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OUTREACH January 2012

Editor’s Note: I have extensively updated the Calendar this month, adding conferences and a lot more launches. I’ve also added China’s Tiangong 1 space station to “Space Viewing” since it highly visible to the naked eye.

January Meeting (NOTE TIME and LOCATION)

      Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14 at Denny’s on the I-240 access road on the north side just east of Pennsylvania Avenue in southern Oklahoma City. The street address is 1617 SW 74th Street and the phone number is 685-5414. This is in the middle of a long line of eating places so we can use the opportunity to scout out potential meeting places. Claire and I found out in November that it is easier coming from the east to get off at the previous exit (Western Avenue) and proceed down the north access road.
      We only have the meeting place until 6:00 p.m.


  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Read and discuss mail
  5. Old Business
    1. A New OSA Logo
    2. Treasurer’s Report
    3. Yuri’s Night 2012
    4. Moon Day 2012
    5. Distribution of Ad Astras
    6. OSA Fundraisers
    7. Library Displays
    8. OSA Speakers, Suggested Topics
  6. New Business
    1. Mars 500
    2. What’s Happening in Space
    3. Annual Report
    4. Discuss Goals and Objectives for 2012
    5. Expanding Membership
  7. Create New Agenda
  8. Adjournment and informal discussions

Notes on December Party/Meeting

      The December 10 meeting of Oklahoma Space Alliance was actually the Space Alliance Christmas Party at the Koszoru house. Attending this year were Tom and Heidi Koszoru and their daughter Jenny, Russ Davoren and wife, Tim Scott, John Northcutt, Claire and Clifford McMurray and David St. John. This being a Christmas party, we conducted little business, but we did elect new officers for 2012. Steve Swift is the new president, Jim Trombly vice-president, Syd Henderson secretary and Tim Scott treasurer.
      Chris Carson from NSS-North Texas came by later in the day, and we had a long conversation with him concerning space, and his travels, which have been extensive but confined to planet Earth.
--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

2012 Heinlein Award

      Voting for the National Space Society’s 2012 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award is open through January 20 at space.nss.org. However, the voting website says it closes on January 15, so I assume the other deadline is for mail-ins. There are 28 people on the ballot, and you can vote for first second and third choices. You must be a National Space Society member in good standing to vote.
      The ballot in alphabetical order is: Anousheh Ansari, Robert Bigelow, Richard Branson, George W. Bush, Michael Collins, Hugh Downs, Frank Drake, Eric Drexler, Freeman Dyson, Lori Garver, William Gaubatz, Peter Glaser, Dan Goldin, Michael Griffin, Tom Hanks, Stephen Hawking, Gary Hudson, Peter Kokh, George Lucas, Storey Musgrave, Elon Musk, Jerry Pournelle, Frederick Ordway, Sally Ride, Kim Stanley Robinson, Dennis Tito, Peter Worden and John Young.
      The previous winners of this award are 1986 Gerard O’Neill; 1988 Arthur C. Clarke, 1990 Werner von Braun, 1992 Gene Roddenberry, 1994 Robert H. Goddard, 1996 Buzz Aldrin, 1998 Carl Sagan, 2000 Neil Armstrong, 2002 Robert Zubrin, 2004 James Lovell, 2006 Chuck Yeager, 2008 Burt Rutan, and 2010 Peter Diamandis.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (January 11 – February 19, 2012)

      You can get sighting information at www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get satellite viewing data for 10-day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail.
      Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries International Space Station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. With the addition of the solar panels, the International Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -3.5, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun and all the planets other than Venus, although magnitude -2 to -3 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is more difficult to see. 
      Starting this month, I’m adding information for China’s Tiangong 1 space station, which can get as bright as magnitude -0.4, which is brighter than any star except Sirius and Canopus. Like the ISS, Tiangong 1 can go directly overhead, while the Space Telescope never gets more than 31 degrees above the horizon for viewers in Oklahoma.
      Missions to and from the Space Station may change its orbit. A Progress resupply capsule will launch to the Station January 26 and SpaceX will launch its Dragon capsule to the Station on February 7. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings before going out to watch.
      China has no planned missions to Tiangong 1 until March or April, when a manned capsule will dock with it. No more missions to the Hubble Space Telescope are planned.

ISS     January 14, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
7:20 a.m.    248°           22°
7:21            263            39
7:22            320            55
7:23              18            39
7:24              33            23

Tiangong 1     January 14, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:49 p.m.    310°           18°
6:50            324            34
6:51              23            53
6:52              81            35
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

ISS January 15, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:23 a.m.    210°           22°
6:24            196            39
6:25            135            58
6:26              74            39
6:27              61            23

Tiangong 1 January 16, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:10 p.m.    302°           18°
6:11            309            37
6:12              53            72
6:13            102            38
6:14            109            19

ISS     January 17, 2012
Appears from Earth’s shadow in the bowl of the Great Dipper
Time       Position       Elevation
6:08 a.m.    326°           60°
6:09              23            39
6:10              36            22

Tiangong 1     January 29, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:41 a.m.    221°           17°
6:42            205            32
6:43            151            50
6:44              94            33
6:45              78            18

Tiangong 1     January 30, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
7:09 a.m.     265°          17°
7:10            280            33
7:11            335            51
7:12              34            33
7:13              50            18

Tiangong 1     January 31, 2012
Appears from Earth’s shadow
Time       Position       Elevation
6:02:55 a.m  206°           59°
6:03:16         161            71
6:04                78            38
6:05                69            19

HST     January 31. 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:34 p.m.    221°           20°
6:35            202            27
6:36            176            30
6:37            148            27
6:38            130            20
[Hubble has similar passes starting at 6:30 on February 1, 6:27 on February 2, and 6:24 on February 3.]

ISS     February 2, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:59 a.m.    306°           21°
7:00            299            40
7:01            227            74
7:02            148            41
7:03            141            21

Tiangong 1     February 9, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:59 a.m.    307°           18°
7:00            318            35*
7:01              22            61
7:02              90            36
7:03            101            18
*Passes through bowl of Big Dipper

Tiangong 1     February 11, 2012
Appears from Earth’s Shadow
Time       Position       Elevation
6:17:47 a.m.  302°          26°
6:18:16         304            37
6:19                19            80
6:20              108            38
6:21              112            19

ISS     February 11, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
7:47 p.m.    239°           15°
7:48            245            28
7:49            276            57
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow near Jupiter

ISS     February 14, 2012
Time       Position       Elevation
6:32 p.m.    235°           20°
6:33            242            39*
6:34            324            74
6:35              36            38
6:36              42            19
* Passes 2° west of Venus
      Pass times are from Heavens Above

      Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus, to find the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. on February 14, measure five and a half fist-widths west from due south, then two fist-widths above the horizon.
      All times are rounded off to the nearest minute except for times when the satellite enters or leaves the shadow of the Earth. The highest elevation shown for each viewing opportunity is the actual maximum elevation for that appearance.
      J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

Sky Viewing
[Viewing information from skyandtelescope.com and the January and February issues of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.]

      On January 31, 2012, the asteroid Eros will make its closest approach to Earth, coming within 16.6 million miles. This doesn’t sound all that impressive, and Eros is only 21 miles long, but that still makes it the only near-Earth asteroid to regularly become visible through binoculars, reaching magnitude 8.6, and is close to that brightness from mid-January through the month of February. There are finder charts on page 49 of the February issue of Astronomy and page 52 of the February Sky & Telescope.

      Mercury is currently visible low in the morning sky about a half-hour before sunrise. It is magnitude -0.4. Mercury is approaching a superior conjunction with the Sun in early February, but will become very visible late in the month, reaching magnitude -1.0 and setting an hour after the Sun.
      Venus is magnitude -4.0, shining brilliantly in the western sky after sunset, even during twilight. Venus is setting later and getting brighter each night, and will be magnitude -4.3 by the end of February.
      Mars is magnitude 0.0 and rising about 10 p.m., near the border of Leo and Virgo. It is well below the Sickle of Leo and is the brightest object in this part of the sky. Over the next couple of months, Mars will be shuttling back and forth between Virgo and Leo because of retrograde motion. Mars is growing brighter as it approaches its March 3 opposition, at which point it will be magnitude -1.2, brighter than any star save Sirius, but only the third brightest planet. This is the worst opposition in twenty years, owing to Earth being still fairly close to perihelion (reached on January 4), and Mars being very closed to aphelion (reached on February 14); thus Mars will be about sixty million miles from Earth on March 3. This contrasts with about thirty-four million miles for a very good opposition
      Jupiter is magnitude -2.5 and is in the south at sunset, near the border of Aries and Pisces, and is visible all evening long. It is currently setting about 1:00 a.m., but by the end of February will be setting at 10:30 p.m.
      With Venus setting later and Jupiter earlier, you should be expecting a conjunction coming up, and by the end of February, the two will be separated by about ten degrees, the width of your fist held at arms length. The actual conjunction occurs of the evening of March 15, when three and a quarter degrees will separate the two.
      Saturn is magnitude 0.7 in the constellation Virgo, just a little brighter than the first-magnitude star Spica, which is about six degrees to the right of it. Saturn will be in western Virgo through February, brightening to magnitude 0.4 as it nears its April opposition. Saturn is currently rising about 1:00 a.m.
      Uranus is magnitude 5.8 in Pisces to the lower left of the Circlet in Pisces and Neptune is magnitude 7.9 and next door in the constellation Aquarius. Neptune is nearing its February 19 conjunction with the Sun, hence will be invisible all month.

      Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune are available in PDF format at http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Uranus-Neptune-2011.pdf. These are for 2011 but show the positions of the planets on January 1, 2012.

Programming Notice: NASA TV on the Web

      Watch NASA TV (Public, Media and Education Channels) on your computer using Flash, Windows or QuickTime at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html.
      NASA TV Schedules are available at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/schedule.html
      Jan. 17, NASA Science Update, time to be determined.
      Jan. 25: Progress 46 Launch Coverage, 4:45 p.m.
      Jan. 27: ISS/Progress 46 Docking Coverage 5:30 p.m.
      Jan. 31: NASA Science Update, 12:00 p.m.
      Feb. 14: ISS Russian Spacewalk Coverage, time to be determined.
      Feb. 20 – 21: NSS Future Forum, 1:00 – 3:45 p.m. on February 20 and 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on February 21.

Space News:

      On December 13, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced that he is launching a new venture called Stratolaunch Systems, which build the largest aircraft in history as an airborne launch system. The airplane would have a wingspan of 385 feet, weigh 550 tons, and require a runway more than two miles long. It carry two-stage rocket that would be capable of carrying cargo, and eventually people into space. The twin-bodied giant airplane will be constructed by Scaled Composites (Burt Rutan’s company), and the rocket by SpaceX. Source: http://www.space.com/13915-paul-allen-giant-plane-stratolaunch-systems-private-space.html. (It’s easier to go to space.com and search for “Paul Allen.”)

      The twin GRAIL spacecraft arrived at Moon orbit on December 31 and January 1, respectively. The two spacecraft began with highly eccentric orbits that will be circularized to orbits 34 miles above the Moon’s surface, which will be reduced to only 15 miles. The spacecraft are devoted to mapping the Moon’s gravitational field in excruciating detail as a probe of the Moon’s interior. Among the questions to be answered is whether the Moon possesses a core, and why the crust on the Moon’s Earth-facing side is so much thinner than on the Moon’s far side.

      The Kepler spacecraft has already identified over 2300 hundred potential planets most of which are awaiting confirmation. Many of these systems are interesting: for example, KIC 05807616 has two planets orbiting the hot subdwarf star at distances of 470,000 and 620,000 miles, which is particularly interesting because this star used to be a red giant, which means that the two planets would have been inside the star. While it’s likely the planets used to be farther out, they may still have been inside the star.
      This is possible because the outer layers of a red giant are really a pretty good vacuum. This is even more the case with red supergiants, which can actually engulf a companion star that keeps orbiting beneath the photosphere.

      The Kepler team has also confirmed the discovery of two planets which are roughly Earth-sized. Kepler 20e has a diameter of 6900 miles, while Kepler 20f has a diameter of 8200 miles. By comparison, Earth’s radius is 7900 miles and Venus’s is around 7500 miles. So these planets are comparable to Venus and Earth and orbit a G8 star, which qualifies as sunlike. Unfortunately, the two planets orbit their star at distances of 4.7 million miles and 10.3 million miles, respectively, meaning they have temperatures of 1400 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit on the sides facing their star.
      Interestingly, this system also has three Neptune-sized planets, one of which is even closer to Kepler 20 than the two Earth-sized planets.

      Mars rover Opportunity will winter at a sunny rock nicknamed “Greely Haven after the late Professor Ronald Greely of Arizona State University. Opportunity landed closet to the Martian equator than its late companion Spirit, so it hasn’t previously had to sun itself during midwinter, but by now its panels have accumulated enough dust that NASA thinks it’s a good idea.
      Opportunitywill complete eight years of operations on January 25, which is not bad for a rover whose original mission was completed after 90 days.

Space-Related Articles

      “When Will We Go Back to the Moon?” by Robert Zimmerman, Astronomy, February 2012, pp. 32 – 35. NASA currently has a hiatus in their own manned launches until at least 2017; this is an overview of some of the private ventures underway.

      The January issue of Discover was their annual top 100 science stories. #1 was the apparent discovery of neutrinos going faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. Some pertaining to space:
4) The Kepler Probe’s detection of thousands of new planet candidates (and its possible budget cut).
6) Retirement of the Space Shuttles.
12) The launch of Tiangong-1.
14) The observation of a black hole devouring a star.
16) The Dawn space probe’s observations of the asteroid Vesta
23) The Moon once had a twin, which apparently crashed to thicken the crust on the far side.
25) MESSENGER’s observation of Mercury.
33) There are fewer near-Earth asteroids than formerly believed, reducing the risk of a cosmic collision.
41) The death of UARS, the satellite, which proved CFCs were destroying the ozone, layer.
52) A giant superstorm on Saturn.
53) Precious metals in the Earth’s crust probably came from meteorites. (Those originally on Earth would have sunk into the core.)
62) Star birth observed.
66) Discovery of brown dwarfs with a surface temperature around room temperature.
79) Free planets may be more common than stars.
83) Gravity Probe B confirms Einstein’s predictions of frame shifting and space-time warping by the mass of the Earth.
88) A map of the gamma-ray sky by the Fermi telescope.
93) First test of NASAs powerful J-2X rocket.
96) The evolution of SpaceShip Two.

Calendar of Events
      Early to mid-January: Russia’s failed Phobos-Grunt re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
      January 11: Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in Oklahoma City.
      January 13: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      January 14: Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 2:30 p.m. at Denny’s on I-240 north access road east of South Pennsylvania Avenue in Oklahoma City.
      January 31: The asteroid Eros is 16.6 million miles from Earth. [See “Sky Viewing.”]
      February: First test flight of Orbital Space Corporation’s Antares rocket (previously named Taurus II). This is the first test flight of their rocket developed as a space station supply vehicle.
      February 7: Launch of SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule via Falcon 9 on a test flight to the Space Station.
      February 7: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
      February 8: [Tentative.] Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
      February 9: Uranus is 0.3° south of Venus.
      February 10: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/. Claire and Clifford McMurray will speak on the final Shuttle launch.
      February 11: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      February 19: Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun.
      February 26 – 28: 2012 Legislative Blitz, Washington, DC. Go to space.nss.org for details.
      March or April: China launches the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft. This will be the first manned spacecraft to dock with the Tiangong 1 space station. [China is also planning a second mission this year, but the date hasn’t been announced.]
      March 3: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
      March 4: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
      March 9: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      March 10: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      March 14: Launch of NuSTAR space probe from Kwajalein via a Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will search for black holes, supernova remnants and active galaxies. For more details, visit www.nustar.caltech.edu/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Spectroscopic_Telescope_Array. [Moved from February.]
      March 14: [Tentative.] Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
      March 14 – 16: Kepler Space Institute Convention, March 14 – 16, Hilton Head Marriott Resort in South Carolina. This event is co-sponsored by NSS. For more information, visit www.keplerspaceinstitute.info
      March 15: Jupiter is 3° south of Venus. See “Sky Viewing.”
      March 24: Messier Marathon at Cheddar Ranch Observatory, hosted by the Oklahoma City Astronomy. Club website and directions are at http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      March 26: Venus is at greatest eastern elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
      April 1: Launch of three Expedition 31/32 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
      April 11: [Tentative.] Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
      April 12: Yuri’s Night.
      April 13: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      April 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      April 14: Saturn is at opposition.
      April 18: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
      May: Test flight of Orbital Space Services Cygnus resupply vehicle aboard an Antares rocket.
      May 9: [Tentative.] Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
      May 11: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      May 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      May 20: An annular eclipse of the sun will be visible on a path beginning in China and ending in Texas. Major cities in the path are Guangzhou, Tokyo and Albuquerque. This eclipse will be partial in Oklahoma with most of the sun covered. It will be the first “central eclipse” in the United States in the 21st century.
      May 24 – 28: ISDC 2012, the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference, in Washington, DC. There is a button to register at space.nss.org.
      June 1: Launch of three Expedition 32/33 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
      June 5-6: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea. This also, of course, means Venus is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
      June 8: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club has its Novice Session at 6:45 p.m. and its Club Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Science Museum Oklahoma. Club website is http://www.okcastroclub.com/.
      June 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      June 13: [Tentative.] Oklahoma Space Industry Authority Meeting at 1:30 p.m., location to be announced.
      June 30: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 26° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
      Summer of 2012: Drop tests begin of the prototypes of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, which will eventually be able to take passengers to the Space Station and other orbiting spacecraft.  For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Chaser.
      July or August: Azerbaijan’s first satellite, Azerspace, will be launched by Ariane from French Guiana. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azerspace
      July 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      August 3 – 5: 15th Annual Mars Society Convention in Pasadena, California. For more information, visit www.marssociety.org. (This conference will stick around into the early hours of April 6 to watch the landing of Curiosity.)
      August 6: The Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover lands in Gale Crater on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity_rover for details.
      August 11: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      August 15: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
      August 16: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 19° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
      August 23: Neptune is in opposition.
      September 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 3:00 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
      September 28: Uranus is in opposition.
      October: Launch of three Expedition 33/34 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.      
      October 4 – 10: World Space Week. See www.worldspaceweek.org/ for details.
      October 26: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 24° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
      November: Launch of three Expedition 34/35 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
      November 14: Total eclipse of the Sun beginning in northern Australia and following a path across the South Pacific, stopping short of South America. The biggest city in the path is Cairns, Queensland, Australia, population 150,000.
      November 27: Saturn is 0.8° above Venus.
      December: Launch of IRIS, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, which will trace the flow of energy and matter into the Sun’s corona and photosphere. See http://iris.gsfc.nasa.gov/ for details.
      December 2: Jupiter is in opposition.
      Sometime in 2013: The student-built nanosatellite, Aalto-1, will become Finland’s first satellite.
      Sometime in 2013: Launch of Gaia (Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics), the European Space Agency successor to Hipparcos. Gaia will provide data on one billion stars in the Milky Way, including distances, proper and radial motion, and spectroscopic info burying astronomers in data. Gaia will also observe asteroids closer than the Earth to the Sun. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_(spacecraft) or http://www.esa.int/export/esaSC/120377_index_0_m.html.
      Sometime in 2013: China launches the Tiangong-2 space station.
      April 17, 2013: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
      November 18 – December 7, 2013: Launch window for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN orbiter (MAVEN). The project web site is http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/maven/.
      Sometime in 2014: First test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.
      Sometime in 2014: India launches Chandrayaan II. This mission will include a lunar rover. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2.
      Sometime in 2014: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission, which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna-Glob. [Moved from 2012.]
      February 14, 2014: Launch of Japan’s Astro-H X-ray astronomy spacecraft. For details, visit http://astro-h.isas.jaxa.jp/index.html.en.
      April 14-15, 2014. Total eclipse of the Moon visible from North America.
      July 2014: Launch of GEMS (Gravity and Extreme Magnetism SMEX). This will study the distortion of space around spinning black holes (via the polarization of X-rays) and the extreme magnetic fields around neutron stars. [This is not to be confused with the proposed Mars mission formerly called GEMS, but now called InSight.]
      July-August 2014: The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
      August 2014 - December 2015: The European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November 2014, it will release the Philae lander. Web page is www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta or visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28spacecraft%29
      Sometime in 2015: China launches the Tiangong-3 space station. This will eventually become the core of a large Chinese space station in the 2020s.
      February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
      July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
      Sometime in 2016: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Orbiter. This mission will include a static lander, but the rover will be launched in 2018. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
      March 2016: Proposed launch date for InSight, a lander which will probe the interior of Mars. For information, see http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov/.
      July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
      August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
      Sometime in 2018: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
      Sometime in 2018: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
      Summer of 2020 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
      April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
      August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2012 (Area Code 405)

Steve Swift, President                                           496-3616 (H)
Jim Trombly, Vice-President                                 219-0283 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor       321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                              740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary      329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

(Replace "at" with @ symbol.)

sswift42 at aol.com (Steve Swift)
jtvt at inbox.com (Jim Trombly)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
cliffclaire at hotmail.com (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
john.d.northcutt1 at tds.net (John Northcutt)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
      E-mail for OSA should be sent to [email protected].  Members who wish their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is osa.nss.org/index.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information
            Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
            Science Museum Oklahoma (former Omniplex) website is www.sciencemuseumok.org. Main number is 602-6664.
            Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918) 834-9900.
            The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
            The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600. Executive Director is Gary Barnhard [email protected]. The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024. The address is: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005 Web page is space.nss.org
            The Planetary Society phone 626-793-5100. The address is 65 North Catalina, Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91106-2301 and the website is www.planetary.org. E-mail is [email protected].
            NASA Spacelink BBS 205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
            Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
             Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].

 A Chapter of the National Space Society


Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
                                       $10.00 for Membership.  (This allows full voting privileges, but covers only your own newsletter expense.)

___________________ $15.00 for family membership

                                        TOTAL amount enclosed

          National Space Society has a special $30 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $55, international $65.  Student memberships are $25.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005, or join at space.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit www.marsociety.org. One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

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OSA Memberships are for 1 year, and include a subscription to our monthly newsletters, Outreach and Update.  Send check & form to Oklahoma Space Alliance, 102 W. Linn, #1, Norman, OK 73071.


Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2012 Oklahoma Space Alliance.