October 17-23, 2011 / Vol 30, No 42 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Galileo Satellites Onboard 1st Launch of Soyuz from French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz ST-B vehicle is set to liftoff on its maiden flight from Kourou, French Guiana, carrying 2 Galileo navigation satellites for ESA NET October 20. The €3.4B (US$4.7B) mission, designated as ‘VS01,’ will provide highly accurate global positioning services and give Europe its own independent, space-based global satellite network. Weighing approximately 700kg each, the 2 satellites will be the 1st set of 4 satellites to be launched under the In-Orbit Validation phase of the mission and are expected to last 12 years. When the Soyuz Fregat upper stage reaches the orbital insertion point of 23,000km, it will fire a pyrotechnic separation system to place the twin satellites in circular orbit. Once in orbit, the system will be assessed through tests using the operations of GIOVE A and B satellites which are currently in Space, as well as ground facilities located in Germany, Italy and Sweden. The Galileo system will ultimately comprise of 30 in-orbit navigation satellites. The next set of satellites is set to launch NET 2012. (Credit: ESA)

New Mexico Events Heralding Imminent Launch of Commercial Space Industry

The International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) is holding its 7th annual meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico on October 19-20. Panel sessions will feature a range of discussions on the commercial space industry’s most pressing topics including innovation, regulation, sub-orbital and orbital vehicle development and where humans may fit into the mix. This year’s ISPCS theme is ‘Business at the Speed of Innovation’, and the event will feature participation of leaders from the prominent American commercial space companies such as Bigelow, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp, XCOR and ATK. Organized by the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, the event will feature keynote addresses from Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation FAA George Nield (L) and NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver (R). On Oct 18, Virgin Galactic and its sister aerospace production company, The Spaceship Co will host their first-ever Industry Day at Spaceport America, near Las Cruces, NM. Participants will have the opportunity to view WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo up close in their new home. The event is designed to educate potential suppliers on what sorts of goods and services will be needed by both companies, and to spread the word that commercial space travel will soon be a reality. (Credit: Virgin Galactic, NASA, NMSPC)

= 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 – Morning Planets: Mars (E) / Evening Planets: Venus (WSW), Jupiter (ENE).


Oct 17 — International Space Station, LEO: E-29 crew continues with science experiments and maintenance work as well as perform routine checkout of Robonaut 2 inside the station’s Destiny laboratory.

Oct 17 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: All systems nominal in scientific phase of mission as LRO continues to make digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Oct 17 — Mars Orbiters, Red Planet: Three functioning spacecrafts currently orbiting Mars include NASA Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA Mars Express.

Oct 17 — Space Show, Nationwide: This week’s Space Show continues to cover important space issues with informative interviews from space advocates.

Oct 17-18 — NASA Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), Pasadena CA:Uranus Working Group Meeting.’

Oct 17-19 — International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, Versailles, France:5th IAASS Conference: A Safer Space for a Safer World,’ an invitation to reflect and exchange information on a number of topics in space safety and sustainability of national and international interest.

Oct 17-20 — Max Planck Institute, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, et al, Heidelberg, Germany:Workshop: The Emerging, Multi-Wavelength View of the Galactic Center Environment.’

Oct 17-21 — International Academy of Astronautics, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Damascus, Syria:1st Regional IAA Conference in the Middle East: Space For Sustainable Development in the Middle East.’

Oct 17-24 — NASA, Key Largo FL:15th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations,’ 1st expedition to simulate a trip to an asteroid.

Oct 17 — Comet C / 2010 X1: Closest Approach to Earth (0.233 AU).

Oct 17 — Asteroid 2009 TM8: Near-Earth Flyby (0.002 AU).

Continued from…

Sep 22 — Space Adventures, NASA, ESA, JAXA, Online: Closing date submissions for ‘YouTube Space Lab Competition;’ through Dec 7.


Oct 18 — Virgin Galactic, New Mexico Spaceport Authority, et al, Las Cruces NM:Virgin Galactic 1st Industry Day.’

Oct 18 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: 21st Annual Business Opportunities Expo 2011.’

Oct 18-20 — Applied Technology Institute, Huntsville AL: Space Mission Analysis and Design,’ Edward Keith.

Oct 18 — Epsilon Geminid Meteors: Appearing to radiate from Constellation Gemini, the Epsilon Geminids is a weak shower with very fast meteoroids.

Oct 18 — Asteroid 2009 UC: Near-Earth Flyby (0.057 AU).


NET Oct 19 — ILS, Launch Proton / ViaSat 1, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An ILS Proton rocket with Breeze M upper stage set to deploy the ViaSat 1 satellite to provide high speed Ka-band Internet services over the USA.

Oct 19 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘The Oxygen Isotopic Composition of the Sun: Implications for Solar Nebula Chemistry,’ Kevin McKeegan.

Oct 19 — The British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom:The Imagery of Apollo: A Visual and Technical Appraisal.’

Oct 19 — ESA, Avanti Communications, Oxford, United Kingdom:Workshop: Demonstrating Applications Using HYLAS 1 Satellite.’

Oct 19 — University of Hawaii – Hilo (UHH), Hilo, Hawai`i Island: Lecture to be given and UHH, featuring 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Brian Schmidt at 19:00.

Oct 19-20 — New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, Las Cruces NM:7th International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) 2011.’

Oct 19-20 — NASA Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), Pasadena CA:NASA OPAG Workshop.’

Oct 19-21 — Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, Laurel MD:Workshops on Spacecraft Flight Software.’

Oct 19 — Moon: 9.8° SSW of Pollux, 11:00; At Last Quarter, 17:31.


NET Oct 20 — Arianespace, Launch Soyuz / Galileo, Kourou, French Guiana: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket set to launch 1st mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America.

Oct 20 — Cassini OTM-296, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #296 today.

Oct 20 — Moon: 5.4° SSW of Beehive Cluster; 13:00.

Oct 20 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2011 SL189 (0.074 AU); 2011 SO32 (0.084 AU).

Oct 20 — Asteroid 2118 Flagstaff: Closest Approach to Earth (1.138 AU).


Oct 21 — Stanford On The Moon Alumni Club, Stanford CA:Reunion Homecoming 2011 Conference: Meet the New Generation of Lunar Explorers!‘ meet and greet event, featuring teams from the Google Lunar X-Prize on Stanford Campus.

Oct 21 — Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island VA: NASA to invite 50 social media guests for a behind-the-scenes tour of its Wallops Flight Facility from 09:00-15:30 EDT.

Oct 21 — Orionids Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from the Constellation Orion, this shower could produce dozens of meteors per hour, however, the Moon will rise in the wee hours of the morning, hampering shower visibility.

Oct 21 — Moon: 6.1° SSW of Mars; 11:00.


Oct 22 — Zero Gravity Corporation, San Francisco CA: Commercial weightless flight on board G-Force One.

Oct 22 — Sally Ride Science, Houston TX: Sally Ride Science Festival,’ event to encourage STEM education for girls in grades 5-8.

Oct 22 — The British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom:Lecture: Attitudes to Human Spaceflight,’ Chris Lintott.

Oct 22 — Moon: 5.5° SSW of Regulus; 05:00.

Oct 22 — Asteroid 2011 SM68: Near-Earth Flyby (0.093 AU).


Oct 23 — San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego CA: Space: A Journey to Our Future,’ event to feature dozens of interactive multimedia displays that reveal the history and future of space exploration.

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