China launched a new crew to its Tiangong space station on Monday (May 29), on its first post-assembly mission. Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao lifted off on China's Shenzhou 16 spacecraft atop a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for a five-month stay in orbit. Jing is China's first astronaut to fly four times into space. Gui is his country's first civilian taikonaut and payload specialist.
You can now get a hold of your own SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, just like the one that arrived at the International Space Station on Monday (May 22) – only a tad smaller. Matchbox's new Dragon stands 2.5 inches tall but has many of the same exterior details as the real vehicles. The model is the first product to come out of a multi-year collectible deal between SpaceX and Mattel.
The first Build-A-Bear to fly into space is the Axiom-2 (Ax-2) zero-g indicator, GiGi. Dressed in a smaller version of Axiom Space's AxEMU spacesuit being designed for astronauts to wear on the moon, the space station-bound fluffy "fifth crewmember" is aimed at inspiring children to take up an interest in space. Enthusiasts (of all ages) can now place their order for their own "Axiom Space Bear" from the Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Axiom Space has chosen Fisher Space Pen to provide its private crews (and the public) with custom pens. Beginning with the upcoming Axiom-2 (Ax-2) mission, Axiom's clients will fly with a black titanium nitride version of Fisher's original Astronaut Pen emblazoned with Axiom's logo. The same pen, as well as other models with a new Navy Blue Cerakote coating, can now be purchased from the Fisher Space Pen website.
The mobile launcher used for the Apollo 11 moon landing mission is set to be scrapped at the Kennedy Space Center later this month. The steel structure, which was retired in 2011 as Mobile Launch Platform-3 (MLP-3) after supporting the last space shuttle mission is being demolished to free up room in the Vehicle Assembly Building, where it had been stored. In total, MLP-3 was used for three Saturn V launches, three Skylab flights, Apollo-Soyuz and 33 space shuttle missions.
LEGO is set to release NASA's Mars rover Perseverance as a Technic kit on Aug. 1. The 1/12th scale model uses the advanced building bricks to replicate several of the real rover's features, including 360-degree steering and a movable arm, as well as Perseverance's mission companion, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter. The $100 set interacts with an AR (augmented reality) app, showing info and data from the rover on Mars.
More than 60 years after the first person circled the planet, Rayyanah Barnawi has become the 600th person to enter Earth orbit. A member of the Ax-2 crew who launched to the International Space Station crew on Sunday (May 21), Barnawi is flying on behalf of her country, Saudi Arabia. Her distinction as the sexcentenarian orbital space traveler was determined by her position aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA on Friday (May 19) chose Blue Origin and its National Team partners to build a second lunar lander for the agency's Artemis program. The Blue Moon human landing system (HLS) will first bring astronauts to the lunar south pole on NASA's Artemis V mission, slated for 2029. NASA will then select between Blue Moon and SpaceX's Starship for its annual lunar trips.
Fifty years ago Sunday (May 14), the first U.S. space station launched on the last Saturn V rocket to fly. The climb into Earth orbit did not go to plan and the orbital workshop was significantly damaged. Three crews of three astronauts each were not only able to save Skylab but set the foundation for future orbital laboratories. Stephen Bowen, who is on the International Space Station, credits seeing Skylab with getting him to where he is now.
Roy Bridges and Senator Mark Kelly were enshrined into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame during a public induction ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Saturday (May 6). The one-time space shuttle pilot and commander who flew four times to the space station comprised the 24th class of inductees and raises the hall's ranks to 107 astronauts.