: Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for Johnson Space Center, will launch on July 4 a free, Texas-wide contest to name the high-fidelity space shuttle replica that will sit atop NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft as part of a $12 million attraction to open in 2015. Space Center Houston's "Name the Shuttle" contest seeks a name that symbolizes the spirit of Texas and its "independence, optimism and can-do attitude."
: In his first book due to be released on Oct. 29, retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is set to "takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible." The book, which is titled "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" will be published in Canada by Random House and worldwide by Little, Brown and Company, the publishers announced on Tuesday (July 2). "Not only has there never been an 'astronaut book' like this one, there has never been another book like this one," Anne Collins, publisher at Random House Canada, said.
: With a slogan of "Prevent The Next Tunguska," the non-profit B612 Foundation has launched a campaign designed to both raise awareness for its mission — preventing life-threatening asteroid impacts — and auction astronauts' artifacts flown on Apollo and space shuttle missions. Rusty Schweickart, who flew on Apollo 9, and International Space Station flight engineer Ed Lu are offering flags, patches, medallions and pins to support the Sentinel asteroid-hunting telescope.
: Launched on Independence Day, residents of the Lone Star State can now submit names for Space Center Houston's space shuttle mockup as part of the NASA visitor center's "Name the Shuttle" contest. Open to Texans only, the contest seeks an original name that symbolizes the state's spirit and its "independence, optimism and can-do attitude." The winner will be awarded a trip to Space Center Houston including a behind-the-scenes experience at Johnson Space Center.
: The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum's new "Space Shuttle Pavilion," which replaces the original structure that was damaged beyond repair 8 months ago by Hurricane Sandy, is ready to open in New York City on Wednesday (July 10). Visitors to the expanded exhibit will still be able to walk underneath NASA's prototype space shuttle, but can now go nose-to-nose with Enterprise atop a larger observation platform. In addition, the pavilion is now home to Russia's Soyuz TMA-6 capsule and features new experiences incorporating the sights, sounds and stories of the space shuttle program.
: Luca Parmitano on Tuesday (July 9) became the first Italian astronaut to walk in space. Switching his white spacesuit (adorned with a green, white and red flag) to battery power and emerging from inside the International Space Station (ISS), Parmitano joined NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy for a more than six-hour outing to prepare the orbiting outpost for a new Russian module and perform installations on the station's truss. Prior to heading outside, Parmitano treated his Expedition 36 crewmates to a taste of his home country: an Italian space food dinner.
: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's "Space Shuttle Pavilion" reopened Wednesday (July 10) in New York City. After eight months off-limits as repairs were completed in the wake of superstorm Sandy, space shuttle Enterprise re-launched on public display. The prototype orbiter is now side-by-side with Russia's Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft, together with other artifact and multimedia displays. The newly-rebuilt but still-temporarily pavilion also features an expanded observation platform and a new stage for scheduled demonstrations.
: Introduced on Monday (July 8) by two Congress members, the "Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act" aims to establish a National Historical Park on the moon to protect the artifacts remaining there from the 1969 to 1972 missions. The bill (H.R. 2167) calls for the park to fall under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior and the NASA Administrator, who are to ensure that the lunar landing remnants are properly monitored and that access to the sites is controlled. The act also directs that Apollo 11's Tranquility Base be submitted to UNESCO for World Heritage Site status.
: One of the first naturalized American citizens selected to be a United States astronaut, Welsh-born John Anthony "Tony" Llewellyn died on July 2. He was 80. A member of NASA's sixth group of astronaut candidates, the space agency's second class of scientist-astronauts chosen in August 1967, Llewellyn was a skilled chemist. He was not however, equally capable as a jet pilot, which led to him resigning from the program the next year, having never flown in space. Llewellyn went on to serve as a chemistry professor and NOAA aquanaut.
: A little more than an hour into Tuesday's (July 16) space station spacewalk, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano reported his head was getting wet inside his helmet. The water was not an immediate health hazard, but as it continued to build up inside Parmitano's suit, NASA's Mission Control in Houston decided to end the excursion early for the Italian flight engineer and his fellow Expedition 36 crew member, U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy. At one hour and 32 minutes, Tuesday's spacewalk is the second shortest made outside the International Space Station in its 13-year history.
: The first yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is still nearly two years away from beginning but the patchwork path leading to that day is already in place. Seven crews, including the currently-in-space Expedition 36, have designed emblems to represent their five to six month missions, spanning the next year and eight month. An eighth patch, for Expedition 43, is the first to represent yearlong crew members Mikhail Korniyenko of Roscosmos and Scott Kelly of NASA.
: When Jeff Bezos announced in March 2012 that his expedition had located Saturn V F-1 engines on the ocean floor, he claimed they were from the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. A year later, when parts for two of those engines were successfully raised to the surface, their flight history was less clear. Now, three days after the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, a conservator at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center has exposed markings that positively identify one of the parts, a thrust chamber, as having flown on the historic moon mission.
: Climbing into Boeing's new mockup of its CST-100 space capsule, revealed Monday (July 22), you immediately notice two things: it is more spacious inside than you would think, and it glows blue. Like the CST-100's overall design, which draws inspiration from Boeing's aerospace history, the LED lighting is also carried over from the company's other projects. The Sky Interior is already flying on Boeing's modern commercial airliners and was added to the spacecraft to extend the 'look and feel' of flying with Boeing. The CST-100 is one of the three private spacecraft competing to launch NASA astronauts.
: "If you can't fly 'em," remarks Chris Ferguson, "you might as well build 'em." The last person to pilot a space shuttle to a landing two years ago on July 21, 2011, Ferguson on Monday (July 22) showed off a new mockup of the CST-100 space capsule that he and his team at Boeing are building to pick up where the shuttle left off. The former NASA astronaut spoke with collectSPACE about leaving the shuttle behind and whether he will fly on Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft.
: 44 years after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins returned to Earth, 11 states are missing the Apollo 11 moon rocks presented to them in 1969. A search for the Alabama, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin Apollo 11 sample displays has been unsuccessful in finding the moon mementos, despite more than a decade looking. The eleventh missing display, gifted to Delaware, was reported stolen 37 years ago.
: Warner Brothers Pictures this week released three extended clips from director Alfonso Cuarón's new film "Gravity." The movie, which opens Oct. 4 in theaters, stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts who become stranded in space after satellite debris destroys their shuttle. The new clips, which are titled "Detached," "Drifting" and "I Got You," showcase the movie's use of cinematography and realistic spacecraft to underscore the "gravity" of the astronauts' situation.
: The New York City home of space shuttle Enterprise unveiled a model of the NASA orbiter made entirely out of LEGO bricks Friday (July 26). The 3.5-foot-long replica, which was created by LEGO "Master Builder" Ed Diment, will be exhibited at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum through Sunday. Diment is also helping visitors to the Intrepid build a LEGO mosaic depicting Enterprise flying over Central Park.
: As the host nation of the 2014 Olympics, Russia is planning to launch part of the Winter Games to space and land part of outer space at the Winter Games. In November, as a traditional torch relay runs the Olympic flame from Moscow to Sochi, an unlit torch will lift off for the International Space Station to take part in an unprecedented spacewalk. Three months later, with the 2014 Olympics underway, seven gold medal winners will receive meteorite-studded medals marking the one year anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteor strike.