This Week In Space

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International Space Station as STS-129 Departs (Image Source: NASA)International Space Station as STS-129 Departs (Image Source: NASA)

International Space Station as STS-129 Departs (Image Source: NASA)

Good day everyone. If you are from the US, hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday. If you are not from the US, hope it was a great week all the same.

It was a great week in the space world as Atlantis successfully returned to Earth from the ISS on Friday, touching down right on schedule. Congratulations to the crew of STS-129!

Also, welcome back to Earth Nicole Stott, who returned with the STS-129 crew after an 87 day rotation on the ISS. Lets take a look at what is going on this week.

Launches (Sources: Spaceflight Now World Launch Schedule, Wallops Flight Facility Daily Range Schedule)

One update. The Intelsat 15 launch scheduled for last week was scrubbed and the new launch date is listed as To Be Determined (TBD).

  • Thursday December, 3 –

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA

Launch Vehicle: Delta IV

Payload: Wideband Global SATCOM 3 (WGS-3)

Launch Window: 00:21 – 01:41 GMT

Notes: This launch takes place just after midnight GMT, so if you are in the US, it will be late evening on the 2nd.

Interesting Hubble Observations

In many ways, all of the Hubble observations are interesting, but here is a list of some of the standouts in the coming week. A more complete list can be found at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) This Week On HST Website.

Galaxy-Scale Strong Lenses from the CFHTLS survey

Hypervelocity Stars as Unique Probes of the Galactic Center and Outer Halo

The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

This is a small list of the overall observations. You may also see some of these observations popping up in other weeks as many observation programs consist of several observations over time.

International Space Station

While Atlantis was visiting the ISS last week, the total population of the orbiting platform was up to twelve. Now that Atlantis is gone, the crew is down to five and on Tuesday it will drop even further. As reported by Space.com, three more crew members will depart the ISS and land in a Russian Soyuz module leaving the Station at a crew of just two, NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian Cosmonaut Maxim Suraev. The two will be holding down the fort at the ISS for three weeks until another crew of three joins them aboard another Soyuz, currently scheduled for December 23. The crew of two will maintain the onboard systems and work on some science experiments. For a great overview of all the science onboard check out the ISS Science website.

Don’t forget to check out when the ISS will be visible over your area this week!

Thanks to my colleague Jessica for providing the Wallops Launch Schedule, I will start posting when sounding rockets, and other launches, will be scheduled for launch from Wallops. Also, if you noticed, there is no Mars listing for this week. That is due to the fact that the status there is about the same as it was last week. When there is news I will post it for multiple categories. Week to week items may come and go depending on activities as well as additional resource I find and use.

Have a great week everyone!

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