Space Calendar 2018: Launches, Sky Events & More

Sept. 9: New moon

Sept. 9: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telstar 18 Vantage communications satellite, also known as Apstar 5C, from Cape Canaveral, Florida during a four-hour launch window that opens at 11:33 p.m. EDT on Sept. 9 (0333 GMT on Sept. 10). [Watch Live]

Sept. 10: A Japanese H-2B rocket will launch the seventh H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-7) from the Tanegashima Space Center at 6:32 p.m. EDT (2232 GMT). The uncrewed cargo vehicle will deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. NASA TV will provide live coverage starting at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT). [Watch Live]

Sept. 14: Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-7) will arrive at the International Space Station after a 3.5-day flight. NASA TV will air live coverage of the rendezvous and capture starting at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT), and additional coverage of the spacecraft’s installation will resume at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). [Watch Live]

Sept. 15: A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket will launch NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite to measure ice sheet elevation and ice sheet thickness changes linked to climate change, along with measurements of Earth’s vegetation biomass. It will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8:46-9:26 a.m. EDT (5:46-6:26 a.m. PDT; 1246-1326 GMT). [Watch Live]

Sept. 15: India will launch the NovaSAR-S and SSTL-S1 Earth observation satellites and several secondary payloads from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

Sept. 17: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The moon will pass about 2 degrees north of the ringed planet. Look for the pair in the evening sky after dusk.

Sept. 18: NASA will preview two upcoming spacewalks during a live news conference on NASA TV at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). [Watch Live]

Sept. 20: Two NASA astronauts will take a spacewalk to install new batteries in the International Space Station’s P4 Truss 4A power channel. The spacewalk will last approximately 6.5 hours. Another spacewalk will follow on Sept. 26.

Sept. 20: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The waxing gibbous moon will pass within 5 degrees of the Red Planet in the evening sky.

Sept. 22/23: Autumn Equinox. Beginning at 9:54 p.m. EDT (0154 GMT on Sept. 23), it will officially be fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sept. 24/25: Full Moon. The Harvest Moon, also known as the Corn Moon, will reach its fullest phase at 10:52 p.m. EDT (0252 GMT on Sept. 25).

Sept. 26: Two NASA astronauts will take the second of two spacewalks in less than one week to install new batteries in the International Space Station’s P4 Truss 2A power channel. The spacewalk will last approximately 6.5 hours.

Sept. 26: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite (NROL-71) for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Sept. 28: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SAOCOM 1A satellite for CONAE, Argentina’s space agency, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Also slated to launch in September (from Spaceflight Now):

  • Arianespace will launch an Ariane 5 rocket with the Horizons 3e and Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 communications satellites from Kourou, French Guiana at 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT).

Oct. 1: Happy 60th birthday, NASA! On Oct. 1, 1958, NASA officially opened for business.

Oct. 4: NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev will undock their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft from the International Space Station and land in Kazakhstan.

Oct. 4-5: The U.S. military will launch its fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite aboard an Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance. It will launch from pad SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11:07 p.m. EDT on Oct. 4 (0307 GMT on Oct. 5).

Oct. 6: An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will send NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit from Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands at 4:00-5:30 a.m. EDT (0800-0930 GMT).

Oct. 8: New moon

Oct. 9: The Draconid meter shower will peak before dawn on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Oct. 11: Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the Expedition 57/58 crew: NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Nikolay Tikhonov. Liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 4:40 a.m. EDT (0840 GMT).

Oct. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The thin, waxing crescent moon will pass about 4 degrees north of Jupiter this evening.

Oct. 14: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The ringed planet will be less than 2 degres away from the moon this evening.

Oct. 18/19: Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch the BepiColombo mission for the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. BepiColombo will begin a seven-year journey to Mercury. The mission will lift off from Kourou, French Guiana at 9:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 18 (0145 GMT on Oct. 19).

Oct. 18: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The Red Planet will make a close approach to the waning gibbous moon this evening. Look for the pair above the southeast horizon in the evening sky.

Oct. 21-22: The Orionid meteor shower peaks.

Oct. 23: Uranus at opposition. Now is a great time to look for Uranus in the night sky (yes, it is visible to the naked eye)! The distant planet will be at its biggest and brightest, as it will be directly opposite the sun in the sky. Uranus will also make its closest approach to Earth around the same time.

Oct. 24: Full moon. The Hunter’s Moon will become officially full at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT).

Oct. 30: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 71st Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:53 p.m. EDT (0053 GMT on Oct. 31).

Also slated to launch in October (from Spaceflight Now):

  • India will launch the GSAT 29 communications satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • Japanese H-2A rocket will launch the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite 2 (GOSAT 2) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the KhalifaSat Earth-imaging satellite for the United Arab Emirates.
  • Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the China-France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSAT) from Jiuquan, China.
  • India will launch the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS) and some small secondary payloads from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 Iridium Next satellites (66-75) from Vandenberg Air Foce Base in California.

Nov. 4: Daylight Saving Time in the United States. Americans get to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tonight.

Nov. 6/7: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the European Space Agency’s MetOp C polar-orbiting weather satellite from the Guiana Space Center in Sinnamary, French Guiana at 7:47 p.m. EST on Nov. 6 (0047 GMT on Nov. 7).

Nov. 6: Mercury will reach its greatest elongation east of the sun and will be visible to skywatchers in the Southern Hemisphere just after sunset.

Nov. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The crescent moon will make a close approach to Saturn in the night sky. Look for them after sunset in the southwest sky.

Nov. 15: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The Red Planet and the moon will be less than one degree apart in the night sky. Look for them above the southeast horizon after dusk.

Nov. 16: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida for a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station.

Nov. 17: Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Wallops Island, Virginia for a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station.

Nov. 17-18: The Leonid meteor shower peaks.

Nov. 22: Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth-observation satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Nov. 23: Full moon. The Beaver Moon, also known as the Frost Moon, will become full at 12:39 a.m. EST (0539 GMT).

Also slated to launch in November (from Spaceflight Now): 

  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program-2 mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and Maxar Technologies. The mission will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station.
  • Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite from Wenchang, China.
  • Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its third mission, titled “It’s Business Time,” from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The mission was delayed from June  due a technical problem with the rocket.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch Spaceflight’s SSO-A rideshare mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Dec. 6: Russian Soyuz rocket will launch with the Russian Meteor M2-1 polar-orbiting weather satellite from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Dec. 13: United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket will launch the 10th Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, formerly known as the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite.

Dec. 13: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will undock their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from the International Space Station and land in Kazakhstan.

Dec. 13-14: The Geminid meteor shower peaks.

Dec. 14: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch Italy’s first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG 1) radar surveillance satellite and the European Space Agency’s Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) from the Guiana Space Center in South America.

Dec. 20: NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will launch to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Dec. 21: Winter solstice. Beginning at 5:09 p.m. EST (2209 GMT), it will officially be winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It will also be the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dec. 22: Full moon. The Cold Moon, also known as the Long Nights moon, will become full at 12:49 p.m. EST (1749 GMT).

Also slated to launch in December (from Spaceflight Now): 

  • An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch the Italian space agency’s PRISMA satellite from Kourou, French Guiana.
  • U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NROL-111).
  • Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its fourth flight from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. It will loft into orbit 10 cubesats for NASA and other U.S. research institutions.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Force’s first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System (GPS 3-01) from Cape Canaveral.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Es’hail 2 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida for Qatar’s national satellite communications company Es’hailSat.
  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A.
  • Chinese Long March 3B rocket will launch the Chang’e 4 mission to attempt the first robotic landing on the far side of the moon.
  • India will launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon.
  • United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing’s first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted Orbital Test Flight to the International Space Station. The capsule will dock with the space station, then return to Earth. (This test flight was delayed from August 2018 to mid-2019.)
  • China will launch the Chang’e 5 mission to return samples from the moon. It will be the first lunar sample return mission attempted since 1976.

Source: Space.com