May 3, 2012 / 10:30 p.m. CT (0330 GMT May 4) Saturn V shot: The historic Saturn V rocket in Huntsville, Ala. was defaced by bullets on Thursday when someone opened fire on the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Two out of the three bullets that were shot at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration hit the moon booster's third stage, causing dents and paint to peel but no holes. "They hit it and bounced off," said exhibits director Ed Stewart in an interview. The third bullet passed between the first and second stages, avoiding the J-2 engines, and hit a wall.
May 5, 2012 / 11:01 a.m. CT (1701 GMT) Neil Armstrong's ride soars on eBay: Bids for a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette that astronaut Neil Armstrong is claimed to have been first to drive have soared to nearly a quarter of a million dollars, with still a day left before the eBay auction closes. Described as the ultimate "barn find" and covered in "30+ years of dust," the seller presents the car's original General Motors "Protect-O-Plate" as his proof that N. A. Armstrong was the Vette's first owner, leased to him under a special arrangement offered to the astronauts.
May 6, 2012 / 11:00 a.m. CT (1700 GMT) Astronaut Hall of Fame adds 3: More than two dozen Hall of Fame astronauts gathered at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to welcome three veteran fliers into their ranks. Franklin Chang Diaz, Kevin Chilton and Charles Precourt were enshrined as the Hall of Fame's 11th class of space shuttle inductees, and the first to be inducted after the 30 year shuttle program ended.
May 9, 2012 / 11:55 a.m. CT (1755 GMT) Sponsor-a-shuttle: Stars or tiles, take your pick... New York's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the California Science Center in Los Angeles have each launched sponsor campaigns to fund their permanent displays for space shuttles Enterprise and Endeavour, respectively. The Intrepid's "Project Enterprise" offers to display donors' names on stars placed alongside the prototype orbiter. The California Science Center's "Team Endeavour" offers heat shield tiles (virtual ones) with their sponsors' names. Both offer additional incentives for larger gifts, including limited edition collectibles and priority viewing of the shuttles.
May 9, 2012 / 4:45 p.m. CT (2145 GMT) Shuttlebration: Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for the NASA Johnson Space Center in Texas, announced Tuesday that a high fidelity space shuttle mockup will arrive by barge on June 1. Sailing into Clear Lake, the shuttle's landing will launch "Shuttlebration," a 3 day public celebration that will culminate in a parade down NASA Road 1, delivering the shuttle to the space center.
May 10, 2012 / 8:27 p.m. CT (0127 GMT May 11) Astronaut blasts off on Big Bang Theory: Mike Massimino isn't a Soyuz crewmember, but he plays one on TV. The real-life NASA astronaut made his second cameo on CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" on Thursday, joining the show's Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) to launch to the International Space Station aboard a Russian capsule. collectSPACE caught up with Massimino to talk about the show, its mock spacecraft and spacesuits, and the future of spaceflight, both by NASA and "The Big Bang Theory."
May 11, 2012 / 10:06 a.m. CT (1506 GMT) Endeavour unplugged: For the last time in history, a space shuttle went dark on Friday. NASA pulled the plug on its youngest orbiter Endeavour, the last of its three shuttles still able to be powered, at 8:58 a.m. CDT as the preparations to deliver it for display at the California Space Center continued. NASA recently invited collectSPACE on board Endeavour's flight deck for a last look at a lit shuttle.
May 13, 2012 / 12:21 p.m. CT (1721 GMT) Enterprise grounded: Early Sunday, space shuttle Enterprise moved one step closer to its public display at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. Overnight, the original prototype orbiter was hoisted off the modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that flew it to a landing at JFK International Airport on April 27. Enterprise will wait at the airport until June 4, when it is set to begin a three-day river journey by barge to deliver it to the Intrepid.
May 14, 2012 / 10:41 p.m. CT (0341 GMT May 15) Smokey and fire: Three new crew members launched for the International Space Station Monday, soaring atop a pillar of smoke and fire from a Russian rocket. Soyuz TMA-04M crew mates Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba will arrive at the orbiting complex Thursday and stay for four months. The trio's talisman, which served as their "zero-g indicator," is Smokey Bear, the long-time mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, as provided by Acaba.
May 16, 2012 / 2:09 p.m. CT (1909 GMT) There be (no) Dragons: Packed aboard and set to launch on SpaceX's first Dragon to fly the International Space Station are students' experiments and mission patches as part of NCESSE's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 1 to ISS, named Aquarius. The 15 liquid mixing experiments and 22 emblems were selected out of thousands of proposals and designs. But in an ironic twist, none of the students' patches depict the vehicle on which their experiments will fly and make history in the process.
May 18, 2012 / 2:33 a.m. CT (0733 GMT) Endeavour's new wing: In recognition of a "transformational gift" from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, the new and future home of space shuttle Endeavour was named for Samuel Oschin on Thursday, the California Science Center (CSC) announced. While the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is developed over the next five years, Endeavour will be exhibited inside the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion opening later this year at the Los Angeles museum.
May 18, 2012 / 7:11 p.m. CT (0011 GMT May 19) Not-so-secret SpaceX souvenirs Riding on the first commercial spacecraft to launch for the International Space Station is a stash of souvenirs. The Official Flight Kit stowed on SpaceX's Dragon capsule includes patches, pins and stickers totaling about 12,000 mementos. The kit is a round trip passenger; most of the cargo — food for the station's crew and student science experiments — will be left on the outpost before the Dragon splashes down.
May 22, 2012 / 9:26 a.m. CT (1426 GMT) Falcon flier: Tucked inside the upper stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off Tuesday with a Dragon spacecraft destined for the space station was a canister with the cremated remains of more than 300 people, including original NASA astronaut Gordon "Gordo" Cooper. "The New Frontier Flight" marked the third time to space for the Mercury and Gemini pilot's ashes, which previously flew on suborbital rockets launched in 2007 and 2008.
May 22, 2012 / 9:35 a.m. CT (1435 GMT) - UPDATED Dragon's dawn: For the first time in history, a commercial spacecraft launched Tuesday to the International Space Station. Lifting off into the early morning sky, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket created a new dawn for U.S. spaceflight as it trailblazed the path for NASA's commercial orbital transportation services (COTS) program. If successful, SpaceX's mission will be followed later this year by the first of 12 unmanned cargo flights.
May 24, 2012 / 6:03 a.m. CT (1103 GMT) Spaceship at sea: A full size space shuttle mockup embarked Thursday on an eight day mission that will deliver it to its new display home in Houston, Texas. Its sunrise launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center took it out, rather than up, as it set sail atop an open-air barge for its ocean journey. The shuttle replica is scheduled to enter Clear Lake near Johnson Space Center on June 1, where a "Shuttlebration" will welcome it to Space Center Houston.
May 25, 2012 / 4:04 a.m. CT (0904 GMT) - SPOILERS! MIB3's launch: Columbia Pictures' "Men in Black 3" opens in theaters Friday, reuniting actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the comic book-based secret agents "J" and "K" protecting the Earth from visiting aliens. Much of the movie's action takes place in 1969, a pivotal year for space history and as it turns out, for the film's plot — eagle eye enthusiasts watching the MIB3 trailer may've spotted a familiar looking launch vehicle, as visual effects supervisor Jay Redd discussed with collectSPACE.com.
May 25, 2012 / 2:06 p.m. CT (1906 GMT) Dragon's berth-day: History was made 251 miles above the Earth on Friday, as SpaceX and NASA commanded the berthing of the first commercial spacecraft to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX's Dragon unmanned cargo capsule, with its payload of crew meals and student science experiments, was captured by the station's robotic arm at 8:56 a.m. CDT (1356 GMT) and about two hours later was attached to the Earth-facing port on the Harmony node. "This really is, I think, going to be recognized as a significant historical step forward in space travel," SpaceX CEO and chief designer Elon Musk said.
May 26, 2012 / 6:10 p.m. CT (2310 GMT) Final frontier's "golden spike": Don Pettit, who became the first to enter the Dragon on Saturday, compared the arrival of the private cargo spacecraft at the International Space Station to the golden spike that was used to complete the first U.S. transcontinental railroad 143 years ago this month. "The important thing to remember was that the railroad was completed and was now open for use to help settle the western frontier," Pettit radioed from orbit.
May 28, 2012 / 8:42 p.m. CT (0142 GMT May 29) Lost in time: Fifty years ago last Thursday (May 24), astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth, and the first to wear a wristwatch in space. Soon after the splashdown, Carpenter's Navitimer with its custom 24-hour display went missing. Breitling has now introduced a 50th anniversary edition of its Navitimer Cosmonaute that is modeled after the missing space-flown watch. The timepiece, limited in 1,962 pieces, borrows the original's 24-hour dial as was first proposed by Carpenter.
May 29, 2012 / 9:48 a.m. CT (1448 GMT) Rules for the race: NASA and the X PRIZE Foundation agreed recently that the Google Lunar X PRIZE will recognize the guidelines proposed by NASA to protect historic lunar spacecraft landing sites and to preserve the ongoing and future science on the moon. The foundation will take the guidelines into account as it judges mobility plans submitted by the 26 international teams vying to be the first private entity to land a robotic rover on the moon.
May 29, 2012 / 5:39 p.m. CT (2239 GMT) Astronaut awarded: John Glenn was at the White House on Tuesday to be awarded by President Obama with the country's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1962, Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth. "John Glenn became a hero in every sense of the word but he didn't stop there," Obama said. "As a senator, he found new ways to make a difference. And on his second trip into space at age 77, he defied the odds once again." Glenn was honored alongside 12 others including influential musician Bob Dylan, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and novelist Toni Morrison.
May 30, 2012 / 3:48 p.m. CT (2048 GMT) Land your own Dragon: Proach Models, a Canada-based aerospace model maker, has been licensed by SpaceX to offer the private spaceflight company's first scale models of their history-making spacecraft and rockets. Proach Models' line of SpaceX desktop displays include a 1:48 scale Dragon capsule and 1:72 scale versions of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Proach will also offer other model rockets, including the Falcon Heavy and Falcon 1E.
May 31, 2012 / 10:44 a.m. CT (1544 GMT) Dragon in the drink: Nine days after lifting off for the International Space Station on its history-making mission, the first commercial spacecraft to resupply the orbiting laboratory splashed down Thursday. SpaceX's Dragon unmanned cargo capsule landed under parachutes off the coast of Baja, Calif., at 10:44 a.m. CDT (1544 GMT). The spacecraft returned to Earth with more than 1,300 pounds of science experiments and hardware from the station.
May 31, 2012 / 6:32 p.m. CT (2332 GMT) Enterprise's river ride: NASA's first space shuttle, the approach and landing test orbiter Enterprise, will arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Tuesday, after a three day river ride around New York City. Starting Friday, Enterprise will be positioned to board the barge that will ship the shuttle up the Hudson River to the converted aircraft carrier, where it is to go on display.