Joe Acaba is the new chief astronaut at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. In his new role, Acaba will help assign crew members to missions, including the first astronauts to fly to the moon in more than 50 years. He will also manage the corps' activities in-between flights and coordinate their work with international partners. Acaba is the 18th astronaut to lead the office and the first person of Hispanic heritage to be selected as chief.
The first U.S. stamp to depict a rocket launch was issued 75 years ago this fall. Since then, the postal service has released over 100 more space-themed stamps, celebrating the moon landings, the space shuttle, planetary exploration and the astronauts. In honor of that history, Space Foundation has selected the USPS to receive the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award at the 38th Space Symposium in Colorado in April.
The 2023 class of U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees has been announced! Roy Bridges, who flew into space in 1985 and later served as director of two NASA centers, and Senator Mark Kelly, who launched four times to the International Space Station including as commander for the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour, will be enshrined at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex during an induction ceremony on May 6.
Accutron and Bulova have each introduced new versions of the watch designs flown in space. The 2023 Accutron Astronaut brings back the iconic timepiece first used on the final Mercury flight 60 years ago, and Bulova's Lunar Pilot line now has its first same size models as the prototype chronograph worn on the moon's surface during Apollo 15. Both releases commemorate Bulova and Accutron's roles providing timers and timing devices for the space program.
Snoopy is answering the age old question: What do you do after you fly to the moon? Having recently returned from his trip on Artemis I, the world famous astronaut has landed in "To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA," a new exhibit now open at Knott's Berry Farm in southern California. Part of Knott's Peanuts Celebration, "To the Moon" showcases Snoopy's history with the space agency and offers a photo op with the spacesuited beagle.
Shaquille O'Neal's Big Chicken will send its patrons' postcards to space under a new partnership with Blue Origin aimed at one day selling its chicken off-Earth. Shaq and the restaurant's leadership will serve as ambassadors for Blue Origin's non-profit Club for the Future, helping to promote science and technology "to feed the imaginations of the next generation of explorers for the benefit of Earth and space chicken."
Chris Cassidy has lent his hand to a new philanthropic effort turning famous people's hands into fine-art prints for charity. Cassidy, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and NASA astronaut who spent 378 days in space, has posed for My Hand My Cause, a non-profit that markets photos of celebrities' hands, to raise funds for the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation. The life-size print of Cassidy's right hand also shows part of a spacesuit.
Endeavour will soon be fifty feet closer to going vertical at the California Science Center. The retired space shuttle's payload bay has been reopened to install its last needed piece — a replica Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) — before being stood up later this year with an external tank and two solid rocket boosters at the future site of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
An uncrewed Russian spacecraft has been launched to the International Space Station as a rescue vehicle for two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut who are without a safe ride home. Soyuz MS-23 will replace Soyuz MS-22, which suffered a coolant leak after a micrometeoroid hit. Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and Frank Rubio will use Soyuz MS-23 to land on Earth after an extended stay on the space station.
Space collectibles dealer Luna Replicas has partnered with Hollywood prop house Global Effects to replicate a tool used by astronauts on the moon. The Apollo Tether Hook Keychain can secure your keys on a duplicate carabiner to the one used by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission. The $195 replica is made out of aluminum and features a single-action locking button.
Japan has recruited two new astronaut candidates — its first in more than 13 years — from a pool of more than 14,000 applicants. Makoto Suwa and Ayu Yoneda will now undergo two years of basic training with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) before becoming eligible for missions, including perhaps flights to the moon with NASA's Artemis program. Yoneda is Japan's third woman to train. Suwa and Yoneda will be the 12th and 13th Japanese career astronauts since 1985.
Retro 51 released the second collectible pen in its Space Shuttle Series on Tuesday (Feb. 28), paying tribute to Columbia. Limited to 1,958 pieces, the "Tornado" rollerball pen recreates the iconic look of the winged orbiter, which was the first to launch into orbit in 1981 and was lost on its 28th reentry in 2003. For each pen sold, Retro 51 makes a donation to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to help future explorers.