: NASA invited reporters this past Friday to the Kennedy Space Center to view the 16th floor room inside the Vehicle Assembly Building where the remains of Space Shuttle Columbia are now stored. The facility is the resting place for what one engineer called the "eighth soul" -- after the seven astronauts -- lost one year ago today. The room has been likened to Arlington National Cemetery, where Columbia's final crew will be honored with a monument on Monday. Today, the Super Bowl will pay tribute to the astronauts during the pregame show.
: Designed to celebrate the state motto of Kansas, Ad Astra per Aspera, an 8 foot by 10 foot stained glass panel commissioned by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center will commemorate the fallen astronauts from Apollo 1, STS-51L and STS-107. The project, to be completed in a year, will incorporate flown tiles from prior Challenger and Columbia missions, as well as concrete pieces from Apollo 1's launch pad.
: This week, NASA Kennedy Space Center's Environmental Program Branch is scheduled to begin disposing with the Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) that supported Saturn V rockets, including Apollo 8 and 11, while on the pad. The 490-foot tall, red metal structure was dismantled in 1983 and has since been gathering rust behind the space center's administration buildings. Disposal of the LUT is expected to take six months.
: The families of the STS-107 crew and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe unveiled a monument yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery bearing bronze plaques portraying Columbia's crew and the patch they wore on their mission. NASA also dedicated seven Martian hills located east of the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover's landing site to the crew.
: The team seeking to preserve the launch tower from which Apollo 8 and 11 went to the Moon has been informed by NASA that if they do not locate a sponsor and align themselves with an organization such as the Smithsonian by tomorrow afternoon, then work to dispose of Launch Umbilical Tower-1 (LUT-1) will begin. The Space Restoration Society has proposed rebuilding the LUT as a monument to the Apollo Program.
: Newly-redesigned, Buzz Aldrin's website has word that the Apollo 11 moonwalker is writing two upcoming titles. For children, Aldrin is collaborating with award-winning illustrator Wendell Minor to tell the story of his journey into space (to be published by Harper Collins). For the older set, Rodale Books has signed to publish Aldrin's view on America's future in human space travel.
: "Growing up on either side of the Iron Curtain, Alexei Leonov and David Scott shared the same dream - to become a pilot." So starts the synopsis for Two Sides of the Moon, a joint autobiography by the Voskhod 2 spacewalker and Apollo 15 moonwalker to be released this May by Simon and Schuster. The 432-page book includes a foreword written by Neil Armstrong and an introduction by Tom Hanks.
: Apollo 9's Command Module Gumdrop will be placed on display this spring at the San Diego Aerospace Museum, reports the Union-Tribune. The spacecraft, which previously resided at the Michigan Space and Science Center up until it was closed two months ago, carried James McDivitt, David Scott and Russell Schweickart to Earth orbit where the the Lunar Module was tested in space for the first time. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum was persuaded to bring the capsule to California in part by astronaut Walter Schirra, who serves on the Aerospace Museum's board. As a condition of receiving Gumdrop, an exhibit will be built that explains the Apollo program.
: The Danbury Mint is shipping the second model in its "Milestones in Space Exploration" series of diecast replicas, "Space Shuttle Columbia". Featuring payload bay doors that open (though there is nothing inside) and a plaque on its base describing the STS-1 mission, the 1:150 scale model displays the orbiter in configuration for reentry into the atmosphere.
: The staff at Regency-Superior have provided scans of a few of the multi-signed items to be included in their April 17 auction. Consigned by artist William Numeroff's estate, the lots include autographs from the 'Original' Mercury 7, the Apollo 11 crew, X-15 pilots and the first group of Space Shuttle astronauts.
: Bob Ward devoted more than ten years of research and conducted 150 interviews with the rocket scientist's colleagues to write Mr. Space: The Life of Wernher von Braun, a behind-the-scenes look into the stories, heroics, and contradictions to paint a complete portrait of an enigmatic man. To be released in June by the Smithsonian Institution Press, author-signed copies can be pre-ordered today through Boggs SpaceBooks.
: "To Touch the Stars" by Prometheus Music features 17 song tracks that celebrate the history and future of human space exploration. A partnership between the specialty label, the Mars Society and the National Space Society, the CD is now on the verge of selling out its first printing. Future editions will remove Beyond the Sky, a track about Eileen Collins, and see changes to its 32-page book of song lyrics and essays.
: To mark the 35th anniversary of mankind's first lunar landing this July, Geraths Design has produced "One small step...", a resin-cast sculpted plaque that captures a moonwalker's footprint in lunar soil. The 6 by 6.25 inch limited edition is adorned by an aircraft aluminum name plate on its front and is signed and numbered by the artist on its reverse.
: The American International Toy Fair, which runs through Wednesday, brings more than 1,500 manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from 30 countries to New York City to exhibit their new toys and on-going product lines. Found among the many aisles of booths inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center are a handful of debuting space exploration toys.
: The New York Times today profiles the plight of the Space Restoration Society and its bid to save the last remaining Apollo Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) from disposal as scrap metal. NASA, bowing to pressure from the EPA, instructed its contractor to resume decontamination and destruction of the tower after granting a short reprieve to consider the Society's proposal. Even though disposal work has begun, the Society is still pursuing donors with the knowledge that deconstruction of the major tower components will not start for another two weeks.
: IMAX Corporation and Warner Home Video announced today the fourth quarter release of "Space Station" in both 2D and 3D formats. Filmed by the astronauts assembling the International Space Station, the movie has grossed nearly $66 million since its premiere in April 2002, setting a record as the fastest growing 3D film in the IMAX company's history.
: The Combustion Module-2 Crew Trainer used by the STS-107 astronauts while training at the NASA Glenn Research Center has been enhanced to become a new interactive exhibit at the Cleveland, OH facility's visitor complex. The public can use the CM-2 much in the same way the crew did to learn about the experiments that were part of Columbia's final mission.
: The autograph collection of Harold H. Hill, a biomedical adminstrator during the Gemini, Apollo and early Space Shuttle programs, is now open for bids through buySPACE and Astro-Auction.com. The auction closes March 6 on 28 lots, including an Apollo 11 crew signed NASA lithograph and an Edward White II Gemini IV spacewalk inscribed photo.
: Moonwalker David Scott was added today as the guest of not one, but two autograph shows scheduled for later this year. In May, Scott will reunite with his Apollo 15 crewmate Al Worden at the Air and Space Show in Florida. Then in September, the Gemini and Apollo astronaut will be in California for the UACC Autograph Convention and Show. At both events, Scott will sign copies of his new joint-autobiography written in collaboration with Voskhod spacewalker Alexei Leonov.
: Based on readers' feedback and in the interest of encouraging discussion about the past 45+ years of space exploration, today five new forums have been added to cS: Messages under the category of Space History. To begin discussion, we have moved appropriate topics posted elsewhere on the message board into the new forums.
: The catalog for Swann Galleries next Space Exploration auction can now be viewed on their website. The March 27 sale offers 335 lots ranging from astronaut autographs to lunar surface flown artifacts.
: In what should be the final update to a story first posted in June 2002, a small piece of the Goodwill moon rock stolen and then smuggled to the United States in 1995 has finally been returned to its rightful home in Honduras.