September 22-28, 2014 / Vol 33, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA

International Space Station: Looking toward Moon, Mars, Stars and Future Transport Systems

Exp ISS 41Expedition 41 crew Alexander Samokutyaev (RSA), Yelena Serova (RSA) and Barry Wilmore (NASA) are set for a 6-hour journey from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-14 on September 26 at 02:25. Serova will become the fourth Russian woman to fly in space. The trio will join Commander Max Suraev (RSA), Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman (NASA) and Alexander Gerst (ESA), and stay aboard the station until March 12, 2015. There are two USA and one Russia EVAs planned for Exp 41. Some of their science investigations involve observation of meteors entering Earth atmosphere, seedling growth, Zebrafish muscle mass and mice osteocytes / bone health. The mission patch, designed by the crew, represents the path of Human space exploration from LEO to the Moon, Mars and Stars beyond. Russia with its Soyuz rocket remains the only provider for Human launches into space, costing USA US$70M a seat. NASA recently selected Boeing Co. and SpaceX to provide between 2-6 flights of 4 Astronauts to LEO beginning 2017, with contracts up to $4.2B & $2.6B respectively. The agency is also working on the deep space Orion capsule and Space Launch System. (Image Credit: NASA, Boeing, SpaceX)

Europe, China Advancing Joint Scientific Space Mission With 2nd Planning Workshop

ESA_China0914Scientists from Europe and China will present their ideas about a possible joint scientific space mission at the 2nd ESA-CAS workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 23-24. Presentations by joint Europe / China teams will outline specific scientific objectives and early mission concepts for potential missions. More details concerning the technical and programmatic requirements for mission proposals will be provided and discussed at the workshop in preparation for the release of a formal call for missions later this year. Proposals must be co-signed by two Co-PIs, one affiliated with an ESA Member State institution, the other with a China institution. All stages of the mission will be carried out by joint teams and data rights will be shared. Twenty-one pairs will present their mission proposals at the workshop through oral or poster presentations. Possible science objectives include astronomy, solar science and fundamental physics, yet no Moon or Mars mission proposals will be accepted, as they are – in both agencies – covered under different programs. Spacecraft launch mass must be under 300 kg with a science payload under 60 kg, requiring under 65W of power. Both ESA and China are expected to contribute up to US$64M towards the selected mission. (Image Credit: ESA, CAS, Allan Philiba)

SEP-NOV = 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: Mercury (WSW), Mars (SW), Saturn (SW); Morning Planets: Venus (E), Jupiter (E).


Sep 22 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 41 crew measuring loads on station during dynamic events (reboosts, craft berthing), transferring cargo / equipment from ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre, will work to restore NanoRacks CubeSat deployer.

Sep 22 — ISS, Dragon CRS 4 Grapple & Berthing, LEO: Dragon CRS-4 resupply craft to be grappled 11:30 UT by Gerst & Wiseman using 17-m Canadarm2, live coverage available.

Sep 22 — Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), Mars Orbit: Spacecraft to test fire 440N liquid apogee motor in preparation for Mars Insertion Orbit Sep 24.

Sep 22 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Titan at 1,400-km altitude; science teams studying data of clumps in F ring, lakes / seas & weather patterns on Titan, ~0.8-km wide object which may be new Moon forming.

Sep 22 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: On target for Jul 4, 2016 Jupiter arrival; about 670M km from Earth with one-way radio signal travel time ~37 minutes, traveling at 52,535 kph relative to Sun; traveled 2.3B km (15.28 AU) since Aug 2011 launch.

Sep 22 — Blue Origin LLC, Kent WA: NewSpace company partnering with ULA to develop 4,893,043-netwon BE-4 rocket; planning full scale testing 2016, first flight 2019.

 Sep 22 — Flexure Engineering, Multiple Locations USA: Designing Midnight Rambler – Lunar and Icy Moon Rover to operate in -120 kelvin or below conditions.

Sep 22 — Midland International Airport, Midland TX: With FAA Commercial Space Launch Site License, will become Midland International Air & Space Port; XCOR Aerospace & Orbital Outfitters planning to become first tenants.

Sep 22-24 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Graz, Austria: United Nations/Austria Symposium: Space Science and the United Nations.

Sep 22-24 — Astrophysics Laboratory of Marseille, Marseille, France: Joint WISH + First Galaxies International Workshop.

Sep 22-25 — Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany: Workshop: Exoplanets with JWST – MIRI; to discuss future capabilities of James Webb Space Telescope and its MIRI instrument.

Sep 22-26 — Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Heidelberg, Germany: 9th Heidelberg Summer School: Frontiers of Stellar Structure and Evolution; at MPIA.

Sep 22 — Fall / Autumn Equinox: The Sun, appearing to travel along the ecliptic, reaches the point where it crosses the equator into the southern hemisphere, 16:29.

Continued from…

Sep 18-24 — 100 Year Starship, NASA, DARPA, Houston TX: 2014 100YSS Public Symposium: Pathway to the Stars, Footprints on Earth.

Sep 20-23 — Nicolaus Copernicus University, Polish Academy of Sciences, Aleksander Jablonski Foundation, Astronomy Students’ Scientific Association, Torun, Poland: International Conference of Young Astronomers (ICYA).

Sep 20-28 — Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Alajar, Spain: Meeting: Growth and Evolution of the Milky Way’s Nuclear Star Cluster and its Central Black Hole.


Sep 23-24 — ESA, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Copenhagen, Denmark: 2nd Workshop: Planning for a joint scientific space mission – Chinese Academy of Sciences & European Space Agency.

Sep 23-25 — Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council, Phuket, Thailand: APSCC 2014 Satellite Conference: New Landscape for Satellites – Asia and Beyond; at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa.

Sep 23-27 — University of Belgrade, Belgrade Astronomical Observatory, Belgrade, Serbia: XVII National Conference of Astronomers of Serbia.

Sep 23 — Moon: 3.8° SSW of Venus, 03:00; New Moon, 20:12.

Sep 23 — Asteroid 2007 RY19: Near-Earth flyby (0.072 AU).


NET Sep 24 — ISRO, Launch GSLV Mk 3 / Atmospheric Test Flight, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk 3 to launch on suborbital test flight, will carry mock-up human crew module.

Sep 24 — Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), Mars Orbit: Spacecraft to enter 365-km x 80,000-km altitude orbit around Mars today; spend 6-10 months studying surface features, morphology, mineralogy, atmosphere using 5 indigenous instruments.

Sep 24 — Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Speaker’s Night: The Search for Earth 2.0; presented by Prof. Sara Seager from MIT.

Sep 24-26 — University of Messina, Bonino-Pulejo Foundation, Messina, Italy: International Conference: Dark Matter, Hadron Physics and Fusion Physics.

Sep 24 – Oct 2 — Nordic Network of Astrobiology, EU COST (Cooperation in Space and Technology), La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain: Summer Course on Exoplanets.


Sep 25 — Cassini OTM-392, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #392 today.

Sep 25 — Purdue University, West Lafayette IN: Gene Kranz, former NASA flight director, gives lecture at Purdue University.

Sep 25-27 — Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Imperial College London, Institute of Physics, Oxford, United Kingdom: Dark Matter at the Large Hadron Collider.

Sep 25-27 — Space Generation Advisory Council, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Space Generation Congress 2014; 13th annual event.

Sep 25 — Moon: 2.5° NNE of Spica, 17:00.


Sep 26 — RSA, Launch Soyuz TMA-14 / ISS 40S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch members of Expedition 41/42: Yelena Serova of RSA, Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samoukutyaev of RSA; 02:25 local time, live coverage available.

Sep 26 — The National Academies, Washington DC: Review of NASA’s Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks.

Sep 26 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, John Blaha; US$49.95 adult.

Sep 26-28 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, International Astronautical Federation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: United Nations/International Astronautical Federation Workshop on Space Technology for Socio-Economic Benefits.

Sep 26-29 — Gordon’s Park, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada: Dark Side of the Moon Star Party.

Sep 26 — Moon: 4.1° NNE of Mercury, 02:00.

Sep 26 — Asteroid 2009 FG19: Near-Earth flyby (0.089 AU).


Sep 27 — Space Center Houston, Santa Clara CA: 2014 Silicon Valley Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum; at Santa Clara Convention Center.

Sep 27 — Moon: 1.2° NW of Saturn, 18:00.

Sep 27 — Asteroid 2007 DL41: Near-Earth flyby (0.047 AU).


Sep 28 — RSA, Launch Proton / Olymp, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Russia Proton rocket with Breeze M upper stage to launch classified payload known as Olymp (Olympus) or Luch (Beam).

Sep 28 — International Academy of Astronautics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: International Academy of Astronautics Academy Day.

Sep 28 — Moon: 3.1° N of Antares, 03:00.