February 2, 2007 / 5:55 p.m. CT (2355 GMT) White Flight wins Space Trophy: One of NASA's pioneers of flight control operations and the man who wouldn't accept failure as an option Eugene "White Flight" Kranz was announced today as the 2007 winner of the National Space Trophy presented by the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation. The trophy, RNASA's highest honor, will be given to Kranz on April 20 during the Foundation's invitation-only banquet in Houston, Texas. Awarded annually for the past 21 years, the trophy was given last year to astronaut Eileen Collins.
February 4, 2007 / 9:07 p.m. CT (0307 GMT Feb 5) Suni's Super Sunday spacewalk record: Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita "Suni" Williams completed her third spacewalk on Sunday and the second of three EVAs that she and commander Michael Lopez-Alegria are scheduled to make in an unprecedented nine days. A marathon series by space station standards, the EVA trio is the densest period of ISS spacewalks to date without a visiting space shuttle. Sunday's spacewalk lasted seven hours, bringing Williams' total time outside to 22 hours, 37 minutes, setting a new female record by exceeding Kathy Thornton's earlier tally of over 21 hours. Williams will set another EVA record on Feb. 8 when she makes her fourth spacewalk, a female first. For his part, Lopez-Alegria's own rank rose from fourth to third on the worldwide list of spacewalkers by total time logged. He will be second after Thursday, surpassed only by Anatoly Solovyov's 72.5 hours recorded over 14 EVAs.
February 5, 2007 / 3:02 p.m. CT (2102 GMT) First look - STS-120 patch: The STS-120 crew, led by commander Pam Melroy, will wear a black, blue and gold mission patch that features their primary payload and that appears to draw from the Astronaut Office symbol for its design. The circular badge is ringed by the seven names of the crew, including an Italian flag next to European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli's name. The insignia displays a shuttle orbiter with the embedded outline of the Node 2 multi-port module. The constellation Orion appears to be rising over Earth's horizon, below the Moon and Mars. A sunburst balances the patch, opposite the planets. A stylized vector gold completes the insignia.
February 5, 2007 / 11:02 p.m. CT (0502 GMT Feb 6) Astronaut charged with kidnap attempt: Lisa Marie Nowak, who lifted-off on her first spaceflight last July as part of the STS-121 crew, was charged Monday of attacking her rival for the attention of William Oefelein, a fellow astronaut, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Nowak was arrested after allegedly assaulting Colleen Shipman, who she believed was involved with the STS-116 pilot. Nowak told the police that she had intended to confront Shipman. If convicted of attempted kidnapping, Nowak could face a maximum of life in prison. Her arrest may be the first time an active-duty NASA astronaut has faced felony charges.
February 6, 2007 / 9:50 a.m. CT (1550 GMT) Lunar lander listed on eBay: Named the Lauryad after the spaceship from novelist Vanna Bonta's FLIGHT trilogy, a prototype lunar landing-capable vehicle competing in NASA's Lunar Lander Challenge has been offered for auction by its designers on eBay Motors. The winning bidder will receive the craft after it competes this October to become the first privately-funded lander to lift 55 pounds a distance of 100 meters, land safely on a pad and then refuel and repeat the course in reverse. For the feat, NASA will award a prize of as much as $1.35 million to the successful team. If BonNova's Lauryad I wins, the eBay high bidder will also receive half the prize purse. In the interim, the buyer will have their own name or logo put on either side of the vehicle and will be flown with a guest to witness the launch attempt in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
February 8, 2007 / 1:06 a.m. CT (0706 GMT) First look: Expedition 16: For the second time this week, a new mission insignia has debuted and like the earlier STS-120 patch, the ISS Expedition 16 insignia incorporates the symbol for the Astronaut Office. Unlike the shuttle patch however the International Space Station emblem does not list the crew's names. Following a trend to go "nameless" started by Expedition 14 and perhaps in part due to Expedition 15, which at last count had at least six different patches due to different name configurations, the ISS 16 patch reportedly signals a design decision that will keep the names off all subsequent station crew logos.
February 8, 2007 / 10:00 a.m. CT (1600 GMT) ALSJ unplugged: Spacecraft Films, which has worked to restore and preserve the film and audio records from the Apollo missions has partnered with Eric Jones' Apollo Lunar Surface Journal to offer the unabridged and annotated ALSJ on three dual layer DVD-ROMs. Since its last offline release eight years ago, the Journal has grown to encompass high resolution scans of all the original film from the Hasselblad lunar images, low resolution video of all the footage captured on the lunar surface for reference and five years of research on mission details, all of which will be on the DVDs. The ALSJ's core content, transcripts of all conversations between the lunar surface astronauts and mission control will be included. Announced today for pre-order, Spacecraft Films' Apollo Lunar Surface Journal 3 DVD-ROM Edition will ship soon for the list price of $45.
February 10, 2007 / 12:00 a.m. CT (0600 GMT) Say 'no' to Nowak sales: Though the total tally of astronaut Lisa Nowak-related space memorabilia listed on eBay is less than .03 percent of the overall space-related lots, it has taken only one item to create the false impression that her autograph, mission patch and portrait are suddenly in increased demand. To be sure, there's no shortage of patches or photos; you can buy the earlier for $5 retail and the latter you can print for yourself using the high resolution image files on NASA's website. And while it may true that Ms. Nowak didn't reply quite as frequently to mailed-in requests as collectors may have wanted, her autograph isn't exactly rare — she signed hundreds, if not thousands of items at public events over her career as an astronaut. It's one of those freely given autographs that is now attracting all the attention. Not because it is not real, but rather it's the authenticity of the $10,000-worth of bids that is in question. The seller, Joachim Horvitz, explained to collectSPACE that two of the three high bidders "seem legit" but when asked for assistance confirming their bids, eBay has "not given me any help." It is questionable if the high bidders are hobbyists who collect space memorabilia. Collectors dislike opportunists' sales because they cheapen a topic that they admire and respect, not to mention that for the same cash several far rarer autographs could be bought with enough change left to buy another of Lisa Nowak's autographs listed on eBay.
February 11, 2007 / 9:56 p.m. CT (0356 GMT Feb 12) Gibson's goods: Skylab III (SL-4) science pilot Edward Gibson is selling his personal space memorabilia, including a selection of flown and unflown medals. The sale, which began Sunday night, is hosted by Farthest Reaches, the same California-based online company that represents the autograph and artifact interests of Richard Gordon, Walter Schirra and Eugene Kranz, among others.
February 12, 2007 / 12:00 a.m. CT (0600 GMT) Command module lands in Pacific (their catalog, that is): A limited edition replica of Columbia, the Apollo XI Command Module, that sold out when it was offered in 2003 by Code 3 Collectibles and which was recently spotted on eBay selling for nearly 10 times its original list price, will be reproduced by TMC Pacific Modelworks, the company told collectSPACE on Sunday from their exhibit at the American International Toy Fair. Code 3, which first designed the scale model for their former National Air and Space Museum series, has licensed the Apollo module to Pacific, along with its Mercury Friendship 7 and Gemini 4 sister pieces. The CM model is targeted for release in the fall, when it will be offered via buySPACE (among others).
February 13, 2007 / 11:53 a.m. CT (1753 GMT) New crews: NASA and its partners named on Monday the crews that will live and work aboard the International Space Station for the next two years. Expeditions 16, 17 and 18 comprise 11 space explorers, including the first Japanese and second European astronauts to be chosen for a long-duration ISS mission. ISS Expedition 16, set to begin in fall 2007, will be led by U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson. Flight engineers for the mission are Expedition 7 commander Yuri Malenchenko, European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts, and NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman. Cosmonaut Sergei Volkov will command Expedition 17 with flight engineers Oleg Kononenko and Sandy Magnus. Expedition 18 commander Mike Fincke, who last lived aboard the ISS as a member of the Expedition 9 crew will be joined by another ISS veteran, Salizhan Sharipov (ISS Expedition 10). ISS 18 will also include JAXA's astronaut Koichi Wakata and Gregory Chamitoff, as flight engineers.
February 15, 2007 / 9:32 p.m. CT (0332 GMT Feb 16) Weekly window for space history: Since June 2005 amateur archivist Ed Hengeveld from The Netherlands has been sharing his collection of space history photographs via weekly posts to cS: Messages' Free Space forum. His "Photo of the week" series has included NASA images rarely seen. After 119 posts, Ed's photos merited their own space, which is why the Space History Photo of the Week forum debuted Thursday. You can browse more than two years of his posts while awaiting his next choice.
February 16, 2007 / 11:54 a.m. CT (1754 GMT) NASA marks Mercury milestones: Today, NASA announced its plans to mark the 45 year anniversary of American astronauts in orbit, which began with John Glenn's three orbit, February 20, 1962 Friendship 7 flight. The space agency revealed a new area of its website for information about the Mercury missions, "hosted" by ISS Expedition 4 crew member Carl Walz and featuring a rare virtual tour of Glenn's capsule. NASA will also share new interviews with Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Wally Schirra, as well as a message from the ISS 14 crew on NASA TV.
February 17, 2007 / 7:32 p.m. CT (0132 GMT Feb 18) NASA moves Apollo 1: NASA moved the Apollo 1 command module and its related materials on Saturday approximately 90 ft. from the Langley Research Center secure storage container where it sat for 40 years to a newer, environmentally-controlled warehouse. NASA determined that due to its age the container could not be maintained. The command module, damaged in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, its heat shield, boost protective cover, and the 81 cartons of hardware and investigative data occupy 3300 cubic feet. In 1990, plans were announced and then cancelled to store the capsule in the Cape Canaveral, FL abandoned missile silo where shuttle Challenger debris is interred. The capsule remains restricted to public viewing.
February 19, 2007 / 2:57 a.m. CT (0857 GMT) A man, a horse and a rocket: This Friday, February 23, The Astronaut Farmer debuts in movie theaters, just three days after the 45th anniversary of the first manned launch of the rocket depicted in the film. To mark both occasions, collectSPACE and Warner Bros. will give away 10 prize packages that includes movie and mission memorabilia! To win, answer questions about the fictional Farmer rocket, and the real Friendship 7 Mercury capsule.
February 20, 2007 / 4:08 p.m. CT (2208 GMT) Shuttle-sized parking garage: Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center has joined the growing group of museums that has stated the desire for a NASA-retired space shuttle orbiter. To strengthen their case, the center has highlighted their recent accession of the only modular shuttle parking garage. As written about by The Huntsville Times, the Orbiter Protective Enclosure was designed by Sprung Instant Structures in the late 80s to protect for the emergency situation that an orbiter with a classified cargo made a landing outside the U.S.. The pre-fab building was capable of being flown and erected around the shuttle in a matter of hours to "shield it from prying eyes." The Space & Rocket Center plans to display the OPE with or without an orbiter to park in it but has suggested that its presence would make for an appropriate and already existing home. Currently, the Alabama museum displays the nearly-scale Pathfinder that tested handling-equipment and procedures.
February 23, 2007 / 11:37 a.m. CT (1737 GMT) Mars lander mall: NASA's next mission to the red planet, the Phoenix Mars Lander is scheduled to launch on August 3, 2007. To be ready, the University of Arizona's team members had an area vendor make them a wardobe of t-shirts, polos, jackets and laptop bags, each embroidered with the project logo. Friday's Tucson Citizen reports that the apparel has now been licensed for sale to the general public though the proceeds will neither benefit the university or its Phoenix team. Offered through a new site, Mars Lander Mall, the catalog is presented alongside a mission overview with links to Arizona's project website.
February 27, 2007 / 5:06 p.m. CT (2306 GMT) Hail Columbia Atlantis: Monday evening's storm over Kennedy Space Center, FL has resulted in the worst hail damage to date to NASA's space shuttle, forcing a rollback of Atlantis from Pad 39A where it rode out the weather to the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs. The shuttle's external tank sustained thousands of divots and chips to its foam insulation and the orbiter's left wing may have suffered damage to its thermal heat shield. Rollback of Atlantis is scheduled to occur as soon as this weekend or early next week. Given the month or more time needed for repairs, NASA's planned March 15 liftoff of Atlantis on mission STS-117 is postponed to no earlier than late April.
February 28, 2007 / 9:51 a.m. CT (1551 GMT) Refugee returned: Refugee, a replica of a Holocaust survivor's teddy bear, returned to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday after it spent 13 days in orbit with STS-116 commander Mark Polansky. The bear was carried aboard shuttle Discovery as a part of the mission's Official Flight Kit, and was accompanied by an image of unidentified Darfur refugees. The photo and the bear replica were chosen partly because they provided a symbolic link between past and present, museum chief of staff William Parsons said. Polansky chose Refugee as it was a small way to honor his late father. The original bear was deemed to fragile to fly, but was sat next to the flown replica at the Washington, D.C. museum where Polansky made the presentation to survivor Sophie Turner-Zaretsky.
March 5, 2007 / 1:15 a.m. CT (0715 GMT) Behind the helmet: Is the helmet worn by Gordon Cooper during his 22-orbit Mercury mission on display at a Kansas museum or is it currently listed for sale on eBay? That query is posed by the latter, which proffers photograph comparisons to suggest that the Smithsonian loaned helmet to the Eisenhower Museum wasn't flown in space as its label indicates, but rather a helmet that was in a private collection featured by The New York Times is the same as what Cooper donned 40 years ago this May. The sale, which began last week and ends Thursday, has a minimum bid set at $300,000. In addition to the images posted to eBay, the seller has offered more details on cS.