: The United States Mint launched a public contest on Monday (May 1) to design the heads side (obverse) of coins commemorating the moon landing. The U.S. Mint's 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Design Competition is a two-phase contest that will run through 2018. April Stafford, the chief of the Mint's Office of Design Management, spoke with collectSPACE to share details about the competition.
: In 2014, James T. Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise, was launched into space, for real, and now you can "beam" him home by bidding him up. The 9-inch-tall Kirk action figure, which orbited Earth on NASA's Orion EFT-1 mission, is being sold by William Shatner as a part of his Hollywood Charity Horse Show online auction to benefit a number of non-profit organizations. The sale also includes "Destination: Mars" t-shirts signed by Shatner.
: Delaware North, a hospitality and food services company, has been awarded an eight-year extension to its concessions contract with NASA to continue operating the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The early extension to a previous ten-year agreement awarded in 2010 clears Delaware North to continue running the visitor complex to 2028. The complex is funded by admissions, food and beverage, and retail and education program sales, with no use of taxpayer dollars.
: Canada Post will release a new postage stamp on June 1 to celebrate the nation's achievements in space, science, technology and innovation, on the Earth and beyond. The stamp features a photograph of the Canadarm shuttle remote manipulator system grappling the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 and is part of a series of issues commemorating Canada's sesquicentennial.
: Inspired by the journeys of five women astronauts, film director Eliza McNitt and Google on Friday (May 5) launched an exclusive series of "live" smart phone cases. The colorful space cases, when used with an app, include a corresponding wallpaper and, at a press of a button, connects to "Dot of Light," a short documentary that features Kathy Sullivan, Nicole Stott and Anousheh Ansari, who all set firsts in space. The cases, available through the Google Store, feature planets, nebulae and astronauts.
: Seven hundred and 18 days after its launch, the U.S. Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) returned to Earth on Sunday (May 7), landing for the first time on the Florida runway formerly used by NASA space shuttles. At one year, 11 months and 17 days, the OTV-4 mission set a new duration record for the space plane, which among its disclosed payloads carried a NASA materials experiment and an advanced electric thruster.
: A six-year dispute over a small stash of moon-flown bibles is now over after a Texas state agency dropped its claim. Carol Mersch, author of "Apostles of Apollo," regained the Apollo 14 flown microfilm bibles that she said were given to her by Rev. John Stout, the late founder of the Apollo Prayer League. Mersch's bibles were among the 300 flown by astronaut Edgar Mitchell.
: Bill Odom and Donn Binns join Don Brincka and Myron Pessin as the stars of the debut episode of a new Smithsonian Channel six-part television series airing Sunday (May 14). Though their names be unfamiliar, what they achieved is not: the Saturn V moon rocket. "America's Secret Space Heroes" explores the history of space exploration from the perspective of the unsung engineers and technicians who made it possible.
: Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer installed a new avionics box and completed other tasks outside of the International Space Station on Friday (May 12), during the 200th spacewalk in support of the orbiting laboratory. Despite being cut short due to an airlock umbilical issue that in turn depleted power supplies to the astronauts' spacesuits, Whitson and Fischer made the milestone extravehicular activity a success.
: Astronauts will not fly on the first flight of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the space agency announced Friday (May 12). Despite a study determining it was technically possible to support a crew on the maiden flight, the additional cost, risk and time required to do so did not warrant the change. Instead, EM-1 will launch to the moon without astronauts on board, sometime in 2019.
: A creative director and avid space memorabilia collector, Duane King set about obtaining his own replica of the plaque that flew on NASA's Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 probes. Working with the same craftsman who engraved the original, King produced an exact replica, which he is now offering through a Kickstarter campaign. A laser-engraved, open edition reissue is also available, in an effort to expand the plaque's reach to all audiences.
: One of the 20 original Soviet cosmonauts selected in 1960, Viktor Vasilyevich Gorbatko died Wednesday (May 17) at the age of 82. Gorbatko flew into space three times, on board Soyuz 7 in 1969 (just three months after the first U.S. moon landing), Soyuz 24 in 1977 and Soyuz 37 in 1980. He logged more than 30 days in orbit before leaving the cosmonaut corps in 1982.
: The Museum of Flight in Seattle welcomes its new exhibit about the 1960s Space Race, APOLLO, opening to the public on Saturday (May 20). The permanent exhibit's centerpiece is the first public display of the Saturn V F-1 rocket engines recovered by Jeff Bezos and his expedition team in 2013. APOLLO also features an Apollo 12 moon rock, the first Apollo command module and moonwalker Pete Conrad's personal space memorabilia.
May 20, 2017
/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0500 GMT)
Apollo 11 auction
: Sotheby's will auction an Apollo 11 moon rock bag that it is describing as "the most important space artifact to ever appear at auction." The cloth bag, which was recently at the center of a now resolved legal dispute, protected the first lunar samples collected from the surface of the moon. Sotheby's expects the bag will sell for $2 to $4 million, possibly establishing a new record for the most ever paid for a space exploration artifact at auction.
: Two record-setting astronauts who launched together on a 1993 space shuttle mission were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on Friday (May 19) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Michael Foale and Ellen Ochoa are the 16th class of space shuttle veterans to enter the Hall. They were celebrated by their fellow astronauts, family members and the public for their contributions to space exploration.
: From low-cost t-shirts to luxury leather totes, NASA's retired logotype, the "worm," is making a comeback, of sorts. The logo was recently re-added to the space agency's merchandising regulations, making way for its use by Target, Coach and other national brands. The worm was used from 1975 to 1992, when it was retired in favor of NASA's original graphic insignia, the "meatball."