August 3, 2013 / 3:00 p.m. CT (2000 GMT) JAXA's HTV-4 launches cargo, robot: The fourth Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-4) launched atop an H-IIB rocket Saturday (Aug. 3), beginning a 6-day journey to resupply the International Space Station. Among the Kounotori cargo craft's 3.5 tons of food, water and experiment hardware is Kirobo, a 13.4-inch robot designed to talk with its astronaut crewmates.
August 5, 2013 / 12:01 a.m. CT (0501 GMT) Mars rover-metal medal: To mark one year since landing its car-sized spacecraft on the Red Planet, NASA authorized a medallion to be minted commemorating its Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover. Struck with test metal collected from an engineering tee duct for the rover's lower environmental control system, the medallion depicts the six-wheeled Curiosity inside Mars' Gale crater.
August 5, 2013 / 8:00 a.m. CT (1300 GMT) Mars Explorer Barbie: In collaboration with NASA, Mattel on Monday (Aug. 5) launched Mars Explorer Barbie as its 2013 "Career of the Year" doll. Released to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars, Mattel describes the astronaut Barbie as "ready to add her signature pink splash to the 'red planet.'" Outfitted in a spacesuit with pink reflective accents, space pack, helmet and boots, Mars Explorer Barbie is packaged with NASA facts and a depiction of the Curiosity rover.
August 8, 2013 / 7:55 p.m. CT (0055 GMT Aug 9) Space capsule cancellations: Two new US Postal Service postmarks are now available to commemorate the upcoming deliveries of crew and supplies to the International Space Station. Offered through the Houston, Texas post office, the "ISS Dragon Space Station Postmark" and "ISS Soyuz Houston Postmark" feature the SpaceX cargo capsule and Russian piloted spacecraft aboard which U.S. equipment and crew members fly to and from the ISS.
August 13, 2013 / 5:50 p.m. CT (2250 GMT) A History of Tomorrow: The United States Space Park at the 1964 World's Fair in New York featured NASA rockets and spacecraft as a display of the still-emerging space age. Nearby, Walt Disney exhibited his perfected Audio-Animatronics, including a lifelike President Abraham Lincoln and "It's a Small World" ride. Now, nearly 50 years later, the discovery of a "dusty old box" holding an eclectic collection of Disney and space memorabilia has raised the question if something more began at that World's Fair, and has provided the inspiration for Disney's "Tomorrowland."
The "8 Balls": NASA on Tuesday (Aug. 20) formally welcomed the eight members of its 2013 astronaut class, nicknamed the "Eight Balls" (or "8 Balls"). Newly sworn-in and now ready to begin their basic training, the group was introduced by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden as being "critical to achieving our ambitious goals," including carrying out the first human missions to an asteroid and to Mars. The "Eight Balls" include four men – Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan – and four women – Christina Hammock, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain and Jessica Meir, and are NASA's 21st astronaut class.
August 21, 2013 / 5:45 p.m. CT (2245 GMT) Gordon Fullerton, 1936-2013: An Air Force test pilot, NASA astronaut and research test pilot, C. Gordon Fullerton died Wednesday (Aug. 21) at age 76. Fullerton was one of the first pilots to test the space shuttle in flight, both as part of the precursor approach and landing tests and during its initial missions. His two spaceflights, STS-3 in 1982 and STS-51F in 1985, stand alone in the program's history for including the only White Sands, NM landing and the only abort-to-orbit, respectively. Fullerton logged nearly 400 hours in space and more than 16,000 hours flying 135 different types of Air Force and NASA aircraft.
August 21, 2013 / 7:15 p.m. CT (0015 GMT Aug 22) Platform proposals: NASA is seeking new uses for three historic launch platforms that are no longer needed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The trio of nearly identical mobile launch platforms, from which rockets lifted off for the moon and shuttles blasted into orbit, could be reused by commercial launch companies or repurposed as museum exhibits, artificial reefs or even oil rigs. Barring that though, NASA is also accepting proposals on how to dispose and recycle the three massive metal platforms.
Boeing backs NASA 905's display: Space Center Houston, the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, and Boeing on Thursday (Aug. 22) announced plans to permanently relocate NASA 905, the retired Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The historic jumbo jet, which ferried space shuttles across the United States, will be featured in a one-of-a-kind, six-story attraction currently slated to debut in 2015. As part of the multi-year project, Boeing is underwriting the disassembly and reassembly of the aircraft to bring NASA 905 to Space Center Houston.
August 23, 2013 / 3:20 p.m. CT (2020 GMT) Astronaut flies medal for Kennedy: "As an admirer of President John F. Kennedy and a friend of the Kennedy Library, [Expedition 36 crew member Chris] Cassidy offered to bring a bronze medallion emblazoned with JFK's likeness and a quote from his inaugural address into space to honor Kennedy's commitment to space exploration," the JFK Presidential Library and Museum revealed Thursday (Aug. 22) on Facebook. "When he returns to earth this fall, Cassidy will bring the medal back to the Library, where it will become a part of the permanent museum collection."
August 26, 2013 / 7:00 a.m. CT (1200 GMT) The rocket Neil Armstrong rode: In a new song off his recently-released album "Songs from St. Somewhere," Jimmy Buffett croons about "The Rocket that Grandpa Rode." The man from Margaritaville sings about the man on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong. As the lyrics hint, Buffett drew inspiration from his 2011 trip to see the space shuttle launch for the last time, where a chance encounter introduced the musician to Armstrong's grandchildren.
August 26, 2013 / 4:50 p.m. CT (2150 GMT) Apollo F-1 conservation cams: The Apollo F-1 Conservation Project, commissioned by Bezos Expeditions, is six months underway at the Kansas Cosmosphere, where visitors can view the work to conserve the Saturn V rocket engine parts raised off the ocean floor. On Monday (Aug. 26), the Cosmosphere extended that view through its new Apollo F-1 Conservation website, offering live camera feeds showing the rare artifacts as they are preserved.
August 29, 2013 / 8:00 a.m. CT (1300 GMT) space tourism, noun: "Space tourism" has joined "buzzworthy," "cake pop," "fauxhawk" and "selfie" as among the latest terms to be added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online, the web-based lexicon from the same publishers as the venerable Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Per the ODO's newly-added entry, "space tourism" is "the practice of travelling into space for recreational purposes."