A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 


May Meeting (NOTE TIME and LOCATION)

         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 at the IHOP Restaurant at 5201 N. Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City. This is a block north of the Northwest Expressway, so either take the Northwest Expressway exit if you’re coming in I-44 (there is no Classen exit), or take the N. 50th street exit off I-235 and head west on N. 50th to reach Classen. The telephone number of this IHOP is 840-4467. This is one of the IHOPs that has the “buy one, get one free” special.
         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
  4. Distribution of Ad Astras
  5. What’s Happening with Space
  6. Read and discuss mail
  7. Treasurers Report
  8. Report on OSIDA meeting
  9. Old Business
    1. Report on Brochure Status
    2. Moon Day
      1. Discuss general plan
      2. Define schedule
      3. Form team
    3. Essay and Art Contests
    4. Discuss promotion of meetings
  10. New Business
    1. Soonercon: We’ve been asked to do two panels.
    2. Meeting places
  11. Create New Agenda
  12. Adjournment and informal discussions

         The theme for Oklahoma Space Alliance in 2012 is “What’s Happening in Space.” People think that space exploration is dead with the end of the shuttle program. We should use our theme as an emphasis for meetings, selection of speakers and topics for agenda items.

Minutes of April Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance was to meet on April 14, but the meeting was cancelled due to the threat of severe weather, including tornadoes. We decided to move the meeting to the following Saturday.
         Oklahoma Space Alliance met April 21, 2012 at the I-Hop on North Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Attending were Steve and Karen Swift, Dennis Wigler, David Sheely and Clifford McMurray.

         Steve did a report on the Orbital Sciences Corporation. (See www.orbital.com.) Orbital’s vehicles include the ground based Taurus® an Minotaur rockets, and the Pegasus® rocket, which is launched from the Stargazer (L-1011) carrier aircraft. Orbital’s newest vehicle is the Antares, which is one of the two vehicles developed to resupply the Space Station under the COTS initiative. (The other, of course, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.)
         Pegasus was first launched on April 5, 1990, making it the first privately developed space vehicle. It was also the first air-launched rocket capable of placing satellites into orbit. Pegasus is launched from 40,000 feet and is capable of launching 1,000 pounds into orbit. Pegasus also launches satellites for NASA: NuSTAR, for example, will be launched by Pegasus rocket in June.
         Taurus is ground-launched and bigger, with a payload capacity of 3000 lb.
         Minotaur is actually a series of rockets, the Minotaurs I, IV and V. Orbital Services also launched eight Minotaur IIs, the last in 2008. Apparently Minotaur III was never launched. Minotaur I can carry up to 1278 lb, and Minotaur IV 3814 lb. Minotaur V is a coming attraction: it’s a five-stage version of the four-stage Minotaur IV and can launch small interplanetary missions.
         Antares (formerly known as Taurus II) is a two stage-rocket that can carry 13,000 lb into orbit. Test flights are to begin later this year. There seems to be some disagreement as to when, with NASA saying the next two months and Wikipedia saying August, with the first COTS demonstration mission in October or November. The actual payload capsule which resupplies the Space Station is the Cygnus. Orbital Services has a $1.9 billion contract to for eight resupply missions.
         Antares takes off from the Wallops Flight Facility in the Virginian part of the Delmarva Peninsula.

         What’s Happening in Space:
         We saw pictures of water plumes from Enceladus. [Enceladus is one of the three bodies in the outer solar system for which active eruptions have been observed. The others are Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton. Europa may well have eruptions as well when its icy surface cracks.]
         Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a near-earth asteroid with a diameter of about 150 feet and a mass of 120,000 tons. It’s gotten attention because calculations show that on February 15, 2013, it will pass within 21000 miles of Earth, which is 5000 miles closer than geosynchronous orbit. The chance that it will actually collide with Earth ion on that pass is one in 37 million. The cumulative probability of an impact before 2080 is estimated at 1 in 3230. The estimated energy of impact would be 2.4 megatons.

         We watched a shuttle launch video, with enhanced sound, another of the stars as seen from space, a robotic glove, and Elon Musk on the Daily Show.
         Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys (the source of the movie October Sky) has a new young adult novel, Crater ser on the Moon. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s latest is Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.
         Although we had some business scheduled, Dennis and Clifford had to leave, which cost us our quorum, so business was carried over to the May meeting.

--Minutes by OSA Secretary Syd Henderson

Notes on OSIDA Meetings

         Neither Steve or I were able to make the April OSIDA meeting or the special meeting in late March that was held in Burns Flat. The May meeting has been cancelled.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (May 11 – June 14, 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.  China’s Tiangong 1 space station can get up to magnitude -0.6, which is brighter than all the night stars except Sirius and Canopus.
         Missions to and from the Space Station may change its orbit. On May 14, three astronauts will be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome to the Space Station. SpaceX is currently scheduled to launch a demonstration flight to the Station on May 19.  Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings before going out to watch.  China’s mission to Tiangong 1 will not be until June or later, when a manned capsule will dock with it. No more missions to the Hubble Space Telescope are planned.

Tiangong 1   May 15, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
5:43 a.m.             233°               18°
5:44                    225                 37
5:45                    146                 70
5:46                      76                 34
5:47                      69                 17

Tiangong 1   May 17, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
Appears from Earth’s shadow
4:56:30 a.m.         255°               54°
4:57:05                140                 83
4:58                      68                 30
4:49                      65                 20

ISS     May 19, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
5:16 a.m.             202°               21°
5:17                    184                 38
5:18                    134                 46
5:19                      84                 33
5:20                      67                 19

ISS     May 21, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
Appears from Earth’s shadow
5:04:57 a.m.       246°               29°
5:05:24              254                 39
5:07                   319                 64
5:08                     25                 36
5:09                     37                 21

Tiangong 1   May 27, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
5:39 a.m.           296°               18°
5:40                   293                 36
5:41                   214                 84
5:42                   122                 37
5:43                   120                 18

Tiangong 1   May 31, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
9:57 p.m.           238°               20°
9:58                   234                 38
9:59                   148                 80
10:00                   70                 38
10:01                   66                 21

HST     June 5, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
5:49 a.m.           230°               20°
5:50                  211                 27
5:51                  185                 30
5:52                  158                 27
5:53                  139                 20
The pass on June 6 is similar but begins at 5:45 a.m.

ISS     June 5, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
10:38 p.m.        232°               20°
10:39                236                 40
10:40                319                 82
10:41                  41                 41
10:42                  44                 21

ISS     June 6, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
9:44 p.m.           198°               17°
9:45                   178                 31
9:46                   133                 40
9:47                     89                 30
9:48                     70                 18

ISS     June 8, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
9:32 p.m.           238°               21°
9:33                   244                 40
9:34                   321                 73
9:35                     34                 59
9:36                     41                 20

Tiangong 1   June 10, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
10:29 p.m.        302°               20°
10:30                208                 38
10:31:00             23                 73
10:31:11             61                 70
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

Tiangong 1   June 12, 2012
Time               Position      Elevation
9:37 a.m.           301°               19°
9:38                  306                 41
9:39                    65                 76
9:40                  109                 32
9:41                  112                 16

         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 Hubble Space Telescope at 5:49 a.m. on June 5, measure five 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: A Solar Eclipse and Supermoons

         There are two big events in the sky within the next four weeks: The first “central” solar eclipse in the United States of the 20th century, and a transit of Venus. The transit will be covered in the next section.

         On May 20, there will be an annular eclipse of the Sun on a path from southern China to northwestern Texas. (Annular means the Moon’s disk appears too small to cover the Sun’s disk, so there is a ring of Sun around the Moon’s disk.) There are some huge cities in that path, including Guangzhou (Canton) and Hong Kong in China, Taipei in Taiwan and Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka in Japan. The American cities in the path include: Eureka, California; Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock is at the very end of the eclipse path with the eclipse occurring within minutes of sunset. The eclipse is at least partial in most of China, Indonesia, Thailand and eastern Malaysia, and all of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, eastern Siberia, and Greenland. It will also be partial for all the United States and Canada except their eastern seaboards and most of Mexico, but east of Nevada, the partial eclipse will still be going on at sunset. Central Oklahoma is exactly on the line where the maximum eclipse occurs at sunset. In our case, more than 80% of the Sun will be eclipse just as it’s setting. Partial eclipse begins at 7:30 p.m. and sunset will be around 8:30 p.m.
         NASA’s eclipse website is http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html. Sky & Telescope’s website is www.skyandtelescope.com/ and they have a link to their eclipse site at the top of the page. Very useful is the interactive Google map linked to after the timetable for American cities. The times on the map are Universal Time, so subtract five hours for Central Daylight Time.
         NASA also mentions a partial lunar eclipse on June 4, but this is not a very impressive example. A little more than a third of the Moon’s disk will be in the Earth’s umbra, and the Moon will set right in the middle of the eclipse. Our next total lunar eclipse is April 15, 2014. The next total solar eclipse is in November in the South Pacific.

         There was some fuss earlier this month about a “Supermoon,” and since this relates to the annular solar eclipse, this is a good time to talk about it. The term “Supermoon” is an informal coinage made by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, and refers to a full or new moon that occurs when the Moon is near perigee (the closest point in its orbit to Earth). Astronomers call this a perigee-syzygy or perigee moon; the latter term see. Since Nolle allowed for the Moon to be within 90% of perigee, supermoons are actually pretty common. The idea is that since the Moon, Sun and Earth are nearly in a straight line, tides will be higher and this may trigger earthquakes and moonquakes. This is known to be true of moonquakes, but seismologists are skeptical about an earthquake connection.
         “Supermoons” get more attention when they occur near a full moon; this occurred on May 5. The cycle is around 13 ½ months. The previous full supermoons were March 19, 2011, January 30, 2010, and December 12, 2008. The one in 2011 was more impressive than this year’s, with the full moon occurring only an hour from perigee.
         Since the Moon is near perigee, it appears larger; it can appear 8% larger in diameter than average, and 14-15% larger in diameter than a particularly bad “apogee moon.” The difference in surface area is 30%, and a perigee full moon is about .3 magnitudes brighter than an apogee full moon. This is enough to be detectible to the naked eye, or would be if you could see the full moons side by side.
         But if you think about that 13 ½ month cycle, the full moons before and after a perigee full moon are also near perigee and would appear almost exactly the same size and brightness.
         What does this have to do with eclipses? Well, if the May 5 full moon occurred near perigee, then on May 20, the new moon must occur near apogee and appear about as small as it can get, which is not enough to cover the Sun’s disk, hence the eclipse is an annular eclipse. The flip side of this is that a perigee new moon occurs in six or seven months, and the November 13 solar eclipse is total.
         I’ve been ignoring here that the Sun also varies in apparent size because the Earth’s orbit is also elliptical, with perihelion occurring in January and aphelion in July. The brightest supermoon would occur when the full moon occurs near perigee and perihelion; this also maximizes tides. This occurred in 1912, hence the speculative article in March relating that year’s supermoon to the sinking of the Titanic.

[Data for this section from Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, NASA and Wikipedia.]

Sky Viewing: The Planets this Month

            On June 5, one of the rarest predictable celestial events occurs as Venus transits the Sun’s disk. This happens four times in a 243 year cycle, the transits occur as two pairs eight years apart; the longer gaps are 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The last pair were December 9, 1874 and December 6, 1882; the current pair June 8, 2004 and June 5-6 of this year; the next pair are December 10-11, 2117 and December 8, 2125. A typical transit takes about six hours.
            The transit will begin about 5:05 p.m. Central Daylight Time on June 5, and will still be in progress at sunset. The only parts of the United States that will see the entire transit are Alaska and Hawaii. It will also be visible in all of Australia and in eastern Asia.
            Mercury also can transit the Sun. It does so much more frequently than Venus. The last transits of Mercury were in 1999, 2003 and 2006; the next is May 9, 2016. If you stick around to the year 69,163, you’ll get to see Venus and Mercury simultaneously transit the Sun.
            Mercury is currently too near the Sun at sunrise to be visible as it approaches superior conjunction with the Sun on May 27. Mercury will begin to become visible after sunset in early June; on June 7, it will be shining at magnitude -1.0 and visible a half-hour after sunset. Mercury will be separating itself from the Sun until it reaches greatest elongation on June 30, but it will also be growing dimmer, so that it will be magnitude 0.4 as it sets about 90 minutes after sunset.
            Venus is still high in the western sky at sunset and shining a brilliant magnitude -4.7. However, Venus will be lower in the sky each night as it approaches inferior conjunction (on June 5, naturally). By late June it will be high in the morning sky and once again around magnitude -4.7.
            Mars has dimmed to magnitude 0.1 but is still prominent after sunset in the southern sky in the constellation Leo. It will dim to magnitude 0.8 in late June as it joins Saturn in Virgo.
            Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun on May 13 and is unobservable all month. Jupiter will start becoming visible in the morning sky in early June, and by month’s end will be magnitude -2.0 and rising two hours before the Sun.
            On the morning of June 29, Aldebaran, Jupiter, Venus and the Pleiades will be in a near straight line in the eastern sky.
            Saturn is currently in Virgo about 5º to the upper left of the first magnitude star Spica. Saturn is the brighter of the two at magnitude 0.4. Saturn is in the southeast at sunset and due south at 11:00 p.m.
            Although Saturn and Mars will both be in Virgo in late June, Virgo is one of the biggest constellations and the two planets will be separated by more than 25 degrees.
            Uranus is very low in the eastern sky at dawn but will be 20º above the horizon at dawn by mid-June. Interestingly, it will be in the constellation Cetus the Whale (or Sea Monster), which is not one of the constellations of the Zodiac. The ecliptic almost clips a corner of Cetus and occasionally one of the planets will pass through this corner. This is an accident of boundary drawing; Uranus is actually much closer to the stars that draw Pisces than to those which draw Cetus. As usual, Uranus will be around magnitude 5.9.
            Neptune is magnitude 7.9 and still in the constellation Aquarius. It’s also low in the eastern sky before sunrise.
            Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune are online at http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Uranus-Neptune-2012.pdf.
             Pluto is currently a sparkling magnitude 14.0 and is nearing its June 29 opposition. It’s located in a rather inconspicuous part of the constellation Sagittarius. In late June it will be passing only a couple of minutes south of the open star cluster Messier 25. The June 22 issue of Sky & Telescope has an excellent finder map for Pluto.
[Viewing information from www.skyandtelescope.com and the May and June issues of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.]

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
May 11, 11:00 a.m.: Video File of the ISS Expedition 31/32 Crew Activities in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
May 14, 11:00 a.m.: Preflight news conference video file
9:00 p.m. Launch coverage. Launch is 10:01 p.m.
May 16, 11:00 p.m.: Docking coverage. Docking with Station is 11:39 p.m.
May 17, 2:00 a.m.: New astronauts welcomed to station.
May 18, noon: Pre-launch briefing for Falcon 9/Dragon launch
May 19, 2:30 a.m.: Falcon 9/Dragon launch coverage. Launch is scheduled for 3:55 a.m. 6:30 a.m.: Post launch news conference.
May 22, 1:00 a.m., Dragon grapple and berthing coverage
May 23, 6:30 a.m.: Dragon hatch opening coverage.

Space-Related Articles

         “New Moon” by Stuart Clark, New Scientist, 21 April 2012, pp. 48 – 51. In addition to our Moon, there are small asteroids which have orbital periods close to the Earth’s. These can get temporarily captured by the Earth, orbit it for a few months or years a few million miles away then get perturbed to freedom. There may be a lot of these, undetected because they’re a few meters across. The author proposing searching for these and sending an expedition to investigate. Since they’re already close to Earth and in orbit, this would be easy. Interesting ones could be tugged into a more stable orbit for some small-scale mining.
         Earth also has five known quasi-satellites and several known objects in horseshoe orbits. Some of the latter are several hundred meters across.

         The April 16 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology has 11 pages on commercial launch vehicles, including SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Dragon combo, Boeing’s CST-100, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, China’s Long March 5, and Ariane Space’s next generation vehicle. NASA is committing $1.6 billion for 12 station resupply missions by SpaceX, and $1.9 billion for 8 missions by Orbital Sciences. The SpaceX capsule can bring 3000 kg back to Earth, but the Orbital Sciences capsule is apparently one-way.

Calendar of Events
         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 2:30 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
         May 14: Launch of three Expedition 31/32 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
         May 19: Space X will launch its Falcon 9 rocket which will send the Dragon capsule into orbit to rendezvous with the space station.
         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.
         May 27: Mercury is in superior conjunction.
         June or later: 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.]
         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 2:30 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 13: Launch of NuSTAR, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, via Pegasus Rocket.
         June 15 – 17: Soonercon 21 science fiction convention at the Sheraton Downtown, 1 N. Broadway Avenue in Oklahoma City. Guest of Honor is Eric Flint. Artist Guest of Honor is Michael Golden. Oklahoma Space Alliance will be hosting two panels this year. Convention website is soonercon.com/
         June 29: Pluto is at opposition.
         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: Ariane from French Guiana will launch Azerbaijan’s first satellite, Azerspace. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azerspace
         July 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 2:30 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
         July 15: Launch of three Expedition 32/33 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
         July 21: Launch of the H-II Transfer vehicle “Kounotori3” to the Space Station.
         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 2:30 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.
         August 26: The Dawn spacecraft leaves Vesta for Ceres.
         September 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at approximately 2:30 p.m. Exact time and location to be announced.
         September 28: Uranus is in opposition.
         Fall of 2012: First launch of XCOR’s Lynx suborbital spaceplane.
         October 4 – 10: World Space Week. See www.worldspaceweek.org/ for details.
         October 15: Launch of three Expedition 33/34 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.        
         October 25: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         October 26: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 24° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         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: 1 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.
         December 5: Launch of three Expedition 34/35 members via Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the Space Station.
         December 9: The asteroid Vesta is in opposition at magnitude 6.3.
         December 30: Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun.
         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.
         February 15, 2013: Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within 21,000 miles of Earth.
         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 2014: Proposed launch date of Hayabusa 2 to asteroid 1999 JU3.
         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)
Vice-President is vacant                                                    
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor              321-4027 (H) 365-8983 (C)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                                     740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary               329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)
Tom Koszoru, Update Editor                                        366-1767

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.