Space Events for 2019

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Yazata, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Here's a list of what's on tap, kind of biased towards events early in the year:

    New Years night (US time) -- NASA's New Horizons performs a flyby of Kuiper belt object Ultima Thule. (See the other thread.)

    January 3 -- The Chinese Chang'e 4 lunar lander is scheduled to attempt a landing on the far side of the Moon.

    January 17 -- Unmanned SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight. (Demonstration Mission 1 - DM1)

    January 31 -- India's Chandryaan - 2 lunar lander will attempt a landing near the Moon's south pole, releasing a rover that will snoop around and look for water ice.

    Early February -- The Insight Mars lander will commence its boring boring, hoping to place sensors at least 16 feet down.

    February 12 -- NASA's Juno spacecraft will perform another close-range Jupiter flyby, hopefully returning more of those surrealistic photos of chaotic Jovian weather (kind of like a real life Mandlebrot set). NASA Juno photo:

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    February 13 -- Israeli private startup SpaceIL will try to land its own lunar lander (lunar landers seem to be the happening thing this coming year) with SpaceX launching it atop a Falcon 9.

    Late February -- Japan's Hayabusa 3 may try to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu. (The vehicle is nearby and has been looking for a suitable site).

    March -- Unmanned test flight of Boeing's Starliner capsule.

    March -- Another SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, this one carrying a heavy communications satellite and not another of Elon Musk's cars.

    April 4 -- Parker Solar probe perhelion (closest approach to the Sun for a while, its still adjusting its orbit).

    April -- Elon Musk has been teasing a possible first flight for SpaceX's currently-under-construction sub-scale test-hopper Starship prototype, designed to ascend up to a few thousand feet, hover and then propulsively descend for engineering tests. 'Starship' is the new name for the huge upper-stage spaceship portion of the 'BFR'. The finished version will be as big as a navy frigate, capable of carrying a hundred people to Mars. The booster is now called 'Falcon Super Heavy'. (I guess that 'Big Fucking Rocket' didn't create the right impression.) I kind of doubt if this engineering test vehicle will fly this early but Elon suggests that it might.

    June -- First SpaceX manned spaceflight using a Falcon 9 and the Crew Dragon. Two NASA astronauts are currently training for that mission. I'm personally guessing that with manned spaceflights in the offing, SpaceX might delay the Starship test-hopper so that the company can concentrate all of its attention and resources on safely becoming a manned spaceflight program.

    August -- If all goes well, the second SpaceX manned flight, this one will dock with the Space Station.

    October-November -- The European Space Agency's Cheops exoplanet-hunting satellite is set to launch to join NASA's TESS which is already doing similar work. (Can't hurt to have two of them.)

    Somewhere during the year Blue Origin is likely to fly its first manned flight of its New Shepherd suborbital rocket and Virgin Galactic will almost certainly fly its rocket plane again, probably several times. It might even start flying space tourists (Richard Branson wants to be the first of those). I believe that Boeing's Starliner will conduct at least one manned flight in 2019, but don't have the dates. (I think that I might have heard August for the first one.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    Michael 345 and Xelasnave.1947 like this.
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for this type of information

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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    While everyone is paying attention to New Horizons' arrival at Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, Osiris Rex will be completing a very delicate thruster burn lasting a few seconds that put it into a gravitational orbit of tiny Bennu (a little asteroid only 500 meters across). It's going to be the smallest object that a spacecraft has ever orbited.

    https://twitter.com/KinetXSNAFD/status/1079618761236205568

    While orbital velocity on Earth is about 18,000 mph, Osiris Rex will be orbiting Bennu at the blistering pace of 0.13 mph (6 cm/sec), relative to Bennu.

    https://twitter.com/KinetXSNAFD/status/1079787073765167105

    New Horizons will be passing Ultima Thule at 32,212 mph, relative to Ultima Thule.

    It's interesting that Ultima Thule is far enough away, about 6 light-hours, that relativistic effects become relevant. Timing for the spacecraft commands is 'SCET' time, 'Spacecraft Event Time', time relative to the New Horizons vehicle itself according to the vehicle's own on-board clock.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Jonathan McDowell reports that the dimensions of Osiris Rex's orbit around tiny Bennu is a whopping 1.5 by 2.0 kilometers!

    https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1079831150644944896

    It's kind of amazing that an object only 500 meters in diameter can still have a useful gravitational field.
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Rumors are swirling that the Chinese Chang'e lunar landing attempt is currently underway, but no official confirmation yet.
    (I guess that they don't do live-feeds like SpaceX and NASA.)

    https://twitter.com/Yeqzids

    https://twitter.com/AJ_FI

    Edit: CCTV, the Chinese state media network is apparently now reporting a successful lunar landing.

    https://twitter.com/AJ_FI/status/1080675599331540992

    The US NASA Administrator is congratulating China, so I guess that it's confirmed.

    https://twitter.com/JimBridenstine/status/1080678873422016513
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    A couple of hours ago the Chang'e released its rover from its cage, naming it Yutu.

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  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Things are progressing really fast. The SpaceX Starship test prototype in now fully assembled, at least structurally. (Not sure about its on-board systems.)

    This one isn't intended to go into space. It will just conduct a series of engineering control tests, where it rises a few hundred to a few thousand feet on its rocket exhaust, hovers and then descends again propulsively. (1950's science-fiction style.) So it's more of an engineering test article than a spaceship. I believe that the operational space version will be longer than this one, but the same diameter. It may have additional fins up by the nose as well.

    The image on the right is the artist's rendering. The one on the left is the real thing. (Is the little figure standing below wearing one of SpaceX's stylish spacesuits?)

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    Elon Musk says: "It needed to be made real... Obv must be more pointy tho"

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk

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  11. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    what if...
    we had modern materials with the Apollo Saturn 5 series module ?
    making science simple...
    clever !
    specially if it can fit on different launch vehicles.
     
  12. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    2,501
    Chinese culture would dictate keeping such potentially embarrassing failures to themselves rather than broadcasting a failure.
    they broadcast if its a win.
    subtle difference in culture by some observations, yet quite big in some terms.

    is being 1st more important than winning ?

    American culture being 1st is more important than winning
    Chinese culture winning is more important than being 1st
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_article

    Elon Musk seems to be aware that this new Starship prototype has aesthetic deficiencies. He points out that it isn't the final spaceship version and that people need to stay tuned, saying:

    "This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section."

    Here's a video that Elon posted that shows an early Falcon 9 engineering test article performing the same sort of flight control test that this much bigger vehicle will (soon?) be flying. (The music is fitting for vehicles flight-tested in Texas.)

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,119
    Here's a really good discussion of what this new Starship test vehicle will be and what it will be doing in the next year or so, from Everyday Astronaut. Everything from just spinning up the engines' turbo-pumps and rising a meter or so, to controlling the thing by engine gymbaling, to maintining control and steering laterally from higher elevations (it's not very aerodynamically stable flying in reverse since the fins need to be behind the center of mass and they aren't during landing), to proving redundancy if an engine blows out. They may even try to test supersonic aerodynamics by flying the thing high out over the Gulf of Mexico, then having it power back under thrust at high speed. It will be testing out new control thrusters (hot methane-O2 thrusters as opposed to the Falcon 9's cold-gas thrusters) and probably the new improved rocket engines currently under development for the finished version. Lots for it to do.

     
  15. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    2,501
    Jan 8th, asteroid 2019 AS5
    8600 km above our planet's surface
    & with different payloads in different positions.
    sensor & processor speed must be quite important.
    plus other types of onboard data showing surrounding atmospheric conditions allowing a potential pre-loading of potential adjustments.
    being able to have high speed real time processing of surrounding atmospheric conditions may help to save fuel efficiency if it doesn't cause over corrections or bugs to give false/error leading data.
     

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