: NASA Senior Policy Analyst Richard Cooper, working with NASA Art Program manager Bert Ulrich and Senior Graphics Designer Mike Barnes, has transformed his personal collection of first day and event space-themed covers into "Postage on the Edge," an exhibit now lining the walls outside the NASA Administrator's suite at NASA Headquarters. The result, as Cooper describes in an interview with collectSPACE, has been increased awareness of the role collectors have in telling and promoting NASA's history.
: The Danbury Mint has a new flyer promoting their series of Nick Proach-designed diecast models, "Milestones in Space Exploration". This is the first mailing in which the three remaining models to be released -- Friendship 7, Columbia, and a Saturn V -- have been pictured (Apollo 13 was released in January). Though unspecified as to which one, the next model to be released is expected to ship to collectors early next year.
: The U.S. Attorney's Office will ask Congress to pass legislation to define the theft of government materials, such as the debris from a Space Shuttle accident, reports The Daily Sentinel. The proposed law comes as a result of the lessons learned during the prosecution of five suspected Columbia debris thieves, each of whom received various punishments.
Forget the packs of baseball cards, next time you are looking for a stick of gum, grab for a StarTales model from Takara and Kaiyodo. On sale beginning August 18 in Japan, "The Royal Museum of Science: StarTales" debuts with eight mini-models -- Sputnik, Ranger 7, Gemini 8, Lunakhod 1, Saturn V, Man on the Moon, Apollo 13 and Viking 1 -- each packaged with stick of bubble gum. A ninth model is included with the current issue of Japanese bi-weekly, Mono.
: Russian officials have given their approval for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko to participate in a wedding ceremony on the International Space Station this weekend. The marriage ceremony, scheduled for August 10, will include Malenchenko via a telephone link. Earlier, Russian officials said they could not allow the ceremony to take place for a variety of reasons. Today, Rosaviakosmos dropped any opposition they had to the ceremony; Sergei Gorbunov told the AP that "He [Malenchenko] wants it, and he will have it -- that's his problem." The wedding ceremony, while valid in Texas, may not be valid in Russia, but the couple had previously planned on holding another wedding ceremony in Russia next year.
: Melvin Schuetz first discovered the work of space artist Chesley Bonestell among the pages of his 1949 collaboration with Willy Ley, "The Conquest of Space". Totally enamored by the illustrations, Schuetz began collecting every book, magazine, and newspaper article with Bonestell artwork, until he had assembled the largest collection of printed Bonestell artwork in the world. As part of his endeavour, Schuetz identified the first color appearance of each of the black and white illustrations that appeared in "Conquest". His index to those Bonestell pieces has now been added to our resources section.
: How would you set the value of one gram of Apollo-recovered moon rock? Would you base the appraisal on how much it cost to retrieve? Or would you consider the market value of similar objects? That was the question posed to a U.S. District Court in Orlando, FL, tasked with sentencing three NASA co-ops who stole 101.5 grams of lunar material last year. The federal court chose the earlier, setting the value of the stolen stash at more than $5 million (1973 dollars), based on what the Apollo missions cost at the time.
: We have partnered with The History Channel in connection with their upcoming adaptation of Flight Director Gene Kranz's autobiography, "Failure Is Not An Option" (August 24@9pm). As well as promoting their sweepstakes (enter to win a trip to Kennedy Space Center by clicking on the banners located throughout the site), we will be presenting interviews, articles and other related content over the next few weeks. To begin, check out our online exclusive: the official trailer for "Failure".
: Seven-time astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz has had a new species of Costa Rican beetle named after him. Dubbed "Phanaeus changdiazi", the insect and its namesake appear as the subjects of new Costa Rican stamps. "I understand that I'm the only one who has a stamp in Costa Rica who's not dead yet," Chang-Diaz said in an interview with Florida Today. The two-pane stamp features Chang-Diaz with the Space Shuttle and changdiazi with the Space Station.
: International Space Station cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko married his earthbound bride in a unique ceremony on the station and Earth on Sunday. The marriage between Malenchenko and Ekaterina Dmitriev took place yesterday using a video link between the station and the Gilruth Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The wedding was a private event, although Dmitriev later spoke with reporters.
: Spacepatches.info has the online debut of the ISS Expedition 8 crew emblem. The acorn shaped patch has Russian and American flags draping over and behind the Earth, with the station floating above. A yellow border with the names of the crew, Foale and Kaleri, as well as the words "Expedition 8" complete the design. Expedition 8, along with ESA's Pedro Duque, are scheduled to launch October 18 on Soyuz TMA-3.
When we first reviewed Code 3 Collectibles' National Air and Space Museum series of models, we commented that their Apollo astronaut bore a certain resemblance to Gene Cernan. Apparently, the last man on the Moon agreed. Upon seeing the model, Cernan commented, "Does it look like me? It's as authentic as it gets... next to the real thing." Cernan has endorsed Code 3 Collectibles' line of hand-casted replicas, including their Lunar Module, Lunar Roving Vehicle, and the astronaut sculpture he inspired. "[They have] done a remarkable job recreating authentic detail with craftsmanship literally out of this world," said Cernan.
: Apogee Books will release later this month a new edition of "The Rocket Team" by Frederick Ordway III and Mitchell Sharpe. First issued in 1979 as an Editor's Choice of The New York Times, the revised "Rocket Team" will be accompanied by a DVD with hours of previously unreleased video of the German rocket pioneers, including two lectures by Wernher von Braun.
: The largest specimen in circulation of the Zagami Martian meteorite will be auctioned on eBay beginning on September 5, according to a release issued this morning by Sell2All, Inc. on behalf of the rock's owner. The sample will open at $450,000, though some estimates place the 188 grams of Mars at over $2 million. Prior to this sale, the meteorite was on display at the Kaduna Museum in Nigeria, not far from where its parent rock fell in October 1962.
: Mission: SPACE opens at Epcot today, taking visitors on simulated flights to Mars. Designed with the cooperation of NASA and with astronaut Story Musgrave as advisor, Mission: SPACE uses a centrifuge to recreate the G-loads during launch and provides the sensation of weightlessness. Our review of the attraction will be available August 25.
: While most of the press at the Udvar-Hazy Center today was focused on the unveiling of the newly reassembled "Enola Gay", we found another shiny silver vehicle to explore: the Mobile Quarantine Facility used to separate the Apollo 11 crew from the rest of the lunar bug-free world.
: Richard Kappeler, a Nassau County Museum System conservator who was charged last year with stealing artifacts, was indicted yesterday by grand jury with felonies that carry a total of more than 25 years in prison. Among the recovered items he is alleged to have stolen is a 1965 prototype Apollo spacesuit. Over 200 additional items, including space memorabilia, have been identified as missing, some of which may have been sold by Kappeler at auction over the past 20 years.
: Code 3 Collectibles has debuted the next model in their National Air and Space Museum Collection: Alan Shepard's lunar golf swing. "Moon Shot" joins Code 3's previous three releases, which were recently endorsed by Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan. The company has also provided early photographs of a future model in the series, the Apollo 11 Command Module "Columbia".
: Looking to obtain a copy of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's final report? Be prepared to wait. According to Space News reporter Brian Berger, only 100 copies of the publication will be ready when the board releases their findings on Tuesday -- and they are spoken for by the likes of the White House, NASA, and the families of the STS-107 crew. Whatever remains will be given to credentialed media. So what about the rest of us? More copies of the report are being produced and will be available through the Government Printing Office, though its expected to be several weeks before they will be available for order. In the meantime, the board plans to publish their findings and recommendations online.
: Tonight at 9:00pm is The History Channel's broadcast premiere of "Failure Is Not An Option". Based on former Mission Control Director Gene Kranz's autobiography, this two-hour special gives a first-hand account of the history of the American space program, from severe challenges to stunning successes. After the show, Kranz will answer your questions during a live web chat on the The History Channel's website.
: The US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio has reported it is missing artifacts numbering into the thousands, including a lens from Gemini 5 and the pattern for Orville's and Wilbur's Wright Flyer engine. Scott Ferguson, the leading suspect and former chief of collections, is currently under indictment for a 1999 museum theft.
: Some people are content with seeing Mars shine down from a clear night's sky (even if its closer than it has been in thousands of years). For others, only a visit will suffice. Fortunately, there is now Mission: SPACE, the E-ticket to Mars by way of Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. Will you choose to go?
: Today's release of the final report from the Columbia accident investigation gave the Orlando Sentinel reason to write about the personal items recovered during the search for debris. Among the effects found was a watch, intended as a gift by David Brown to his former girlfriend (they separated prior to the mission), discovered with its hands stopped at 9:06, seven minutes after final communication was made with the orbiter. Also located was a blackened medallion, part of Laurel Clark's contributions to the Official Flight Kit, flown on behalf of the Wisconsin medical school from where she graduated.
: Gordon McWhorter, the broker for the three NASA co-ops who stole a safe full of moon rocks and meteorites last summer, has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. The only defendant not to plead guilty, McWhorter initially failed to appear in court, claiming he was Job from the bible. His mother upheld his innocence, blaming the heist's ringleader Thad Roberts for duping her son. Roberts, who is being held in jail without bail, will be sentenced in October. Shae Saur and Tiffany Fowler each received three years probation and were ordered to pay $9000 in restituion.
: A quick follow-up to our earlier note, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's final report is now available for order through the Government Printing Office. Copies are $46.00 each ($64.40 outside the US) and include a CD-ROM. Orders placed now are expected to be delivered during the second week of September.
: Tomorrow marks 20 years since the launch of Challenger and her five member STS-8 crew. The first night launch for the shuttle, the mission also saw the first night landing and the flight of Guion "Guy" Bluford, the first African-American in space. Challenger also orbited 261,900 philatelic covers that became the first flown item to be easily obtained by the general public. You can still find the STS-8 covers on the collectors' market today.
: Boggs SpaceBooks is now taking pre-orders for the first volume of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's Final Report. Though it can still be ordered directly from the Government Printing Office, it may be less expensive to order through Boggs.
: The Progress spacecraft that docked with the space station this evening carries science experiments, food, fuel, water, and other supplies for the Expedition 7 crew. Also onboard is a gift from you -- and all the readers of collectSPACE -- to Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu: a cast- and crew- signed copy of "The Right Stuff" Special Edition DVD.