January 11-17, 2016 / Vol 35, No 2 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Latin America Advancing International Astrophysics and Astronautics

Calendar feature - latin america 2016

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is hosting the Latin American School of Observational Astronomy 2016 at the premises of Institute of Astronomy, National Astronomical Observatory (IAUNAM) and the Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) in Tonantzintla Puebla, Mexico from January 10-29. Classes in the basics of astronomy are aimed at students of Physics, Mathematics or Engineering with a strong interest in astronomy, and are to be reinforced with observational practice, primarily using the 1-meter telescope of IAUNAM. Also, continuing this week in Mexico, a meeting titled Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation 2016 sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University and the Instituto Avanzado de Cosmologia taking place in Cancun. Invited plenary speakers include Tommaso Giannantonio (KICC), Eric Linder (LBNL, BCCP), Marilena LoVerde (KICP). The 4th Chilean School of High Energy Physics takes place at the Federico Santa María Technical University covering a broad range of topics in areas of High-Energy Particle and Nuclear Physics. The course is intended particularly for postgraduate students and young postdocs. The scientific program includes confirmed speakers from Germany, UK, USA, Russia, Brazil and Italy. Over 100 participants have already registered. Mexican Space Agency (AEM) hosts the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara September 26-30. (Image Credit: UNAM, ININ/IAC, IAF)


Jan 11 — ISS, LEO: Station will undergo reboost today to raise orbital altitude, Canada to begin developing new visual inspection system to be mounted on Dextre in 2020; Expedition 46 members preparing for EVA on Friday and Cygnus 4 departure next week, transferring cargo from Progress 62P, working with studies on brain & eye fluids, heart functions, radiation exposure, magnetic fields, medication effectiveness in space.

Jan 11 — Gaia, Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 2: Remains in Main Survey Mode observing millions of Stars to chart a three-dimensional map of Milky Way Galaxy, downloading more than 340B astrometric or positional measurements, 68B brightness data points, 6.7B spectra; first Intermediate Data Release expected in August.

Jan 11 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: JunoCam web platform now available in preparation for public to view & discuss images of Jupiter clouds, spots, swirls, bands, N & S Poles when craft uploads data back to Earth (after reaching planet July 4); expects to gather at least 12 high-resolution images every 14 days from ~5,000-km altitudes.

Jan 11Bigelow Aerospace, Las Vegas NV: NewSpace company BEAM inflatable module to be delivered to ISS Feb 7, will be first expandable module at Station; to be attached to Tranquility node for at least 2 years of testing & observations; hoping technology can be used for safe, affordable human spaceflight habitats for Moon, Mars & deep space missions.

Jan 11 — Astronauts for Hire (A4H), Holiday FL: Members at nearly 200, company is creating set of education standards and training commercial astronaut candidates for suborbital research science and testing spacesuits & other technologies.

Jan 11 — Uwingu, Boulder CO: Continues to sell Mars crater & exoplanet naming certificates to collect funding for scientists, educators to conduct space exploration research & education projects – example include Astronomers Without Borders, Galileo Teacher Training Program, CUSEDS.

Jan 11-13 — The National Academies, Irvine CA: Meeting: NASA Technology Roadmaps; at Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center.

JAN - MAR 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 (SW), Neptune (SW); Morning Planets: Venus (SE), Mars (S), Saturn (SE).

High Hopes for Full-Fledged Rocket Reusability

Resuability Rockets

SpaceX is well on the way toward advancing cost-reducing launch technologies as it plans a static hot-fire test of the first-ever recovered booster from an orbital flight December 21, 2015. Founder Elon Musk’s vision consists of eventually recovering 99% of rockets, reducing launch cost by at least a factor of 10 – a key to establishing humans as a Multi World Species. It is developing Falcon Heavy (slated to launch this April) and furthering Dragon cargo and human crew modules with a 2030 goal of Mars settlement. SpaceX first manifested Moon mission intends to launch GLXP Team SpaceIL in second half of 2017. Blue Origin plans to relaunch its recovered New Shepard suborbital booster after reviewing test flight data from the November 23 launch to 100.5-km altitude. Founder Jeff Bezos wants to begin test flights of an orbital booster and have it land on an ocean barge before 2020. India winged Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV-TD) test flight is planned for early 2016. China has reported R&D into attaching paraglider-type wings to boosters for recovery starting ~2018. CNES / ESA alongside German Aerospace Center are doing R&D for LOX/methane reusable launch vehicles (flight testing projected for 2026). Other private suborbital enterprises aiming for reusability include Swiss Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Spacefleet. (Image Credit: SpaceX, Blue Origin, NBC News, IndiaDefenseNews, NASA)

Jan 11-15 — International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland: Workshop: The Delivery of Water to Proto-planets, Planets and Satellites.

Jan 11-15 — Sexten Center for Astrophysics, Sexten, Italy: Conference: The Early Growth of Galaxies – The HST, Spitzer and Herschel Joint Legacy.

Jan 11-29 — National Autonomous University of Mexico, Tonantzintla Puebla, Mexico: Latin American School of Observational Astronomy 2016.

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 10-14 — American Meteorological Society (AMS), New Orleans LA: 96th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS): Earth System Science in Service to Society.

Jan 10-16 — Carnegie Mellon University, Advanced Institute of Cosmology of Mexico (Instituto Avanzado de Cosmologia), Cancun, Mexico: Workshop: Essential Cosmology for Next Generation 2016.


Jan 12 — Cassini OTM-436, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #436 today.

Jan 12 — 2016 USA State of the Union Address, Washington DC: President Obama to give his final State of the Union Address to Congress at 21:00 EST; will speak on wide range of issues, perhaps importance of advancing Americans and others in Space, to Moon, Mars & Beyond; live coverage available.

Jan 12 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Life in the Universe – The Breakthrough Initiatives; S. Pete Worden.

Jan 12 — Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), Johnson Space Center, NASA, The Woodlands TX: Abstracts Due: 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC); to be held Mar 21-25.

Jan 12 — JAXA, Online / Tokyo, Japan: Last Day to apply for stress-test simulation of life in space; eight men to be selected for simulation mimicking environment of ISS, in 4 two-week tests starting in March 2017.

Jan 12-16 — Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan: 4TH ELSI Symposium: Three Experiments in Biological Origins: Early Earth, Venus and Mars.

Jan 12 — Aten Asteroid 2010 BB: Near-Earth flyby (0.080 AU).


Jan 13 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft flyby planned for Mimas (28,000 km), Enceladus (72,000 km), Atlas (94,000 km), Calypso (115,000 km).

Jan 13 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Colloquium: To the Ends of the Earth – Surveys of Polar Ice from Operation IceBridge.

Jan 13 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Pasadena CA: Lecture: Building the First Spaceport in LEO; John Blincow (Gateway Foundation), Tom Spilker (Retired, JPL), 17:00.

Jan 13-15 — Paris Institute of Astrophysics (IAP), Paris, France: 20th Microlensing Workshop: Accurate Mass Measurements Via Microlensing.

Jan 13-15 — Federico Santa María Technical University, Valparaiso, Chile: 4th Chilean School of High Energy Physics.

Jan 13 — Moon: 2.2° NNW of Neptune, 04:00.


Jan 14-15 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: von Kármán Lecture Series: Deep Space Atomic Clock; with DSAC Principal Investigator Dr. Todd Ely, and DSAC Project Manager Allen H. Farrington.

Jan 14 — Moon: At perigee (369,199 km) 15:54.

Jan 14 — Mercury: At inferior conjunction with Sun (distance 0.668 AU), 04:00.

Jan 14 — Amor Asteroid 337866 (2001 WL15): Near-Earth flyby (0.080 AU).


Jan 15 — ISS, U.S. EVA 35, LEO: Kopra and Peake to exit Quest airlock for 6.5-hour EVA starting 12:55 UT to replace failed voltage regulator, rig cables for future International Docking Adapters & perform other maintenance tasks (will be first spacewalk by British Astronaut), live coverage available.

Jan 15 — University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom: 5th UK-QFT Meeting: Progress in Quantum Field Theory and Gravity – from Colliders to Cosmology.

Jan 15 — Hawai`i Stanford Chapter Alumni, Honolulu HI: 2016 Honolulu Book Salon featuring “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

Jan 15 — Moon: 1.4° SSE of Uranus, 21:00.

Jan 15 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 YC2: Near-Earth flyby (0.013 AU).


Jan 16 — Moon: At first quarter, 13:26.


Jan 17 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Jason 3, Vandenberg AFB CA: Falcon 9 rocket to launch Jason 3 ocean altimetry mission for NOAA, EUMETSAT, NASA, CNES; SpaceX to attempt barge landing of booster.

Jan 17-22 — Gordon Research Conference, Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship, John Templeton Foundation, Galveston TX: Gordon Research Conference: Bridging Disciplinary Perspectives to See Further Into Life’s Origin; at Hotel Galvez.