August 16-22, 2021 / Vol 40, No 33 / Hawai`i Island, USA

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SPC

Guest

Texas Emerging as Astronautical Hub of NewSpace Rocket Construction & Testing

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Commonly known as the Lone Star State, properly the Friendship State, Texas is increasingly central to the USA space effort. Home to some 6,290 aerospace engineers, second only to California per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, space enterprises new and legacy have established major operations in the geographically massive state. World launch mass leader SpaceX is still officially headquartered in Hawthorne CA; however, CEO Elon Musk has relocated himself and much of company operations to the SpaceX South Texas launch site near the southernmost tip of the state, 8 km from the Mexico border, dubbed ‘Starbase’. The largest rocket in history (Starship 20, 120 m) is being prepared at the site for first orbital test planned to land in the Pacific off the island of Kaua’i. Musk has declared ambitious plans for Starbase, including launch of human Mars missions. On the west side of Texas, 40 km north of Van Horn, Blue Origin Launch Site One ‘Corn Ranch’ sits on 668 km2, famous for the July 20 New Shepard launch of both the oldest (Wally Funk, 82, TR) and youngest (Oliver Daemen, 18) people to reach space. Firefly Aerospace, recipient of $93.3M NASA CLPS contract, is developing Blue Ghost lunar lander from its HQ and 15,240 km2 manufacturing facility in Cedar Park, 25 km north of downtown Austin in central Texas. (Image Credits: Elon Musk Via Twitter, Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, Blue Origin, Firefly)

MONDAY


Highlights…
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Aug 16 — ISS,
~405-km LEO: Expedition 65 seven-member crew transferring 3,700 kg of cargo from NG-16 Cygnus S.S. Ellison Onizuka including loose regolith 3D printer for Moon-Mars, muscle tissue experiment, space heat loss investigation; reviewing procedures for U.S. EVA #77 planned next Tuesday for solar array bracket installation.

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Aug 16 — Tiangong Space Station,
~370-km LEO: Shenzhou 12 three-member crew planning second EVA, to departure TSS in ~30 days; second cargo ship Tianzhou 3 may launch in Sep, followed by Shenzhou 13 / 6-month 3-crew mission in Oct.

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Aug 16 —
NewSpace: Varda Space Industries orders 3 Photon spacecraft from Rocket Lab; SpaceX to acquire Swarm Technologies including 120-satellite constellation, frequencies.

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Aug 16 — Solar System:
Day / night cycle apparent cause of methane level discrepancy between detectors on Mars; magnetic field induced auroras cause 426 C° atmospheric temperature on Jupiter.

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Aug 16 —
Galaxy: Exoplanets around red dwarfs may retain atmospheres better than previously thought; 1.5-years into 3-year study of TESS survey, team working to explain evolution of most common exoplanets.

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Aug 16 — Global:
JAXA making progress on Pulse Detonation Engine, testing in S-520 rocket; Capstone to launch to elliptical lunar orbit from New Zealand in Q4.

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Aug 16 — USA:
SLS flight software undergoing final checks in support of mission certification; 2024 Artemis 3 launch date in question as NASA OIG raises concerns on xEMUs; STS-35 / STS-67 payloads Astro-1/2 being reconstructed by Huntsville volunteers.

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Aug 16 — Hawai’i:
Chandra and Pan-STARRS data show burst of X-rays emanating from black in V404 Cygni; Meteor outburst recorded by Asahi Sky Camera at Subaru observatory being shared by IfA.


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Aug 16-17 — National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine,
Online / Washington DC: Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032 (Meeting #1).

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= All times for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

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= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

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= All times for space events, and…

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= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time’).



Weekly Planet Watch Evening Planets: Mercury (W), Venus (W), Jupiter (SE), Saturn (SE); Morning Planets: Uranus (SE), Neptune (SE).


Supporting SPD-1 / Artemis Missions: 10th Lunar Surface Science Workshop Focuses on Physical Sciences


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Integrating input from science communities, commercial companies and NASA Divisions are Lunar Surface Science Workshops – now holding #10 Fundamental and Applied Lunar Surface Research in Physical Sciences August 18-19, online. Under Space Policy Directive-1, human lunar return at Moon South Pole 2024 and sustaining a Moon base by 2028, LSSWs work to preempt necessary tools, payloads, experiments and infrastructure to maximize science and exploration by Astronauts. This Workshop will see ~80 talks, 40 posters, 2 plenary, 2 breakout and 8 concurrent sessions. During Fundamental Physics Research session Jan Harms will talk about Lunar Gravitational Wave Antenna, Gerard van Belle on Optical Interferometer for Ultra-High-Resolution Astronomy from the Lunar Surface, Simone Dell’Agnello on MoonLIGHT + MPAc, Ashish Goel on Lunar Crater Radio Telescope, with others talking about neutron sensors, laser ablation / ionization mass spectrometry, and time & metrology on the lunar surface. Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Jack Schmitt will give a Keynote on Day 2 on Apollo Legacy, followed by Carle Pieters (Moon’s Properties and Its Geology), Kevin Cannon (Lunar Ice and Mapping), Zach Pirtle (CLPS) and Tony Colaprete (VIPER). Other presentations will discuss dusty plasma investigations with PmL Instrument on Luna-25 and New Shepard as a Suborbital Lunar-g Testbed. LSSW #11 Lunar Science Accomplished with a Robotic Arm Part 1 is set for September 9 followed by Part 2 Sep 30. (Image Credits: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Jack Burns, Univ. of CO – Boulder, Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, GSFC)
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Aug 16-27 — International Astronomical Union
, Busan, S Korea: XXXI (31st) IAU General Assembly; reset to Aug 2-9, 2022; General Assembly Business Sessions to take place online Aug 23 and Aug 26, 2021 – also featuring ‘The IAU Today’ program.

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Aug 16 — Moon: 4.4° NNE of Antares, 12:00; at perigee (distance 369,104 km), 23:20.

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Aug 16 — Mars and Neptune: At heliocentric opposition, 03:00.

Continued From…

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Jun 28 – Aug 27 — International Space University (ISU),
Granada, Spain: ISU Space Studies Program 2021.

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Aug 2 – Oct 31 — SpaceBase, Planet,
Christchurch, New Zealand and Online: Space for Planet Earth Challenge; seeking innovative ideas from New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Island residents at High School and University / Start-up level to address climate change through space technologies.

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Aug 15-21 — Meteoritical Society, Chicago IL and Online: 84th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society.

TUESDAY


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Aug 17 — Kappa Cygnids Meteor Shower Peak:
Shower appears to line up in sky by Cygnus and star Kappa Cygni, typically produces slow (25 km/sec) mostly faint meteors 3-5 per hour with a few very bright.

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Aug 17 — Lunar and Planetary Institute,
Online / Houston TX: Seminar: Sharing Planetary Science: Addressing Controversial Topics; featuring LPI Education and Public Engagement team, 16:00 CDT.

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Aug 17-18 — NASA, JHU / APL,
Online: 2nd Parker Solar Probe Scholars Meeting.

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Aug 17-19 — Chandra X-ray Center,
Online / Cambridge MA: Chandra Data Science – Novel Methods in Computing and Statistics for X-ray Astronomy.

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Aug 17-19 — National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine,
Online / Washington DC: Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032 Meeting #18.

WEDNESDAY


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Aug 18 — Moon Village Association,
Online / Vienna, Austria: Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities (GEGSLA) 7th Meeting.

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Aug 18 — Ames Research Center, NASA,
Online / Moffett Field CA: Lecture: Integrated Microfluidic Bioanalytical Systems for CubeSats – Growing and Monitoring Microbial Cultures in Outer Space; featuring Diana Ly and Macarena Parra of NASA Ames Research Center, and Tony Ricco of Stanford University, 10:00-11:00 PDT.

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Aug 18-19 — LPI, USRA, NASA Biological and Physical Sciences Division,
Online / Houston TX: Lunar Surface Science Workshop 10: Fundamental and Applied Lunar Surface Research in Physical Sciences.

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Aug 18 — Mercury: 0.08° S of Mars, 18:00.

THURSDAY


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Aug 19 — Roscosmos, Launch Soyuz / OneWeb 9, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Russia Soyuz rocket to launch 34 satellites to orbit for OneWeb.

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Aug 19 — Caltech Dept of Astronomy,
Online / Pasadena CA: Theodore von Kármán Lecture: Psyche – Mission to a Metal World; by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Principal Investigator of NASA Psyche Mission, 19:00-20:30 PDT.

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Aug 19 — W. M. Keck Observatory, Rob and Terry Ryan Foundation,
Online / Kamuela HI: Astronomy Talks: Exploring Galaxies and Beyond; by Lauren Corlies, Deputy Head of Education and Public Outreach at Vera C. Rubin Observatory, 17:00 HST.

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Aug 19 — Jupiter: At opposition in longitude, magnitude -2.9, 14:00.

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Aug 19 — Apollo Asteroid 2021 PJ4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.017 AU)

FRIDAY


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Aug 20 —
Voyager 2, Interstellar Space: NASA spacecraft begins 45th year in space today, launched Aug 20, 1977 – seventeen days before Voyager 1; expected to send data to Earth until ~2025 when power may run out.

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Aug 20 — University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory,
Tucson AZ: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference 2021.

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Aug 20 — Moon: 3.6° SE of Saturn, 14:00.

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Aug 20 — Apollo Asteroid 2021 PV: Near-Earth Flyby (0.047 AU)

SATURDAY


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Aug 21 — Ad Astra Kansas Foundation, Space Age Publishing Company, ILOA,
Hutchinson KS and Online: Galaxy Forum Kansas 2021: James Webb Space Telescope; 13th annual Galaxy Forum, featuring Scott Acton of Ball Aerospace, 13:00 at the Cosmosphere.

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Aug 21 — British Interplanetary Society West Midlands Branch,
Online / Worcestershire, United Kingdom: Lecture: Guidance of the Ariane 4 Launch Vehicle, a Beginner’s Guide; by Adam Hibber, 14:00-15:15.

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Aug 21 — International Institute of Space Law, Secure World Foundation,
Online / Paris, France: 7th IISL Happy Hour; SWF Executive Director Peter Martinez to speak on African Space Policy, 15:00 UTC.

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Aug 21-27— National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI), India Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,
Online / Hyderabad, India: Virtual Conference: Joint Scientific Assembly 2021 (IAGA-IASPEI 2021).

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Aug 21 — Moon: 3.7° SE of Jupiter, 12:00.

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Aug 21 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 AJ193: Near-Earth Flyby (0.023 AU)

SUNDAY


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Aug 22-26 — NASA Astrobiology Program, Carnegie Institution for Science,
Online: The Evolution of Macromolecular Carbon through Space and Time; in conjunction with 2021 Fall Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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Aug 22 — Moon: Full / Sturgeon / Blue Moon, 02:01.

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Aug 22 — Amor Asteroid 2019 UD4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.036 AU)

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