Archive for the ‘JAXA’ Category

09/13/2022 – Ephemeris – SpaceX Crew-5 flight to the ISS will be commanded by first Native American female astronaut

September 13, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 7:57, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:20. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 9:38 this evening.

On or around October 3rd a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule will be launched to the International Space Station with an international crew of four with the first female Native American astronaut Nicole Mann as commander, pilot Josh Cassada, both NASA astronauts, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Nicole Mann, a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of northern California, is also the first female commander of a Commercial Crew spacecraft. She was originally assigned to the Boeing CST-100 Starliner, but was transferred to the SpaceX Dragon due to the prolonged problems with the former vehicle. Crew 5 will be a part of Expeditions 67 and 68 on the International Space Station.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.


SpaceX Crew 5 Official Portrait

SpaceX Crew-5 Official Crew Portrait – Left to right: Anna Kikina, Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata.

10/22/2021 – Ephemeris 3,001st post – Mercury is now visible in the morning before sunrise

October 22, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, October 22nd. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 38 minutes, setting at 6:46, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:09. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 7:53 this evening.

The planet Mercury is now visible on clear mornings, low in the east-southeastern sky after 7 am, and twilight gets too bright around 7:50 am. Tiny Mercury is the smallest planet, only 50% larger than our Moon. It looks a lot like our Moon, close up, all gray and covered in craters. But the resemblance is only skin deep. Before the Arecibo radio telescope could bounce radar pulses from the planet in the 1960s, we thought Mercury held one side pointed at the Sun and the other side eternally away. That wasn’t the case due to its elliptical orbit. It rotates in 59 days, two-thirds of its year of 88 days. This makes its solar day, noon to noon, last two of its years. The European BepiColombo mission to orbit Mercury just made its first pass of the planet.


Mercury and its apparent orbit for 7:49 am tomorrow, October 23, 2021, two days before its greatest western elongation (separation from the Sun). Created using Stellarium.

BepiColombo at Mercury

BepiColombo takes a picture of Mercury on its first of 6 flybys, October 1st, before settling into orbit of the planet on December 5, 2025. BepiColombo is actually two spacecraft connected together, and parts of the other spacecraft will get into each other’s images until they separate. Credit: ESA/JAXA.

10/15/2018 – Ephemeris – The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 is exploring the asteroid Ryugu.

October 15, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, October 15th. The Sun will rise at 7:58. It’ll be up for 11 hours even, setting at 6:58. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:43 this evening.

The Japanese asteroid sample return mission Hayabusa2 is in the midst of operations at the near-earth asteroid Ryugu. It dropped three rovers that hopped across its surface and later this month will take the first of three samples. Hayabusa means peregrine falcon in Japanese. It will stay at the asteroid until late next year, it then will make a year-long trip back to the Earth, landing in the Outback of Australia. NASA’s own OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission is currently approaching the near-earth asteroid Bennu. It will orbit the asteroid for over a year and can make up to three attempts to take a sample of the asteroid for return to Earth. It is to land at the Utah Test and Training Range in September of 2023.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Hayabusa2 dropping a rover onto Ryugu
An artist’s rendering of Hayabusa2 dropping a rover onto Ryugu. Credit: JAXA/Akihiro Ikeshita.
Ryugu surface
A Hayabusa2 rover captured the surface of Ryugu mid-hop. Credit: JAXA.
OSIRIS-REx at Bennu
Artist’s view of OSIRIS-REx attempting to get a sample from Bennu. Credit: NASA.

12/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Last week was a good week in space

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 9th.  The sun will rise at 8:07.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:02, officially the earliest sunset of the year.   The moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:25 this evening.

Last month we had two space tragedies, the explosion of a Antares rocket on its way to resupply the International Space Station and the death of a pilot of SpaceShipTwo on a test flight.  This past week good news, Tuesday (Wednesday Japan time) the launch in Japan of the Hyabusa 2 spacecraft to bring back samples of an asteroid. And on Friday the first test flight of an Orion Crew Module to test, mainly its heat shield, and if it could withstand the heat of reentry coming back from deep space.  It will be nearly 4 more years before the Space Launch System, the rocket to be used with the Orion module, will be ready to be launched.  If you’re wondering about the slow pace, well NASA doesn’t have the budget it did back in the 1960s.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Hyabusa 2 Launch

The launch of Hyabusa 2. Credit JAXA.

Hyabusa 2 at asteroid

Artists rendition of Hyabusa 2 taking a sample from the asteroid. Credit: JAXA.

Orion launch

Orion Crew module being launched by a Delta 4 Heavy rocket. Credit: NASA.