November 14-20, 2016 / Vol 35, No 46 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Multinational Crews in Space: Shenzhou-11 Returning to Earth, ISS 50/51 Crew Launching to LEO


ISS Expedition 50/51 crew Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, Thomas Pesquet of ESA and Peggy Whitson of NASA are set to launch Nov 17 from Kazakhstan on the 132nd flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, arriving two days later. Peggy Whitson is the 1st woman to command ISS and is set to command Expedition 51. About 165 experiments will take place during Expedition 50, as well as satellite deployments from Kibo airlock, the arrival of Progress 65P and HTV-6, and U.S. EVAs 37 and 38. ISS is expected to continue through 2024 with current international funding, opening up commercial and other opportunities in the future. Shenzhou-11 the first Tiangong-2 crew, accomplishing China’s longest duration human space mission of 33 days in space / 30 days in a Space Lab, is planning to return to Earth landing in Mongolia November 19. Jing Haipeng (Shenzhou 7 & 9) and Chen Dong (1st spaceflight) launched 32 days after Tiangong-2 entered orbit on September 15 to confirm rendezvous and docking technologies, test life support systems, gain experience for longer duration space habitation and work with 40 pharmaceutical, physics and biology experiments. The next mission to Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace) is Tianzhou-1 (Heavenly Vessel) uncrewed cargo ship planned to launch from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Long March 7 rocket April 2017. Shenzhou-12 is also likely to launch 2017, perhaps with women Taikonauts. China permanent space station (Tianhe-1, Heavenly River / Milky Way) should be completed 2022. (Image Credit: CNSA, South China Morning Post, CCTV, NASA)


star-grey Nov 14 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 50 expecting arrival of 3-member crew, transferring remaining cargo from Cygnus OA-5 and preparing for its departure with waste, radiation sensors to be placed in Destiny laboratory for one week, Sally Ride EarthKAM gear in Harmony module being operated by middle school students, ISS trajectory passes over more than 90% of Earth’s population.

star-grey Nov 14 — Tiangong-2, 393-km LEO: Crew of 2 finalizing its last week in space, taking scans of body and downlinking data, working with ground control to prepare Shenzhou 11 for return to Earth along with experiments.

star-grey Nov 14 — Akatsuki, Venus Orbit: JAXA craft with 5 cameras collecting data on Venus wind super-rotation phenomenon (air spins much faster than expected on slow-rotating planet), radio signal to be passed through atmosphere to determine distortion revealing temperature, abundance of sulfuric acid vapor.

star-grey Nov 14 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Titan flyby scheduled at 1,582-km altitude.

circle-full-grey Nov 14 — Blue Origin, Kent WA: NewSpace company marks 5th successful landing of New Shepard booster after suborbital flight, CEO Rob Meyerson announces schedule to launch test Astronauts 2017 & paying customers 2018, indicates plans for Moon missions with New Armstrong rocket.

circle-grey Nov 14 — Breakthrough Initiatives, Multiple Locations: Breakthrough Listen US$100M search for intelligent life beyond Earth utilizing Australia Parkes Radio Telescope to focus on Proxima b – the destination for Breakthrough Starshot, a proposal to develop spacecraft fleet able to fly to Alpha Centauri at 20% the speed of light (215M km/h).

circle-grey Nov 14 — ispace Inc., Tokyo, Japan: Managing robotics for GLXP Team Hakuto, plans to establish a transportation service to Moon and map potential resources within a decade & eventually deliver Lunar resources to customers on / around Moon; CEO Takeshi Hakamada.

Nov 14 — Asteroid Day, Observatory of Côte d’Azur, Humboldt-Museum Berlin, Berlin, Germany: Press Conference to highlight the need for increased knowledge of Near Earth Objects and ESA Asteroid Impact Mission.

nov-jan-2017 = 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 (SW), Mars (SW), Saturn (SW), Uranus (SE), Neptune (S); Morning Planets: Jupiter (ESE).

SpaceCom 2016: Space Applications, Fueling Business Innovation


Expecting to bring together more than 1,500 attendees from 30 countries, SpaceCom 2016 is set for November 15-17 at George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston TX. The overall focus is on space applications for growing markets in energy, maritime, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and medicine such as robotics, weather forecast, 3D printing, telemedicine, remote power access and resource mining. Pete Worden (Breakthrough Prize Foundation) will speak on “The Next Steps In Space Commerce”, Robert Bigelow (Bigelow Aerospace) will present “Investing in Space Commerce” and John Elbon (Boeing Co.) will talk about “The Path to Mars and Beyond – The Next 100 Years.” Speakers also include Astronauts Soichi Noguchi, Garrett Reisman, Carl Walz, Charles Walker, newly trained Astronauts Jessica Meir and Victor Glover, as well as representatives from Planet Labs, Silicon Valley Space Center, Tauri Group, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, DSI, Agile Aerospace, Shackleton Energy, Planetary Resources, Virgin Galactic, Moon Express and SpaceX. Day 3 will feature discussions on technologies for human spaceflight, commercial crew, NASA live feed to the ISS and the SpaceCom Exposition. (Image Credit: SpaceCom, NASA, ME, NMSGC, Made in Space, Lowes, Bigelow, et al)

Nov 14-15 — Canadian Council on Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP), Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 24th Annual CCPPP National Conference on Public-Private Partnerships: Innovating Our Future.

Nov 14-18 — Belgian Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE), ESA, Space Weather Working Team, Ostend, Belgium: 13th European Space Weather Week.

Nov 14-18 — ESA, CNES, Institute of Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP), Toulouse, France: Symposium: Comets 2016 – A new vision after Rosetta/Philae.

Nov 14 — Moon: At perigee (distance 356,138 km), 01:30 – nearest in 30 years; Full, Super Moon (Beaver / Hunter’s Moon), 03:52; 9.0° S of Pleiades, 16:00.

Nov 14 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 UB107: Near-Earth Flyby (0.022 AU).

Continued from…

Nov 7-16 — Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), Tenerife, Spain: 2016 28th Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics: Solar System Exploration.

Nov 7-17 — Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics, International Space Weather Initiative, Sangli, Maharashtra, India: SCOSTEP/ISWI International School on Space Science.

Nov 12-15 — Canadian Space Society, Magellan Aerospace, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: 15th Canadian Space Society Annual Summit: At the Centre of it All! two-day public event hosted by Manitoba Museum followed by two-days for Conference proceedings & gala dinner.

Nov 13-15 — Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Florida (UF), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), Orlando FL: 1st IAA Conference on Space Situational Awareness (ICSSA).


Nov 15 — University of Hawai`i at Hilo, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, NASA, Hilo HI: Five-time Shuttle Astronaut & MIT Professor Jeff Hoffman to talk about Space Exploration; at UH Science & Technology Building, 18:00.

Nov 15 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Latest Exoplanet Results from NASA’s Kepler/K2 Mission; Ian Crossfield of UC Santa Cruz, 12:00.

Nov 15-16 — Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, Bombardier, Airbus, Lockheed Martin Corp., et al, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: 2016 Canadian Aerospace Summit.

Nov 15-16 — JAXA, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Joint JAXA, ISAS, LPL Workshop on Planetary Science Enabled by Epsilon Class Missions.

Nov 15-16 — Royal Aeronautical Society, ASTech Paris, et al, London, United Kingdom: London Space Week.

Nov 15-16 — Johnson Space Center Astromaterials and Exploration Sciences Division, NASA, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: First Hands-on Training in Coordinated Microbeam Analyses of Extraterrestrial Samples.

Nov 15-17 — SpaceCom, Houston TX: SpaceCom2016; at George R. Brown Convention Center.

Nov 15-17 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: NuSTAR Science Meeting 2016.

Nov 15-18 — Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), JAXA, Manila, Philippines: Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-23); at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

Nov 15 — Moon: 0.45° N of Aldebaran, 07:00.


Nov 16 — Mars Express, Mars Orbit: ESA Spacecraft to fly by Phobos today at 127-km altitude.

Nov 16 — Silicon Valley Space Center, Santa Clara CA: Small Satellite Manufacturing; Hale Reynolds, Director of Business Development at SSL, to discuss small satellite business and manufacturing at SSL, at Hacker Dojo 18:30-21:00.

Nov 16-18 — Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Space Traffic Management Conference Team, Daytona Beach FL: 3rd Annual Space Traffic Management Conference: Emerging Dynamics.

Nov 16 — Moon: 5.5° S of M35, 19:00.

Nov 16 — Apollo Asteroid 326302 (1998 VN): Near-Earth Flyby (0.088 AU).


Nov 17 — Roscosmos State Corporation, Launch Soyuz MS-03 / ISS 49S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Expedition 50/51 members Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, Thomas Pesquet of ESA, Peggy Whitson of NASA to launch to ISS.

Nov 17 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / Galileo 15-18, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ES rocket, designed VA233, to launch 4 Galileo satellites for Europe Galileo navigation constellation.

Nov 17 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Jupiter! Prof. David Stevenson, 16:00.

Nov 17 — Birmingham Astronomical Society, Birmingham, United Kingdom: Odyssey Dramatic Presentation: Lunatick Astronomy; at Soho House Museum.

Nov 17, 18 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series 2016: Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on the James Webb Space Telescope; Michael Ressler, MIRI Project Scientist, JPL.

Nov 17 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 UZ25: Near-Earth Flyby (0.078 AU).


 Nov 18 — ISS, Cygnus OA-5 Undocking, LEO: Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-5 cargo ship, dubbed S.S. Alan G. Poindexter, to be release from ISS and disintegrate in Earth atmosphere with waste.

Nov 18 — International Aerospace Quality Group – Asia Pacific Sector, Manila, Philippines: Asia Pacific Aerospace Quality Group (APAQG) Seminar.

Nov 18-19 — University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland: 14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting.

Nov 18 — Moon: 13.9° S of Castor, 02:00; 10.3° S of Pollux, 07:00; 2.8° NNE of Antares, 10:00.


 Nov 19 — Tiangong-2, Shenzhou 11 Return to Earth, 393-km LEO: Taikonauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong to return to Earth landing in Inner Mongolia, after 30 days in Tiangong-2 (33 days in Space) – this marks the 6th China Human space mission and longest duration to date.

Nov 19 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / GOES-R, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-069, to launch GOES-R, the first next-generation geostationary weather satellite for NASA and NOAA.

Nov 19 — Moon: 3.9° S of Beehive Cluster, 07:00.

Nov 19 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 UY56: Near-Earth Flyby (0.019 AU).

Nov 19 — Apollo Asteroid 433953 (1997 XR2): Near-Earth Flyby (0.048 AU).


Nov 20 — Swift, LEO: Observing gamma-ray bursts & their afterglows in gamma-ray, X-ray, ultraviolet, optical wavelengths from LEO, craft enters 13th year of operations today, launched in 2004.

 Nov 20 — CNSA, Launch Long March 3C / Tianlian 1, Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China: Long March 3C rocket scheduled to launch the 4th Tianlian 1 data relay satellite for China.

Nov 20-24 — UNOOSA, United Arab Emirates Space Agency, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: United Nations/United Arab Emirates – High Level Forum: Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development.

Nov 20 — Moon: At last quarter, 22:33.