Flight Events – International Space Station 2012

Here is the current calendar for 2012 for International Space Station as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 2 September 2012:


  • Complete
  • March 23 – ATV-3 “Edoardo Amaldi” launch
  • March 28 – ATV-3 “Edoardo Amaldi” docking (to Zvezda)
  • April 4 – ISS orbit’s test raising by ATV-3 engines
  • April 19 – Progress M-14M undocking (from Pirs)
  • April 20 – Progress M-15M launch
  • April 22 – Progress M-15M docking (to Pirs)
  • April 25 – ISS orbit’s raising by ATV-3 engines
  • April – Progress M-14M deorbit
  • April 30 – Soyuz TMA-22 undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Shkaplerov, Ivanishin, Burbank]
  • May 22 – Dragon (SpX-D) launch
  • May 25 – Dragon (SpX-D) capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMS
  • May 31 (TBD) – Dragon (SpX-D) unberthing (from Harmony nadir) and release by SSRMS
  • May 15 – Soyuz TMA-04M launch [Padalka, Revin, Acaba]
  • May 17 – Soyuz TMA-04M docking (to Poisk)
  • July 1 – Soyuz TMA-03M undocking (from Rassvet) and landing [Kononenko, Kuipers, Pettit]
  • July 15 – Soyuz TMA-05M launch [Malenchenko, S.Williams, Hoshide]
  • July 17 – Soyuz TMA-05M docking (to Rassvet)
  • July 18 – ISS orbit’s raising by ATV-3 “Edoardo Amaldi” engines
  • July 21 – HTV-3 “Kounotori-3″ launch
  • July 22 – Progress M-15M undocking (from Pirs) for test of new Kurs-NA antenn
  • July 24 – Progress M-15M docking (to Pirs)
  • July 27 – HTV-3 “Kounotori-3″ capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMSJuly 30 – Progress M-15M undocking (from Pirs)
  • August 1 – Progress M-16M launch
  • August 2 – Progress M-16M docking (to Pirs)
  • August 16 – spacewalk (ISS Russian EVA-31) from Pirs airlock [Padalka, Malenchenko]
  • August 30 – spacewalk (ISS U.S. EVA-18) from Quest airlock [S.Williams, Hoshide]
  • September 4 (TBD) – spacewalk (ISS U.S. EVA-19) from Quest airlock [S.Williams, Hoshide]
  • September – HTV-3 “Kounotori-3″ unberthing (from Harmony nadir) and release by SSRMS
  • September – HTV-3 “Kounotori-3″ deorbit
  • September 12 – ISS orbit’s raising by ATV-3 engines
  • September 17 – Soyuz TMA-04M undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Padalka, Revin, Acaba]
  • September 25 – ATV-3 “Edoardo Amaldi” undocking (from Zvezda)
  • October 8 – Dragon (SpX-1) launch
  • October 10 – Dragon (SpX-1) capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMS
  • October 15 – Soyuz TMA-06M launch [Novitskiy, Tarelkin, Ford]
  • October 17 – ISS orbit’s raising by Zvezda engines
  • October 23 – Soyuz TMA-06M launch [Novitskiy, Tarelkin, Ford]
  • October 25 – Soyuz TMA-06M docking (to Poisk)
  • October 28 – Dragon (SpX-1) unberthing (from Harmony nadir), release by SSRMS and landing
  • October 31 – Progress M-17M launch
  • October 31 – Progress M-17M docking (to Zvezda)
  • November 19 – Soyuz TMA-05M undocking (from Rassvet) and landing [Malenchenko, S.Williams, Hoshide]
  • December 13 – ISS orbit’s reboost by Progress M-17M engines
  • December 19 – Soyuz TMA-07M launch [Romanenko, Hadfield, Marshburn]
  • December 21 – Soyuz TMA-07M docking (to Rassvet)
  • Upcoming


  • January 17 – ISS orbit’s reboost by Progress M-17M engines
  • February 6 – ISS orbit’s reboost by Progress M-17M engines
  • February 10 – Progress M-16M undocking (from Pirs)
  • February 11 – Progress M-18M launch
  • February 11 – Progress M-18M docking (to Pirs)
  • March 1 – Dragon (SpX-2) launch
  • March 3 – Dragon (SpX-2) capture and berthing (to Harmony nadir) by SSRMS
  • March 15 – Soyuz TMA-06M undocking (from Poisk) and landing [Novitskiy, Tarelkin, Ford]
  • March 28 – Soyuz TMA-08M launch [Vinogradov, Misurkin, Cassidy] and docking (to Poisk)

Updated 31 December 2012

Launch Schedule – Japan 2012

Here is the current calendar for 2012 for Japan’s satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 15 November 2012:


  • Complete
  • May 18 – H-2A – (F-21: 202 config. with 4/4D-LC faring) GCOM-W1″SHIZUKU”; Kompsat-3 (Arirang-3); SDS-4; Houryuu-2 – 1639 UTC
  • July 21 – H-2B (F-3) – HTV3 – 0218 UTC
  • September 9 – (PSLV-C21) – Proiteres – 04:23 UTC
  • Upcoming


  • January 27 (04:00-06:00 UTC) – H-2A (F-22) – IGS radar-4; IGS Optical-5 demo (Test version)

Last updated 31 December 2012

2011 Launches

TMA-02M Undocks and Returns Safely from the ISS

TMA-02M Undock
TMA-02M undocks from the ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV

TMA-02M Descent
TMA-02M fireball during descent
Image Credit: NASA TV

TMA-02M Descent
TMA-02M on Main Parachute
Image Credit: NASA TV

The modern Russian Soyuz TMA-02M undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Kazakhstan late yesterday evening.

From the NASA press release:

Three International Space Station crew members safely returned to Earth on Monday, wrapping up nearly six months in space during which NASA and its international partners celebrated the 11th anniversary of continuous residence and work aboard the station.

Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum, Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency landed their Soyuz spacecraft in frigid conditions on the central steppe of Kazakhstan at 8:26 p.m. CST Nov. 21 (8:26 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Nov. 22). The trio arrived at the station on June 9. They spent 167 days in space and 165 days on the complex. Volkov, a two-time station crew member, now has accumulated 366 days in space.

Before leaving the station, Fossum handed over command to NASA’s Dan Burbank, who leads Expedition 30. Burbank and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov of Russia will continue research and maintenance aboard the station.

The remaining Expedition 30 crew members, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers, and cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, are scheduled to launch Dec. 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and dock with the station on Dec. 23.

Hayabusa – Dust From Itokawa – III

The issue of the journal Science from 26 August 2011 vol 333 pp 1113-1131 has six articles on the Hayabusa sample return mission from the asteroid Itokawa. The first article is discussed here, the second here, and this is the third:

Neutron Activation Analysis of a Particle from Asteroid Itokawa

A single grain from the Hayabusa mission has been analyzed by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The grain was mainly olivine, with minor amounts of plagioclase, troilite and metal.

This grain was one of the largest returned by the Hayabusa mission. The scanning electron microprobe (SEM) results show this to be a large crystal of olivine. Small pieces of silicate were attached to the surface. Radioactive analysis indicates that the grain is relatively homogeneous.

Comparison of the INAA analysis of this grain from Itokawa with from an LL6 chondrite (St Severin) and an L6 chondrite (Modoc) indicated an elemental abundance discrepancy.

Iron (Fe) and Scandium (Sc) abundance can be determined reliably, and the ratio is determined by the differentiation of iron into the core of a body during its formation. In particular, the Fe/Sc ratios from the Earth, Moon, Mars and 4Vesta are lower than those of chondrites. The ratios from Itokawa are higher than those from terrestrial olivine, and are thus from an extraterrestrial origin. This increases confidence that Hayabusa did return samples from Itokawa.

Nickel (Ni) and Cobalt (Co) typically diffuse into a metal phase. The ratio of Ni/Co in bulk chondrites plot along a line with carbonaceous chondrites. Samples from the Earth’s crust are relatively depleted in Nickel compared to Cobalt, and thus are distinguished from the grain returned from Itokawa.

In addition, Iridium (Ir) abundances were estimated, and the result indicates that the sample must have condensed from a fractionated nebula gas where refractory siderophiles such as Iridium had already condensed and been removed.

Hayabusa – Dust From Itokawa – II

The issue of the journal Science from 26 August 2011 vol 333 pp 1113-1131 has six articles on the Hayabusa sample return mission from the asteroid Itokawa. The first article is discussed here, and this is the second:

Oxygen Isotopic Compositions of Asteroidal Materials Returned from Itokawa

The first article in this series established that the major mineral assemblages of the asteroid Itokawa are olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase, iron sulfide and iron-nickel metal.

Minerals within bodies of the Solar System have unique oxygen isotope ratios, thought to be determined by gas-dust chemistry and accretion physics. However, the Earth and the Moon are the only bodies for which isotope ratios are known.

Twenty-eight (28) of the sample grains returned by Hayabusa were analyzed for oxygen isotope abundances. The ratios were compared to the ordinary chondrite meteorite Ensisheim (an LL-6 chondrite) and Earth minerals, and the uncertainty in measurements were calibrated against standard mean ocean water (SMOW) from Earth. The results show that the grains returned by Hayabusa are not of terrestrial origin. One of the Earth minerals was a fosterite crystal from San Carlos, Arizona.

Chondrites are classed as H, L or LL, and the samples from Itokawa are clearly L or LL and not H. The variation in ratios between samples indicates the degree of equilibration due to metamorphic heating. These data indicate that the samples from Itokawa experienced temperatures between 600 C and 720 C, which is lower than LL6 chondrites and higher than LL4 chondrites.

These results are consistent with those from those reported in the first paper and provide unequivocal evidence that ordinary chondrites come from S-Type asteroids.

Hayabusa – Dust From Itokawa – I

The latest issue of the journal Science (vol 333 26 August 2011 pp 1113-1131) has six articles on the Hayabusa sample return mission from the asteroid Itokawa. The first article is entitled:

Itokawa Dust Particles: A Direct Link Between S-Type Asteroids and Ordinary Chondrites

The results are from the first samples retrieved from the sample catcher. A Teflon spatula successfully swept about 10% of the sample catcher’s surface. 1534 particles have been identified with the field-emission scanning electron microscope. There were 1087 mono-mineral grains:

  • 580 olivine particles
  • 126 low Calcium pyroxenes
  • 56 high Calcium pyroxenes
  • 186 feldspars
  • 113 troilites
  • 13 chromites
  • 10 Calcium phosphates
  • 3 Iron-Nickel grains

The remaining 447 particles bear several minerals, mostly silicates.

The sample catcher was also “tapped” to retrieve additional particles. 38 of these particles have been closely examined. Six are poorly differentiated and 32 are highly differentiated. The 32 highly differentiated particles indicate they have undergone intense thermal metamorphism. There is almost complete partitioning of the Magnesium, Iron and Calcium between pyroxenes. Ordinary chondrite meteorites exhibit thermal metamorphism ranging from unequilibrated type 3 to completely equilibrated type 6. Measurements indicate that the particles formed at a peak temperature of 800 C and cooled slowly to 600 C. The slow cooling indicates that the particles from Itokawa formed at considerable depth. This suggests that the parent body was destroyed by one or more catastrophic impacts. Remnants reformed into present day rubble pile asteroids, including Itokawa.

Petrologic data from the study shows that Itokawa is an ordinary chondrite, linking these asteroids with the corresponding meteorites.

Dawn In Orbit – High Resolution Images of Vesta

Vesta – The First Image from the Orbiting Dawn Spacecraft
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA

The Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Vest at 7:00 PM Phoenix time last Friday. This navigation image is the first close up of Vesta from orbit. The image was taken from 16,000 kilometers.

Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system, dwarfs the nine other asteroids in this image. Lutetia, with a diameter of 130 kilometers, had been the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft. Vesta is 530 kilometers in diameter.

Vesta – First Close Uo Image from the Orbiting Dawn Spacecraft
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA

Atlantis – The Last Space Shuttle Flight

STS-135 on the pad July 4th
Image Credit: KSC TV Feed

Processing of the space shuttle Atlantis continues today, July 4th, in preparation for the July 8 launch.

Here are the launch windows for Atlantis (times are UTC):

  • 8 July – 1521-1531
  • 9 July – 1459-1509
  • 10 July – 1433-1443

After that is a five day period reserved for a Delta IV launch. The next launch window is 16 July beginning at 1211 UTC.

The primary objective of STS-135 is to deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) carrying 9,500 lbs of cargo, a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carrier (LMC), and a Station Power Distribution Unit (SPDU). The LMC will carry the Robotics Refueling Payload to the ISS and return the failed Pump Module (PM) from the ammonia cooling system. Additional ISS equipment and supplies will be carried up.

The current mission for Atlantis is to deliver as much stuff as possible to the Space Station before we come to rely on the Russian Soyuz M, European ATV, Japanese HTV, SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Sciences Cygnus resupply missions.

A long history of the Atlantis missions can be found at NASASpaceFlight:

A complete guide to NASA TV coverage can be found here.

Soyuz TMA-02M

TMA-02M on Pad
Russian Spacecraft TMA-02M
Image Credit: NASA / Carla Cioffi

Russia is ready to launch an American, Russian and Japanese crew on a mission to the International Space Station today at 1:12 PM Phoenix time (2012 UTC).

This will be the second flight of the new TMA-M series manned spacecraft. The first mission flew successfully on 7 October 2011.

The three crew members, who will be joining the current Expedition 28, are:

  • Michael Fossum (NASA, USA), ISS-28 Flight Engineer, ISS-29 Commander, Soyuz TMA-02M Flight Engineer
  • Volkov Sergei (Roscosmos, Russia), ISS-28/29 Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA-02M Commander
  • Furukawa Satoshi (JAXA, Japan), ISS-28/29 Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA-02M Flight Engineer.

Launch coverage can be found at NASA TV or Tsenki.

TMA-02M Launch
Image Credit: NASA TV

TMA-02M Ascent
Image Credit: NASA TV

All systems are nominal for a rendezvous with the ISS on Thursday.

It is nice to see what a 60 year old rocket system can do.

Soyuz has been launched more than 850 times.

Granted, there have been continuous upgrades.

No shiny new objects.

But it works.

[end editorial comment]

Mark Kelly – Astronaut

Mark Kelly
Image Credit: NASA

Mark Kelly is a Captain in the U. S. Navy, and the Commander of STS-134, the final mission for the Endeavour space shuttle. One of the primary goals is to deAlpha Magnetic Spectrometerliver the eight ton to the International Space Station (ISS). The experiment involves 600 scientists from 16 countries, led by Nobel Prize winning physicist Samuel Ting of MIT.

Captain Kelly commanded STS-108 Endeavour in December 2001, where the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module delivered supplies to the ISS. It was the 12th shuttle flight to the Space Station. In July 2006, he commanded STS-121, which was a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station.

Prior to STS-134, he commanded STS-124 Discovery in May of 2008. This was the 123rd Space Shuttle flight, and delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM), also known as Kibo, and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System.