Sally Ride stamps launch
: The U.S. Postal Service launched sales of its new Sally Ride postage stamp on Wednesday (May 23). For 50 cents, the public can now send mail while also celebrating the first American woman to fly in space. In addition to sheets of the stamps, the USPS also introduced pictorial postmarks and other collectibles to mark the Sally Ride commemorative's first day of issue.
Sally Ride's stamp
: At some point 35 years ago, Sally Ride joined her STS-7 crewmates in signing a photo for illustrator Paul Salmon. A souvenir of his four years within the NASA Art Program, the autographed photo became the inspiration for Salmon's portrait of Ride that he painted for the U.S. Postal Service's new postage stamp. But as he recounted, Salmon felt that something more was needed to properly depict the first U.S. woman in space on a stamp.
: The University of South Carolina in Columbia is the new home of the Charles F. Bolden Jr. Collection. The 40-box-strong archive, donated by the former space shuttle astronaut and twelfth administrator of NASA, documents Bolden's experience as a student at the U.S. Naval Academy, his active service in the Marines, and his years at NASA. The university's library will organize the archive and then there are plans to share Bolden's artifacts and space memorabilia as part of a traveling exhibit.
Author Tom Wolfe, 1931-2018
: The news of Tom Wolfe's death came 55 years to the day after NASA's final Mercury mission launched an astronaut into Earth orbit — a flight Wolfe chronicled in his book, "The Right Stuff." The celebrated journalist and bestselling author died at the age of 88 on Monday (May 14). "The Right Stuff" did more than capture the early astronaut ethos; the book also inspired a new generation to push the outside of the envelope.
Soyuz lands in Denmark
: The capsule that carried the first Dane into space has landed on display in Denmark. The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft that launched with ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen in 2015 was acquired by the Danmarks Tekniske Museum, or the Danish Museum of Science & Technology, in Helsingør. The same Soyuz was used by the crew members of the first yearlong mission on the International Space Station to return to Earth in 2016.
S.S. J.R. Thompson
: Orbital ATK's first nine Cygnus cargo spacecraft were christened for late astronauts who worked for the company or who helped advance U.S. spaceflight. For its tenth Cygnus' namesake, Orbital ATK has chosen their late vice chairman. The "S.S. J.R. Thompson" will launch as a memorial to the executive who also served as NASA's deputy administrator and helped develop rocket engines for the Saturn V and space shuttle.
: The first humanoid robot in space is back on Earth. Robonaut 2, or R2 for short, returned Saturday (May 5) from the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's 14th Dragon cargo spacecraft to splashdown from the orbiting laboratory. Three years into its seven-year stay on orbit, R2 began shorting out, following upgrades to outfit it with legs. Once back at Johnson Space Center, R2 will be repaired for its expected return to the space station.
West to Mars
: Before it can become the first probe to study the deep interior of Mars, and before it can attempt measuring marsquakes for the first time, NASA's InSight Mars lander will make history leaving Earth. After sending all of its planet, asteroid and comet-bound spacecraft from Florida, NASA will launch InSight from California, making it the first interplanetary mission to rise from the west coast.
: Disney Junior's next episode of "Mission Force One," debuting on Earth on Monday (May 7), has made history becoming the first kids TV show to premiere in space. The half hour program, "The Space Station Situation," was viewed last week by the crew on the International Space Station. The animated episode focuses on Miles (from Tomorrowland) and his friends as they travel to the past to save the space station with help from its crew (who are voiced by and modeled after real astronauts).
: Master Replicas Group has introduced its new Space Terrains, models of the surface of the moon and Mars. The cast-resin terrains, which are being offered under a license with the Smithsonian, are based on the data and high resolution images from NASA spacecraft. The first terrains include the moon's Tycho crater and Mons Olympus, the solar system's largest volcano, on Mars.
NASA's new administrator
: Jim Bridenstine was sworn in as NASA Administrator by Vice President Mike Pence on Monday (April 23). A naval pilot, politician and the director of an air & space museum, Bridenstine is the 13th person to be administrator in NASA's 60 years and the first head of the agency born after the Apollo moon landings.
Astronaut Hall of Fame
: More than a dozen space explorers were at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday (April 21) to see Thomas Jones and Scott Altman be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Combined, the two honorees flew on eight space shuttle missions, helping to service the Hubble Telescope and build the International Space Station. Jones and Altman were the 17th class to be inducted into the Hall, which now honors 97 astronauts.
Vladimir Lyakhov, 1941-2018
: A Soviet-era cosmonaut who flew to three different space stations, Vladimir Lyakhov died on Thursday (April 19) at 76. Lyakhkov lived in Earth orbit for a total of 333 days as the commander of the Soyuz 32, T-8 and TM-6 missions to the Salyut 6, 7 and Mir space stations in 1979, 1983 and 1988, respectively.
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