The GeekDad Space Report for June 21, 2010

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Image of Jupiter captured with WFC3 on June 7th (Image:NASA, ESA, M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), H.B. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), A.A. Simon-Miller (Goddard Space Flight Center), and the Jupiter Impact Science Team)

Hello all and welcome to another edition of the GeekDad Space Report! We had two launches listed for last week. The Dnepr rocket with it’s dual satellite payload launched successfully as did the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new crew members, who have arrived at the International Space Station. There was another launch last week on the 15th that was not on the list. China launched the Shi Jian 12 satellite aboard a Long March 2D from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. We have two launches on the list for the upcoming week, the first of which should have launched by the time you are reading this post.

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

Monday, June 21
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launch Vehicle: Dnepr
Payload: TanDEM-X
Launch Time: 02:14 GMT
Notes: Launch of a satellite which will provide a detailed elevation model of the Earth using Synthetic Aperture Radar.

Wednesday, June 23
Launch Site: Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana
Launch Vehicle: Ariane V
Launch Pad: ELA-3 (Map View)
Payload: Arabsat 5A & COMS 1
Launch Time: 21:41-22:45 GMT
Notes: Dual payload launch of a communications satellite and a combined communications, ocean observing, and meteorological satellite.

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.

Formation and Evolution of Massive Galaxies in the Richest Environments at 1.5 < z < 2.0

Instrument(s): WFC3, ACS

Mapping the Interaction between High-Redshift Galaxies and the Intergalactic Environment

Instrument(s): WFC3

Detecting Isolated Black Holes through Astrometric Microlensing

Instrument(s): WFC3

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.

Jupiter Flash

There were reports of a flash of light on Jupiter on June 3rd. A quick pointing of Hubble to the gas giant has revealed no signs of debris in the Jovian atmosphere, indicating that a meteor hit the atmosphere with tremendous velocity, creating the flash of light that was seen, and then exited atmosphere without plunging in deeper.


An update to last week’s brief report on the return of the Hayabusa probe from the asteroid Itokawa. The sample return canister was successfully recovered and has arrived in Japan for analysis.


A couple weeks ago, I reported here on the launch of a dual satellite payload by Japan which included a Solar Sail technology demonstration satellite called IKAROS. That Solar Sail has now been deployed and the satellite has captured an image of the deployed sail.

Have a great week everyone!

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