March 20-26, 2017 / Vol 36, No 12 / Hawai`i Island, USA

IAF Spring Meetings and SGAC Events in Paris See Accelerated Pace for Space Exploration

International Astronautical Federation hosts IAF 2017 Spring Meetings to steer future activities of the seminal civil space organization on March 21-23 in Paris, France. Along with numerous meetings of the more than 40 Administrative and Technical Committees, the Spring event is when International Program Committee selects abstracts for 68th International Astronautical Congress on September 25-29 in Adelaide, Australia. Kosmica is hosting an evening of performances, video, talks and music featuring members of the IAF Committee for the Cultural Utilization of Space on Mar 20. IAF works to advance a spacefaring world cooperating for the benefit of humanity with over 300 member agencies, companies, societies, associations and institutes across 66 countries. Current IAF President Jean-Yves Le Gall of CNES and co-chair of the Council of ESA is a qualified engineer and scientist who has devoted his entire career to European public and private space program development. On Mar 24-25 Space Generation Advisory Council and ESA host the 2nd European Space Generation Workshop at ESA Headquarters in Paris. Organized by a team of 16 including Event Manager Caroline Thro of Germany, it is designed for university students and young professionals with a passion for space. 100 delegates are expected to participate in workshops, panels and guest presentations under 4 specific topics: Space Economy, Space Accessibility, Space Diplomacy and Space Exploration. E-SGW offers a unique opportunity for rising space sector leaders to contribute their voice to regional space sector policy. (Image Credit: IAF, SGAC, ESA)



star-grey Mar 20 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 50 preparing spacesuits & gear for 3 upcoming EVAs, expecting launch of Cygnus OA-7 dubbed “S.S. John Glenn” with 3,200 kg of cargo; Russia to reduce number of permanent ISS Cosmonauts from 3 to 2 until Nauka module launches, NASA to increase number of Astronauts on some Soyuz flights to take advantage of empty seats.

star-grey Mar 20 — Chandrayaan-1, Lunar Orbit: ISRO 1st lunar orbiter is still orbiting Moon, passing over North pole; missing for 8 years, was located using radio signals, technique has implications for aiding future robotic & Human Moon missions; Chandrayaan-2 lander / rover / orbiter set to launch 2018 to South Pole.

star-grey Mar 20 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Titan scheduled at 874,000-km altitude.

Mar 20 — Opportunity, Endeavour Crater, Mars Surface: Driving south along rim, operating in 14th year on Mars, mission inspires concept for small Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) deployable ride-along rovers for future Mars / Moon / Jupiter moons / asteroid missions.

circle-full-grey Mar 20 — Pioneer Astronautics, Lakewood CO: NewSpace company proposes Extraterrestrial Metals Processing system to produce iron, silicon, light metals from Moon, Mars, asteroids in support of Human space exploration; negotiating contract with NASA Small Business Innovation Research program, could receive up to US$750k over 2 year period.

circle-full-grey Mar 20 — Planetary Resources, Redmond WA: Establishing European HQ in Luxembourg, company plans for two experimental satellites (Arkyd 6) to launch this year, and Arkyd 200 to explore an asteroid / locate water and measure its abundance in 2020; 8 NEAs listed as targets of interest.

Mar 20 — ALE Company Ltd., Tokyo, Japan: Working to develop Sky Canvas Project, human-made meteor shower produced by launching a satellite filled with ~500 to 1,000 “source particles” and releasing over Earth atmosphere; first satellite on track to launch Q2 2017.

Mar 20 — Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) of International Astronautical Federation, Paris, France: KOSMICA 2017; a series of projects with an evening of performances, video, talks, music to celebrate the rise of the arts in space.

= 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 (W), Venus (W), Mars (W), Jupiter (SE); Morning Planets: Saturn (SE).

International Hubble and JWST Planning Meetings Prepare for Next-Gen Science Observations

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), ESA and Italy Institute of Sciences – Language and Arts (IVSLA) are hosting the 5th Conference on Science with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes in Venice, March 20-24. The Hubble Space Telescope 2.4-meter mirror and 4 main instruments are expected to operate until at least 2022, perhaps into 2030-2040. There may be a future servicing mission in 2020, proposed by Sierra Nevada Corp. using Dream Chaser. Hubble transmits ~140 gigabits of raw science data every week. The cutting-edge James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) with a segmented 6.5-meter diameter mirror is planned to launch Oct 2018 to view the most distant events and objects in the Universe and complement Hubble observations / missions. The payload module, integrated with science instruments, and the completed primary mirror are currently undergoing acoustic and extreme vibration testing to simulate launch conditions. The projected overall cost for JWST is US$10B. It is being built by 1,200+ scientists, engineers and technicians from 14 countries, and will be operated by NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI. There are 5 science and observation planning meetings for JWST being held at STScI headquarters in Baltimore MD this year, as well as one in Spain and the Netherlands. STScI is also developing science operations for Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) set to launch mid 2020s, and surveying advanced space telescope concepts for future large missions in 2030s and beyond. (Image Credit: STScI, NASA, ESA, CSA)

Mar 20 — Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society, Santa Clara CA: ERPS – Liquid Fuel Rocket Design and Test; at Hacker Dojo, 20:00.

Mar 20-24 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, NASA, The Woodlands TX: 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC); 17,000 international attendees to discuss latest planetary science research and mission results.

Mar 20-24 — Space Telescope Science Institute, ESA, Institute of Sciences – Language and Arts (Istituto Veneto di Scienze – Lettere ed Arti (IVSLA)), Venice, Italy: Conference: Science with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes V.

Mar 20-24 — ALMA / ESO, IAU, University of Chile, Puerto Varas, Chile: Astrochemistry VII Conference: Through the Cosmos from Galaxies to Planets.

Mar 20 — Spring / Vernal Equinox, Earth / Global: The Sun rises exactly in east traveling through sky for 12 hours, sets exactly in west; every place on Earth experiences a 12-hour day; 00:29.

Mar 20 — Moon: 3.4° N of Saturn, 00:49; at last quarter, 05:58.

Continued from…

Oct 15, 2016 – Sep 4 — Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA: Lunar Attraction Exhibit; featuring 60 Apollo memorabilia, paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, movies, jewelry that illustrate our profound connection to the Moon.

Mar 16-24 — Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics, INFN, Trieste, Italy: Spring School on Superstring Theory and Related Topics.

Mar 19-24 — URSI, IEEE, European Association on Antennas and Propagation, Telecom ParisTech, Paris, France: 11th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation.


Mar 21 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Janus scheduled at 44,000-km altitude, Pan at 55,000 km, Pallene at 107,000 km.

Mar 21 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / OA-7, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket to launch eighth Cygnus cargo freighter (dubbed S.S. John Glenn) on seventh operational cargo delivery flight to ISS for Orbital ATK; carrying many secondary payloads including Mines ParisTech – SpaceCube, Space Laboratory / Herzliya Science Center of Israel – Hoopoe, Belgium Von Karman Institute – QARMAN.

Mar 21 — Arianespace, Launch Ariane 5 / SGDC & Koreasat 7, Kourou, French Guiana: Arianespace Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA236, to launch SGDC (Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications satellite for Brazil) and Koreasat 7 communications satellites.

Mar 21 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: NASA’s Search for Habitable Planets and Life Beyond the Solar System; Gary Blackwood from NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program at JPL, 12:00.

Mar 21-22 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MD: Spacecraft Thermal Control; taught by Carl J. Ercol (Jack) and Gary A. Holtzman (Allan) of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Mar 21-23 — International Astronautical Federation, ESA, Paris, France: IAF Spring Meetings 2017; at New CAP Conference Centre.

Mar 21-23 — Dubai World Trade Centre, Eutelesat, Huawei, Dubai Studio City, et al, Dubai, UAE: Cabsat and Satexpo 2017.


Mar 22-24 — Le Studium Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies, European Union, Tours, France: Conference: GARYFEST – Gravitation, Solitons and Symmetries.


Mar 23 — University of California – Riverside, Riverside CA: Lecture: Mars 2020 & Beyond: Will We Find Life on the Red Planet? Ken Williford, Deputy Project Scientist, Mars 2020 Mission and Director, Astrobiogeochemistry Laboratory, JPL.

Mar 23 — American Astronomical Society, American Astronautical Society, Online: Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout: Found Water: Exoplanet 51 Peg b! with Jayne Birkby (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Remco Dekok (Utrecht University), Matteo Brogi (University of Colorado, Boulder), Henriette Schwarz (University of California, Santa Cruz), 15:00 EDT.

Mar 23 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: Monitoring our Hazardous Earth from Space; Professor Tim Wright.

Mar 23 — Mercury: At perihelion (distance 46,001,200 km), 04:00.

Mar 23 — Amor Asteroid 2017 CR32: Near-Earth Flyby (0.074 AU).


Mar 24 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / OA-7, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket to launch eighth Cygnus cargo freighter on seventh operational cargo delivery flight to ISS for Orbital ATK; carrying many secondary payloads including Mines ParisTech – SpaceCube, Space Laboratory / Herzliya Science Center of Israel – Hoopoe, Belgium Von Karman Institute – QARMAN; launch 21:00.

Mar 24 — W. M. Keck Observatory, Rob and Terry Ryan Foundation, Kamuela HI: Cosmic Events Lecture: The Restless Universe: Palomar Transient Factory; Dan David Prize Winner, Shrinivas Kulkarni of Caltech, 19:00.

Mar 24-25 — Space Generation Advisory Council, ESA, Paris, France: European Space Generation Workshop 2017 (E-SGW 2017); at ESA Headquarters, held in conjunction with IAF Spring Meetings 2017.


Mar 25 — University of California – Santa Barbara, Kavil Center for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara CA: Conference: How to catch a gravitational wave: Exploring the universe with LIGO.

Mar 25 — Venus: At inferior conjunction 01:00.


Mar 26 — Daylight Saving Time (Europe): Change clocks forward 1 hour, from Standard Time to Summer Time.

Mar 26-31 — Caltech, Airbus Defence and Space, JPL, Microsoft, Pasadena CA: Caltech Space Challenge.

Mar 26-31 — Aspen Center for Physics, Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA), Aspen CO: Conference: Formation and Dynamical Evolution of Exoplanets.

Mar 26 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 TC25: Near-Earth Flyby (0.020 AU).

Mar 26 — Aten Asteroid 2017 ED3: Near-Earth Flyby (0.090 AU).