A few more highlights for November. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/details.php?id=1505
Some spaceflight events for the rest of the year:
14 November (update, was 10 November before) - Delta II launch of a few small satellites. If successful, it will be the 99th consecutive success of Delta II, with one more launch planned for September 2018 before the rocket is retired.
16 November - Falcon 9 launch of the mysterious "Zuma". It is known that Northrop Grumman built the satellite and that some US government agency wants to have it in low Earth orbit, apart from that nothing is known - not even which government agency is responsible.
4 December - Falcon 9 launch with a refurbished first stage, the fourth time a booster is reused. The mission delivers cargo to the ISS - with a Dragon capsule that was previously flown in 2015, the second time a Dragon is reused.
7 December - Angola joins the (long) list of countries with satellites
23 December - Falcon 9 launch with another refurbished first stage, the fifth time a booster is reused. Delivering 10 Iridium satellites to orbit.
29 December (maybe) - maiden flight of Falcon Heavy. The two side boosters are from earlier Falcon 9 flights, making them the sixth and seventh reused boosters. SpaceX aims for this date, but there will be extensive tests of the rocket during December, the launch date will depend on the outcome of these tests. If successful, it will be the largest rocket to reach orbit since the Energia/Buran flight in 1988, and the rocket with the second most useful payload after Saturn V.
December (maybe) - second launch of Electron after a failure earlier this year. If successful, it will be the second-smallest rocket to ever reach orbit (after Lambda 4S) and the smallest liquid-fuel rocket to reach orbit.
The first re-flight of a Falcon 9 booster was in March this year, by the end of the year we could have 7 (if Falcon Heavy makes it in December). SES had two of them, Bulsatcom got another one, NASA agreed to use one (and potentially more), Iridium will get two, and SpaceCom wants one. NASA, SES and Iridium are the largest three customers. Less than two years after the first landing and less than a year after the first reuse it looks like it is getting routine. A big reduction in new boosters means SpaceX can focus more on second stages and increase the launch rate even more. Currently they launch nearly as much as all of Russia (16 vs. 17 this year).
Saw it! ... Cool!
This is worth zooming in, note the red and blue noise in the bottom left corner.
"The image was taken on Oct. 24, 2017 at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT), as Juno performed its ninth close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was 20,577 miles (33,115 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of minus 52.96 degrees. The spatial scale in this image is 13.86 miles/pixel (22.3 kilometers/pixel)."
New habitable exoplanet found!
DARPA: Space warfare defence lab development.
I just can't get excited about newly discovered planets that are orbiting red dwarfs. Tidal locking and solar flares that sweep the planet regularly don't make these great candidates for life even if they are 'habitable'. When JWST comes online and starts finding habitable planets farther out, that will be a different story.
Maybe habitable. And keep in my mind that Venus is a planet in the habitable zone as well.
In addition, only a lower mass limit is known, the planet could be much heavier. We’ll see more once the megatelescopes are running.
A piece that's not only timely but relevant.
Now Dec 9, 01:30-05:30 UTC. This post was made Dec 7 12:55 UTC or 36.5 hours before the earliest launch time.
Edit: Shifted to December 11.
Other updates relative to the November schedule: Mainly delays.
Delta II launched successfully. 99 successes in a row, one more launch planned for 2018.
Zuma was on the launch pad already when an issue with the payload fairing for another customer appeared. Apparently a serious one, the rocket was taken off the launch pad and the launch is now scheduled for January 5, nearly two months delayed. It will launch from a different launch pad as well - normally an administrative nightmare, but whatever government agency is behind the payload could speed that up apparently.
SpaceX CRS-13, the ISS resupply mission, is now planned for December 12, 16:46 UTC. It will still be a large recycling mission, both the first stage and the Dragon capsule were in space already.
Just 5 days later a Soyuz will launch a Russian, a Japanese and a US astronaut to the ISS.
The Iridium launch for December 23 is still planned for that date, surprisingly. SpaceX reuses a booster from an earlier flight for the same customer.
Angola's first satellite got shifted to December 26.
No Falcon Heavy launch this year, although we might get the static fire (full engine test on the ground) this month. January 2018 is the current estimate. The payload will be Elon Musk's private Tesla Roadster, and the target orbit crosses the orbit of Mars. No, this is not a joke.
The Japanese SS-520 is back. After a launch failure in January, another flight is planned for December 28. If successful, it will be the smallest and lightest rocket to make it to orbit, with a length of 9.5 meters, a diameter of 52 cm and a mass of just 2.6 tonnes.
No Google Lunar X-Prize rocket. The teams all seem to go for the latest possible launch date in March.
No Chinese Lunar sample return mission.
SpaceX launched about as many rockets as all of Russia in 2017. For 2018 they aim at ~30 launches in 2018, more than any country (including the US without SpaceX).
When I heard about that, the first thing that came to mind was the opening scenes in "Heavy Metal" where the 'Vette does a reentry. from a shuttle. Makes me wonder what his long term plans are for the payload. One must admit it's going to be great advertising for his cars, if it makes it into orbit it will be another SpaceX first as well as an automotive first (Lunar Rovers notwithstanding). Crossing the Martian orbit will just be practice for upcoming events.
look like the typical "hot pixels" on the imaging chip. You will see them on most cameras
What NASA's Mock Space Missions Tell Us About the Need for Martian Law
Heading for "Space Cops" too! (I have a couple of cops friends already strongly interested to promote to that era ...)
I had figured it was just random artifact business going on, I only mentioned it because I'm watching how the hardware fares in the radiation environment. They don't expect the cam to survive most of the orbits so I watch for degradation (Definitely have the "hot pixel" look as opposed to the Cosmic ray streaks one usually notices).
The Sun is Dimming as Solar Minimum Approaches
(e.g. see https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...ther-update-thread.923468/page-3#post-5904218)
+ (quote from Spaceweather.com [a couple of days ago]) "Today (Dec. 15, 2017) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX launched a new sensor to the International Space Station named "TSIS-1." Its mission: to measure the dimming of the sun. As the sunspot cycle plunges toward its 11-year minimum, NASA satellites are tracking a slight but significant decline in total solar irradiance (TSI). TSIS-1 will monitor this dimming with better precision than previous satellites as Solar Minimum approaches in the years ahead. Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com to learn more about TSIS-1 and natural variations in the sun's electromagnetic output."
In addition to the successful SpaceX recycling mission (two out of three parts reused!) we also had a successful Soyuz launch with crew. They do a slow approach and will reach the ISS on Tuesday.
The Electron rocket had ignition already, but the attempt was aborted, and after a few more delays the launch was shifted to the first quarter of 2018. We still get the second attempt to get SS-520 in orbit after the failure in January, unless that is shifted as well.
2018 in spaceflight will be very interesting as well. Dragon 2 and maybe CST-100 are planned to launch humans to the ISS, the first manned US launches since 2011. Falcon Heavy will become the largest operational rocket, and we'll see many more and probably much faster reflights of boosters. InSight goes to Mars, BepiColombo goes to Mercury, Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-REx arrive at their target asteroids. Some teams might finally launch something to the Moon to win the Google X-prize. China might launch something to the Moon and start their modular space station in Earth orbit.
All that (minus things that shift to 2019) in 12 months
SpaceX first stage landing. The 16th successful landing in a row (and the second landing for this particular booster) - it is getting routine. Another reuse is planned for December 23.
And the list goes on ...
SLS/Orion and JWST shifted to 2019 already. SLS/Orion are likely to shift to 2020.
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