Ariane 5 Launch 100 to Deliver Horizons 3e & Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 to Orbit

Beautiful illustration & images credit & copyright: Arianespace.

Launch Alert! Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 21:53 UTC (17:53 EDT & 14:53 PDT) Arianespace will launch their massive heavy lift, Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA243 carrying the Horizons 3e and Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 communications satellites from Launch Site, Ensemble de Lancement Ariane-3 (ELA-3) at the Arianespace Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

This will be Arianespace’s 6th launch of 2018, the 100th launch of the Ariane 5 and its 4th launch of 2018.

Continue reading

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legendary Delta II to Make its Final Flight With the Launch of NASA’s ICESat2

Images credit & copyright: NASA & United Launch Alliance (ULA).

Launch Alert! Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 05:46 PDT (08:46 EDT & 12:46 UTC) a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket will be leaving Earth for a date with history as this will be the last flight of this historic vehicle. This final mission will see it flying in its 7420-10C configuration carrying NASA’s Ice, Cloud & land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) Earth observing satellite from Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W or Slick 2), Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) California.

NOTE: With Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 17B (SLC-17B) having been inactive since 2011, Vandenberg’s SLC-2W is the only location that the Delta II launches from.

This will be ULA’s 7th launch of 2018, 130th launch overall, the Delta II’s 155th flight overall and its 54th for NASA.

Continue reading

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Milky Way Over Brazil

Image credit & copyright: Carlos “Kiko” Fairbairn.

Let’s kick off Monday with this incredible image of the Milky Way over a Brazilian landscape as seen by Kiko Fairbairn. Having been a follower of his work for a long time I’ve learned to expect amazing detail in every aspect to night sky imaging. Something that I truly hope to experience some day is how that Milky Way looks on the sky. Being from the Northern United States I’m just happy with a few months of having the Dark Horse region above tree line but look what we have here. The entire core of the Milky Way is high above the horizon like a ship sailing across the night sky. This must be a fantastic view from a dark sky.

I hope you enjoy this image and of course, as always, be sure to follow Kiko’s work and I promise you that it will never disappoint.





Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s ISS Resupply Mission HTV-7 “Kounotori 7 or White Stork 7”

Image credit & copyright: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Launch Alert: Saturday, September 22 at 17:52 UTC (13:52 EDT & 10:52 PDT), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will be launching the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIB (H-2B) rocket; Launch Vehicle No. 7 (F7). It will be carrying the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) also known as Kounotori “White Stork” Space Station resupply vehicle from Launch Area-Y2 (Also known as Area-Y2 or LA-Y2) at one of the most beautiful launch sites on Earth, the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), Japan. Once it arrives at Station, it will grappled and berthed to the Japanese Experimental Module (JEM) Kibo “Hope” by Canadarm 2 where it will remain for roughly six months before being destructively deorbited.

NOTE: This rocket is sometimes called the screamer because of the distinct sound that it makes at launch. See if you can pick it up if you watch live.

Continue reading

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpaceX Telstar 18 VANTAGE Launch from FL

Images credit & copyright: SpaceX and NASA. Press kit usually comes out a day before launch.

LAUNCH ALERT! Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 23:28 EDT (03:28 UTC on the 9th)(20:28 PDT) a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 (core B1049.1) will be launching from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40 or “Slick”-40) carrying the Telstar 18 Vantage/APStar 5C communication satellite into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) for Telsat and APStar.

Stats: This will be SpaceX’s 16th launch of 2018 and the 67th SpaceX flight overall (5 Falcon 1, 61 Falcon 9, 1 Falcon Heavy). Mission parameters will allow for a landing on SpaceX’s East Coast Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) “Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY)” which will bring to total successful landings to 29; 18 on drone ships and 11 on land.

Continue reading

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now is the Time to Observe Neptune

Images credit & copyright: NASA/JPL Voyager 2.

If you love the night sky and the planets in particular then this has been a fantastic year.  Jupiter reached opposition (closest point to Earth) back on May 8. Saturn reached opposition on June 27, Mars reached opposition on July 27, Neptune reaches opposition on September 7 and Uranus reaches opposition on October 23. Even main belt asteroid Vesta was at opposition back on June 19th so all I’m asking the universe for now is a bright comet to end the year on and I’ll go into hibernation happy! Actually I can’t do that either; the best skies are winter skies and I’m not missing the Orion neighborhood.

Disclaimer! As much as I want you all to read my entire post and check out the pics and links I want to make something clear from the start. Neptune is so far away (all that info below) that even at opposition it will not be naked eye visible. You will need some sort of optical aid to get “eyes on” our furthest ice giant.

Neptune reaches opposition about every 367.5 days (just over 1 year) and this opposition will bring Neptune to within 28.93 AU (2.695 billion mi. or 4.338 billion km) from Earth (remember, an astronomical unit or “AU” is one Earth-Sun distance or about 93 million mi. or 149 million km). Yea you read that right; when Neptune is at it’s closest point to Earth, it’s still 11 times further away than Mars when Mars is as far from Earth that it can get (which is on the other side of the solar system about 2.9 AU away).

Fun Fact: We all know orbits are elliptical and not quite circular, well from 1979 to 1999 (20 years) Neptune was further from the Sun than Pluto. That’s right; every 248 years Pluto crosses Neptune’s orbit for a 20 year period.

Continue reading

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emerald Lake

Image credit & copyright: Yuri Beletsky.

Ever been to Chile’s Atacama Desert? I haven’t as of yet but Yuri Beletsky sure has and for years he’s been providing incredible imagery of the region. In this image we see our imposing home star city, the Milky Way galaxy stretching across the sky over a local pond while the green hue of airglow across the horizon masks the presence of the Large and Small Magellanic clouds.

I hope you’re all having a great week and be sure to check out more of Yuri’s images.

Yuri’s Facebook:




Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment