SpaceX Dragon First Operational Mission Heralds New Era of Space Exploration
The Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft are ready for the SpaceX CRS-1 mission, scheduled to launch at 20:34 EDT on October 7 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A back up launch opportunity is available on Oct 8. This will be the 1st of 12 operational flights the Dragon capsule will conduct for NASA to the International Space Station, after the successful demo flight in May. After a 3-day journey, Expedition 33 NASA Commander Sunita Williams and JAXA’s Aki Hoshide will catch Dragon with Canadarm2 and guide it to the station’s Harmony node for birthing. Dragon will be carrying about 450kg of supplies, including critical materials for the 166 investigations planned for the Expedition 33 crew. Dragon is scheduled for a parachute-assisted splash down in late Oct, returning about 330kg of scientific materials and about 225kg of space station hardware. This mission marks the beginning of a new phase in USA Space exploration in which commercial space companies such as SpaceX are taking over LEO / ISS cargo and human transportation, allowing NASA to focus on deep space missions to Moon, Asteroids, Mars and beyond. (Image Credit: SpaceX, NASA)
World Space Week Explores ‘Space for Human Safety and Security’
The global space community celebrates the 13th annual World Space Week with events in over 50 countries, including 60 events across 10 cities in Pakistan. Coinciding with the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in Naples, WSW 2012 runs October 4 through Oct 10. These dates correspond respectively with anniversaries of Sputnik 1 in 1957 and enactment of the UN Outer Space Treaty in 1967. The theme, Space for Human Safety and Security, celebrates the many ways human activity in space improves our daily lives. Space faring capabilities and technologies support humanitarian efforts, help monitor urban sprawl, contribute to safety of maritime routing, aid search and rescue operations, measure air quality and pollution levels, monitor deforestation / desertification and track natural disasters. The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, which provides immediate access to Earth observation satellites for local authorities and emergency services after a disaster, has been activated over 200 times since its inception. Looking forward, a new initiative to ensure the long-term availability and reliability of data called Global Monitoring for Environment and Security should be fully operational by 2014. With 100 countries participating and 3,073 events to date, World Space Week under the direction of Dennis Stone, has proven to be a propulsive force for the lofty ambitions of our species. (Image Credit: WSW, NASM)
= 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), Jupiter (ENE), Saturn (W). Morning Planets: Venus (ENE).
Oct 1 — ISS, LEO: Scientific research and station maintenance continue as preparations build for the arrival on Oct 10 of SpaceX Dragon on the first operational Commercial Resupply mission to the orbiting research station.
Oct 1 — Curiosity, NASA JPL, Gale Crater, Mars: Rover is studying the sites Hottah and Link, believed to have been created by a vigorously flowing stream, looking for signs of microbial life on the way to primary mission destination Mount Sharp.
Jul 16 — New Horizons, Pluto Trajectory: Half way to Pluto, New Horizons is racing towards the planetary frontier; the mission, only the fifth human conceived spacecraft to travel so far from the Sun, is nearing 1,000 days to closest approach.
Oct 1 — ORBITEC, Madison WI: Working towards flight-demonstration of VR-3A liquid rocket engine this year with successful recent tests of advanced technology acoustic igniter, vortex / cold wall combustion chamber and carbon-carbon lightweight nozzle extension technologies.
Oct 1 — Astrotecture, Marc M. Cohen, Architect P. C., Palo Alto CA: Space Architecture outfit is to conduct a study under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts wing to evaluate a Robotic Asteroid Prospector mission based at Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1.
Oct 1 — Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Honolulu HI: State receives $250,000 FAA grant to conduct feasibility study of potential commercial space launch site.
Oct 1-5 — International Astronautical Federation, Naples, Italy: ‘63rd International Astronautical Congress.’
Oct 1-5 — International Academy of Astronautics, Naples, Italy: ‘41st Symposium on the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence – The Next Steps.’
Oct 1 — Mercury: 1.6° NNE of Spica, 04:00.
Aug 30- Dec 3 — GRAIL Mission, NASA JPL, Lunar Orbit: NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission Extended Science Operations.
Oct 2-3 — European Space Agency, Georgian Technical University, Institute of Lightweight Structures – Technical University of Munich, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: ‘Workshop on Large Deployable Antennas.’
Oct 2, 4 — International Institute of Space Law, Naples, Italy: ‘IISL Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition World Semi-Finals / Finals.’
Oct 2-5 — Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE – Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, European Space Agency, European Satellite Operators’ Association, Rome, Italy: ‘The First International IEE – AESS Conference in Europe about Space and Satellite Telecommunications.’
Oct 2 — Venus: 0.15° SW of Regulus, 19:00.
Oct 3-5 — Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Haystack Observatory, Westford MA: A workshop called ‘Radio Stars and Their Lives in the Galaxy.’
Oct 3-5 — European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: Two ESA workshops on SatCom User Terminal Antennas; ‘34th ESA Antenna Workshop;’ and ‘2nd Evolutions in Satellite Telecommunication Ground Segments Workshop.’
Oct 4 — ULA, Launch Delta 4 / GPS 2F-3, Cape Canaveral FL: A ULA Delta 4 rocket set to deploy the USAF 3rd Block 2F navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System; Launch window of 08:10-08:29 EDT from SLC-37B.
Oct 4 — NASA, Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, Monrovia CA: ‘Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group Meeting #26.’
Oct 4-6 — Flexure Engineering, Mountain View CA: ‘1st International Workshop on LunarCubes: The New Frontier.’
Oct 4-10 — World Space Week Association, Worldwide: ‘World Space Week 2012.’
Oct 4 — Moon: 4.3° S of Pleiades, 01:00.
Oct 4 — Moon: At Apogee (Distance: 404750 km); 15:00.
Oct 4 — Mercury: 3.1° SSW of Saturn, 19:00.
Oct 4 — Moon: 4.3° NNW of Aldebaran, 22:00.
Oct 5 — European Southern Observatory, Multiple Locations: ‘European Southern Observatory (ESO) 5oth Anniversary,’ marking 50 years of Europe’s quest to explore the southern sky; looking forward to next 50.
Oct 5 — Space Florida, NanoRacks, Cocoa FL: ‘Space Florida ISS Research Competition Preparatory Workshop.’
Oct 5 — Moon: 1.1° SE of Jupiter, 12:00.
Oct 6 — British Astronomical Association, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom: ‘Observing Projects with Asteroid-Comet Connections,’ a joint meeting of the BAA Comet Section and Asteroids and Remote Planets Section.
Oct 6 — Moon: 1.2° SW of 1 Ceres, 12:00.
Oct 6 — Asteroid 2009TK: Near-Earth Flyby (.045 AU).
Oct 7 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Dragon C3, Cape Canaveral FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch the 3rd Dragon spacecraft Dragon C3, which will be the 1st operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract; 20:34 EDT.
Oct 7 — Stanford On The Moon Alumni Club, Stanford CA: ‘Reunion Homecoming 2012 Conference: Meet the New Generation of Lunar Explorers,’ in the CEMEX Auditorium at the Graduate School of Business, 10:00-12:00 PDT.
Oct 7-8 — University of Arizona – Department of Physics / Department of Astronomy, Tucson AZ: ‘Exploring the Dark Universe: Frontier of Cosmology and Astrophysics in the 21st Century‘
Oct 7 — Moon: At last quarter, 21:33.