: Boris Morukov, a physician, researcher, and cosmonaut who 15 years ago flew to the International Space Station, died on Thursday (Jan. 1) at age 64. One of two Russian cosmonauts whose only mission was aboard a U.S. space shuttle, Morukov flew as an STS-106 crewmember in 2000. Later, as deputy director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, he led Mars500, a full-length simulated human mission to the Red Planet.
: The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is debuting "Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity," a new exhibit celebrating the half century since Alexei Leonov and Ed White made the first spacewalks. Opening Thursday (Jan. 8) and running through June 8, the exhibit features artwork, photography and artifacts to share the history of EVA.
: LEGO minifigures of Anton Shklaperov, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts have been revealed on board the International Space Station. The tiny toy versions of the Expedition 42 crew members were created by UK-based Minifigs.me at the request of a European Space Agency instructor and carried to space by Cristoforetti. Each of the crew's figures are clad in a Sokol spacesuit with the proper patches and flags. Minifigs.me is now offering the same customizable figures to the public.
: Packed with flatworms, fruit flies and CATS (the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System), among other science experiments and crew supplies, SpaceX's CRS-5 Dragon cargo capsule launched for the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral on Saturday (Jan. 10). The spacecraft is slated to rendezvous with the orbiting lab on Monday. As the Dragon reached orbit, the first stage of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle approached a first-ever landing atop a floating platform (autonomous spaceport drone ship) but "landed hard" said SpaceX's Elon Musk. "Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future, though."
: A space shuttle main engine roared to life Friday (Jan 9), three and a half years after the end of the shuttle program, for its first 500-second test fire in support of NASA's new Space Launch System. The hot fire, atop Stennis Space Center's A-1 test stand, collected data toward modifying the RS-25 engine to be used with the SLS. Four RS-25 engines will provide the thrust needed to power the heavy-lift rocket's first stage.
: The possibility of an ammonia leak on the International Space Station on Wednesday (Jan. 14) caused the crew to evacuate to the Russian segment of the complex. The alarm, which was triggered by an increase in water pressure inside the space station's coolant loop, appears to have been a false indication, flight controllers at NASA's Mission Control in Houston said. The teams are working to learn exactly what happened, restore systems and allow the crew to re-enter the U.S. side.
: The General Services Administration is auctioning NASA's surplus space gold – six 24KT gold plates that were "reportedly flown in space for 69 months." At present (as of Jan. 14), the gold plates have elicited bids topping $150,000, with still eight days left until the auction ends. Few other details are provided about the space-flown treasure, which prompted collectSPACE to dig deeper into the artifact's possibly rich spaceflight history.
: The Beagle 2 Mars lander, built by the United Kingdom, has been believed lost on Mars since 2003, but has now been found in images captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. A set of three observations with the orbiter's HiRISE camera shows Beagle 2 partially deployed on the planet's surface, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission.
: Patrick Stewart will lead audiences on NASA's future trek to Mars as the newly-announced narrator of "Journey to Space," a new 3D giant-screen documentary on the recent history and near-term future of human space travel. Presented by Boeing and Toyota, and produced by K2 Films and Giant Screen Films, "Journey to Space" is set to launch into select theaters in February.
: Chicago's Adler Planetarium launched its first crowdfunding campaign on Monday (Jan. 19) to sponsor redesigning its former "Shoot for the Moon" exhibition, now renamed "Mission Moon." With support from the public, the Adler plans to create an exciting, interactive and educational experience that better shares the story of America's first steps into space while following the life and legendary career of Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell.
: Boeing and SpaceX are on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017. The two companies' officials took part in a NASA press conference on Monday (Jan. 26) to lay out their schedules for the first time since being contracted to provide commercial crew transportation last September. Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will fly four astronauts per mission to the orbiting laboratory.
: Featuring lace eyelets resembling the umbilical ports on the iconic Apollo A7L moon suit and silver tones reminiscent of the original Mercury astronaut pressure garment, Adidas' new sneakers are inspired by some of NASA's most historic spacesuits. The trainers, by designer Raf Simons, are due out in July.