September 25 – October 1, 2017 / Vol 36, No 39 / Hawai`i Island, USA

68th IAC in Australia Hosting 4,000 Participants, Multitude of Events

The International Astronautical Federation 68th International Astronautical Congress with theme ‘Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security’ is being held in Adelaide, Australia September 25-29 with IAA, IISL and Space Industry Association of Australia. Nearly 4,000 participants are expected to attend and 2,417 abstracts have been accepted from 67 countries. The Heads of Space Agencies will discuss plans for individual countries, commercial activities and the need to attract more women to the Space workforce; speakers include (left T-B) Jan Woerner (ESA), Igor Komarov (Roscosmos), Sylvain Laporte (CSA), Robert Lightfoot (NASA), Naoki Okumura (JAXA), S Somanath (ISRO) and  Tian Yulong (CNSA). Key features of IAC are the Astronauts Panel with (right T-B) Sandy Magnus, Pamela Melroy, Chiaki Mukai, Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, Sergei Krikalev, Frank Culbertson, Michael López-Alegria; the Exhibition focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation; Highlight and Plenary Lectures speakers including  Bill Nye, Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Simonetta Di Pippo, Bernard Foing, Peter Beck, Peter Martinez, William Gerstenmaier; and the IAF “3G” Geography – Generation – Gender International Platform for Diversity and Equality in Astronautics breakfasts “First Woman on the Moon” Sep 27 and “Gender Diverse Space Workforce” Sep 28. On the final day of IAC Lockheed Martin will unveil new details on plans for human exploration of Mars starting in 2020s. The Space Generation Congress (SGC) 2017 is being held Sep 21-23. The 2018 IAC is panned for Germany and 2019 (the 50th Observation of Apollo 11) is set for Washington DC. (Image Credit: IAF, IISL, IAA, UN, ESA, NASA, et al)


Sep 25 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 53 six-member crew installing Fast Neutron Spectrometer, working with astronomy experiment to observe / characterize meteor showers, preparing for 3 EVAs planned next month;  Progress 67P to perform ISS reboost for 68P arrival in 2 weeks.

Sep 25 — NewSpace: Neumann Space of Adelaide working to develop ion thruster to convert space junk into fuel; NanoRacks working toward first private airlock on ISS; Asgardia first space nation advancing satellite plans and constitution.

Sep 25 — Solar System: Mars Odyssey orbiter reveals high amounts of hydrogen (potential sign of buried water ice or very hydrated salts) around Mars equator; Europa Clipper mission being planned; Juno produces new Jupiter images; China planning probes to Jupiter in 2036 & Uranus in 2046.

Sep 25 — Galaxy: Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) Survey shows Milky Way satellite galaxies are more tranquil than other comparable systems; researchers determining source of X-ray burst in Galactic Bulge 16,300-40,000 LY away.

Sep 25 — Global: ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar says PSLV launches to resume Nov or Dec; Zhang Rongqiao talks about China Mars 2020 mission plans; Singapore Astroscale and JAXA to develop space-debris removal technology.

Sep 25 — USA: Ellen Ochoa talks about Cislunar Deep Space Gateway, USA potential ‘pivot to Moon’; NASA Admin nominee submits pre-hearing questionnaire views on national Space challenges; SLS final major core stage structure (liquid H2 tank) being worked on at Michoud Assembly Facility.

Sep 25 — Hawai`i: HI-SEAS 5 results & tests ongoing after mission completion, next 8-month Space simulation mission to commence Jan 2018; Mauna Kea / TMT update on contested hearing.

Sep 25-27 — German Research Foundation (DFG), Jena, Germany: Conference: Planet Formation and Evolution 2017.

Sep 25-29 — International Astronautical Federation, IAA, IISL, Space Industry Association of Australia, et al, Adelaide, Australia: 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 (IAC 2017); multidisciplinary congress that covers all space sectors and topics.

= 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: Jupiter (WSW), Saturn (SW), Uranus (E), Neptune (SE); Morning Planets: Mercury (E), Mars (E), Venus (E).

Europe Innovating Solar System and Planetary Science, Exploration

The European Geosciences Union is organizing “Geoscience for Understanding Habitability in the Solar System and Beyond” on September 25-29 in Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal. The conference is a continuation of the EGU Galileo series of meetings and is co-organized by COST Action, Nordic Network of Astrobiology, and Belgian Planet Topers project. Co-chairs Veronique Dehant of Royal Observatory of Belgium and Wolf Geppert of Stockholm University Astrobiology Centre look forward to addressing fundamental issues of habitability, namely environmental conditions and interaction between interior, surface and atmosphere as well as hotly debated questions in the field like “What influence do comet and asteroid impacts exert on the evolution of the planet?”. There are 16 invited speakers from 7 countries. Good results are emerging from the European Planetary Science Congress 2017 concluding Sep 17-22 in Riga, Latvia. Chair of the local organizing committee Amara Graps, based in Riga, is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to Solar System exploration headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. Around 800 scientists generated approximately 1,000 oral and poster presentations on latest science results and mission proposals for understanding our Solar System and exoplanets orbiting other stars. Finnish Meteorological Institute suggests fleet of 50 nano-spacecraft propelled by E-sails to explore 300 of the largest and most interesting asteroids in the main belt. (Image Credit: EGU, NASA, EPSC)

Sep 25-29 — European Geosciences Union, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Life Origins, Sao Miquel, Azores, Portugal: EGU Galileo Conference: Geoscience for Understanding Habitability in the Solar System and Beyond.

Sep 25-29 — ESA, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Leiden, The Netherlands: Workshop: Space Weather – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach.

Sep 25-29 — Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Narrabri, Australia: CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Radio School 2017; at Australia Telescope Compact Array.

Sep 25 — Moon: 9.5° N of Antares, 15:00.

Sep 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RO16: Near-Earth Flyby (0.011 AU).

Sep 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RW1: Near-Earth Flyby (0.028 AU).

Sep 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RW2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.039 AU).

Sep 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 SF2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.058 AU).

Continued from…

Sep 24-28 — University of Warsaw, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Kazimierz Dolny, Poland: 4th Conference of the Polish Society on Relativity.


 Sep 26 — Kilauea Visitor Center, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park HI: HI-SEAS (Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) Mission V member Brian Ramos to present ‘What It’s Like to Live on Mars’, 19:00.

 Sep 26 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Colloquium: Craters and Cryovolcanoes \u2013 Comparisons Across the Outer Solar System; Kelsi Singer from SwRI.

Sep 26 — Moon: 3.5° N of Saturn, 15:00; at apogee (distance 404,342 km), 21:00.

Sep 26 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RB16: Near-Earth Flyby (0.012 AU).

Sep 26 — Apollo Asteroid 5189 (1990 UQ): Near-Earth Flyby (0.061 AU).


Sep 27 — NASA MEPAG, Online: Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group: Small satellites and other low-cost mission options.

Sep 27-28 — National Science Foundation, Alexandria VA: Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) Meeting.

Sep 27-29 — IEEE, University of Alcala, Madrid, Spain: International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology (SMC-IT).

Sep 27-29 — LAPAN (Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space), Medan, Indonesia: International Seminar Aerospace and Science Technology 2017.

Sep 27 — Moon: At first quarter, 16:54.

Sep 27 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RE15: Near-Earth Flyby (0.093 AU).


Sep 28 — Astrosat, 65-km Near Equatorial LEO: ISRO first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory begins 3rd year in space today.

Sep 28 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / NROL-52, Cape Canaveral AFS CA: ULA Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-075, to launch a classified spacecraft payload for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Sep 28 — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / AsiaSat 9, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: ILS Proton rocket with Breeze M upper stage to deploy AsiaSat 9 communications satellite.

Sep 28 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Cassini’s Grand Finale & Final Plunge; Phil Nicholson, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell, 16:00.

Sep 28 — SETI Institute, SRI, Menlo Park CA: SETI Talks: Cassini: A Look Back and a Fond Farewell; Matt Tiscareno of SETI, at RI International Conference Center.

Sep 28 — USRA, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Seminar: The Curiously Warped Mean Plane of the Kuiper Belt; Kat Volk from University of Arizona, 15:30.

Sep 28 — Moon: 1.5° N of comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, 16:00; 2.5° N. of Pluto, 17:00.

Sep 28 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 GM6: Near-Earth Flyby (0.080 AU).


Sep 29 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / Intelsat 37e & BSAT 4a, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA239, to launch Intelsat 37e and BSAT 4a communications satellites

Sep 29 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Leroy Chiao, adult US$69.95.

Sep 29 — Apollo Asteroid 1989 VB: Near-Earth Flyby (0.020 AU).


Sep 30 — The Astronomical League, Global: Fall Astronomy Day 2017; astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, observatories sponsoring public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops.

Sep 30 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 RP15: Near-Earth Flyby (0.038 AU).

Sep 30 — Aten Asteroid 2015 SO2: Near-Earth Flyby (0.066 AU).


NET Oct — Boeing Company, TBD: Boeing CST-100 Starliner to undergo pad abort test this month.

Oct 1 — Deep Space: New Horizons heading toward Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 for 1 Jan 2019 encounter, new software to be uploaded this month, science team already planning for KBOs after MU69; flyby data of Pluto makes IAU naming of surface features possible.

Oct 1-5 — International MoonBase Alliance LLC, Kamuela HI: International MoonBase Summit; featuring Henk Rogers, Jim Crisafulli, Bruce Pittman, Rob Kelso, John Hamilton, Dan Rasky.

Oct 1 — Moon: 1.6° SSE of comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 1, 03:00.

Oct 1 — Aten Asteroid 2004 QA22: Near-Earth Flyby (0.065 AU).

Oct 1 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 XE: Near-Earth Flyby (0.083 AU).