: Rick Sternbach, who won an Emmy award for visual effects on the PBS miniseries COSMOS and who was senior illustrator for Star Trek for 15 years, has announced Space Model Systems, serving the space science community, space educators, hobbyists and collectors. SMS' first products include a 24-inch photorealistic globe of Mars and terrain models of Gusev Crater and Kasei Valles. Also for sale are decals for Saturn and Apollo models, as well as giclee prints of space art. Sternbach's future plans for SMS include desk models and hobby kits of spacecraft.
: In January, Wichita resident Steve Smith invited his fellow space collectors to join him in June for what has become affectionately known as a 'geekfest' (coined by author Russ Still). Smith's proposal for a weekend in Kansas included a chance for attendees to share their collections, stories and experiences while seeing the local sights. Among those is the nearby Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, where Smith volunteers and which announced today they have arranged for Gemini 11 and Apollo 12 astronaut Richard Gordon to be present during the June 25-27 gathering. Gordon's appearance will be open to Cosmosphere members and "special guests", namely collectSPACE readers.
: Members of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers team along with Administrator Sean O'Keefe will be at the Walt Disney World Resort tomorrow to discuss their latest Mars findings and to take part in space related ceremonies. The team will be honored with the permanent installation of a new space quote plaque to the Mission: SPACE courtyard at Epcot. O'Keefe's exclamation after it was learned that the Spirit rover was safe on the surface, "We're back... and we're on Mars" will now join the words of Lindbergh, Kennedy, Armstrong and other space quotables engraved in glass.
: Yuri's Night celebrates 43 years of human space exploration with its annual flagship gala in Los Angeles on April 12, joined worldwide by parties in 55 cities in 26 countries on seven continents. First held in 2000, Yuri's Night marks the anniversaries of Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight in 1961 and the first space shuttle mission 20 years later. With 360 degrees of retro-space chic inspired by the Apollo era, Encounters at Los Angeles International Airport will host this year's flagship party, which will feature a presentation by science fiction author Ray Bradbury followed by dancing until 2:00am. XM Satellite Radio will broadcast party highlights from a number of the worldwide celebrations.
: The organizers of the Air & Space Show in Titusville, Florida next month have announced that International Space Station Expedition 2 commander Yuri Usachev will not only appear at the autograph show, but will also host the winning eBay and Astro-Auction bidders for a full day (including lunch) at Kennedy Space Center. As if that was not enough, the winners will also receive Yuri's autograph, admission to an invite only pre-show reception at the Space Walk of Fame and tickets for two to the weekend show.
: The U.S. Mint's first coin to include a spacecraft as part of its design was launched into circulation today during a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. A space shuttle appears on the reverse of the new Florida quarter, which also depicts a Spanish galleon. Florida's quarter, as part of the Mint's 50 State Quarters Program, is the second to honor the nation's space exploration efforts. Ohio's state quarter, released in 2002, included an Apollo astronaut.
: In March, Geraths Design announced that they had been commissioned by a private collector to build a full scale (1:1) model of an Apollo Command Module. After a few weeks of research and moving their studio to accomodate for the physical size of the project, Dana Geraths is ready to begin construction. A live webcam will allow collectors and fellow modelers to monitor Geraths' progress as he works to create a realistic replica of the lunar capsule.
: Johnson Space Center Director Jefferson Howell, Jr. will lead a ceremony in Mission Control on Monday afternoon to hang plaques in a place of honor for the Apollo 1, STS-51L and STS-107 missions. Gemini and Apollo Flight Director Eugene Kranz will hang the plaque for Apollo 1, STS-51L Flight Director Randy Stone will hang the Challenger plaque, STS-107 Flight Director Kelly Beck will hang the plaque for Columbia, and Chief Astronaut Kent Rominger will hang the Spaceflight Memorial Emblem plaque. Control team members from each mission will be in attendance for the ceremony, along with special guests.
: Moonwalker David Scott's and spacewalker Alexei Leonov's autobiography, Two Sides of the Moon will be published in the United States this October by St. Martin's Press / Thomas Dunne Books, five months after it hits store shelves in the United Kingdom from Simon & Schuster in May. Two Sides on both sides of the ocean can now be pre-ordered through Amazon.com (US and UK), while a leatherbound signed limited edition is being sold by Aurora Galleries.
: Fox Home Video releases today two new DVD sets from Spacecraft Films: the complete TV and onboard film from Apollo 15: Man Must Explore and the 3-disc The Mighty Saturns: Saturn V with an original documentary and footage of every Saturn V launch. Encoded to play in all regions, Spacecraft Films' DVDs are considered the definitive collection of NASA's video and film archives, featuring new digital transfers.
: The much anticipated catalog for Aurora Galleries April 24-25 space memorabilia auction was posted today to their website as a 25.1mb, 297-page PDF document. The 1400-lot sale includes consignments from astronauts Bean, Cernan, Collins, Cooper, Gordon, Grissom, Overmeyer, Scott, Slayton and White, as well as test pilot Hank Gordon.
: Tom Hanks' "Space Mouse", which made its debut as part of Disney's celebration of Mickey Mouse's 75th anniversary in 2003, will depart next month on tour with the 74 other 700-pound, 6-foot-tall InspEARation statues. If you missed spotting the cosmos-inspired Mickey at the Magic Kingdom in Florida, look for it next on State Street in Chicago, May 22 through July 20, and then later in Minneapolis at the Galleria, August 21 through October 21. In 2005, "Space Mouse" will join all 75 Mickeys at Disneyland Resort in California, Washington D.C. and New York City before they are auctioned by Sotheby's to raise money for the charity of each artist's choice (Hanks' Mouse will benefit the James Birrell Neuroblastoma Research Fund).
: NASA will announce 14 new astronaut candidates on May 6, according to published reports by MSNBC, KOIN in Portland and the Orlando Sentinel. The '04 class is said to include two pilots, six mission specialists, three JAXA candidates and three educator astronauts. Though NASA has yet to confirm their selection, Vancouver, Oregon astronomy teacher Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and Dunnellon, Florida 7th and 8th grade teacher Joe Acaba are described to have shared their good news with their students and schools.
: Beyond-Earth Enterprises, an X Prize contender-turned-small payload sub-orbital launch company, has announced MissionOne aimed at offering its customers low cost opportunities to launch and retrieve small items to and from space. According to Beyond-Earth's website, for $79.95 clients can fly their business card or similarly-sized photograph on the Fall 2004 scheduled flight with delivery in time for Christmas.
: Tomorrow at noon in Beverly Hills, Regency-Superior Galleries will open bidding on its first large selection of space memorabilia since the California auction house ceased its bi-annual space sales in October 2001. Of Saturday's 2054 lots, 410 fall under the Space section, spanning Satellites to the ISS, and Autographs to Space Covers.
: Bidding closed today on our continuing auction of Gemini and Apollo biomedical admin Harold Hill's collection. Highlights included a flown U.S. flag from the third Space Shuttle mission, Skylab medical test SMEAT memorabilia, and the autographed presentation that Hill received from the Astronaut Office. Look for news of round three here and on Astro-Auction.
: The International Space Station's next residents, Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer/NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke along with European Space Agency astronaut André Kuipers launched at 11:19 EDT tonight aboard Soyuz TMA-4 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio will arrive at the ISS on Wednesday where Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri await. Kuipers will return to Earth with the Expedition 8 crew nine days later leaving Padalka and Fincke for their six month stay.
: The very idea of subjecting a space flown artifact to the elements - rain, dirt, airport security inspections, etc. - might seem contrary to the normal care collectors often exhibit while handling their collections. Yet that is part of the appeal of everQuest Design's new line of Soyuz TM-8 Space Mission Series messenger bags; the ability to carry, exhibit and use a space flown relic as part of the normal course of life. But not to worry, as everQuest reminds their customers, if their flown fabric withstood reentry from space, it will likely survive your commute.
: This evening, Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham debuted his first catalog of flown artifacts and space memorabilia for sale directly to collectors through his website. In an interview with collectSPACE, Cunningham explained why he chose to go into business for himself, what type of items will be offered and shared his thoughts about space collecting.
: The hammer prices for the 400+ space memorabilia lots sold at a Beverly Hills auction held Saturday by Regency-Superior Galleries are now online. The highest bid at $11,000 was received for a typed letter calling for the U.S. to issue a postage stamp in honor of Robert H. Goddard. Prepared by artist William Numeroff, whose estate consigned many of the lots offered, the document was signed by 16 astronauts including Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.
: Earlier this week, astronaut Eugene Cernan joined Swatch chairman Nicolas Hayek at a jewelry show in Basel, Switzerland, to launch a special edition of the Speedmaster Professional, the same model watch that Cernan and his fellow peers wore while exploring the lunar surface. The Speedmaster "From the Moon to Mars" was inspired by plans for the United States to return to the Moon and use the mission as a stepping stone for future manned trips to Mars. The watch's three counters bear depictions of the Earth, the Moon and Mars and the dial is inscribed "From the Moon to Mars" between 5 and 3 o'clock.
: As was noted last week, media reports suggest that NASA is preparing to name as many as 14 candidates to its 2004 astronaut class on May 6. When the announcement is made, Major James P. Dutton will be the only Air Force pilot among the group, according to a release issued yesterday by the AFPC News Service. Currently stationed at Edwards AFB, Calif., Maj. Dutton was selected from the 125 (out of 208) USAF applicants who were submitted to NASA for screening.
: Yuri Gagarin's spacesuit, Valentina Tereshkova's logbook and the craft in which dogs Belka and Strelka flew to orbit in 1960, are among the 200 Soviet and Russian space artifacts on exhibit today in Valladolid, Spain. The exhibition reflects "the stages of space exploration by Russia -- from the first satellite to the International Space Station", reports RIA Novosti. The brief article provides no further details.
: Departing in August 2004, the Astronauts on the Mississippi vacations operated by the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation promises 7-night luxury adventures accompanied by Mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra (with Bill "Jose Jimenez" Dana along for the ride). Billed as where the "Victorian Age meets the Space Age", the vacations also feature a tour of Stennis Space Center.
: Novaspace Galleries announced today the addition of Michael Collins' personal memorabilia to their Astro-Auction website. The "garage sale" follows the same format as the on-going offerings from Gene Cernan but will be more limited due to Collins donating most of his memorabilia to the National Air and Space Museum years ago. Novaspace is also auctioning originals (and later, prints) of Collins' nature artwork.
: The second series of Takara Toys' popular line of space history-themed miniatures, StarTales will debut in Japan this summer, according to Apollo Maniacs. This time around, the bubble gum-packed models will include Russia's Mir space station and Soyuz booster as well as NASA's Voyager interplanetary probe and Edward White's Gemini IV first American spacewalk.
: On May 8, a two-ton concrete and Inconel X monument will be erected in the Mojave Desert to mark where the United States lost its first astronaut in flight. Maj. Mike Adams was posthumously awarded his USAF astronaut wings for reaching an altitude of over 50 miles during what would be his final flight of the X-15. On November 15, 1967, as Adams flew the X-15 for his seventh time, the experimental rocket plane entered into a hypersonic spin and though he briefly recovered, the high G forces overloaded the ship's control systems and Maj. Adams and the X-15 met their end during reentry.
The memorial to Maj. Adams, championed by Eagle Scout candidate John Bodylski and aerospace historian Maj. Greg Frazier, won the approval of the Bureau of Land Management to be erected in the remote desert location where Adams' X-15 came to rest. The May 8, ceremony to unveil the monument is open to all who desire to attend. Members of Adams' family and several of his fellow astronauts are expected to be present.
: NASA's newest class of astronaut candidates, the 19th such group to be selected since 1958, will make their first public appearance as 'ascans' at the opening ceremonies of Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, Virginia. The group, which includes Major James P. Dutton (as announced by the Air Force last week), is said to comprise two pilots, six mission specialists, three JAXA candidates and three educator astronauts. NASA Adminstrator Sean O'Keefe, Group 17 astronauts Barbara Morgan, Leland Melvin and George Zamka, as well as former astronauts Sen. John Glenn and Brian Duffy will also be on-hand to launch the annual nationwide space education initiative.
: Expedition 8 crewmates Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri landed their Soyuz spacecraft at 8:12 p.m. EDT Thursday, after spending six months at the International Space Station. Returning to Earth with them was ESA astronaut André Kuipers, who had launched with the Expedition 9 crew and spent nine days on the station conducting science experiments. The trio will be transported to Star City, Russia, where Foale and Kaleri will spend the next few weeks recovering after their long space flight. In total for this mission, they lived 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes in space.