February 8-14, 2016 / Vol 35, No 6 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Accelerating Asteroid Awareness, Detection and Protection Methods

Asteroid Day

On February 9 the newly-established Asteroid Day is holding a press conference at ESA to announce new partners for global awareness events held annually on June 30, the observance of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event destroying over 2,000 square km of forest. Co-founded by (L-R) Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Grigorij Richters and Dr. Brian May, with the support of more than 100 astronauts, scientists, technologists and artists, Asteroid Day aims to heighten public awareness of asteroid hazards and increase discovery and tracking of NEAs to 100,000 per year within the next 10 years. Along with Asteroid Day co-founders, the press conference attendees include Astronauts Dr. Ed Lu, Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, Dr. Tom Jones, Chris Hadfield and Rakesh Sharma. The new NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office will synchronize U.S. efforts to detect / classify NEOs and work within international forums at the UN COPUOS such as International Asteroid Warning Network and Space Mission Planning Advisory Group. ESA has a Space Situational Awareness Program Office, and Luxembourg will be pursuing a government-sponsored initiative to explore and commercialize NEOs. With the count of known NEOs growing (currently 13,534), private groups B612, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are also working to detect asteroids, some for protection, some for profit. An IfA team at University of Hawaii expects the 2nd Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope to be operational this year on Mauna Loa, Hawaii Island; the 1st one operates on Haleakala, Maui; a 3rd could be placed in South Africa. (Image Credit: ESA, P. Carril, Asteroid Day, UH/IfA, B612, Rick Sternbach / KISS, IHMC, NASA, The Hindu / K. Ananthan)



Feb 8 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 46 six-member crew finalizing Cygnus OA-4 craft for Earth atmosphere reentry disintegration next week, transferring cargo from Progress 62P / loading with waste, testing water samples throughout station, performing test fabrications with 3D printer, maintaining BioLab incubator and small satellite deployer in Kibo lab, EXPOSE-R experiment to be returned to Earth on Soyuz after 22 months of being exposed to space, next EVA in April/May will be #194.

Feb 8 — Kepler / K2 mission, Heliocentric Orbit: Planning for Campaign 9 large-area microlensing survey staring in April, operating nominally in K2 mission, observing Stars for exoplanets & astrophysical phenomena, Solar System planets & moons; exoplanet candidates found 4,706, confirmed 1,039, small habitable zone confirmed 12.

Feb 8 — Curiosity, Bagnold Dune Field, Mars Surface: Studying and mapping dark, active sand dune Namib, NASA rover sieving and analyzing samples, providing data on wind patterns in environment with low-atmosphere (100x thinner than Earth), low-gravity (38% of Earth).

Feb 8 — Cassini OTM-441, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #440 today.

Feb 8-25 — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Launch Unha / Kwangmyongsong, Sohae Satellite Launch Center, N Korea: DPRK plans to launch Earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong (Bright Star) from Tongchang-ri launch base, launch window Feb 8-25.

Feb 8 — XCOR Aerospace, Midland TX: NewSpace company first flight of Lynx spaceplane expected 2nd quarter of 2016, carrying 10 experiments initiated by Citizens in Space including Angelicvm Aerospace ‘Crystallization Rates in Microgravity’ and University High School of Orlando ‘Investigation of Lunar Regolith Hydration in Zero Gravity.’

Feb 8 — NanoRacks LLC, Houston TX: Hoping to get approval from NASA and Boeing to develop private airlock on ISS, for US$12-15M, to launch more satellites into space starting 2018; also working on “haybale” system to launch as many as 192 CubeSats at a time.

Feb 8 — Clyde Space Ltd., Glasgow, United Kingdom: To open its first subsidiary company in United States, producing small satellites, nanosatellites, CubeSats; working on various projects for ESA, Outernet Inc. of New York, National University of Singapore & Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy.

FEB - APR 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: Jupiter (E), Uranus (W); Morning Planets: Mercury (SE), Venus (SE), Mars (S), Saturn (SE).

Global Space & Technology Convention in Singapore Showcases Latest Technology in Space Engineering and Design

Calendar feature - GSTC 2016

The Singapore Space & Technology Association (SSTA) hosts GSTC 2016 with the theme “Propelling Asia’s Space Technology Growth” on February 11-12 at the Sheraton Towers Singapore. The conference is highlighted by Space Agencies Dialogue on Priorities and Strategy for Investment, Development and International Cooperation, Industry Chiefs Dialogue on Emerging Space Programs for Dynamic End-User Needs; Space Tech Innovative Applications, and Updates on six Singapore Spacecraft launched in 2015. Organizers, lead by SSTA President Jonathan Hung (1), are focused on bringing together key members of space agencies, government bodies, international organizations / companies, and universities and research institutes from Singapore and around the World – expecting about 300-350 participants. Keynote and guest speakers include: Walter Peeters (3), President, International Space University and Director, International Institute of Space Commerce; Matt Perkins (2), CEO, Surrey Satellite; Rogel Mari. Sese, Focal Person, Philippine Science Education Institute, Department of Science and Technology; Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs, Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology; Soewarto Hardhienata, Deputy Chairman, National Institute of Aeronautics, Indonesia; Vu Viet Phuong, Deputy Chairman, Vietnam Space Center Project Management Unit; Noordin Bin Ahmad, Deputy Director General, National Space Agency, Malaysia; and Chaowalit Silapathong, Deputy Director, Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, Thailand. Wider Asian participation, from Beihang University, Mitsubishi Electric and JAXA (launching H-2A / ASTRO-H on Feb 12), highlights paths for constructive cooperation and open dialogue in the region, and further afield. (Image Credit: SSTA, USGS, SSTL, ISU)

Feb 8 — China Lunar New Year 4652, Zhong Guo / Worldwide: China Lunar New Year 2016 Spring Festival marks the Year of the Monkey.

Feb 8 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Lecture: Analyses of Basalt Alteration for Mars Exploration; by Bryne Hadnott.

Feb 8-11 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Galveston TX: 27th Annual Space Radiation Investigator’s Workshop (2016 Space Rad IWS).

Feb 8-12 — University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria: The Astrophysics of Planetary Habitability.

Feb 8-14 — Southern Cross Astronomical Society, Big Pine Key FL: 32nd annual Winter Star Party; expecting 600 international astronomers and astro-imagers; at Camp Wesumkee.

Feb 8 — Alpha Centaurids Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from Alpha Centauri (α Cen), meteors are far south and below horizon for most in north, can produce ~3 meteors per hour.

Feb 8 — Moon: New Moon, 04:39.

Feb 8 — Apollo Asteroid 2013 VA10: Near-Earth flyby (0.032 AU).

Feb 8 — Amor Asteroid 2016 BC15: Near-Earth flyby (0.076 AU).

Feb 8 — Amor Asteroid 2016 BS: Near-Earth flyby (0.098 AU).

Continued from…

Aug 28 – Aug 28, 2016 — NASA, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Mauna Loa HI: Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 4; at 2,440-meter altitude.

Jan 25 – Feb 24 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: 2016 Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Campaign; 4 volunteers to spend 30 days in HERA 148-cubic-meter capsule simulating a mission to asteroid.

Feb 5-10 — American Astronautical Society – Rocky Mountain Section, Denver CO: 39th Annual Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference.

Feb 7-12 — Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen CO: Conference: Dynamics and Accretion at the Galactic Center.


Feb 9 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Geology After Pluto; Jeff Moore of NASA Ames Research Center.

Feb 9 — ESA, Online / Noordwijk, Netherlands: Press Conference: Asteroid Day 2016 to announce new partners & organisation for worldwide events June 30; with Chris Hadfield, Tom Jones, Rakesh Sharma, Ed Lu, Lord Martin Rees, Brian May, more; begins 15:00.

Feb 9 — Moon: 2.0° NNW of Neptune, 13:00.


Feb 10 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Delta 4-Heavy / NROL-45, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket to launch classified spy satellite cargo for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Feb 10 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Explorer 29 – Start of a 50 Year Career in Space; Pat Norris, 19:00.

Feb 10 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Colloquium: The Two Faces of a Spacecraft – Both Earth and Space Science Observations by the DSCOVR Spacecraft; by Adam Szabo.

Feb 10-11 — International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), COSPAR Panel for Exploration, CNES, Paris, France: COSPAR/ISECG Workshop on Science Enabled By Human Exploration.

Feb 10-11 — ESA, New Norcia, Australia: Deep Space SocialSpace in conjunction with inauguration of the new 4.5 m-diameter antenna.

Feb 10 — Moon: At perigee (distance 363,975 km), 16:38.


Feb 11, 12 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/Caltech, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series: The Europa Mission; Europa Mission Project Manager Barry Goldstein & Europa Mission Project Scientist Dr. Bob Pappalardo.

Feb 11-12 — Singapore Space and Technology Association, Singapore: Global Space & Technology Convention (GSTC) 2016: Propelling Asia’s Space Technology Growth.


Feb 12 — JAXA, Launch H-2A / ASTRO-H, Tanegashima Space Center, Japan: JAXA ASTRO-H, an X-ray telescope made in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency and NASA to launch to LEO.

Feb 12 — Royal Astronomical Society, London, United Kingdom: Royal Astronomical Society Ordinary Meeting; Meeting: Cosmology with Maps; Meeting: Joint Inversion of Geophysical Datasets for Enhanced Imaging of the Earth.

Feb 12 — Moon: 1.6° SSE of Uranus, 05:00.

Feb 12 — Mercury: 4.0° E of Venus, 17:00.


Feb 13 — Cassini OTM-442, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #440 today.

Feb 13 — American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC: AAAS 2016: Planet Formation With Radio Eyes.


Feb 14-18 — American Astronautical Society, AIAA, Napa CA: 26th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting.

Feb 14 — Moon: At first quarter, 21:46.

Feb 14 — Apollo Asteroid 2014 EK24: Near-Earth flyby (0.036 AU).