstracts Due: 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2016) Making space accessible and affordable to all countries; to be held Sep 26-30.

Mar 7-8 — Mubadala Development Company, General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, UAE: Global Aerospace Summit 2016 & Abu Dhabi Aviation and Aerospace Week.

Mar 7-10 — SES, Thales Alenia Space, Eutelsat America, Hughes, et al, National Harbor MD: Satellite 2016 Conference; at Gaylord National Convention Center.

Mar 7-11 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Government of Costa Rica, IAA, San Jose, Costa Rica: United Nations/Costa Rica Workshop on Human Space Technology.

Mar 7-11 — University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews, Seventh Framework Programme, Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Protoplanetary Discussions.

Mar 7 — Moon: 3.7° NNW of Mercury, 17:00.

Mar 7 — Amor Asteroid 2016 DL2: Near-Earth flyby (0.065 AU).

Mar 7 — Apollo Asteroid 2007 DM41: Near-Earth flyby (0.083 AU).

Continued from…

Mar 4-11 — Gemini Observatory, PISCES, CFHT, `Imiloa, W. M. Keck Observatory, TMT, et al, Hilo HI: Journey through the Universe Week.

Mar 5-12 — IEEE, AIAA, PHM Society, Big Sky MT: 2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference; at Yellowstone Conference Center.

Mar 6-9 — Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy, Tegernsee, Germany: Meeting: Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX); at Ringberg Castle.

Mar 6-12 — Italy National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), La Thuile, Italy: 28th Workshop in Particle Physics; at Planibel Hotel.


Mar 8 — Ames Research Center, NASA, Moffett Field CA: NASA invites media to talk to small satellite experts and tour labs.

Mar 8 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Exploring the Outer Solar System – Now in Vivid Colour; Michele Bannister from University of Victoria, B.C. Canada.

Mar 8-10 — American Astronautical Society, Greenbelt MD: 54th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium: Leadership for Space – Opportunities and Challenges; at Greenbelt Marriott.

Mar 8-10 — AIAA, Raytheon, Aerospace America, Laurel MDAIAA Missile Sciences Conference.

Mar 8-11 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Hyderabad, India: United Nations/India Workshop on Use of Earth Observation Data in Disaster Management and Risk Reduction: Sharing the Asian Experience.

Mar 8 — Moon: 1.9° NNW of Neptune, 01:00; New Moon, 15:54.

Mar 8 — Jupiter: At opposition, 01:00.

Mar 8 — Apollo Asteroid 2013 TX68: Near-Earth flyby (0.03 AU).

Mar 8 — Total Eclipse of Sun: Visible from parts of Indonesia including Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and from locations in the Pacific Ocean; partial visible from N & E Australia, S & E Asia; partial eclipse start 13:19, total start 14:17, greatest eclipse at 15:57, totality will last for 4 minutes 9 seconds.


Mar 9 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / Eutelsat 65 West A, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA229, to launch Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite.

Mar 9 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Who Owns the Moon? Michael Franks.

Mar 9 — Austria Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia: RadioAstron Colloquium; featuring Dave Jauncey, Kel Wellington, Phil Edwards.

Mar 9, 10 — NASA, El Paso TX & Las Cruces NM: NASA Technology Transfer Roadshow; Technology Transfer program executive & Innovation Office director Daniel Lockney to speak on technology research & development.

Mar 9 — Moon: At perigee (distance 359,133 km), 21:00.


Mar 10 — Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Orbit: NASA spacecraft enters 11th year in Mars orbit today, continues to study seasonal changes on planet circling at 300-km near-polar orbit; launched Aug 12, 2005, entered orbit Mar 10, 2006.

Mar 10 — ISRO, Launch PSLV / IRNSS 1F, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: India Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, flying on PSLV-C32 mission, to launch Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System IRNSS 1F navigation satellite.

Mar 10 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: A New Model of Stars; David Hogg of NYU.

Mar 10 — Moon: 1.8° SSE of Uranus, 15:00.

Mar 10 — Mercury: 1.4° SSE of Neptune, 20:00.

Mar 10 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 EB1: Near-Earth flyby (0.14 AU).


Mar 11 — National Space Club, Washington DC: 59th Annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner; at Hilton Washington.

Mar 11 — The Royal Astronomical Society, London, United Kingdom: Royal Astronomical Society Ordinary Meeting.

Mar 11 — Science Museum of London, London, United Kingdom: Last day of exhibit Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age.

Mar 11-13 — Spaceport America, Las Cruces NM: Spaceport America Drone Summit.

Mar 11 — Moon: 1.4° NNW of 4 Vesta, 12:00.


Mar 12-19 — French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Belgian Science Policy (Belgique), National Science Foundation, et al, La Thuile, Italy: 51st Rencontres de Moriond: Electroweak Interactions and Unified Theories.


Mar 13 — Daylight Saving Time (USA): Set clock ahead 1 hour; does not include Hawai’i, American Samoa or Arizona (except the Navajo Reservation).

Mar 13 — International Planetarium Society Inc., Multiple Locations: International Day of Planetaria; promote knowledge of planetaria to the public.

Mar 13-17 — NSS, SFF, Alliance for Space Development (ASD), Washington DC: March Storm 2016; focused on space development and settlement.

Mar 13-17 — American Chemical Society, San Diego CA: 251st American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting.

Mar 13-18 — National Science Foundation, University of Utah, Snowbird UT: Conference: The Galaxy-Halo Connection.

Mar 13 — Moon: 9.0° S of Pleiades, 11:00.