: The Astronaut Hall of Fame grew its ranks by five Saturday during an induction ceremony held at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle flyers Richard Covey, Frederick Gregory, Kathryn Sullivan, Norman Thagard and the late Francis Scobee were enshrined in the presence of 18 fellow Hall of Fame inductees. Acknowledging the honor, Thagard donated the "penguin" suit he wore on Mir for exhibit with the other astronauts' memorabilia on display in the hall.
: From their "Get Real Gear" line, Aeromax Toys has introduced a kid-size Shuttle Advanced Crew Escape Suit, or as referred to by the astronauts, the pumpkin suit for its orange color. Designed for ages 2-12, Aeromax's Jr. Astronaut has multiple pockets and NASA patches. A "talking" helmet will be sold seperately.
: Spaceflori continues to grow their collection of artifact displays with the release yesterday of Gemini presentations from the 9 and 10 missions. Both displays source heatshield material from acrylic-encased samples gifted by the contractors to executives.
: Scheduled to launch in October, NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov will comprise the tenth expedition crew to live six months aboard the International Space Station. Their mission insignia design, seen here for the first time, features a three-dimensional roman numeral X formed by the U.S. and Russian flags aside icons of the station and their Soyuz TMA spacecraft.
: As was expected, NASA today announced the members of its 2004 astronaut class, the 19th such group to be selected since 1958. The class includes: two pilots, Jim Dutton and Randy Bresnik; six mission specialists, Tom Marshburn, Chris Cassidy, Shane Kimbrough, Jose Hernandez, Bobby Satcher and Shannon Walker; and three educators, Joe Acaba, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and Ricky Arnold. All but Bresnik (who was at his wedding in Scotland) attended the Space Day opening ceremonies today at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
Written by Don Blair, the only radio newscaster on-board the USS Hornet during the recovery of Apollo 11, Splashdown! NASA and the Navy is billed as the first book dedicated solely to the ocean retrieval of the first 31 manned U.S. missions to space. To be released in July to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the first lunar landing, this coffee-table style book will feature over 200 patches and photographs of astronauts, ships, missions, frogmen (UDT) units and helicopter squadrons, as well as complete account of every ship deployed for the Navy's recovery operations.
: X-15 astronaut and Calif. state Senator William J. "Pete" Knight died Friday of leukemia at age 74. Originally selected by the U.S. Air Force to fly the X-20 Dyna-Soar, Knight would set a world speed record in the X-15 rocket plane and in 1967, climb to over 53 miles to earn his USAF astronaut wings.
: The original idea was to create an authentic and technically accurate reproduction of the moment when Liberty Bell 7 was first observed using the Magellan 725 Remotely Operated Vehicle. Beginning as a sketch by Curt Newport, the leader of the 1999 expedition that recovered the Mercury spacecraft, the scene was painted in oil by Boston artist Alfred Mira. Now it can be yours to own as a high-quality print signed by Newport and Mira alone or accompanied by an actual component from Liberty Bell 7, a section of sealing tape recovered with the spacecraft 38 years after it was flown in space and then lost at sea.
: An autographed photo of the STS-107 astronauts, presented by the ill-fated crew to the owner of a popular Houston-area restaurant, has been stolen, the Houston Chronicle reports. Proprietor Frankie Camera hung the photo in Frenchie's restaurant to "share it with the community" in Clear Lake, Texas. A sign outside the restaurant now asks for the autographs to be returned, no questions asked. Though Camera had been gifted with many signed photos before, Columbia's crew was the first to have made the presentation prior to their launch, having visited Frenchie's together for lunch.
: Though there have been less than 400 individuals selected to fly in U.S. spacecraft, NASA has issued over 1000 astronaut portraits as a result of multiple wardrobes and poses. Astronauts may be photographed modeling their flightsuits, business suits, military uniforms and/or spacesuits over the normal course of their career. Ed Hengeveld and Philip Corneille have compiled an index to the portraits, noting the NASA photo ID and the year in which the pose was taken.
: Lost along with the Space Shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew in February 2003, was a small Torah scroll carried to space by Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. The tiny Torah was owned by Dr. Joachim Joseph, who lead the Israeli science team and who, as a boy celebrating his Bar Mitzvah had been entrusted with the scroll while imprisoned in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Ramon flew the Torah from the Holocaust to demonstrate to the world, as he put it, "what a Jew can do when you go from the depths of hell to the heights of space." To tell the story of the Torah's journey, the Space Foundation has partnered with West Street Productions to help raise funds for the production of a documentary to air on PBS in 2005. "The Journey of the Tiny Torah" will include an interview with Dr. Joseph as well as footage of a video conference between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Ramon, who displayed the Torah and described its tale from space.
: The long-awaited, once-delayed DVD release of Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrowland has arrived. For sale today, the two-disc, limited edition tin box set includes four telecasts produced with Wernher von Braun ("Man In Space," "Man And The Moon," "Mars And Beyond," and "Eyes In Outer Space"), a theatrical short ("Our Friend The Atom") and Walt's last film ("EPCOT"). With new introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin and behind-the-scenes features, the DVD is limited to 105,000 sets and each includes a lithograph.
: Today, a team of sleuths will X-ray a first generation Soyuz 7K-OK capsule in hope, in part, of discovering if it ever made a spaceflight. The Soviet craft was exhibited in the outside courtyard of a European palace for at least 25 years before arriving at the Chabot Space & Science Center in California. Years of accumulated corrosion and modifications made for its previous display will first be exposed by X-ray, to later be followed by a restoration and repair effort. Even if it was never flown, the capsule is believed to be the oldest and most complete Soyuz outside of the former USSR. The Chabot Center debuted SoyuzSecret.com today to allow online visitors to learn about, view and track the project.
: Today at 12:30pm, Col. Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, will be in New York to present two United Nations flags to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The flags, which were flown to space with Yang in October 2003 aboard Shenzhou-5, measure 4x6 inches and 4x6 feet. Following a formal request by China to the Secretary-General in July 2003, the two flags were provided for flight on China's first manned space mission as a symbol of its "firm commitment to use outer space for peaceful purposes" and for the bettermint of mankind. Yang's UN visit begins a multi-day tour of the US that will reportedly include stops in Washington, DC and Florida.
: A piece of the Goodwill moon rock presented to Malta in 1973 by U.S. President Richard Nixon has been stolen from the nation's Museum of Natural History, reports di-ve News. The 1.142-gram, 3.9 billion year old sample was discovered missing two days ago by a curator and museum officer during a routine daily inspection. The rock's display case had been forced open and the lucite sphere that encased the moon rock had been removed. A flown Maltese flag that accompanied the moon rock's plaque was not taken.
: Moonpans.com, the Apollo panoramic prints company, has debuted Astro-Bar, a free web tool for the online space collecting community. By opening the Astro-Bar site, a toolbar is added to your web browser's window providing convenient links to popular space memorabilia-related websites, including Yahoo's Astronauts group, eBay's two space categories, Astro-Auction and even right here on collectSPACE.
: NASA announced today that its first private research loan of Space Shuttle Columbia debris has been granted to The Aerospace Corporation to study re-entry effects on composite structures. On its way to the company's El Segundo, Calif. headquarters are skins from an orbital maneuvering system pod, main propulsion system helium tanks, a RCS helium tank and a power reactant storage distribution system tank. The families of Columbia's STS-107 crew were notified before the debris was released by NASA for the one-year loan.
: Ohio State University announced Thursday the public opening of the audio-visual collection of astronaut and former Senator John Glenn. The archive includes materials from Glenn's childhood; from his military, space, corporate, and post-senate careers; and from his four terms as a Senator from Ohio. One-third of the collection is photos, ranging from family snapshots to those taken by NASA and the U.S. Senate. Other visual materials include artwork, limited edition prints, cartoons, portraits, maps and both film and video motion pictures. The audio collection comprises extensive recordings on cassette and reel-to-reel tapes, phonograph records and compact disks. Also housed at Ohio State are numerous certificates and awards given to Glenn, along with varied ephemera collected over the course of his fifty years in public service. The university's website provides search tools and details the scope and content of the collection.
: "I was the second, you were the first," Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin joked with Chinese yuhangyuan Col. Yang Liwei during a meeting Thursday at astronaut Senator Bill Nelson's office. The three space explorers toured the Senator's space art and photograph collection while comparing their space flight experiences. "The most touching thing during my flight in space was the beautiful sight of our peaceful Earth," said Yang through a translator. Before departing, both Aldrin and Nelson expressed their desire to visit Yang in China.
: Today begins the first annual Air and Space Show at the Space Walk of Fame Museum in Florida. Meeting, signing and posing for photographs will be Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle-era astronauts, as well as record-setting aviators. The two day show also offers a basic autograph authentication class, an artifact appraisal clinic, a memorabilia showcase, and a banquet this evening with the guests and MC comedian Bill Dana.
: One half of the world's first manned rendezvous in Earth orbit, the Gemini 6 spacecraft arrived Friday at the Omniplex science and air space museum in Oklahoma. The two-man capsule will be on display at the Omniplex for two years and then will be moved to the Historical Center in Oklahoma City. Prior to coming to the Sooner State, Gemini 6 was delivered in October 2003, to the restoration laboratory at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson to be cleaned and repaired after more than 20 years at the St. Louis Science Center.
: Estes Industries has announced that it has been licensed to create a line of flyable scale models and diecast replicas of Ansari X Prize rockets, reports Alan Boyle in his Cosmic Log on MSNBC. Planned for introduction over the coming year, Estes' catalog of suborbital passenger rocket models is said to include X Prize front-runner Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne as well as its competitors, the Canadian Arrow and Starchaser's Thunderstar, among others. "All of us at X PRIZE Foundation - and most of our registered team members - built Estes rockets during our careers," said Gregg Maryniak, Executive Director in a statement posted to their website. "It's a pleasure to have Estes as a new education partner."
: Yesterday, the San Diego Aerospace Museum took receipt of the Apollo 9 Command Module from the Michigan Space and Science Center by way of a truck and a 14-foot crate, reports Francis French for collectSPACE. "Gumdrop" will be the only flown Apollo capsule to be on display in California (and west of the Rocky Mountains) when it debuts to the public on July 21. The success of the ten-day Apollo 9 mission in March 1969 paved the way for the Apollo 10 crew to take the Lunar Module within nine miles of the Moon's surface as a "dress rehearsal" for the successful landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.
: The official insignia for the 35th anniversary celebration of the first manned lunar landing was released on NASA's website today. The logo's design incorporates its primary elements from the emblem for Apollo 11, for which it honors. NASA has yet to announce how it plans to mark the July 20 anniversary.
: After 30 years at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, the Apollo 7 Command Module has come home to the United States. On June 5, the spacecraft, which flew the first manned mission of the Apollo program, will debut to the public when the new Frontiers of Flight Museum opens in Dallas, TX. Walter Cunningham, who lived in the capsule for 11 days with Walter Schirra and Donn Eisele in 1968, has posted photos of its return to his website.
: Beginning May 31, and running through June 10, bidding will open on eBay for a silver and black Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Road Glide signed by President Bush and the nation's governors. Proceeds will provide the initial funding for the Space Shuttle Columbia Educational Legacy, a program for middle school students to encourage careers in math, science and aerospace/ aeronautical engineering. STS-89 pilot Joe Edwards, as founder of the Legacy, describes, "Weeklong classes taught by a former astronaut will be held each year in at least four geographical regions of the country. The Legacy will provide a learning experience for young people from all states."
: Released Tuesday to celebrate the upcoming anniversary, The Race To The Moon DVD combines shows aired on A&E and The History Channel - including the Gene Kranz biopicFailure Is Not An Option - as a two-volume set. Also featured is a "History Undercover" Code Name: Project Orion as well as "Modern Marvels", Apollo 13 and The Space Shuttle. As a bonus, The Race's version of Failure includes audio commentary by Kranz, writer/producer/director Rushmore DeNooyer and editor/producer Tony Bacon.