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July 1, 2021

/ 1:00 p.m. CT (1800 GMT)

'Mercury 13' meets New Shepard:

Wally Funk, a member of the so-called "Mercury 13" women who underwent the same tests as NASA's Mercury astronauts in the early 1960s, will finally get her chance to launch to space as a member of the first crew to fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. At 82, Funk will be the oldest person to enter space. Funk said that she can "hardly wait" to go.

July 1, 2021

/ 8:25 p.m. CT (0125 GMT July 2)

Astronaut 001:

Virgin Galactic's founder Richard Branson will be "Astronaut 001" on the company's first fully-crewed test of its SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity when it lifts off later this month. In addition to Branson, the "Unity 22" crew will include two pilots and three mission specialists, who will evaluate the rocket plane's readiness to begin flying customers and human-tended experiments.

July 2, 2021

/ 4:15 p.m. CT (2115 GMT)

Stranger Than Fiction:

The history and science behind aerospace medicine is told through a collection of artifacts and comic book panels in the new exhibit "Stranger Than Fiction," opening Saturday (July 3) at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Put together in part by former flight surgeon-turned-astronaut Michael Barratt, the exhibition highlights the role that doctors and researchers have in making air and space flight safer for everyone.

July 4, 2021

/ 1:30 p.m. CT (1830 GMT)

Shenzhou 12 spacewalk:

Two Shenzhou 12 astronauts completed the first spacewalk outside of China's space station on Sunday (July 4), testing a robotic arm and positioning tools for future extravehicular activities. Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo exited the Tianhe core module wearing Feitian spacesuits for the seven-hour spacewalk.

July 7, 2021

/ 11:30 p.m. CT (0435 GMT July 8)

Second suborbital at 60:

With suborbital spaceflights back in the news, museums are preparing to mark 60 years since astronaut Gus Grissom made the second U.S. hop into space. The Cosmosphere in Kansas and Grissom Memorial at Spring Mill State Park in Indiana are holding events featuring artifact exhibits, scavenger hunts and talks themed to the 1961 Mercury-Redstone 4 launch.

July 10, 2021

/ 5:15 a.m. CT (1015 GMT)

Space Pen x Virgin Galactic:

When Virgin Galactic's Unity 22 crew go to record their suborbital launch in the company's flight log, they will use special pens produced for the occasion. Fisher Space Pen has created a set of six Infinium space pens, one for each crew member (including Sir Richard Branson), featuring Virgin Galactic's "DNA of Flight" logo. The Virgin Galactic pens are Fisher's first official use in support of commercial spaceflight.

July 11, 2021

/ 11:15 a.m. CT (1615 GMT)

Branson soars to space:

Virgin Galactic's 22nd test flight of its VSS Unity safely made it to space and back on Sunday (July 11), carrying its first full crew, including company founder Richard Branson. The suborbital flight, which from takeoff to landing at Spaceport America in New Mexico took about an hour, marked a milestone for both Branson and Virgin Galactic. The company plans two more tests before starting up commercial service in 2022.

July 11, 2021

/ 6:15 p.m. CT (2315 GMT)

Always bring mementos:

Stephen Colbert flew with Richard Branson to space — or at least a picture of his head did — as Branson revealed at a post-flight press conference. The billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic and his Unity 22 crewmates shared the mementos they flew in their flight suit pockets for the suborbital spaceflight. Some were heartfelt, some were for others and the headshot of Colbert? A joke inspired by the comedian's own prior jabs.

July 13, 2021

/ 10:00 p.m. CT (0300 GMT July 14)

Slurpee 'space' mission:

7-Eleven's iconic Slurpee frozen drink is space-bound, or at least headed for the upper atmosphere, and you could win its commemorative cup. Fans (in the U.S.) ordering a Slurpee through the 7-Eleven app for delivery through the end of July will help choose the flavor to make the stratospheric trip and will be entered to win a limited edition cup after its return to Earth.

July 14, 2021

/ 3:45 p.m. CT (2045 GMT)

Joker Moon:

In the "Wild Cards" universe edited by George R.R. Martin, history veered off our timeline prior to the start of the space age. In the 30th and latest anthology in the series, "Joker Moon," humanity's interests off Earth takes center stage. As contributor Michael Cassutt describes, some of the space history is familiar and some of it is weird and strange. And then there is what became of a certain space enthusiast and collectSPACE editor...

July 16, 2021

/ 6:55 p.m. CT (2355 GMT)

S.S. Ellison Onizuka:

Northrop Grumman has named its next Cygnus cargo spacecraft for the first Asian-American astronaut to fly into space. Ellison Onizuka flew on the first space shuttle mission dedicated to activities for the U.S. Department of Defense, STS-51C in 1985. He and his STS-51L crewmates were then lost with the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. The S.S. Ellison Onizuka NG-16 Cygnus will fly supplies for the ISS Expedition 65 crew.

July 20, 2021

/ 8:35 a.m. CT (1335 GMT)

Bezos boosts to space:

Blue Origin's first human flight lifted off on Tuesday (July 20) with founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk and 18-year-old physics student Oliver Daemen on board. Launched from West Texas, the company's New Shepard rocket lofted the "RSS First Step" capsule on a suborbital trajectory that took the crew above the Kármán line. The spaceflight set several records and marked the first of three paid passenger launches planned by Blue Origin this year.

July 20, 2021

/ 10:00 a.m. CT (1500 GMT)

Enterprise aesthetics:

Collective Horology, a club for watch enthusiasts, has partnered with Swiss watchmaker Urwerk to celebrate NASA's space shuttle program. Working with the Intrepid Museum, home to the prototype Enterprise, Urwerk found inspiration in the aesthetics of the space shuttle's flight deck for the UR-100V P.02 wristwatch. In addition to displaying the time, the watch can track the minutes it typically took to launch and land a space shuttle.

July 20, 2021

/ 3:25 p.m. CT (2025 GMT)

Taste the history:

Blue Origin's first crewed flight of its New Shepard launch vehicle had more than just people on board when it flew into space. Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark, flew a piece of the Wright Flyer on loan from The Explorers Club and a pair of Amelia Earhart's goggles. Once they were floating about the cabin, the crew also took turns trying to catch Skittles fruit candies with their mouths.

July 22, 2021

/ 5:15 p.m. CT (2215 GMT)

Zero-G Skittles:

Just two days after getting an unexpected shout out from space by Jeff Bezos, Skittles is ready to embrace its future as a microgravity snack. Mars, Incorporated, the company behind the "Taste the Rainbow" brand, has created "Zero-G Skittles," a limited edition pack featuring only blue and purple candies and "guaranteed to float in space." Fans wanting their own package only need to follow Skittles online for a chance later this summer.

July 26, 2021

/ 6:10 a.m. CT (1110 GMT)

Pirs departed:

After nearly 20 years serving as the port for more than 70 spacecraft and the airlock for over 50 spacewalks, Russia's Pirs docking compartment is no longer a part of the International Space Station. The Pirs module undocked from the orbital complex to make way for the new "Nauka" multi-purpose laboratory module. Guided by a Progress cargo vehicle, the Pirs compartment was set to be destroyed during its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

July 29, 2021

/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0500 GMT)

Suborbital Triptych:

Uplift Aerospace has revealed the first artist who will paint panels on the outside of Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle for a flight into space. Award-winning figurative painter Amoako Boafo will create the first "Suborbital Triptych" across the parachute covers atop the New Shepard space capsule. Boafo's art is slated to fly on an uncrewed launch scheduled for this fall.

July 29, 2021

/ 8:55 a.m. CT (1355 GMT)

Nauka docks:

Russia's new multi-purpose laboratory module (MLM), named "Nauka" ("Science" in Russian) is now a part of the International Space Station. The 43-foot-long (13 m) module docked to the Earth-facing port of the Zvezda service module to expand the research capabilities of the station's Russian segment while adding life support and crew comfort amenities and a new robotic arm built by the European Space Agency for exterior use.

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