: To commemorate the 25 years that have passed since his first flight into space, STS-1 pilot Robert Crippen has commissioned a gold medallion resembling his mission insignia, the Palm Beach Post reports. The medallion, which hangs from a necklace, will be gifted by Crippen to his wife of 18 years, Pandora prior to their departing together for a six-week speaking tour to mark the shuttle anniversary. The two-of-a-kind medallion (John Young's wife, Susy has the other) took three weeks to create. The Crippens' travels will take them to Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers in Florida and Texas, as well as to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
: Preliminary prices posted by eBay Live Auctions show that after two days of bidding on more than 1,600 lots of space artifacts, Aurora Auctions recorded bids of over $1 million from their ninth sale. The California-based company has a stated policy of not publishing prices until the next catalog is in print but their use of eBay for live internet bidding allows for an early if unofficial look at what sold. The three top performing lots were a Russian Sokol spacesuit ($27,500); an Alan Bean original painting ($20,000); and a headset used by David Scott inside Apollo 15's Lunar Module ($20,000). Bidding on astronaut-signed teddy bears to benefit the Corporate Angel Network saw at least $2,000 for the cancer charity.
: NASA's History Office has assembled its collection of STS-1 related materials on a new website themed around the flight's 25th anniversary. In addition to chronologies and biographies, the website offers fun facts, photographs, web links, bibliography and information about the space shuttle's novel technologies.
: Considering the size of the 363-foot Saturn V rocket, the chosen tools for its repair and restoration are small for the job. "As much as I would love to tell you that we found this great way to mass produce and blow through all this conservation work, my techs do a lot of toothbrush and dental pick work," shared CSI's Project Manager Jee Skavdahl. On site at Johnson Space Center for over two years, Skavdahl and her team can almost see the finish line. "Everybody wants to know when it will be finished," she confessed at an AIAA dinner late last month. "I can tell you that [we] won't be here any longer than May 5." Last week, collectSPACE toured and photographed the booster as CSI continued its restoration.
: Before an audience that included NASA employees and the crew of STS-1, Jim Kennedy, Director of Kennedy Space Center, announced today via a pre- recorded ceremony that firing room 1 in the Launch Control Center had been dedicated as the Young- Crippen Firing Room in honor of their 25th anniversary as the space shuttle's first crew. The renaming, which took place on March 31 included the unveiling of a plaque with the flight's mission insignia and the stenciling of the new name on the glass window of the firing room's door. Also present for the ceremony were Bob Sieck, flight engineer for Columbia and Norm Carlson, STS-1 test director. The assembly began NASA's celebration of the crew and 25th anniversary of STS-1, with more events set for next week.
: The space and aviation memorabilia lots that failed to sell at last weekend's Aurora auction will be open for bids again today through their internet-only second chance sale. Beginning at 11 a.m. (CDT), 456 lots will be offered via eBay Live Auctions to registered bidders. In addition to the unsold lots, Aurora has also included items that were omitted from their April 1-2 catalog. Among today's featured lots are models that belonged to Apollo flight director Gene Kranz, a Russian spacesuit and a U.S. flag flown to the moon on Apollo 16.
: Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur is back on Earth tonight, having experienced his first Soyuz reentry. "It was like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!" exclaimed McArthur, likening the Russian spacecraft's performance to a Disneyland attraction. The Soyuz TMA-7 also returned ISS 12 Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev and first Brazilian astronaut Marcos Pontes, the latter of whom launched last week with the Expedition 13 crew. For McArthur and Tokarev, the landing signaled the end of their 189 days, 19 hours, and 53 minutes in space.
: John Young and Robert Crippen flew the boldest test flight twenty five years ago this week, says NASA. "We had a lot of fun, too," Young told collectSPACE in a recent interview. The experienced CDR and rookie PLT shared their memories of their two-day space flight, its legacy and the future of the era that they began. Part one of three in our series celebrating the anniversary.
: Continuing our three part series celebrating the 25th anniversary of STS-1 this week, artist Robert McCall shares his experiences designing the first crew insignia for the space shuttle era. In describing the emblem, McCall told collectSPACE that he thought it was "simple and direct" and one of "the better mission emblems that [he had] designed." But the space artist doesn't take all the credit: he also praises the man who chose him for the job and wore it on the record flight.
: ESA's Venus Express entered into orbit around Venus earlier this morning, becoming Europe's first and the world's 9th to do so successfully. Before it begins at least two Venusian days (or 486 Earth days) of atmospheric studies, Venus Express will first move from its current highly-elongated, 9-day orbit to a 24-hour polar orbit 41,000 miles from the second planet.
: After a five month pit stop at the Kansas Cosmosphere, the Gemini 12 spacecraft arrived at the Adler Planetarium yesterday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The capsule, which is on loan to the Windy City astronomy museum by the Smithsonian, served as the on-orbit home to Buzz Aldrin and James Lovell during the final Gemini mission in 1966. Lovell, who now is the Adler's honorary chairman for their 75th anniversary, was behind the effort to move the spacecraft from its previous exhibit at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to the Chicago planetarium, where he has also donated many of his personal artifacts for display. While in Hutchinson, the Cosmosphere's team of conservators restored Gemini 12 to its post-mission condition and prepared it for exhibition.
: In celebration of today's 25th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has introduced a limited edition print signed by the STS-1 crew. Offered in two sizes, framed or unframed, the print features a photo of Columbia launching framed on both sides by images of the crew preparing for and flying the history-making flight.
: Given the nature of the reusable Space Shuttle and the tragic loss of Columbia on its 28th space flight, STS-1 artifacts may have been hard to come by today, 25 years later, if it weren't for items stowed on-board by the crew and NASA. Concluding our anniversary three-part series, collectSPACE looks at the STS-1 artifacts that remain, including the mission's OFK.
: NASA Glenn Research Center, in collaboration with collectSPACE, will host its 2nd annual Space Memorabilia Show on June 17 in Cleveland, Ohio. New this year are the addition of special guests and facility tours, as well as new and returning exhibitors. Collectors and space enthusiasts alike are invited to this free event where you can buy, sell and trade memorabilia!
: NASA will name flight directors Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz Ambassadors of Exploration on Monday, collectSPACE has learned. The two Apollo Mission Control leaders are the first NASA veterans to be honored who are not astronauts (journalist Walter Cronkite was also named an Ambassador but did not work for the space agency). Kraft and Kranz will each receive a moon rock sample to be put on public display at museums or institutions of their choice. To date, 13 lunar rocks have been awarded to Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut-Ambassadors; first moonwalker Neil Armstrong will be presented the 14th on Tuesday in Cincinnati, Ohio.
: The next ISS expedition crew to launch to the station will not do so for another six months, and NASA nor the Russians have yet to officially confirm who will be on-board, but the mission has now its own insignia, or at least components thereof. Artwork for a 'crew version' of the Expedition 14 emblem has been approved by NASA for use by the crewmates while they continue training. The partial design — which features the stylized roman numerals for the mission number — is not intended for a patch, but some or all of its elements are likely to be incorporated into the final embroidered badge.
: Moonwalker Neil Armstrong was honored today by NASA as an Ambassador of Exploration at an event hosted by the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Ohio. During a televised ceremony, Armstrong was presented with a sample of the moon rocks he returned from the lunar surface, which in turn he donated to the center's Museum of Natural History and Science for public display. Explaining his choice for the exhibit, Armstrong spoke of the 'life story' of the lunar specimen, which he dubbed "Bok". His tale followed Bok from the early days of the solar system through its arrival on Earth by way of the Apollo 11 mission that Armstrong commanded. Armstrong was awarded with Bok by NASA Adminstrator Mike Griffin, who had been introduced to the attendees by Mercury astronaut and Senator John Glenn.
: The first man to fly at twice the speed of sound was found dead Thursday in the wreckage of a single-engine plane in northern Georgia, his son-in-law told the Associated Press. Scott Crossfield's Cessna 210A was last seen on radar at 11:15 a.m. ET Wednesday on a flight from Alabama to Virginia, Civil Air Patrol officials said. There were thunderstorms in the area but the cause of the crash was not yet identified. Crossfield, 84, was the first to pilot the X-15 in June 1959.
: Over 650 lots of space memorabilia, spanning the Mercury Program to the International Space Station from autographs to artifacts will be offered today by Regency Superior during the third session of their Beverly Hills, Calif.-based public auction. The sale, which will be held at Regency-Superior's gallery and online through eBay Live Auctions features cameras that were assembled by NASA from parts flown on Apollo missions. Other highlights include a hand controller used during the Apollo 11 first lunar landing; Apollo-Soyuz Test Project checklists; and reports initialed by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun. Bidding is set to begin at 12 p.m. CT.
: As the efforts to restore it enter its final two weeks, Johnson Space Center's Saturn V is once again whole. The rocket's command and service modules, as well as its launch escape tower were safely lifted into place and reattached to their display stands. As NASA photographs document, all that remains is painting and building cleanup. Work is expected to done on May 5.
: To mark its 20 year anniversary and help 'continue the mission' of 51L into the next decade, the Challenger Center is hosting an online auction. Among the 64 lots up for bid are astronaut-donated memorabilia and "adventures," as well as vacations, high- tech merchandise, celebrity and sports memorabilia. The auction, which runs today through May 29 includes meals with Jay Apt, Tom Jones or Pierre Thuot, a bi-plane flight with Charles Gemar, a cruise with Fred Gregory and flown items from Rick Hauck, Jeff Hoffman, and William Pogue.
: The commander of the first manned mission to the Moon and the 10th man to walk on its surface will be honored by NASA on May 8 during separate events. Frank Borman and Charlie Duke will each be awarded a moon rock as Ambassadors of Exploration at the venues of their choice. Borman, who commanded Apollo 8, will give his lunar fragment to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona as part of its 20th anniversary celebration. Duke, Apollo 16 moonwalker, will present his rock to his alma mater, the Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida. The two awards are the 15th and 16th to be presented out of the 40 NASA has announced.
: Due to hit store shelves in late summer, Monopoly Here & Now Edition will replace the game's Atlantic City landmarks with legendary U.S. streets, neighborhoods and national monuments. Hasbro will layout the new H&N board based on votes entered through their website. Visitors can vote daily for one location in each of 22 cities including Houston where Johnson Space Center is among the three choices offered. Currently leading with 84% of the city's votes, if JSC wins when the polls close on May 12 and if Houston garners the most votes in total, then the home of Mission Control will take on the coveted blue property that traditionally was assigned to Boardwalk.
: To commemorate the second annual NASA Glenn/collectSPACE space memorabilia show, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a special pictorial stamp cancellation. The Cleveland USPS will set up a temporary post office on site at the June 17th show inside the NASA Glenn Visitor Center to sell postage and apply the postmark on attendee supplied mail and covers provided free by the center. collectSPACE postcards will also be offered. For collectors who can't attend, requests for the cancellation may be mailed to the Cleveland office.
: A T-shaped translational control handle removed from the Apollo 11 spacecraft elicited the highest bid, $43,000 at last Saturday's Regency-Superior space memorabilia auction. According to the sale results provided by the Beverly Hills gallery, high hammer prices were also seen for a pair of Deke Slayton's Apollo- Soyuz checklist books ($20,000 each); an Apollo camera made of flown Hasselblad parts ($10,500); and Ed White's silver astronaut pin ($8,500). In total, the 581 (out of 685) lots sold accounted for $337,115, excluding all premiums.
: This evening, at a gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle mission, Robert Crippen became the 28th astronaut in history to be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. The surprise presentation by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was made before the gathered audience at the National Air and Space Museum, including Crippen's STS-1 commander and 1981 medal recipient John Young. The award commends astronauts whose efforts in space exemplify actions of tremendous benefit to mankind. The medal, which is also bestowed on astronauts who died in the line of duty, was last presented in 2004 to the crew of STS-107. The award was first given in 1978 to astronauts Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and posthumously to Virgil "Gus" Grissom.
: Continuing its Canadian Achievements series, the Royal Canadian Mint will issue on May 15 coins celebrating the 5th anniversary of the installation of the nation's Canadarm2 robotic arm during the first spacewalk conducted by a Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield using the original Canadarm. The proof coins will be available in 300-dollar face value, 14-karat gold and 30 dollar face value, sterling silver renditions limited to 1,000 and 20,000 mintages respectively. The silver edition also features a selective hologram of the robotic arm in space. The gold coin will be priced at $1,089.95 (CND), while the silver will sell for $79.95, approximately $976 and $72 US.