March 2, 2007 / 11:06 a.m. CT (1706 GMT) Buzz's bobbleheads: The JetHawks Minor League baseball team will host moonwalker Buzz Aldrin this August for their Aerospace Appreciation Night, and will distribute to the first 1000 fans a ceramic bobblehead doll in the likeness of Aldrin wearing the spacesuit he donned for Apollo 11. Aldrin's large-headed figurine is the sixth in the Lancaster, California team's annual aerospace series that began in 2004 and has included NASA astronauts Gordon Fullerton and Vance Brand, X-15 pilot William Knight, X-1 supersonic pilot Chuck Yeager, and SpaceShipOne's Burt Rutan. Aldrin is scheduled to visit Clear Channel Stadium to be in attendance at the JetHawks game and participate in a pre-game ceremony, which will include a video tribute.
March 2, 2007 / 7:15 p.m. CT (0115 GMT Mar 3) 118 personal patch: The Canadian Space Agency revealed Friday the winning McGill University student design for the personal patch of STS-118 mission specialist Dave Williams. This insignia celebrates Canada's role in Endeavour's flight, the 22nd assembly mission for the International Space Station. The emblem also marks Williams soon-to-be status as the only Canadian to make three spacewalks while highlighting his experience as the first from his nation to be both an astronaut and aquanaut.
March 7, 2007 / 6:35 p.m. CT (0035 GMT Mar 8) Nowak now former astronaut: NASA has terminated astronaut Lisa Nowak's detail to the space agency, by mutual agreement of the Navy. In a statement issued today, the agency attributed the decision to a lack of administrative means to deal with Capt. Nowak's pending criminal charges. As she is a naval officer on assignment to NASA, rather than a civil servant, she is not subject to administrative action by NASA. Nowak's next assignment will come from the Navy. NASA's decision was described as not reflecting a position on the charges against Nowak.
March 7, 2007 / 8:04 p.m. CT (0204 GMT Mar 8) Homecoming: The first Apollo command module built at North American Aviation's Downey plant, a "boilerplate" designed to test the Moon-bound craft's abort system, returned home to the California facility for display within a new educational center soon to reside at the site. The Aerospace Legacy Foundation, tasked with preserving the artifacts from the 'birthplace' of the Apollo crew capsule and space shuttle orbiter, received BP-6 for the Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center, opening early next year. The early command module was launched from White Sands, New Mexico on a Pad Abort Test of the launch escape system on November 7, 1963.
March 8, 2007 / 3:23 p.m. CT (2123 GMT) Honors and honoraries: The National Air and Space Museum Trophy, the museum's highest honor, has been awarded this year to aviator Robert "Bob" Hoover and NASA's STS-121 shuttle mission team as led by N. Wayne Hale, Jr.. The awards were presented at a private ceremony yesterday at the Air and Space Museum in DC. On May 12, the University of Wisconsin will award the surviving women of the 'Mercury 13' with honorary Doctor of Science degrees. Speaking at the commencement will be author Martha Ackmann, whose book told the story of the pilots who hoped to be the first U. S. women in space.
March 10, 2007 / 10:22 a.m. CT (1622 GMT) Steel for Saturn: The steel girder frame for the U.S Space & Rocket Center's Saturn V Visitors Center began going up Wednesday and since then has continued taking shape. When complete, the SVVC will cover more than 68000 square feet and will stand over six stories tall, 476 feet long and 90 feet wide. Come July, it will become home to one of only three remaining Saturn V boosters in existence. The aging moon rocket, recently restored, has been lying on outside exhibit in Huntsville, Alabama since 1970. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for November.
March 12, 2007 / 2:36 p.m. CT (1936 GMT) Lots in space: It's that time of year again, when thousands of space collectibles are offered by three individual auction houses: Swann Galleries on March 31 with 428 lots; Regency-Superior Galleries on April 19-20 with more than 1,100 lots; and Aurora Auctions one week earlier on April 14-15. Swann is in New York; Aurora and Regency-Superior are in California. All three will offer live internet bidding via eBay Live Auctions. Swann Galleries published their sale's catalog on their website today. Highlights include: signatures of all seven original Mercury astronauts; a U.S. flag carried on Apollo 11; and a collection of space toys from the 50's and 60's. The auction has consigned material from astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Fred Haise and Paul Weitz, among others. Regency-Superior has issued a preview today of their April auction, including Gordon Cooper's astronaut wings, Edward White, II's Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and a prototype American flag identical to the one left on the lunar surface by the Apollo 11 moonwalkers. Per their website, Aurora's sale catalog is coming soon.
March 12, 2007 / 5:53 p.m. CT (2253 GMT) The (other) Dish: A satellite dish originally built to support the Apollo 11 mission was saved by a group of 30 space history buffs, reported Aerospace Daily. The Jamesburg AT&T/Comsat 30 meter dish, located near Monterey, California, has been restored over the past four months to working service. Using their own lunar tracking software, the enthusiasts successfully bounced 20 radio signals off the Moon. They hope to see their dish support scientific and space missions as well perhaps as a camp.
March 14, 2007 / 2:38 a.m. CT (0738 GMT) via HobbySpace True-life adventures of Ham: The story of America's first chimpanzee in space, Ham, is set to be retold in the format of a graphic novel by James Vining. To be released on April 25 by Oni Press, First in Space is set in the early 1960s as Ham is paired with a human handler to undergo his training for the space flight. Ham outpaces his fellow chimps, but nearly misses his flight because of his fondness for banana pellets gets in the way of weight restrictions. Winner of a 2006 Xeric Award, First in Space marks Vining's debut as a solo cartoonist. With 96 pages of black and white panes, First in Space will retail for $10.
March 15, 2007 / 12:59 a.m. CT (0559 GMT) Flown flag contest: Beginning today, kids between the ages of six and 12 are invited to create a banner celebrating the STS-118 mission or the Vision for Space Exploration with the chance it may be flown to orbit on space shuttle Endeavour. NASA's Space Pennant Design Challenge, hosted in partnership with AOL's Kids Service KOL and Mad Science, will award the winner with a trip to the STS-118 launch and finalists with crew-signed photos.
March 15, 2007 / 12:01 p.m. CT (1701 GMT) Node 2 Harmony: The United States' next pressurized module to be added to the ISS today has a new name: Harmony. Formerly known as Node 2, Harmony was chosen as the result of a school competition involving over 2,200 kindergarten through high school students. Six different schools submitted "Harmony," which symbolizes the international cooperation realized by the space station and the node's specific role in connecting the international partner modules. Targeted for launch this year on Atlantis mission STS-120, Harmony will be the fourth U.S. module and first U.S. segment named by others outside of NASA.
March 16, 2007 / 4:35 p.m. CT (2135 GMT) Stick figure: RealSpace Models has begun taking orders for its new 1:144 scale Ares I resin model, the first kit for the NASA crew launch vehicle. The kit provides a choice of two configurations: the orbital Orion, which will dock to the International Space Station and the Orion intended to take humans back to the Moon (the difference lies in the service module). The kit, which stands 27" tall assembled, includes 52 resin parts and decals for $75.00.
March 19, 2007 / 2:08 p.m. CT (1908 GMT) From family tourist to CEO: When Navy Cmdr Christopher Orwoll began planning a trip for his family to the Cosmosphere, he was intending to further his hobby. Instead, he discovered his new profession and the Hutchinson, Kansas space museum found its new CEO. Orwoll shared with collectSPACE how his family's history and his military background led him to the Cosmosphere, what he hopes for its future and what obstacles he faces.
March 20, 2007 / 11:12 p.m. CT (0412 GMT March 21) Falcon 1 flies to space: SpaceX became the first to privately develop then launch a liquid fuel rocket to space on Tuesday but problems with its second stage resulted in the craft not reaching its intended orbit. A "roll control anomaly" caused the second stage engine to shutdown prematurely, according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. The Falcon did reach 300 kilometers, a notable improvement over the company's first test launch from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, which ended in an explosion. The Falcon 1's first stage is intended for reuse and Musk said that its recovery boat was in "hot pursuit."
March 22, 2007 / 5:55 p.m. CT (2255 GMT) Kibo's crew: NASA today named the crew for shuttle mission STS-124, who will liftoff on Atlantis with the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo's robotic arm and pressurized module for the International Space Station. Targeted for launch in February 2008, the mission will be led by commander Mark Kelly, making his third flight. At his right will be first time pilot Ken Ham. Mike Fossum is the only experienced mission specialist on-board, having flown earlier with Kelly on STS-121. Steve Bowen, Karen Nyberg and Ron Garan join JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, all rookies, to round out the crew. Hoshide will be the first to fly from the 2004 class of astronauts. The mission will include 2 spacewalks to be made by Fossum and Bowen.
March 25, 2007 / 10:13 p.m. CT (0313 GMT Mar 26) World Space Museum: In 2003, Japanese toy manufacturer Takara and model maker Kaiyodo introduced StarTales: mini-models that recreated scenes from U.S. and Soviet space history. Packaged with candy much like U.S. baseball cards and their stick of gum, StarTales grew in popularity outside of Japan due to their high level of detail. As such, a second series with twice the number of models was released in 2004. It took a few more years but StarTales have now been repackaged for the western markets with English instructions. Relabeled World Space Museum, the first eight models include Sputnik, Saturn V and Viking. New to the set are 44 collector cards, 11 to a box, that feature photos of astronauts and historic events.
March 29, 2007 / 4:45 p.m. CT (2145 GMT) Wonder's premiere prize: Jeff Roth's film about the moonwalkers, The Wonder Of It All, will have its world premiere next month at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Calif. Accompanying Roth on Friday, April 20, as he proceeds down the red carpet will be Apollo 12's lunar module pilot Alan Bean and Apollo 16's commander John Young. The following day, Young will deliver a public talk about "space exploration and Earth's future" presented by the Festival and Roth's movie. Tickets for both events go on sale on April 4, but you can win tickets to the film and Young's talk exclusively from collectSPACE! Answer five trivia questions correctly and you may be at the premiere!