: The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will undergo testing in the same vacuum chamber built for the Apollo command and service modules at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Chamber A, now the world's largest cryo-vacuum facility, will expose the telescope's optical instruments to space-like conditions, including a near perfect vacuum and frigid temperatures for the 93-day milestone trial. The Webb is slated for launch in October 2018 to study distant galaxies in the infrared.
: Four hours. That is how long it took for the Saturn V rocket to reach orbit, circle Earth, depart for the moon and dock the Apollo spacecraft that went on to make space history. It also happens to be the time it took to assemble the 1,969 bricks that make up the new fan-designed LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V model, launching onto to store shelves on Thursday (June 1).
: Russia's Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft returned to Earth with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet on Friday (June 1) after 196 days in orbit (194 docked to the International Space Station). The Expedition 51 crewmates had launched with NASA's Peggy Whitson and were slated to land with her too, until NASA extended her mission.
: A SpaceX Dragon lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday (June 3) to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The CRS-11 flight marked the 100th launch from the historic Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission also marks SpaceX's first reuse of a Dragon spacecraft, having earlier launched the same capsule to the space station in 2014. Among the Dragon's payloads are a new type of roll-out solar array, an observatory to study neutron stars, fruit flies and mice.
: NASA has selected Patrick Forrester as the chief of the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. An astronaut since 1996, Forrester flew on three space shuttle missions to help assemble and stock the International Space Station. The 16th chief of the Astronaut Office, Forrester succeeds Chris Cassidy, who is returning to the corps to fly in space again. Forrester's new position comes just as 12 new astronauts report to NASA.
: Offering a new take on the iconic Apollo patches, artists Tim Gagnon and Jorge Cartes have produced 24 new emblems to commemorate the 50 years since the moon missions. Available from A-B Emblem beginning on Wednesday (June 7), Gagnon's and Cartes' collection includes two patches for each crew, from Apollo 1 through Apollo 17, reimagining the original artwork and depicting highlights from each of the historic flights.
: NASA introduced 12 new astronaut candidates, or ascans, at Johnson Space Center in Houston Wednesday (June 7), its largest class of space flight trainees in nearly two decades. The seven men and five women, who in August begin two years of basic astronaut training, include six military officers, five doctors (two M.D.s and three PhDs), a NASA research pilot and an engineer at SpaceX. The group is the 22nd to be selected since 1959.
: The 22nd class of NASA astronauts are more than happy to be selected and are looking forward to reporting for basic training in August. The 12 astronaut candidates ("ascans") spoke about their new role, past experiences, and their expectations for the future after being welcomed to NASA on Wednesday (June 7).
: France's La Poste postal service has issued four new stamps to mark the return to Earth of ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, the country's tenth citizen in space. The "Retour Sur Terre" stamps were timed to coincide with Pesquet's June 2 landing, completing his 196 day mission to the International Space Station. The stamps reproduce four photos taken during Pesquet's expedition.
: First came the freshly-grown lettuce, then the fresh-brewed espresso, and now, a new space station-bound experiment is promising freshly-baked, crumb-free bread in orbit. Set to launch in June 2018, "Bake In Space" will pair a special dough with a microgravity oven to produce "typical weekend German bread rolls" to meet the tastes and psychological needs of astronauts in space.
: KFC is launching a spicy, crispy chicken sandwich to space, sort of, on the first flight of World View's Stratollite high-altitude platform. The "Zinger 1" mission may set a few firsts for stratospheric flight, but will not cross into space. World View's Stratollite is designed to serve as a platform for edge-of-space science and a steady platform for telecommunications and disaster response. As Rob Lowe, as Colonel Sanders, says, the Zinger mission is designed to sell spicy, crispy chicken sandwiches.
: The first time author Jeffrey Kluger took readers on a journey through real space history, he launched them with Jim Lovell on the fifth flight to the moon. For his new book, Kluger returns to Lovell, but this time boards Apollo 8 for its historic maiden lunar mission. Kluger, who is the science editor at TIME, spoke with collectSPACE about writing "Apollo 8" as the flight's 50th anniversary nears.
: Chosen as one of 12 new astronaut candidates, Bob Hines is the latest in a line of NASA research pilots, starting with Neil Armstrong, who went from piloting NASA aircraft to flying on NASA spacecraft. Hines, a test pilot in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve, joined the aircraft operations division at Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2012, flying T-38 jets, NASA's WB-57 and Gulfstream G-III research aircraft.
: When NASA's Mars rover Opportunity drove near a crater in April during the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 16 moon landing, the concurrence inspired a connection between the missions. NASA's science team informally named the Martian feature Orion Crater, after the Apollo 16 lunar module Orion, which landed with John Young and Charlie Duke in April 1972.
: The honorary eighth Mercury astronaut, Bill Dana died on Thursday (June 15) at the age of 92. A comedian, Dana's character José Jiménez won the attention and admiration of the early U.S. astronauts for his routine as a reluctant spaceman. On May 5, 1961, Dana's place in NASA history was secured as Deke Slayton radioed, "Okay, José, you're on your way!" as Alan Shepard lifted off to be the first American in space.
: How do you adapt an iconic photo of an Apollo 11 astronaut on the moon to be struck onto the tails side of a series of curved coins? That was the challenge for the U.S. Mint as its sculptor-engravers set about creating concepts for the reverse of the 2019 coins that will mark 50 years since the first moon landing. The U.S. Mint's three design candidates have now been made public.
: In 2019, the U.S. Mint will recognize the roles that Native Americans have made in NASA history on a $1 coin. Under the theme, "American Indians in the Space Program," the legal tender coin will honor engineer Mary Golda Ross, who developed the Agena upper stage; Apollo flight controller Jerry Elliott; and NASA astronaut John Herrington. The Mint's artists created 18 proposed designs for the coin's reverse, or tails side.
: RSC Energia, the lead spacecraft contractor for Roscosmos, turned over a full-size mockup of a space shuttle to a new public attraction on Tuesday (Jun. 27). The Soviet-era Buran OK-KS test orbiter will travel by road and sea to the site of the Sochi Olympics for its display at the Sirius Science and Art Park. Although it was never space-worthy, the Buran OK-KS was built to test flight software and to qualify ship components for launch.
: With its Zinger 1 mission now flying on a World View Stratollite, Kentucky Fried Chicken can claim success launching a spicy chicken sandwich to "near space." But that achievement pales in comparison to the first time KFC left Earth three decades ago with "Chix in Space," a student experiment that put the egg before the chicken (sandwich) in outer space.