September 4-10, 2017 / Vol 36, No 36 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Arianespace, CNSA, SpaceX and ILS Set for Upcoming Launches

Four International launches are in queue this week starting with Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket on September 5 lofting Intelsat 37e and BSAT 4a communication satellites from Kourou, French Guiana to GTO. It will be the 9th launch for Arianespace in 2017 and 239th utilizing an Ariane launch vehicle. On Sep 6  China National Space Agency is planning to launch the 2-stage Long March (Chang Zheng) 2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center with the China-built 2nd Venezuela Remote Sensing Satellite – VRSS 2. The next generation of launchers are heavy-lift Long March 5, light-class 6 and medium-lift 7. SpaceX has scheduled the launch of 5,000-kg U.S. Air Force reusable spaceplane X-37B on its fifth orbital flight Sep 7 from Kennedy Space Center FL pad 39-A. This will be the 41st launch of Falcon 9, the second launch of the upgraded full thrust Block 4 design and the first Falcon 9 launch of X-37B. The 2 active solar-powered Orbital Test Vehicles (OTVs) perform long-duration operations between 177-805 km altitude. The USA-Russia venture International Launch Services is planning the 415th launch of Proton rocket Sep 9 with Breeze M upper stage to carry Amazonas 5 communications satellite to orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. ILS is working on two variants of the heritage Proton launch vehicle, 2-stage Proton Medium (lift capability of up to 5,000 kg) and Proton Light. (Image Credit: Hispasat, SpaceX, Arianespace, CNSA, CAST, ILS)


Sep 4 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 53 with Commander Randy Bresnik transferring cargo from Dragon CRS-12, testing new Mini-Exercise Device; will remain three-member crew for 9 more days; Bigelow BEAM made with flexible Kevlar-like materials show radiation levels are comparable to those in rest of ISS.

Sep 4 — NewSpace: SNC Dream Chaser progress; SpaceX to build additional facilities for Dragon processing & Falcon Heavy, reveals newest space suit; Spaceflight Industries subdivision BlackSky to be awarded US$16.4M contract from USAF; First Woman on the Moon initiative of SPC / ILOA to be highlighted at 68th IAC 3G breakfast.

Sep 4 — Solar System: Cassini in last full week of operations at Saturn before atmospheric plunge Sep 15, collecting unique data measurements & images; Mars sample return mission being considered for 2026; JPL proposes quadrocopter drone for Titan exploration.

 Sep 4 — Galaxy: Voyagers @40 expected to continue operations until at least 2025 in interstellar space; newly installed Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation (CREAM) at ISS now observing cosmic rays coming from across the Galaxy; Trappist-1 system may host water.

Sep 4 — Global: Russia & China in talks for satellite development & Moon missions 2018-2022; Bidushi Bhattacharya of Astropreneurs HUB encouraging companies to make Singapore global center for spacetech research.

 Sep 4 — USA: Orion 2019 Moon craft undergoing 2-3 months of power, data, computer testing; Johnson Space Center working with minimal staff through hurricane; still awaiting appointment of new NASA Administrator.

 Sep 4 — Hawai`i: Keck and Gemini North Telescope conduct follow-up observations of 2 exoplanet ‘Warm Jupiters’; Galaxy Garden in Kona created by Jon Lomberg now has 2nd site at Pamplona, Spain; ESA Director Johann Woerner to keynote International MoonBase Summit.

Sep 4-8 — International Astronomical Union, Sardinia, Italy: IAU Symposium 336: Astrophysical Masers: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe.

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

Mars Society 20th Convention Focuses on Recent Science, Tech, Developments

The four-day 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention with theme From Imagination to Reality is being held September 7-10 at University of California, Irvine. Mars Society President Robert Zubrin (L-R, T-B) will open the convention, followed by Greg Benford, George Whitesides, Loretta Hidalgo-Whitesides, Vera Mulyani and Scott Moreland. UAE Space Agency  Director General Mohammed Nasser Al-Ahbabi will be joining via Skype. First Female Private Space Explorer Anousheh Ansari will be the Banquet Speaker. Topics covered are Mars Curiosity, Mars 2020, Europa probe, SpaceX Mars plans, sustainable settlements, farming, artificial gravity harness, space suits, rover designs, radiation, Deep Space Gateway, drilling operations, green launch, cost to orbit and nuclear fusion. Art Harman is presenting on “Cis-Lunar? Why a Lunar Surface Base Will Get us to Mars – and a Lunar Orbital Station Won’t”, “A New Hope – President Trump’s Space Policy”, “Don’t Destroy ISS in 2024 – Privatize it!”, and “Mars Flyby – Do it in the 2020s, not the 2030s.” Other speakers include Carol Stoker, Geoffrey Landis and Bruce Cordell. The new inspirational anthem “Rise to Mars” will be sung by Oscar Castellino accompanied by James Welland Sep 9. (Image Credit: Mars Society, NASA, NSS, Space Show, VG, JPL)

Sep 4-8 — Italy National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Astronomical Observatory of Rome, Sicily, Italy: Meeting: The Amazing Life of Stars – From the Main Sequence to the Gravitational Wave Emission.

Sep 4-8 — ESA, University of California – Berkeley, Leiden, The Netherlands: Workshop: A Decade of the Star-Forming Main Sequence.

Sep 4-8 — European Meteorology Society, Dublin, Ireland: European Meteorology Society (EMS) Annual Meeting: European Conference for Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2017.

Sep 4 — Mercury: 3.2° SW of Mars, 14:00; with Mars and Regulus within circle of diameter 3.19° and 13° W of Sun.

Sep 4 — Neptune: At opposition, 19:00.

Sep 4 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 QN: Near-Earth Flyby (0.075 AU).

Continued from…

Aug 27 – Sep 17 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Workshop: Vorticity in the Universe – From Superfluids to Weather and Climate, to the Universe; Workshop: Developing New Tools for Dark Matter Searches.

Sep 2-5 — University of Cape Town, International Commission on the Middle Atmosphere (ICMA), Cape Town, South Africa: Training School on Stratosphere-Troposphere Interactions.

Sep 3-7 — UNOOSA, ESA, DLR, Joanneum Research, NPOC Space Law University of Vienna, Graz University of Technology, Austrospace, Municipality of Graz, Graz, Austria: United Nations / Austria Symposium on Access to Space: Holistic Capacity-Building for the 21st Century.

Sep 3-9 — University of Rome, University of Pisa, Viterbo, Italy: 7th Meeting on Celestial Mechanics.


Sep 5 — Voyager 1, Interstellar Space: NASA spacecraft begins 41st year in space today, launched Sep 5, 1977; farthest spacecraft from Earth, first to reach interstellar space.

 Sep 5 — 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 5 — JPL, NASA/Caltech, Pasadena CA / Online: Winning #MessageToVoyager beamed to interstellar space.

Sep 5 — Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Colloquium: From Pebbles to Planets; Katherine Kretke from SwRI, 15:45.

Sep 5-7 — ESA, University of Warwick, Warwick, United Kingdom: The PLATO Mission Conference 2017: Exoplanetary systems in the PLATO Era.

Sep 5-7 — German Aerospace Center (DLR), ESA, Torino, Italy: 22nd Workshop on Radiation Monitoring for the International Space Station.

Sep 5 — Mars: 0.70° NNE of Regulus, 02:00.

Sep 5 — Moon: 0.74° SSE of Neptune, 19:00.

Sep 5 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 QO: Near-Earth Flyby (0.087 AU).


 Sep 6 — CNSA, Launch Long March 2D / VRSS 2, Jiuquan, China: Long March 2D rocket to launch 2nd Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite VRSS 2 built by China to collect imagery of Earth for Venezuela for scientific research, national security, disaster response applications.

Sep 6-7 — Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), NASA, La Jolla CA: Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) Meeting; at Samuel H. Scripps Auditorium.

Sep 6-19 — University of Evora, European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), Evora, Portugal: 2017 European School of High-Energy Physics.

Sep 6 — Moon: Full (Corn / Barley Moon), 21:04.


Sep 7 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / X-37B OTV-5, LC-39A KSC FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane Orbital Test Vehicle on its fifth mission.

Sep 7 — Library of Congress Science, Technology and Business Division, Washington DC: Lecture: Cassini’s Grand Finale; by Conor Nixon, NASA.

Sep 7 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Dangerous Worlds; featuring Elizabeth Tasker from JAXA, 19:00.

Sep 7 — Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5), Huntsville AL: Monthly Meeting featuring Jessica Gaskin from NASA MSFC on Looking Beyond WFIRST – the Next Large X-Ray Mission – Lynx; at U.S. Space and Rocket Center Education Training Facility.

Sep 7-10 — Mars Society, Irvine CA: 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention; will feature World Premiere of New Mars Anthem “Rise to Mars”; at University of California.

Sep 7 — Apollo Asteroid 2012 FH38 Near-Earth Flyby: Near-Earth Flyby (0.072 AU).


Sep 8 — 50th Observation of Surveyor 5 Launch, USA Nationwide: Next lunar landers planned for 2017-18 by China Chang’e-5 sample return, India Chandrayaan-2 (lander, orbiter, rover) and private international GLXP teams, NASA Surveyor 5 lunar lander celebrated for its mission success and launch in 1967.

Sep 8 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Brian Duffy, adult US$69.95.


 Sep 9 — International Launch Services, Launch Proton / Amazonas 5, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: ILS to launch Proton with Breeze M upper stage to deploy Amazonas 5 communications satellite for telecommunications services over Mexico, Central America, South America for Hispasat of Madrid.

Sep 9-14 — European Institute for Sciences and their Applications (EISA) Laboratory of Annecy-le-Vieux for Theoretical Physics (LAPTh), CERN, Corfu, Greece: Workshop on Particle Physics and Cosmology TOOLS.

Sep 9 — Epsilon Perseid Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from the constellation Perseid, the September Epsilon Perseids can reach up to 5 per hour traveling at ~65 km per second.

Sep 9 — Moon: 4.1° SSE of Uranus, 03:00.

Sep 9 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 FO124: Near-Earth Flyby (0.070 AU).


Sep 10 — Tucson L5 Space Society – NSS Chapter, Tucson AZ: Tucson L5 Space Society monthly meeting.

Sep 10 — Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, Mauna Kea HI (2,800 meters): Star Gazing program, 18:00 22:00, weather permitting, free.

Sep 10 — Mercury: 0.60° S. of Regulus, 02:00.

Sep 10 — Amor Asteroid 2017 OP68: Near-Earth Flyby (0.051 AU).