Inauguration of New Era for NewSpace
A new paradigm for space exploration is emerging as traditional, government missions struggle under constrained budgets. SpaceX, 1 of 2 private companies with NASA contracts to provide unmanned space cargo flights to the space station, recently conducted a successful ‘static fire test’ of its Falcon 9 rocket in preparation for its upcoming launch of the Dragon capsule. If successful, the company will become the first commercial entity to launch a space capsule to the ISS. Orbital Technologies, Corp will conduct the first test of its Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket, also destined for ISS transport duties, later this year. 2 conferences this week in Los Angeles CA will highlight the importance and imminence of this new era of NewSpace. The Reinventing Space Conference, May 7-11, will advance all aspects of Low-Cost Space, while emphasizing changes in technology and new ways of doing business to help create affordable space missions in the near future. Companies involved in all areas of human space flight will showcase their technologies at the Spacecraft Technology Expo 2012 on May 8-10. The Expo will feature a 1:1 scale model of the Lynx spacecraft, XCOR Aerospace’s entry into the commercial reusable launch vehicle market. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
Expedition 31 Crew Members to Launch to ISS Aboard Soyuz TMA-04M
Three remaining members of Expedition-31 are set to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Soyuz TMA-04M from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on May 14. Flight Engineers Joe Acaba, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin will join Cmdr Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Don Pettit who have been on the ISS since December 23, 2011. The crew will conduct periodic cargo operations to unload items delivered by Progress M-15M as well as place trash and discarded equipment inside the cargo compartment. E-31 will also use the Automated Transfer Vehicle 3 to conduct several ISS reboosts and debris avoidance maneuvers. If the May launch of the Space X Dragon Capsule 2 (BL) is successful, Cmdr Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Don Pettit will attempt to grapple the Capsule with the Station’s Canadarm 2 and place it in a pre-berthing position. The crew will then perform standard procedures consisting of 1st and 2nd stage captures, leak checks and a hatch opening. No spacewalks are planned for the E-31 mission, however, crew members will continue performing a variety of experiments and Station maintenance. The next expected launch of Expedition-32 is planned for July 15. (Image Credit: NASA, SpaceX)
= 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 – Morning Planets: Neptune (ESE) / Evening Planets: Venus (W), Mars (SSW), Saturn (SE).
May 7 — International Space Station, LEO: E-31 crew members Cmdr Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Andre Kuipers and Don Pettit continue to transfer cargo from Progress 47 resupply craft and perform a variety of science experiments.
May 7 — Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: NASA LRO functioning nominally in its 50±15 km near-circular orbit as it makes digital elevation and surface maps that will be fundamental references for future human exploration.
May 7 — Mars Rover Opportunity, Red Planet: Scientists recent examination of data gathered by NASA rover reveals deposits that, on Earth, are only created by water moving through the rock.
May 7 — Jupiter Juno Mission, Jupiter Trajectory: Juno spacecraft approximately 391 million km from Earth having traveled 604 million km; All systems nominal.
May 7 — The Space Show, Nationwide: This week’s Space Show continues to cover important space issues with informative interviews from space advocates.
May 7-9 — The National Academies, Washington DC: ‘Meeting: Reusable Booster System – Review and Assessment.’
May 7-10 — Aeronautics and Astronautics Association of France, ESA, et al, Bordeaux, France: ‘Space Propulsion 2012.’
May 7-10 — Space Telescope Science Telescope, Baltimore MD: ‘2012 STScI May Symposium: Gas Flows in Galaxies,’ event to bring together the multi-wavelength communities that study the gas flows into, within, and out of galaxies, and which drive their evolution.
May 7-11 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sierra Nevada Corporation, et al, Los Angeles CA: ‘Reinventing Space 2012.’
May 7 — Moon: 5.1° NNE of Antares; 08:00.
May 7 — Asteroid 2012 HL: Near-Earth Flyby (0.054 AU).
Apr 23 — Johnson Space Center, Houston TX: NASA TV to feature activities surrounding the upcoming Expedition 31 crew training activities with NASA Flight Engineer Joseph Acaba and Cosmonauts Cmdr Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin; through May 17.
Apr 29 — Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Jerusalem, Israel: ‘5th Isradynamics Conference: Dynamical Processes in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas;’ through May 7.
May 6 — American Astronomical Society – Division of Dynamical Astronomy (AAS – DDA), Mt. Hood OR: ‘43rd Annual Meeting of the AAS – DDA;’ through May 10.
May 6 — US National Institute of Standards and Technology, San Jose CA: ‘Lasers and Electro Optics 2012,’ event to feature scientists from Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Federal Institute of Physical and Technical Affairs to discuss accuracy of clock signals; through May 11.
May 8-10 — SmarterShows Ltd, Los Angeles CA: ‘Spacecraft Technology Expo 2012: Design – Build – Test,’ featuring The Lynx, XCOR Aerospace entry into the commercial reusable launch vehicle (RLV) market.
May 8 — Asteroid (Closest Approach to Earth): 4341 Poseidon (0.808 AU); 44597 Thoreau (0.982 AU).
May 9 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Contact with ET Using Math? Not So Fast,’ Keith Devlin.
May 9 — University of Southern California, Los Angeles CA: ‘Graduate Topic Studio – Moon Studio,’ final presentations to be shown at 10:00-17:00.
May 9 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Washington DC: ‘2012 Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala.’
May 9 — Intech Science Center and Planetarium, Winchester, United Kingdom: ‘Lecture: From Star to Star – The Story of Gold,’ Jocelyn Bell Burnell.
May 9-10 — Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD: ‘Mission Assurance Improvement Workshop.’
May 9-10 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: ‘Workshop: Advances on Space Radiation and Plasma Environment Monitoring, Data Analysis and Flight Opportunities.’
May 9-10 — Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Singapore Space and Technology Association, Singapore: ‘2nd Annual Conference: MilSatCom Asia.’
May 9 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2012 HM8 (0.036 AU); 2012 GB5 (0.058 AU).
NET May 10 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Dragon C2, Cape Canaveral FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch the Dragon C2 Spacecraft to demonstrate rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station for cargo-delivery.
May 10 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Abstract deadline for ‘Workshop: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration,’ Jun 12-14, 2012.
May 10 — Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD: ‘Soffen Lecture Series: Investigating Worlds Around Other Stars – Progress Towards the Discovery of Another ‘Earth’,’ Avi Mandell.
May 10 — WM Keck Observatory, Kamuela HI: ‘How Stars Destroyed Most of the Atoms in the Universe,’ Brian Siana.
May 10-11 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA: ‘The von Karman Lecture Series: The Quest for Other Worlds like Earth,’ Thomas Gautier.
May 10 — Asteroid 1998 HE3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.032 AU).
May 11 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: ‘Lecture: Compositional Diversity of the Moon’s Primary Crust from Integrated Diviner and M³ Analysis,’ Kerri Donaldson.
May 11 — NASA Explorer Schools (NES), Online: International Space Station Associate Program Scientist Tara Ruttley to speak with students in grades 7-12 about the benefits of science experiments aboard the ISS at 14:00-15:00 EDT.
May 11 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2012 HB25 (o.029 AU); 2005 SQ9 (0.085 AU).
May 12 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Educator Resource Center, Pomona CA: ‘Educator Workshop: Reading, Writing and Rings.’
May 12 — Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD: ‘NASA GSFC Girl Scout Engineering Day,’ scouts to meet and talk with NASA engineers about their work, participate in an engineering design challenge, and showcase their work to NASA staff and museum visitors.
May 12 — Heritage Auctions, Houston TX: ‘2012 Space Exploration Signature Auction.’
May 12 — Moon: At Last Quarter; 11:47.
May 13 — California Institute of Technology, Waikoloa HI: ‘Gravitational – Wave Advanced Detector Workshop.’