August 3, 2008 / 1:29 a.m. CT (0629 GMT) Lost in flight: The third flight for SpaceX's Falcon 1 two-stage rocket ended in its loss when two and a half minutes into its ascent a "problem occurred with stage separation." On-board the Falcon were three satellites to be deployed, including what could have been the first test flight of a solar sail, NASA's NanoSail-D. Also lost in flight were the cremated remains of 208 participants in Celestis' memorial "Explorers" mission, including astronaut Gordon Cooper who died in 2004. According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, an investigation into the failure is underway and the company intends to go forward with plans to launch again.
August 6, 2008 / 10:46 p.m. CT (0346 GMT Aug 7) Look to the Stars in 2009: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and artist Wendell Minor are teaming again to publish a children's book. Speaking with MSNBC, Aldrin revealed "Look To The Stars," the title of his and Wendell's second collaboration after their 2005 New York Times Best-Seller "Reaching for the Moon". The book, says the moonwalker, is aimed at stimulating "young people to look at the reality of history and how well it was carried out in the past." Due for release in April 2009 by Putnam Juvenile, the 40 page hardcover will be out for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11.
August 8, 2008 / 8:56 a.m. CT (1356 GMT) Astronauts and the Olympics: Yang Liwei, China's first taikonaut, was among the five international space explorers who took part in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics torch relay, which ended Friday after the longest flame procession in history. Passing through 130 cities in 130 days, the torch covered the equivalent of three orbits around the Earth. The torchbearers, who also include the first woman and first Malaysian in space, weren't the only astronaut-connection to the games; the gymnast son of a mission specialist is a member of the United States team.
August 11, 2008 / 10:41 a.m. CT (1541 GMT) Hubble hits 100,000: At 6:42 a.m. CDT on Monday, the Hubble Space Telescope saw its orbital odometer reach 100,000. Circling the Earth since April 1990, the observatory has traveled 2.72 billion miles, about 5,700 round trips to the Moon. To mark the milestone, scientists aimed Hubble at a small portion of a nebula 170,000 light- years away in a region of celestial birth and renewal. The Space Telescope Science Institute will reward 18 visitors to its website with a 16 by 20-inch print of Hubble's photo.
August 11, 2008 / 3:00 p.m. CT (2000 GMT) Rocket relocation: The San Diego Air and Space Museum wants to bring a nearly 100 foot Atlas rocket to Balboa Park, the Union Tribune reports. The 48-year old booster is currently at El Cajon's Gillespie Field where it serves as a landmark for drivers along Route 67. Before the move can go forward however, the museum must get the approval of the park's committee, which oversees the landmark property and enforces its Spanish Colonial look. The Atlas, a model 2E built in 1960, would be modified by the museum to place a replica Mercury capsule at its top, in the memory of Mercury-Atlas 8 astronaut Wally Schirra.
August 13, 2008 / 12:19 p.m. CT (1719 GMT) His other bike is a spacecraft: Beginning Wednesday in Cape Flattery cross country to Cape Canaveral, former astronaut John Herrington launches on a 4,000-mile coast to coast bike tour to inspire students while touting opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Having been the first Native American to fly and walk in space during the 2002 STS-113 shuttle mission, Herrington will stop along his 'Rocketrek' to visit NASA Explorer Schools in 10 states including several on Native American reservations. He will record his 3-month journey on rocketrek.net and Google Earth GPS tracking.
August 14, 2008 / 2:23 p.m. CT (2023 GMT) John Bull (1934-2008):John Bull, a former astronaut who, due to illness, was forced to resign in 1968 while supporting what would become the first crewed lunar mission, died on Monday at age 73. A naval aviator, Bull was diagnosed with a rare pulmonary disease, resulting in his exit from the astronaut corps and his role as a support crew member for what would fly as Apollo 8. Bull returned to NASA in 1973 after earning his Ph.D. from Stanford, to perform and manage research in advanced flight systems.
August 15, 2008 / 10:09 a.m. CT (1609 GMT) Animated Apollo: nWave Pictures' "Fly Me To The Moon" opens Friday in U.S. 3-D and IMAX theaters. The film, which claims to be the first ever animated movie created for 3D follows three young houseflies as they stow away aboard the real 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing mission that made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (who voices his own character as well as appears in a live action epilogue) the first men on the Moon. Reviewers have been critical of "Fly Me To The Moon" for historical errors but others have applauded introducing the next generation to NASA's past.
August 18, 2008 / 1:23 a.m. CT (0623 GMT) Home away from home: A week and a half after the Mets play their final regular season game at Shea Stadium (the New York team moves to the new Citi Field in 2009) a literal landmark from the 44 year old diamond will take a trip greater than 85 million orbits around the mound. On October 8, STS-125 spacewalker Mike Massimino will launch with the Mets' 2007 season home plate aboard the shuttle Atlantis. The five-sided slab of whitened rubber will accompany Massimino and his six crew mates on the last Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission before coming back to Earth. The plate will then be brought 'home' to NY.
August 20, 2008 / 2:30 a.m. CT (0730 GMT) First look to at the stars: Two weeks after learning from astronaut Buzz Aldrin the title of his children's book due out in April 2009, we're now getting our first look at the cover art for "Look to the Stars". Painted by artist Wendell Minor, who also illustrated Aldrin's "Reaching for the Moon" in 2005, the cover shows the 36-year old Aldrin during his Gemini 12 spacewalk. Below the portrait, Minor depicts waning and waxing moon-shaped images that are symbolic of Stars's story line, which introduces readers to historic and future pioneers who have 'looked to the stars.'
August 22, 2008 / 11:08 a.m. CT (1708 GMT) Rocket lost, debris found: Lifting off from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Friday, a new Alliant Techsystems (ATK) ALV X-1 suborbital rocket was 27 seconds into flight when it was destroyed by range safety as a result of it veering south from its target azimuth. The two stage, 53-foot tall solid propellant rocket was expected to carry its Navy and NASA cargo, including two hypersonic experiments, to an altitude greater than that of the space station before dropping into the ocean. Most of the debris from the exploded vehicle still fell into the Atlantic, though there were reports of pieces being found along the beach. NASA issued a safety warning not to touch the debris "as it is inherently dangerous," but to alert Wallops of the find.
August 24, 2008 / 2:30 a.m. CT (0730 GMT) Moon dust markers: The 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing in July of next year is expected to be celebrated with an array of commemorative items. Two of the first to be sold are pens that incorporate simulated and real moon dust. WISE Retail Solutions has debuted the Apollo 11 Moon Dust Pen, featuring JSC-1A Lunar Regolith Simulant, the geologically-similar soil used to test equipment developed for future flights to the Moon. Meanwhile, Meteorite Pens, which speckles its pens with authentic meteorite particles, has begun offering a limited edition for Apollo 11's anniversary, adding to each of their pens' "Apollo 11" inscription a tiny grain of lunar meteorite.
August 25, 2008 / 11:06 p.m. CT (0406 GMT Aug 26) One small man: Thirty years ago Monday, the first Lego minifigure was manufactured and packed into a Lego set. That 'miniman' was a firefighter, but soon to follow was an astronaut and since then, 2-inch spacemen have become a standard among the four billion men sold. The helmet-equipped figures have recreated NASA history as Apollo astronauts and even made space history as the first "man" on Mars attached to the Spirit and Opportunity landers. Minifigs were also launched on the space shuttle.
August 26, 2008 / 11:22 a.m. CT (1622 GMT) Mythbusters mementos: On Wednesday evening, Discovery Channel will debut the much-anticipated episode of "Mythbusters" tackling the claims that the manned moon landings were faked in a studio. As part of our interview with the Mythbusters, collectSPACE asked what souvenirs they had desired from their NASA visit. "I would have loved to have taken home a vacuum chamber glove or two, but you know, they are kind of expensive," said Tory Belleci. Kari Byron "had to get" freeze-dried ice cream but couldn't get a moon rock. "Believe me, I tried."
August 27, 2008 / 3:03 p.m. CT (2103 GMT) Fermi Telescope (was: GLAST): NASA on Tuesday debuted the first results and a new name for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), which was launched in June. Over 1,200 submissions were entered by the public since NASA began accepting name ideas for the high-energy astronomy observatory in February. Fermi was ultimately selected to honor Prof. Enrico Fermi (1901- 1954), whose research is the foundation for understanding the new phenomena his namesake telescope will uncover.
August 27, 2008 / 7:46 p.m. CT (0047 GMT Aug 28) To The Moon: In honor of what would have been his 100th birthday, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum opened today an 11-month major exhibit covering the U.S. space efforts. "To the Moon: The American Space Program in the 1960s" features interactive displays (including a simulation of the first American spacewalk by Ed White) and artifacts exhibits from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The LBJ Library's space exhibit will coincide with a space exhibit featuring Skylab, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station at the George H.W. Bush Library, "Beyond the Moon", on September 19.
August 28, 2008 / 5:02 p.m. CT (2302 GMT) via NASASpaceFlight Patch-on-need: NASA began on Thursday the assembly of the external tank and solid rocket boosters that will launch Endeavour on the STS-126 mission in November. The "stack" (when completed) will first however, stand ready on Pad 39B as a 'Launch-On-Need' vehicle in support of STS-125, the last shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, which is set to liftoff on October 8 with Atlantis. In the unlikely scenario that the STS-125 crew is needed to be rescued as a result of their shuttle suffering damage beyond repair, the four flight deck crew members from Endeavour's last flight, STS-123 in March, will again launch aboard the orbiter. Although every shuttle mission since 2005 has had a Launch-On-Need mission assigned, STS-400's unique flight plan has attracted media attention and has inspired not one, but two "unofficial" patches: one designed by the crew and the other by an artist for NASA.