China Robotic Moon Program Advancing into Third and Final Phase
The only nation active on the surface of the Moon, China, maintains successful operations of its Chang’e-3 Lander and Yutu Rover now in Lunar Night 6. Although Yutu has incurred mechanical issues, it continues to respond to ground control teams well past its 3-month given lifetime. Chang’e-3 Lander with Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope and Extreme Ultraviolet Camera, is also expected to perform past its December 14, one-year / thirteen-Lunar Day lifetime. The spacecraft hibernate / awake cycle is determined by astronomical factors (estimated here by SPC / ILOA), mechanical functions and performance, and ground control teams at the Very Long Baseline Interferometry center in Shanghai and observation stations in Xinjiang, Kunming and Beijing. Chang’e-4 (the twin of Chang’e-3) is being reconfigured due to the mission success; it may launch with different instruments to a new location or be combined with a future mission. Preparing for Phase 3, the Chang’e-5 sample return mission test satellite is scheduled to launch this June to attempt a Lunar Orbit Transfer and return to Earth. (Image Credit: ILOA, SPC, CNSA, Chinese Academy of Sciences, D. Davis)
Timetable Continued Here
Cubesat Workshop and SpaceX Dragon Mk 2 Unveiling in Southern California
The 3rd Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop, also known as iCubesat 2014, will be held in Pasadena CA on May 27-28. Sponsored by JA Initiative, National Radio Astronomical Observatory, Sinclair Interplanetary and others, conference talks and roundtables will focus on technology, science and collaboration. CubeSats have been limited to LEO so far, but beyond-LEO research is being conducted: the 2013 Vermont Lunar CubeSat is testing navigation components for a Moon mission, JPL is developing INSPIRE (Interplanetary NanoSpacecraft Pathfinder in Relevant Environment) to be placed in Earth-escape orbit, and continued LunarCubes Workshops bring together engineers and experts to advance the science and technology (the 4th Workshop will be held in Mountain View October 7-10). Hawthorne-based SpaceX promises to debut its human-rated Dragon Mk 2 capsule (DragonRider) on May 29. The company hopes to conduct 2 abort tests of the capsule this year, a pad-abort test and a high-altitude test, and launch the first orbital test flight with humans as early as 2015. Dragon Mk 2 is being designed to launch 7 astronauts to the ISS and remain there for at least 180 days. (Image Credit: JA Initiative, NASA, E. Raley, MSU, SpaceX)
= 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 (WNW), Mars (S), Jupiter (W), Saturn (SE); Morning Planets: Venus (E).
May 26 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 40 preparing for arrival of Gerst, Suraev, Wiseman – crew orientation, media activities to follow; working on Resist Tubule botany experiment, Radi-N2 study to observe ISS neutron environment.
May 26 — Venus Climate Orbiter (Akatsuki), Solar Orbit / Venus Trajectory: Currently in Solar orbit due to main engine failure, JAXA US$300M spacecraft is expected to achieve Venus orbit Nov 2015 using small engine burns.
May 26 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Approximately 450M km from Earth, traveling at 67,119 kph with one-way radio signal of about 25 minutes; in excellent health, operating nominally.
May 26 — SpaceX, McGregor TX: NewSpace company planning to conduct 2 DragonFly prototype propulsive assist landing tests from ~3,050 meters with parachutes; DragonFly will use 8 SuperDraco thrusters to make soft landings.
May 26 — Masten Space Systems, Mojave CA: Testing VTVL vehicles Xombie & Xaero, designing Xeus; working on Project Prometheus interface; negotiating no-funds-exchanged SAA with NASA for Lunar CATALYST.
May 26 — Dauria Aerospace, International Locations: Partnering with Elecnor Deimos to develop ‘Deimos Perseus’ satellite constellation with multispectral sensors to identify crop type, growth & health.
May 26 — Sea Launch, Launch Zenit 3SL / Eutelsat 3B, Odyssey Platform, Equator at 154° W: Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket to deliver Eutelsat 3B telecommunications satellite into orbit; will be 36th launch; 11:10 HST.
May 26 — Canadian Space Commerce Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: CSCA annual general meeting; at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.
May 26-28 — AIAA, St. Petersburg, Russia: 21st St. Petersburg International Conference on Integrated Navigation Systems.
May 26-30 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Krasnoyarsk, Russia: United Nations/Russian Federation Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
May 26-30 — ESA, CNES, Majorca, Spain: The 4S Symposium: Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium; at Puravida Resort Blau Porto Petro.
Apr 28 – Jun 30 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Greenbelt MD: Request For Information: Evolving ISS into a LEO Commercial Market.
May 25-29 — International Astronomical Union, Lisbon, Portugal: IAU Symposium 306: Statistical Challenges in 21st Century Cosmology.
May 25 – Jun 15 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Summer Program: Dwarf Galaxies as Cosmological Probes.
May 27 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Online / Pasadena CA: Proposals Due: Europa Clipper Mission Concept Data Products – Modeling Plume Composition and Physical Parameters; up to 8 proposals may be funded for 9-12 month study of recently discovered Europa plumes.
May 27 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Pasadena CA: Lecture: The Long Space Age: An Economic History of American Space Exploration; presented by Alexander MacDonald of JPL.
May 27-28 — AGI, United Launch Alliance, National Radio Astronomical Observatory, JA Initiative, Pasadena CA: 3rd Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop (iCubesat 2014); US$199-349.
May 27-29 — Brazilian Aerospace Association, São José dos Campos, Brazil: Brazilian Aerospace Symposium.
May 27 — Moon: 6.8° S of Pleiades, 18:00.
May 28 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: An Evening on Titan; presented by Valerio Poggiali.
May 28-30 — Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), Lunar and Planetary Institute, USRA, Houston TX: Workshop on Planetary Volcanism; Postponed.
May 28-30 — Chinese Society of Astronautics, American Astronautical Society, Japanese Rocket Society, Xian, Shaanxi, China: 14th International Space Conference of Pacific-basin Societies (ISCOPS).
May 28 — Moon: New Moon, 08:42; 14:00° N of Aldebaran, 14:00.
May 29 — RSA, Launch Soyuz TMA-13 / ISS 39S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch members of Expedition 40/41: Maxim Suraev of RSA, Reid Wiseman of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA; 01:57 local time, live coverage available.
May 29 — SpaceX, Hawthorne CA: Unveiling of Dragon Mk 2 spaceship for human transportation.
May 29-30 — FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation, University of Colorado – Boulder, Stanford University Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford CA: Emerging Space Industry Leaders (ESIL-06); for those interested in commercial space.
May 29-31 — McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 2nd Manfred Lachs International Conference on Global Space Governance.
May 30 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Elastic Models of Magma Reservoir Mechanics: A Key Tool for Investigating Planetary Volcanism; presented by Eric Grosfils of Pomona College.
May 30 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Goddard Scientific Colloquium: Latest Results from Voyager 1 Observation in the Very Local Interstellar Medium; presented by Matthew Hill of JHU/APL, 15:30 EDT.
May 30 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Greenbelt MD: Response Date: Request For Information – Europa Mission Concepts Costing Less Than US$1 Billion.
May 30 — The Space Show, Tiburon CA / Online: Dr. David Livingston talks with Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society.
May 30 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Clay Anderson; US$49.95 adult.
May 31 — Moon: 5.4° S of Jupiter, 20:00.
NLT Jun — CNSA, Wenchang Satellite Center, Hainan, China: Construction of Wenchang Satellite Center, also known as Hainan Space Launch Center, able to launch 10-12 rockets annually including Long March 5 and Long March 7, to be completed this month; will be China’s fourth and lowest latitude launch facility at 19° N.
NET Jun — CNSA, Launch Chang’e-5 Test Satellite, Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China: To launch Chang’e-5 sample return test satellite to Moon orbit; will attempt lunar orbit transfer and return to Earth.
NET Jun — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / Turksat 4B, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Proton rocket to deploy Turksat 4B communications satellite.
NET Jun — ISRO, Launch PSLV / Spot-7, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to launch Spot-7 commercial remote sensing satellite for Astrium Services.
Jun 1 — Deep Space: Voyager 1 with ~19 kg of propellant remaining, traveling at ~61,315 kph; Voyager 2 with ~25 kg of propellant, traveling at ~55,494 kph; both spacecraft & instruments continue to respond to commands, transmit data.
Jun 1-5 — American Astronomical Society, Boston MA: 224th Meeting of the AAS; at Westin Copley Place hotel.
Jun 1 — Moon: 11.8° S of Pollux, 02:00.
Jun 1 — Asteroid 2008 WK32: Near-Earth flyby (0.073 AU).