Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of Progress 1, the first automated space station supply ship. These things are still flying and have reached orbit 156 times, with three failures. Despite operating Skylab from 1973 to 1979 and maintaining the International Space Station since 1998, NASA has never launched its own uncrewed supply ship, relying instead on the Space Shuttle, Progress, ferries launched by the ESA and Japan, as well as private industry. Source.
Read about this elongated and quite possibly metallic object that entered and exited the Solar System on an interstellar journey this autumn and tell me if it isn't time to reread Rendezvous with Rama.
On June 30th,1984, this 320g chondrite crashed through the roof of an Aomori print shop. Source.
It's the Aomori Prefecture derby: ReinMeer Aomori vs Vanraure Hachinohe. These two clubs last met in the Aomori Prefecture championship in April. Vanraure won that time.
ReinMeer Aomori and Vanraure Hachinohe play in the sixteen-team Japan Football League, the fourth tier of Japanese pro soccer. Two JFL clubs, Vanraure and Nara Club, hold J League licenses, meaning they satisfy various financial and stadium size criteria set by the J League and can earn promotion to J3 if they finish atop the JFL. Three other JFL clubs have 100 Year Plan status, which signals their intention to eventually meet J League standards and earn promotion: FC Imabari, Tokyo Musashino City, and Tochigi Uva.
Many of the rest of the JFL clubs have J League-style names, which would indicate that they ultimately plan to get into the pro league. J League club names are either geographical (FC Ryukyu) or built around some weird neologism (Blaublitz Akita). The J League does not allow corporate names. Four JFL clubs have corporate names: Honda FC, Honda Lock, Maruyasu Okazaki, and Sony Sendai.
Quite a lot of clubs in the fifth tier have J League-style names too, either because they hope one day to make it into the bigs, or maybe just because it has become the thing to do. Blancdieu Hirosaki and Cobaltore Onagawa play in the Tohoku league.
Kondoraito Aomori would make a perfectly fine club name.
Going into today's play Vanraure are 4th in the standings, ReinMeer 5th. Honda FC are 1st.
Honda FC really is a curious case. While most soccer clubs in the world view finishing first as the way to get promoted, Honda FC avoid promotion as a way to finish first. The last time they played in Japan's top division was 1991-92. When the professional J-League was formed in 1992, Honda opted for voluntary relegation to stay non-professional. In 1999 when the J League came around looking for clubs make up a professional second tier, Honda remained with the JFL, which now became the third tier. Again, in 2014, when J3 was formed, Honda remained with the JFL, now the fourth tier. Yet Honda have taken pains to build winning teams, and have finished top of their division in 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2014 and 2016.
[Reversal! ReinMeer 2 - 1 Vanraure. Now ReinMeer are fourth and Vanraure fifth.]
SWFL Division 2 West: Morton [2 - 0] Queen of the South
Largs Thistle will play their final match of 2016-17 against Auchinleck Talbot tomorrow, and then the Scottish football season will be well and truly over. Win or lose Largs will finish eleventh and be relegated to the West Region Super First Division, along with twelfth-place Troon. [0 - 0]
Morton have signed midfielder Gary Harkins. Harkins is a Greenock native and has played for Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Bury, Blackpool, Grimsby Town, Partick, Dundee (three times), Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Oldham Athletic, and Ayr.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Challenge Cup is the name of the top soccer league competition in Newfoundland. The current season has been going since May 13th. The seven clubs are:
Holy Cross is the soccer branch of the Holy Cross Athletic Association, which was started at Holy Cross School in St. John's in 1890. They have won the league 17 times.
Mount Pearl won the league in 2003. They have an artifical turf field at the Team Gushue Sports Complex on Smallwood Drive in Mount Pearl, which is just west of St. John's on Route 2. Home page.
St. Lawrence Laurentians, the most successful soccer club in Newfoundland, was founded in 1904, and has won the Challenge Cup 25 times including last year. St. Lawrence is way down the end of the Burin Peninsula and has a population of just over 1000. They wear blue. Home page.
Feildians This athletic club dates back to 1899 and has its ground at 8 Portugal Road in St. John's. The apparently incorrect spelling of the name is actually correct, as the club is named after Edward Feild, Anglican Bishop of Newfoundland from 1844 to 1876, and inventor of the athletic "Feild day" which everyone misspells. Feildians won the Challenge Cup in 1969. They wear blue. Home page.
Corner Brook United This is their third year in the league. Corner Brook is on the west coast of Newfoundland. Facebook page.
Conception Bay Strikers CBS for short. Last season they managed three draws and no wins. Conception Bay South is the next place beyond Mount Pearl on Route 2. Home page.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Games Team They play an exhibition schedule against the other clubs in preparation for the Canada Games, which will be in Winnipeg July 28 to August 13.
Sweden. I'm not following Swedish football very closely this year, but here's an update. Our guys Östersunds FK presently hold fourth place in the Allsvenskan. Not bad for a club that was in the fourth tier in 2011. Wait, there's more. They won the 2016-17 Svenska Cupen, beating IFK Norrköping 4 - 1 on April 13th, so they are in the 2017-18 Europa League. Ex-Morton man Fouad Bachirou is vice-captain.
The new club in the Allsvenskan is IK Sirius, who had been out of the top tier for 42 years. They come from Uppsala and their field is a used for bandy in the winter.