August 30 – September 5, 2021 / Vol 40, No 35 / Hawai`i Island, USA

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Interstellar Voyagers Begin 45th Years in Space, New Horizons Surpasses 50 AU


The most distant and longest-operating twin Voyager spacecraft are expected to communicate with Deep Space Network through 2036, collect engineering data through 2030, and science data through 2025. Voyager 1, traveling ~16.99 kps with 4 working instruments, will enter its 45th year in space Sep 5, and was the first craft to enter interstellar space Aug 25, 2012. Voyager 2 currently has 5 instruments powered on and entered its 45th year in space Aug 20, interstellar space in 2018 while traveling ~15.37 kps with respect to Sun. In April 2023 V2 is expected to pass Pioneer 10 which is traveling at 11.95 kps (launched 49 years ago), and predicted to have surpassed 122 AU / interstellar space in 2019. New Horizons became the 5th craft to reach 50 AU from the Sun this April, and its 3rd possible Kuiper Belt Object flyby is being planned before 2030. It will likely surpass 100 AU in 2038, and enter interstellar space ~2040. Proposed Interstellar Probe mission, led by Pontus Brandt of JHU APL, could launch early 2030s and reach the heliosphere boundary in just 15 years. China / CNSA Interstellar Express may launch 2 probes 2024 to reach 100 AU by 2049, centennial of PRC foundation. Breakthrough Starshot continues R&D for microsat StarChips to travel at .2c reaching Alpha Centauri (4.27 LY) away within 20 years. (Image Credits: SwRI, NASA, JHU APL, Scientia Sinica, CAS / NAOC, RAS, BI)

MONDAY


Highlights…
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Aug 30 — ISS,
~405-km LEO: Expedition 65 seven-member crew working with new “Butterfly IQ Ultrasound” device, plant stress and genetic changes study; transferring cargo from Progress 78P, NG-16 Cygnus and Dragon CRS-23; Cosmonauts to work externally on Nauka this week.

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Aug 30 — Tiangong Space Station,
~370-km LEO: Shenzhou 12 three-member crew storing EVA equipment after successful spacewalk, setting up space centrifuge and hazardous trace gas removal subsystem; commercial companies may provide future cargo services for TSS.

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Aug 30 —
NewSpace: Intuitive Machines to employ MDA sensors on lunar landers; Starlink has 600,000+ customers awaiting internet service; Virgin Orbit to go public with US$3.2B valuation via SPAC.

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Aug 30 — Solar System:
NASA shares Perseverance images of Deimos from Mars surface; 2 red objects in main asteroid belt being studied by JAXA, may have trans-Neptunian origin.

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Aug 30 —
Galaxy: Cambridge Astronomers searching for biosignatures in Hycean exoplanets; Harvard cosmological model predicts 10% of black hole mass in universe are in ‘wanderers’.

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Aug 30 — Global:
Astroscale refining magnetic capture deorbiting technology; ispace building series 2 lunar lander, working with on Canadian and Australian partners on augmented reality excavation technology; ESA requests patience as it screens 23,000 astronaut hopefuls.

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Aug 30 — USA:
Blue Origin working on reusable upper stage “Project Jarvis”; USSF command center relocation from Colorado to Alabama uncertain; The Aerospace Corporation envisions new disc-shaped standard for small satellites.

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Aug 30 — Hawai’i:
Legal status of alternative site for Large Telescope in Canary Islands in question; IfA astronomer working with Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile to characterize asteroid with 113-day orbital period.

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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 (WSW), Jupiter (SE), Saturn (SE); Morning Planets: Uranus (SE), Neptune (SE).


2021 Annual Meeting of Lunar Exploration Analysis Group Focuses on Near-Term Missions


The 18th LEAG is being held online August 31 – September 2, presented by Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston TX and Universities Space Research Association in Columbia MD, with international lunar scientists. With theme “Lunar Science and Exploration in the Next Five Years”, the 3-day gathering will be welcomed by Convener (L-R) Amy Fagan of Western Carolina University and starts with an in-depth review of NASA SMD progress, with updates from Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary, Earth, Biological & Physical Science divisions. Reports on Artemis program will be given by NASA officials Niki Werkheiser (STMD), Julie Robinson (HEOMD) as well as updates from 11 of 13 Artemis 1 secondary payload cubesat missions: ArgoMoon, EQUULEUS, OMOTENASHI, BioSentinel, CuSP, LunaH-Map, Lunar Flashlight, LunIR, Lunar IceCube and “NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge” winners Team Miles and CU Earth Escape Explorer. The 4 international lunar missions expected to launch in the next 12 months will be reported on by D. K. Kim (KARI / Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter), T. P. Das (ISRO / Chandrayaan-3), M. Ohtake (JAXA / Small Lander for Investigating Moon) and I. Mitrofanov (Roscosmos / Luna-25). Commercial Moon missions will also be strongly represented, with Dan Hendrickson of Astrobotic (Peregrine Lander), Trent Martin of Intuitive Machines (Nova-C), Colin Ake of Masten (XL-1) and William Coogan of Firefly (Blue Ghost) giving remarks on their companies’ respective CLPS lunar efforts. (Image Credits: LEAG, LPI, USRA, NASA)
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Aug 30 —
Van Allen Probes, LEO: Spacecraft reach 9 full years / begin 10th year in space today, launched 2012; adding to the understanding of Earth radiation belt environment and its variability.

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Aug 30 — Lunar Exploration Analysis Group,
Online / Houston TX: Bystander Intervention Workshop at LEAG.

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Aug 30 — Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), NASA,
Online / Washington DC: 2021 Fall Meeting of the OPAG.

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Aug 30 — Moon: 5.8° NNW of Aldebaran, 03:00.

Continued From…

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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 25 – Sep 3 — U.N. Office of Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: 64th Session Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

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Aug 29-31 — NASS, Warner, Avon Machining, et al,
Traverse City MI and Online: North American Space Summit: LEO – The New Gold Rush.

TUESDAY


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Aug 31 — Virgin Galactic, Omaze, Space for Humanity,
Online / Spaceport America NM: Virgin Galactic spaceflight giveaway due date for applications.

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Aug 31 — Secure World Foundation, The British Embassy,
Online / Washington DC: Webinar: Space, Climate Change, and International Cooperation; 11:00-12:30 EDT.

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Aug 31 – Sep 2 — Lunar Exploration Analysis Group,
Online / Houston TX: 2021 Annual Meeting of the LEAG: Lunar Science and Exploration in the Next Five Years.

WEDNESDAY


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NET Sep — ULA, Launch Atlas 5 / STP-3,
SLC-41, Cape Canaveral SFS FL: United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 to launch STP-3 mission for USSF.

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Sep 1-2 — National Academies of Sciences,
Online / Washington DC: Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership of Competed Space Missions Meeting #8.

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Sep 1 — Moon: 1.36° N of M35 cluster, 01:00.

THURSDAY


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Sep 2 — ISS, Russia EVA #49,
~405-km LEO: Expedition 65 Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov to perform Russia spacewalk #49 to begin outfitting Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module starting 11:35 EDT for ~7 hours; live coverage available.

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Sep 2 — Firefly Aerospace, Launch Alpha / DFAST Demonstrator, DREAM, Vandenberg SFB CA: First orbital launch attempt for Alpha rocket launching Benchmark Space Systems DFAST propulsion system tech demo and Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM).

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Sep 2 — Moon: 6.6° S of Castor, 13:00; 2.98° S of Pollux, 19:00.

FRIDAY


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Sep 3 —
The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Roman Chiporukha of Spacevip.com about future generations of private astronauts, flow of information, public NewSpace participation.

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Sep 3 — Moon: 3.1° NNE of Beehive Cluster, 21:00.

SATURDAY


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NET Sep 4 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / Starlink 2-1,
LC-39A Kennedy Space Center FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch next batch of communication satellites.

SUNDAY


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Sep 5 —
Voyager 1, Interstellar Space: NASA spacecraft begins 45th year in space today, launched Sep 5, 1977; farthest spacecraft from Earth, first to reach interstellar space.

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Sep 5 — Moon: 4.5° NNE of Regulus, 14:00.

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Sep 5 — Mercury: At aphelion, 0.4667 AU from Sun, 14:00.

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Sep 5 — Venus: 1.57° NNE of Spica, 11:00.

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Sep 5 — Apollo Asteroid 2015 SW6 : Near-Earth Flyby (0.041 AU)

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