January 1, 2009 / 12:42 a.m. CT (0642 GMT) New year, new logo: 2009 has arrived and with it comes an upcoming anniversary this July 20: 10 years of collectSPACE (oh, and the first humans walked on the Moon a few decades earlier). We will mark the Apollo 11 40th anniversary later this year, but for now, we're kicking off our own decadal celebration with the debut of our 10th anniversary logo. The special edition emblem was created by graphic artist Joel Katzowitz, who previously designed displays for the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, postmarkers for Kennedy Space Center's post office, and the unofficial "Dog Crew" patches for the STS-69 and STS-88 missions.
January 4, 2009 / 7:58 p.m. CT (0158 GMT Jan 5) The view from Saturn: Prior to Feb. 2005, motorists driving along Saturn Lane while approaching the main entrance to Johnson Space Center in Houston were treated to a panoramic view of one of the three existing Saturn V rockets. The open air display, while impressive, was not kind to the skyscraper-size artifact and a building was erected to protect it from further decay. Three years after having only a long white barn to hint at the Saturn V inside, drivers on Saturn Lane are once again able to see the 363-foot booster, albeit in two dimensions. A full scale mural of the rocket now stretches the length of the facility.
January 5, 2009 / 7:11 p.m. CT (0111 GMT Jan 6) This is Apollo: Combining author Andrew Chaikin's prose with astronaut Alan Bean's paintings, "Mission Control, This is Apollo" recounts 40 years of space history from the Mercury missions to Apollo 17 and beyond. Written for age 10 through 12, Viking Children's Books is scheduled to release the 128-page, full color hardcover in late May. "This is Apollo" devotes a chapter to each flight and features more than 30 of Bean's Apollo-theme works.
January 9, 2009 / 11:17 p.m. CT (0517 GMT Jan 10) Patch review | STS-119: The crew emblem for STS-119, the next shuttle mission set to launch in about a month, was first released by NASA in September 2008. The design is the same today as it was then, but patches and pins found by collectors suggested a late revision. In fact, NASA's official caption for the insignia described the earlier artwork: "Under the Japanese Kibo module, marked by a red circle, is the name of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata". Only it is not; Wakata's name is inscribed at the bottom of the patch. So, why the late change? "We didn't believe, once we saw the patch, that Koichi's name came out enough," explained STS-119 mission specialist Steve "Swanny" Swanson, whose 19 year old daughter designed the patch. "We decided we had to move [Wakata's name] into the red [border] to keep it visible," revealed Swanson.
January 10, 2009 / 2:04 a.m. CT (0804 GMT) Patch preview | Koichi Wakata: JAXA on Friday revealed the logo for their first long duration manned spaceflight. Koichi Wakata will launch on STS-119, serve with the ISS Expedition 18 and 19 crews and then return with STS-127. The insignia, which highlights the hardware that will be added to the International Space Station while Wakata is on-board, includes three Japanese words at his request: "dream", "curiosity" and "consideration". "I think those components are something that I felt very important working in this business for the last 16 years," expounded Wakata, adding "This is something that I always cherish."
January 10, 2009 / 3:27 p.m. CT (2127 GMT) Moon Rocket removal: An almost 50-year old, 71-foot, 12,000 pound rocket that gave thousands their first ride to space has fallen back to earth. The Astroland rocket, a.k.a. the Star Flyer, the Cape Canaveral Satellite Jet and/or the Astroland Moon Rocket, was first installed as a hydraulic-powered ride in 1962 and later in the 1970s as a billboard for the Coney Island, New York amusement park. Astroland closed last year and last week, the rocket was removed from atop Gregory & Paul's restaurant. The New York Times reported Friday that the city's Economic Development Corporation is interested in the iconic rocket although the details were still pending where it would land.
January 12, 2009 / 2:35 a.m. CT (0835 GMT) Carnival of Space: Launched in April 2007, the 'Carnival of Space' collects articles and blogs on space and astronomy every week. collectSPACE is proud to host the Carnival on its 86th tour stop, highlighting more than two dozen space exploration stories and astronomy blogs.
January 12, 2009 / 7:43 p.m. CT (0143 GMT Jan 13) Space chimps: Eight chimpanzees are set for launch to the International Space Station next month, though their trip is only planned to be one-way. To be stowed aboard space shuttle Discovery for the STS-119 crew, the "chimps" won't be there to study; rather, they'll be dessert.
January 14, 2009 / 5:11 p.m. CT (2311 GMT) SpaceShip...Many: If you want to see the history-making SpaceShipOne that in 2004 flew three times to space, winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize, you will need to visit the National Air and Space Museum. If you can settle however, with seeing a scale replica cast from the original, you have more options. You can visit Mojave near where the original launched; or see museums in New Mexico and Wisconsin; visit Google's headquarters; or as of Tuesday, tour billionaire Paul Allen's aviation collection.
January 15, 2009 / 10:16 p.m. CT (0416 GMT Jan 16) Carter's consignments: To support efforts advancing peace and health worldwide, the not-for-profit Carter Center will offer historic memorabilia related to the the presidency of Jimmy Carter during live and silent auctions hosted in Port St. Lucie, Florida on February 7. The sales will present several Apollo 11 lots, including a copy of the moon landing 10th anniversary proclamation autographed by President Carter and a commemorative litho signed by the mission's crew for the July 20, 2009, 40th anniversary.
January 15, 2009 / 11:39 p.m. CT (0539 GMT Jan 16) Like first, like last: Once again following in the steps of the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, is donating his personal archives to Purdue University. Both astronaut-alums' papers, joined by the world's largest compilation of Amelia Earhart documents, will be held in the university's state of the art Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, as the foundation for Purdue's flight history library.
January 16, 2009 / 1:50 a.m. CT (0750 GMT) He plays one in real life, too: For 95 days, Garrett Reisman starred on NASA TV as a flight engineer during Expeditions 16 and 17 aboard the International Space Station. For an encore, he chose a much smaller, much shorter part, but arguably just as cool: for ten seconds, he will portray a Colonial Marine during Battlestar Galactica's final episodes, debuting Friday night on the SciFi Channel.
January 16, 2009 / 12:38 p.m. CT (1838 GMT) Yes, if: Addressing NASA's employees for the last time as Administrator, Mike Griffin on Friday displayed the first NASA "Yes, If" challenge coin, which he said he would like become "something like the Silver Snoopy, the most coveted award in NASA." Developed by NASA's Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance, Bryan O'Connor (who is also a former astronaut), the coin was inspired by Griffin's own challenge to the agency to adopt a "yes, if..." approach rather than "no, because". The coin depicts the NASA insignia and on the reverse are the words, "Yes, if".
January 19, 2009 / 12:40 a.m. CT (0640 GMT) Parading through history: The STS-126 crew will be the first astronauts to take part in an inaugural parade in 40 years -- to the day -- since the crew of Apollo 7 rode in the 1969 procession for President Nixon. Walt Cunningham, Donn Eisele and Wally Schirra were the first NASA astronauts in a presidential parade, but they were preceded by at least one future flier. Fred Gregory, who in 1978 joined the space agency and later flew three shuttle missions, marched as a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet in Kennedy's 1961 parade. Gregory's granddaughter, Caitlin, also a cadet, will be part of Tuesday's inaugural parade for Barack Obama, as will be the seven STS-126 astronauts.
January 20, 2009 / 12:55 p.m. CT (1855 GMT) 40 years past the Moon: Only one watch descended to the lunar surface six months and 40 years ago as two men became the first humans to walk on the Moon. To mark the milestone and their place in it, Omega has released the "Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 40th Anniversary" chronograph. Designed after the original that Buzz Aldrin wore on the Moon, the small seconds counter has been altered in the form of a medal engraved with the Apollo 11 mission insignia. The face is also enhanced with the inscription 02:56 GMT, the exact time when Neil Armstrong made his "one small step" into history. Limited to 7,969 watches, the anniversary edition comes with a silver medallion in a black presentation box.
January 21, 2009 / 4:03 p.m. CT (2203 GMT) Two commanders and a repairman: The Astronaut Hall of Fame will enshrine in May the first American to lead five missions, the first commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and a member of the first two man repair team to service a satellite on-orbit. Astronauts James Wetherbee, William Shepherd and George "Pinky" Nelson will be honored as the 2009 inductees, raising the total number of space explorers in the Hall of Fame to 73.
January 23, 2009 / 6:37 p.m. CT (0037 GMT Jan 24) NASA's 50th 53rd anniversary coins: The Congressional led effort to instruct the U.S. Mint to produce a commemorative coin set honoring the 50th anniversary of NASA has entered its fourth year and, if finally passed now, would deliver the medallions three years late. Having failed to exit the Senate and House of Representatives in 2008 when the "NASA 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act" originally called for the ten solar system-themed coins to be struck, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee reintroduced the bill in the House on January 7 with one significant edit: the Mint won't begin striking or selling the coins until 2011.
January 24, 2009 / 11:38 p.m. CT (0538 GMT Jan 25) Patch preview | STS-127 || Julie Payette: The last Canadian Space Agency astronaut expected to launch on a U.S. space shuttle, Julie Payette will fly as a mission specialist aboard STS-127. To commemorate her role aboard the International Space Station assembly mission, CSA designed an insignia depicting the Earth from space and set against it, a robot arm spelling out Payette's name in electronic circuitry, symbolizing Canada's successes in space robotics and Payette's planned use of three robotic arms: Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Japan's Kibo robot arm.
January 27, 2009 / 3:28 a.m. CT (0928 GMT) Live from the Moon: Were NASA to query Mark Gray with Spacecraft Films for advice planning the next live television broadcasts from the Moon, his reply would lead off with just two letters: HD. For his first HD project, Gray focused his camera on the history of the live Apollo television broadcasts that millions watched from a quarter of a million miles away. collectSPACE is proud to present the first look and exclusive trailer for "Live from the Moon"
January 31, 2009 / 11:00 p.m. CT (0500 GMT Feb 1) Snoopy soars 'To the Moon': The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California opened Saturday an exhibit exploring Snoopy's history, both real and in the comic strip, as a "World Famous Astronaut". Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Snoopy's and Charlie Brown's Apollo 10 flight to the Moon, as well as Snoopy's own comic strip lunar landing in 1969, "Snoopy Soars with NASA" features artifacts from Schulz and the space agency including two moon-flown Snoopys.