October 17-23, 2016 / Vol 35, No 42 / Hawai`i Island, USA

ISS Crew Launch and Antares Resupply: Maintaining a Human Presence in Space


The Soyuz MS-02 mission is set to launch ISS Expedition 49/50, Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrei Borisenko, and Robert Kimbrough toward the International Space Station on 19 October at 2:05pm from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is the 131st crewed flight of Soyuz. The capsule is scheduled to remain on station for about 6 months as an escape pod in case of evacuation. NASA’s recent inquiry to the commercial space sector on how it might use an available docking port on the ISS has been met with enthusiastic responses from various private space companies. John Holdren and Charles Bolden noted strong desire among USA firms to attach fully fledged commercial modules to the ISS, expanding on what Bigelow accomplished with BEAM. Commercial cargo and resupply is already being provided to ISS by the un-crewed SpaceX Dragon and Orbital ATK Cygnus. An Antares rocket in 230 configuration is scheduled to launch Cygnus OA-5 with about 2,400 kg of provisions and research gear to the ISS NET Oct 16. The return to flight comes almost 2 years after the failure on Oct 28, 2014 of the Orb-3 launch. Building on commercial access to the ISS supports the continuing transition of human LEO spaceflight operations to the commercial sector so national programs across the planet can focus on pushing frontiers further out into the Solar System. (Image Credit: RSA, NASA, Orbital ATK)



star-grey Oct 17 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 49 expecting OA-5 arrival with 2,400 kg of cargo and Soyuz with three Expedition 49-50 crew members after a 2-day flight; originally planned to leave mid-Oct Ivanishin, Onishi, Rubins expected to return to Earth Oct 30 after training new crew Ryzhikov, Borisenko, Kimbrough.

star-grey Oct 17 — CNSA, Launch Long March 2F / Shenzhou 11, Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Inner Mongolia: Two Astronauts to launch to new Tiangong-2 space lab to test space docking and rendezvous, re-entry of the crew space module and flight support technologies for future astronauts; crew to perform longest mission for China (30-days).

star-grey Oct 17 — INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL), LEO: Detecting some of the most energetic space radiation, ESA gamma-ray observatory enters 15th year of operations in LEO; launched 2002.

circle-grey Oct 17 — ISRO, Bengaluru, India: Steadily advancing GSLV Mk 3 toward Human launch capabilities, India launch vehicles with indigenous technologies are displaying reliability with 23 successful PSLV launches, 5 successful GSLV (+1 partial success) and 1 successful RLV-TD so far.

circle-full-grey Oct 17 — NASA, Washington DC: US President Obama discusses NASA efforts toward planned Human missions to Mars in 2030s via SLS / Orion, starting with Humans in Lunar orbit; “Mars Generation” would likely also be inspired to see 1st Woman on the Moon, Humans Returning to the Moon, Lunar Outposts – all in 2020s, and plans for Jupiter / Saturn Human Missions in 2040s and Beyond.

circle-grey Oct 17 — Independence X, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: GLXP team hoping to secure funding to launch its rover to Moon August 2017 on ISRO PSLV, estimates it needs €23 million (RM106.6 million) total = €20 million (RM92.7 ­million) for launch, €3 million (RM13.9 million) for ­logistics and spacecraft, team led by Izmir Yamin.

oct-dec-2016 = 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 (E), Neptune (SE); Morning Planets: Mercury (E), Jupiter (E).

ExoMars 2016 Attempts
First Europe Mars Landing


The European Space Agency ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is set to enter Mars orbit October 19, after a 7-month / 500-million km journey, while the Schiaparelli craft makes its way to the surface to collect data for 2-8 Martian days (each Sol is 24h 39m 35.244s). They will join 5 international orbiters and 2 rovers. This is the 2nd ESA Mars orbiter and 1st Mars landing attempt. The 600-kg Schiaparelli Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) is planned to enter atmosphere at 21,000 kph, and land using a heat shield, parachute, propulsion system and crushable structure in a 100×15 km area in Meridiani Planum region – close to equator in southern highlands of Mars. The 3,732-kg TGO will undergo several months of aerobraking to achieve 400-km circular orbit. Its 5-year lifetime should allow for atmospheric / science data collection starting Dec 2017, support data relay for NASA craft on Mars, and provide communications for ExoMars 2020 Lander & Rover scheduled to land 2021. Roscosmos contributions to ExoMars missions are two heavy-lift Proton launch vehicles and an entry, descent and landing system for 2020 rover mission. ESA has conducted robotic missions to the Moon, Comet Halley, Sun, Venus, Saturn moon Titan and will aim for Mercury with JAXA on BepiColombo mission 2018. (Image Credit: ESA, ATG medialab, Roscosmos, CaSSIS, UniBE, NASA, JPL, Caltech, MSSS, University of AZ)

circle-grey Oct 17 — Asgardia Project Team, Multiple Locations: Global multi-disciplinary effort to create 1st Independent Nation in Space called ‘Asgardia’ to open access to Space, foster peace, protect Earth; welcomes over 100,000 citizen applications in 48 hours, setting 1 million citizen goal; 1st satellite launch planned fall 2017; the satellite will comprise nation itself, having its own legal framework, flag, symbols of nationhood; Project Lead Igor Ashurbeyli.

circle-full-grey Oct 17 — Terra Bella, Mountain View CA: Previously known as Skybox Imaging, company is operating 7 satellites, plans to launch a fleet of 24 satellites for commercial high-resolution Earth imagery and video, will be customer on SSO-A launch late 2017 with ~20 other payloads brokered by Spaceflight Industries.

Oct 17 — Canadian Space Agency, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada: CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques to visit Inuksuk High School to present educational tool designed to help students better understand the role space and satellites play in their daily lives.

Oct 17 — University of Arizona Department of Astronomy, Steward Observatory, Tucson AZ: Focusing the Universe; film on the history of Steward Observatory followed by panel discussion.

Oct 17-20 — National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, European Association for Signal Processing, International Union of Radio Science, et al, Socorro NM: Coexisting with Radio Frequency Interference.

Oct 17-21 — International Astronomical Union, University of São Paulo, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Maresias, Brazil: IAU Symposium 328: Living Around Active Stars.

Oct 17 — Amor Asteroid 2016 SO2: Near-Earth flyby (0.057 AU).

Continued from…

NET Q4 — Interorbital Systems Corp., Launch Neptune 5 (5 CPM) vehicle / 30 Nanosats, Mojave CA: Planning to launch Neptune 5 Common Propulsion Module (CPM) to loft 30 nanosats to LEO, including payloads for GLXP teams Synergy Moon, Part-Time Scientists, Plan B & EuroLuna.

Oct 15 – Sep 4, 2017 — Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA: Lunar Attraction Exhibit; featuring 60 Apollo memorabilia, paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, movies, jewelry that illustrate our profound connection to the Moon.

Oct 16-21 — American Astronomical Society, Pasadena CA: 48th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society / 11th European Planetary Science Conference (DPS 48 / EPSC); at Pasadena Convention Center; Educator Workshop: Journey to the Outer Worlds to be held Oct 16.

Oct 16-21 — Caltech, Carnegie Observatories, Giant Magellan Telescope, IPAC, JPL, Kidspace Children’s Museum, Mt. Wilson Observatory, Pasadena City College,  Planetary Society, TMT, Pasadena CA: Pasadena Astronomy Week.


Oct 18 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: The Radio Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at the SETI Institute; Gerry Harp of SETI, 12:00.

Oct 18-21 — Italy National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), European Gravitational Observatory, Pisa, Italy: 11th Workshop on Science with the New Generation of High Energy Gamma-ray Experiments.

Oct 18-22 — Astrobiology Institute of Colombia, Municipality of Manizales, University of Manizales, NASA, Manizales, Colombia: 3rd International Astrobiology Congress.

Oct 18-23 — University Space Engineering Consortium (UNISEC), Varna, Bulgaria: 7th Nanosatellite Symposium, Deorbit Device Competition, 4th Mission Idea Contest, and 4th UNISEC-Global Meeting.

Oct 18 — Mercury: 9.1° S of Pleiades, 05:00; 0.34° NNW of Aldebaran, 20:00.

Oct 18 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 TY55: Near-Earth flyby (0.007 AU).

Oct 18 — Amor Asteroid 2016 TW85: Near-Earth flyby (0.019 AU).

Oct 18 — Aten Asteroid 2014 UR: Near-Earth flyby (0.031 AU).

Oct 18 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 TE55: Near-Earth flyby (0.034 AU).


Oct 19 — Roscosmos State Corporation, Launch Soyuz MS-02 / ISS 48S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Expedition 49/50 members Robert Kimbrough of NASA, Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos to launch to ISS.

Oct 19 — ExoMars 2016 Orbiter & Schiaparelli, Mars Orbit & Surface: ESA Trace Gas Orbiter expected to enter Mars orbit today, and Entry, Descent & Landing Demonstrator Module (Schiaparelli) to land on surface & collect data for 2-8 Martian days.

Oct 19 — Juno, Jupiter Orbit: Spacecraft to conduct Period Reduction Maneuver today, with engine burn of 22 minutes.

Oct 19 — Library of Congress Science, Technology and Business Division, Washington DC: Lecture: Preparing for the Next Generation of Crewed Planetary Surface Exploration – Incorporating Field Portable Technology; Kelsey Young, 11:30.

Oct 19 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Colloquium: Light to Life; Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University, 15:30.

Oct 19 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: OS Maps Go Out of this World; Nigel Clifford, Chief Executive of the Ordnance Survey (OS), 19:00.

Oct 19 — Mars: 3.3° S of Pluto, 04:00.

Oct 19 — Amor Asteroid 2016 TW85: Near-Earth flyby (0.019 AU).

Oct 19 — Amor Asteroid 2016 TP: Near-Earth flyby (0.080 AU).


NET Oct 20 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Progress 65P, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Russia Soyuz rocket to launch Progress 65P resupply ship to ISS.

Oct 20 — Juno, Jupiter Orbit: Spacecraft begins Orbits 2-3 today, will last 23 days.

Oct 20 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Assessing the Geologic Evolution of Greater Thaumasia Mars; Don Hood of Louisiana State University, 15:30.

Oct 20, 21 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series 2016: Robotic gripping technologies (Gecko-bot); speaker TBA.

Oct 20 — Mars: 5.7° S of M35, 10:00.

Oct 20 — Asteroid 1 Ceres: At opposition, 15:00.

Oct 20 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 TH55: Near-Earth flyby (0.068 AU).


Oct 21 — Northampton Natural History Society, Northampton, United Kingdom: Odyssey Dramatic Presentation: Carl Sagan – Man of the Cosmos; Andrew Lound, UK National Coordinator for the Planetary Society.

Oct 21 — Stanford on the Moon (SOM), Stanford CA: SOM Advisory Committee Meeting for first assessments of SOM Endowment Fund applicability; during Stanford Reunion Homecoming held Oct 20-23.

Oct 21-28 — National Meteorological Satellite Center (NMSC), Songdo City, Incheon, S Korea: 7th Asia-Oceania / 2nd AMS-Asia / 2nd KMA Meteorological Satellite Users’ Conference.

Oct 21 — Moon: 14.1° S of Castor, 18:00; 10.5° S of Pollux, 23:00.

Oct 21 — Mercury: 3.2° NNE of Spica, 01:00.


Oct 22 — Cassini: Flyby of Telesto (59,000-km altitude).

Oct 22 — Caltech, Carnegie Observatories, Giant Magellan Telescope, IPAC, JPL, Kidspace Children’s Museum, Mt. Wilson Observatory, Pasadena City College,  Planetary Society, TMT, Pasadena CA: Pasadena Astronomy Festival; at Pasadena Convention Center, 14:00-20:00.

Oct 22 — Satnews, Mansat and Dentons US LLP, Washington DC: 4th Annual Space & Satellite Regulatory Colloquium.

Oct 22 — Moon: At last quarter, 09:14.


Oct 23 — Chang’e-5T1 Service Module, Lunar Orbit: China module collecting data on Lunar surface for future Moon missions reaches 2 full years in Space today, launched 2014.

Oct 23 — Moon: 4.2° S of Beehive Cluster, 00:00.

Oct 23 — Asteroid 18 Melpomene: At opposition, 03:00.

Oct 23 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 HE10: Near-Earth flyby (0.076 AU).

Oct 23 — Apollo Asteroid 2013 UD1: Near-Earth flyby (0.090 AU).