November 24-30, 2014 / Vol 33, No 47 / Hawai`i Island, USA

ISS Expedition 42/43 Ready to Launch, Continue Human Presence in Space

Exp 42-43

International Space Station Expedition 42/43 crew (TR) Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA, Terry Virts of NASA and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos are set to launch to LEO November 24 at 03:01 in Soyuz TMA-15M from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will travel on a 4-orbit, 6-hour journey before joining (BL) Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of Roscosmos and Yelena Serova of Roscosmos. Virts will take Command of the ISS March 12 when Exp 42 crew returns to Earth. Soyuz TMA-15M will return the Exp 43 crew to Earth May 11, 2015. The international team will work with the first 3D printer in Space, and experiments involving vegetable plant growth, colloids, antibiotic effectiveness, mouse stem cells and human physical / psychological changes. ISS external experiments Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (particle physics experiment), RapidScat (ocean wind observation) and Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS – optical communications investigation) continue collecting and transmitting data. Cumulative crew time on the ISS has now exceeded 5,135 days, and ISS has been in orbit more than 5,848 days. Expedition 42 is depicted in the film Gravity, and a poster was created to commemorate its connection to Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy. (Image Credit: NASA)


Nov 24 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 42 installing & calibrating Made in Space 3D printer, working with Seedling Growth experiment, transferring cargo from ATV-5 & Progress 57P; new crew undergoing ISS orientation.

  Nov 24 — Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Moon Orbit: Traveling in elliptical 30 x 180-km altitude orbit passing over lunar South Pole, collecting data on radiation, permanently shadowed regions, landing sites.

  Nov 24 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: In excellent health, operating nominally, ~626M km from Earth & 588 days from Jupiter Orbit Insertion; traveling at 47,043 kph with 35-minute one-way radio signal.

Nov 24 — RSA, Launch Soyuz TMA-15M / ISS 41S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch members of Expedition 42/43 to ISS: Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA, Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of RSA; 03:01 local time, live coverage available.

Nov 24 — Ad Astra Rocket Co., Webster TX: NewSpace company working to develop Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) engine with NASA collaboration; could be used for future ISS reboost, lunar cargo delivery, satellite repositioning / refueling, deep-space robotic missions.

Nov 24 — Blue Origin LLC, Kent WA: New unfunded Space Act Agreement milestones for NASA Commercial Crew Development to be met including testing of propellant tank, BE-3 engine, and pusher escape system.

Nov 24 — BoldlyGo Institute, New York NY: Planning to build, launch scientific space missions including Mars sample return mission & ASTRO-1 space telescope; BoD includes Jon Morse, Laurie Leshin, Scott Parazynski.

Nov 24 — NASA, Online / Washington DC: Discovery 2014 AO Pre-Proposal Conference; 11:00 – 14:30 EST.

NOV - JAN 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: Mars (SW); Morning Planets: Jupiter (ENE).

Japan Launch Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Explorer

Hayabusa 2

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is set to launch Hayabusa 2 asteroid explorer mission on H-2A Launch Vehicle No. 26 from Tanegashima Space Center on Sunday November 30. The 590-kg spacecraft is intended to reach the Asteroid 1999 JU3 by 2018, using specially built ion engines capable of producing 10 millinewtons thrust, improving on the original Hayabusa engines by over 20%. The selected 920-meter long asteroid is thought to be a C-type rocky asteroid with more organic or hydrated minerals than the S-type Itokawa asteroid explored previously by Hayabusa. The mission will spend about 1.5 years collecting data and samples, including the use of a “crackup installation” to impact and break up the surface in order to collect sub-surface regolith. The mission also carries 3 micro-rovers, MINERVA, and a small secondary lander, MASCOT, provided by Germany DLR and France CNES with additional instruments and the capability to jump from an initial landing site to another location. Near the end of 2019 Hayabusa 2 is expected to depart 1999 JU3. Upon arrival back to Earth orbit, a specialized re-entry capsule will detach and enter Earth atmosphere at 12 km/s, hopefully carrying the samples safely back to scientists. It is hoped that these experiments and related research will shed light on the origins and evolution of the Solar System and materials for life. (Image Credit: JAXA, Akihiro Ikeshita)

Nov 24 – Dec 12 — National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, Chiang Mai, Thailand: International School for Young Astronomers (ISYA 2014).

Nov 24 — Venus: 4.5° N of Antares, 10:00.

Continued from…

Oct 20 – Dec 12 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Space Frontier Foundation, Online: Commercial Space Executive Leadership Training Course; with instructors Dan Rasky and Bruce Pittman.

Nov 11-25 — Christie’s Inc., Online: Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites sale.

NET Nov 18 — ESA, Launch Vega / Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, Kourou, French Guiana: Vega rocket, designated flight VV04, to launch IXV project to test critical technologies for future reentry vehicles; will reach 420-km altitude, splashdown in Pacific Ocean.


Nov 25 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with MIT authors regarding their paper on Mars One.

Nov 25-27 — Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Suva, Fiji: Pacific GIS/RS User Conference: Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data; at Japan Pacific ICT Centre.

Nov 25 — Mercury: 1.6° SSW of Saturn, 14:00.

Nov 25 — Moon: 6.5° N of Mars, 22:00.


Nov 26-27 — Satellite Interference Reduction Group, Birmingham, United Kingdom: 1st IET Secure and Efficient Satellite Communications Conference.

Nov 26-27 — Centre for Particle Physics of Marseilles, Marseille, France: NEUTRINO Research Group (GDR) Meeting.

Nov 26-28 — Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan: 3rd Observational Cosmology Workshop.

Nov 26 — Asteroid 2014 VG10: Near-Earth flyby (0.040 AU).


Nov 27-28 — ESO, Heidelberg University, Santiago, Chile: International Symposium: Life as a Planetary Phenomenon; at ESO Vitacura Auditorium.

Nov 27 — Moon: At perigee (distance 369,454 km), 12:54.

Nov 27 — Asteroid 2014 WR6: Near-Earth flyby (0.045 AU).

Nov 27 — Asteroid 2014 WA5: Near-Earth flyby (0.057 AU).

Nov 27 — Asteroid 2014 TX57: Near-Earth flyby (0.072 AU).


Nov 28 — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / Astra 2G, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: International Launch Services Proton rocket with Breeze M upper stage to launch ASTRA 2G communications satellite for SES of Luxembourg.

Nov 28 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Leroy Chiao; US$49.95 adult.


Nov 29 – Dec 4 — Northwestern University Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, Waikoloa HI: Extreme Solar Systems III.

Nov 29 — Moon: At first quarter, 00:06.


Nov 30 — JAXA, Launch H-2A / Hayabusa 2, Tanegashima Space Center, Japan: JAXA Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Explorer mission to launch today; expected to arrive at C-type asteroid “1999 JU3” in 2018, study for about 1.5 years and return to Earth 2020.

Nov 30 — ISC Kosmotras, Launch Dnepr / ASNARO 1, Dombarovsky, Russia: Dnepr rocket to launch the ASNARO 1 Earth observation satellite for Japan Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer, and 4 microsatellites.

Nov 30 – Dec 5 — International Astronomical Union, Punta Leona, Costa Rica: The Sun to Stars and Stellar Environments.