September 23-29, 2013 / Vol 32, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Russia – Leading Provider of Human Space Access, Seeking to Extend Expertise to Moon

RussiaHumanMoon0913Russia Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky and NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins are set to launch aboard Soyuz TMA-10M on September 25 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to join Expedition 37 crewmates Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano when the craft is expected to dock to the ISS, just 6 hours later on Sep 26. Soyuz will remain on the Station as an escape pod until its crew returns to Earth in March 2014. Russia remains a model of reliability and consistency in human space access, with decades more experience than the only other nation that currently has the capability. Still, there is one lofty goal that has yet to be fulfilled by this pioneering nation – a human Moon mission. After years of grandiose proclamations of human lunar missions by top Russia officials with little-to-no follow-through, Russia finally seems poised to fill this gap in their impressive spaceflight resume. Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin and other top officials have been more consistent over the past year in laying out an ambitious, yet attainable, lunar program consisting of a fleet of robotic lunar landers over the next 6 years and the simultaneous development of new human spaceflight systems. These projects are intended to set the stage for development of a human outpost on the Moon in the next decade. (Image Credit: NASA, Roscosmos, gizmag.com)

64th IAC: Promoting Space Development for the Benefit of Humankind

64th IACThe 64th International Astronautical Congress will be held September 23-27 in Beijing at the China National Convention Center. As the World’s largest and most influential astronautical conference, Space agency, academic and industry leaders advance collaborations and steer the future of space exploration. The conference, sponsored by International Astronautical Federation and Chinese Society of Astronautics, will be attended by nearly 3,600 people. There are 9 Technical Sessions and 7 Plenary Sessions including ‘Heads of Industry and the Next Generation – Next Destinations for Human Space Flight’ and ‘The Role of International Innovation in Accelerating Future Human Space Exploration.’ The Overview Session of ‘Present and Near-Term Human Space Flight Programmes’ on Sep 23 will include Ming Li (TR) China Academy of Space Technology Vice-President, William Gerstenmaier (BL) NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations and speakers from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. On Sep 26 the Joint Session on ‘Human and Robotic Partnerships to Realise Space Exploration Goals’ is chaired by Anthony Gross of NASA and Christian Sallaberger formerly of MDA Canada (BR). The ‘Human Lunar Exploration’ Session covers key technologies for Moon landing, liftoff, surface operations and life support systems. There is also a Space Exhibition Hall with exhibitors from over 24 countries. With the success of Chang’e-3, China is expected to accelerate Worldwide human spaceflight programs to the Moon and Beyond. Also pictured: Xingrui Ma (TL) CNSA Administrator. (Image Credit: CSA, IAF, RSA, CNSA, NASA)


Sep - Nov = 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 (WSW), Venus (WSW), Saturn (WSW); Morning Planets: Mars (E), Jupiter (ESE).


MONDAY

Sep 23 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 37 crew transferring cargo from Cygnus freighter, preparing for Soyuz / 3-member crew arrival Sep 26, working with Advanced Colloids Experiment and Ocular Health study.

Sep 23 — Cygnus, LEO: Will remain docked to ISS for 30 days; after 589 kg of supplies transferred and it is filled with trash, freighter will undock, burn up during reentry into Earth atmosphere.

Sep 23 — SPRINT-A (EXCEED), LEO: JAXA satellite with small space telescope will observe Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Jupiter moon Io, Saturn in extreme ultraviolet rays.

Sep 23 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: On course to arrive at Jupiter Jul 2016; spacecraft undergoes Earth flyby gravity assist maneuver in 16 days to boost velocity by 26,280 kph.

Sep 23 — Bigelow Aerospace, Las Vegas NV: NewSpace company developing US$17.8M BEAM to demonstrate feasibly of inflatable habitats as orbiting labs, lunar outposts, living quarters for deep-space missions.

Sep 23 — Planetary Resources Inc., Bellevue WA: Preparing to launch and test A3, the Arkyd 100’s technology demonstrator as early as Apr 2014; will be released from ISS Kibo airlock.

Sep 23 — Space Frontier Foundation, Nyack NY: Holding NewSpace Business Plan Competition at Stanford University Oct 24; 8 finalists compete for US$100K grand prize.

Sep 23-24 — The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom: Scientific Discussion Meeting: Origin of the Moon; at Royal Society Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire; free.

Sep 23-24 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: ESTL Space Tribology Course; to learn about space mechanisms, advanced tribology, space lubricants; in Steigenberger Inselhotel; to precede ESTL Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium; on Sep 25-27.

Sep 23-26 — Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia Telescope National Facility, Sydney, Australia: Galaxy Zoo: Galaxy Evolution Conference; at Powerhouse Museum.

Sep 23-26 — Applied Technology Institute, Colombia MD: Communications Payload Design and Satellite System Architecture Course; with instructor Bruce R. Elbert; US$2,045.

Sep 23-27 — International Astronautical Federation, International Academy of Astronautics, Chinese Society of Astronautics, Beijing, China: 64th International Astronautical Congress; at China National Convention Center; US$67-1,200 (€50-900).

Sep 23 — Moon: 6.0° S of Pleiades, 20:00.


Continued from…

Apr 4 – Oct 25 — NASA HQ, Online / Washington DC: 2014 Night Rover Challenge; for researchers to create energy storage system allowing simulated lunar rover to operate at average 85 W throughout 14-day-long lunar night, exceed a minimum of 300 W-hrs/kg.

Aug 26 – Oct 10 — GLXP Team Puli, Online / Budapest, Hungary: IndieGoGo Campaign; requesting funds to send rover to Mauna Kea in Hawai`i to simulate Moon mission and test / control systems from 12,552 km away.

Sep 16-27 — Canadian Space Agency, ESA, Sardinia, Italy: CSA Astronaut Jeremy Hansen and international Astronaut crew live / work in underground caves for 6 days for Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills (CAVES) training.

Sep 22-26 — Association of Brazilian Planetariums, Santo Andre, Brazil: XVIII Annual Meeting of the Association of Brazilian Planetariums.


TUESDAY

Sep 24 — Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, Washington DC: Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee Public Teleconference.

Sep 24 — Explore Mars Inc., Washington DC: Mars Day on the Hill; to talk with key congressional offices about strategies for advancing U.S. space program.

Sep 24 — Explore Mars Inc., International Space University – USA Alumni Association, Washington DC: Panel Discussion: How Will We Send Humans to Mars?; featuring Jim Garvin of NASA, Jeff Foust of The Space Review; at the Science Club.

Sep 24-25 — The National Academies, NASA HQ, Washington DC: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science Meeting.

Sep 24-26 — ESA, DLR, CNES, European Space Components Coordination, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: 1st International Symposium: Space Passive Component Days; to discuss the design, reliability, safety of launchers, spacecraft, space instruments; US$200-533 (€150-400).

Sep 24-26 — Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC), Hong Kong, China: APSCC 2013 Satellite Conference and Exhibition: Expanding the Satellite Horizon; at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.

Sep 24-27 — German Astronomical Society, Tubingen, Germany: Annual Meeting of German Astronomical Society.

Sep 24 — Moon: 2.8° NNW of Aldebaran, 16:00.

Sep 24 — Asteroid 152664 (1998 FW4): Near-Earth flyby (0.045 AU).

Sep 24 — Asteroid 2013 QM10: Near-Earth flyby (0.078 AU).

WEDNESDAY

Sep 25 — RSA, Launch Soyuz TMA-10M / ISS 36S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch members of Expedition 37/38: Michael Hopkins of NASA, Oleg Kotov of RSA, Sergey Ryazansky of RSA; live coverage available.

Sep 25 — ESA, Canadian Space Agency, et al, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Seminar on Space Cooperation; at Hotel Omni Mont Royal, US$150-200.

Sep 25 — Crawford Family Forum, KPCC Radio, Pasadena CA: NEXT: Is this the Starship Century?; presented by Dr. Gregory Benford, 19:00 – 20:30 PDT.

Sep 25 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Geological Impact Crater Chronology; presented by David Page from Oxford University; 15:30 CDT.

Sep 25 — Virgin Galactic, Mojave CA: Future Virgin Galactic Astronauts Visit Mojave Air and Space Port.

Sep 25-26 — The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom: Satellite Meeting: Origin of the Moon – Challenges and Prospects; at Royal Society Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire; free.

Sep 25-27 — ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: ESTL Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium (ESMATS 2013); in Theater DeMuze.

Sep 25-27 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: Airships: A New Horizon for Science – Part II.

THURSDAY

Sep 26 — ISS, Soyuz TMA-10M Docking / Hatch Opening, LEO: Soyuz rocket with Expedition 37/38 crew members scheduled for ISS docking 02:48 UT, hatch opening 04:25; live coverage available

Sep 26 — W. M. Keck Observatory, Kamuela HI: Fall 2013 Keck Astronomy Talks: He Lani Ko Luna – A Sky Above; presented by Kalepa Baybayan; at Kahilu Theatre.

Sep 26-28 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. State Department, Nike, Pasadena CA: Launch Systems Challenge 2013; to present fabric solutions for spacecraft / spacesuit design, enhancing global economic growth and human prosperity, replenishing the planet’s resources.

Sep 26 — Moon: At last quarter, 17:55.

Sep 26 — Asteroid 2013 RY5: Near-Earth flyby (0.097 AU).

FRIDAY

Sep 27 — Kennedy Space Center, NASA, KSC FL: Media invited to photograph Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), interview project and launch program officials; at Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility.

Sep 27 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: Probing the Pre-Noachian of Mars; presented by J.R. Skok from Louisiana State University; 15:30 CDT.

Sep 27 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Host Dr. Jim Benford talks with Dr. Paul Davies about Starship Century.

Sep 27 — Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, Online / Houston TX: Registration Deadline: Annual Meeting of the LEAG.

Sep 27 — Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, John Blaha; US$49.95 adult.

Sep 27-29 — University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Toronto Science Festival; featuring talks, panels, performances, films, activities.

Sep 27 — Moon: At apogee (distance 403,857 km), 08:00; 4.9° SSW of Jupiter, 20:00.

SATURDAY

Sep 28 – Oct 6 — Oklahoma City Astronomy Club, Kenton OK: 30th Annual Okie-Tex Star Party; over 279 people attending; at Camp Billy Joe; US$25-50 adult, free for children under 18.

Sep 28 — Moon: 11.7° S of Pollux, 09:00.

Sep 28 — Asteroid 2012 TS: Near-Earth flyby (0.092 AU).

Sep 28 — Asteroid 2003 SW130: Near-Earth flyby (0.098 AU).

SUNDAY

Sep 29 — CNSA, Tiangong-1, LEO: Two-year operational lifetime of China Tiangong-1 space laboratory ends today; if needed due to resources / funding CNSA will deorbit laboratory; plans to launch larger Tiangong-2 module to LEO in 2015.

Sep 29 – Cassini OTM-360, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #360 today.

Sep 29-30 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / CASSIOPE, Vandenberg AFB CA: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch Canadian Space Agency CASSIOPE (CAscade, SmallSat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer) satellite containing communications payload and instrument to observe Earth ionosphere.

Sep 29 – Oct 3 — Australian Astronomical Observatory, Joint Astronomy Centre, ESA, NOAO, NRAO, Waikoloa HI: 23rd Annual Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems (ADASS) Conference; at Waikoloa Beach Marriott.

Sep 29 — Moon: 6.5° SSW of Beehive Cluster, 13:00.