: Action Products announced that their Space Voyagers line of astronaut figures has been selected as one of the 100 Best Children's Products and 10 Best Socially Responsible Products for 2003. "[These figures] will help your child develop their imagination as they go on their own adventures in space," said industry expert Dr. Toy. The Space Voyagers line includes Apollo Lunar Explorer Wolf Perry, Shuttle Mission Specialist Steel Jones, and Space Station Scientist Mack Powers.
Today, Japan merged its three existing space organizations, namely the National Space Development Agency, the National Aerospace Lab, and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. In the new logo, the "A" for "Aerospace" appears as a star, to symbolize hope, pride, and an exploratory mind, according to the agency, "and to signify a guidepost pointing to our future. It reflects our hope for JAXA to be a star of Japan and for all of human society, as well as to shine brightly."
: The Canada Post began taking sales today for panes of eight stamps honoring the nation's astronauts who have flown in space. Also offered are first day covers, postmarked in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, home to the Canadian Space Agency.
: The Save the Saturn campaign by the US Space & Rocket Center received a lot of good news yesterday. The effort, which will restore one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets, accepted a $25,000 donation from DaimlerChrysler, a $25,000 pledge from CAS Inc., and were budgeted $200,000 by the city council. Combined with past donations, that leaves them $50,000 shy of a matching $700,000 federal grant, which means restoration work could begin soon.
: The Houston Chronicle reports that the Super Bowl, to be held in Houston, TX on February 1, will include a tribute to the STS-107 crew. Beyond just a memorial, the NFL and NASA have agreed to strike a positive tone with the tribute. "It is a time to mark the occasion," said Bob Jacobs, NASA media services director, "but it is also a moment to look at what they gave their lives for." Jim Steeg, an NFL senior vice president suggested a connection may be made with the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11.
: Two rockets made their way back to Queens, New York Thursday, restored to look the way they did when they were first installed for the 1964 World's Fair. The Hall of Science trucked the Atlas and Titan II hollow boosters to Ohio two years ago for a $2 million restoration. The rockets are now fitted with fiberglass capsules, though the Atlas was originally topped with the first Mercury flown in a "beach abort" test of its escape tower (now its on display inside the Hall).
: AB Emblem, which produces the official mission patches for NASA, has designed a very limited edition patch to honor the fallen crews of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia. Only 10 will ever be made, and all of them will be matted. The design, which also pays tribute to the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, will be permanently retired the evening of the Cosmic Rendezvous gala, October 24, in Houston. One such patch, signed, matted and framed, will be auctioned at the astronaut-studded dinner. AB has also donated official Apollo 1, STS-51L, and STS-107 mission patches to be given to gala attendees.
: Now available is the second model in our exclusive line of pewter spacesuit sculptures: the ISS Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). Featuring the SAFER (Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue) jetpack, a first for any model, we consulted with members of NASA's EVA team to insure accuracy. Available for order alone or as a set with our first release depicting the Apollo lunar spacesuit.
: Steve Hankow of Sims & Hankow Enterprises has announced their first guests for next year's UACC Autograph Show. Appearing September 4-5, 2004, in Burbank, CA, will be Walter Schirra, Richard Gordon, and spacecraft logo artist Cece Bibby.
: Dragon Models, whose prior Buck and Buzz Aldrin astronaut figures were welcomed by space history enthusiasts with great enthusiasm, have debuted their next astronaut figure. "Astronaut in Black" appears to wear the same suit as Buck, but entirely black in color. Black-ops military mission? Dark side landing? No, apparently a limited edition colloboration with another toy company, Double X Workshop.
: For 135 space flights, astronauts have carried medallions minted by The Robbins Company as their personal mementos. For Apollo 13, STS-51L, and STS-107, medallions were revised and restruck. Howard C. Weinberger, who wrote the book on the Apollo Robbins Medallions, explains the process by which the medallions are created and how these three changed.
: Al Worden, Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot, has updated his official website to offer a selection of autographed photos and his lunar photography-inspired artwork. The site, which is overseen by Yahoo Astronauts Group moderator Al Hallonquist, also features a biography of the astronaut and promises to list future appearances.
: The populations of Ireland, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Andorra, Antigua, and the Bahamas could have visited the National Air and Space Museum between October 1, 2002 and September 30, 2003, when 10,797,259 million people passed through the doors. The last fiscal year when more than 10 million people visited the Washington, DC museum was 1998.
: Chinese media are reporting that the launch of Shenzhou-5 with the first taikonaut(s) crew is set for October 15. Though the exact time has yet to be released, live television coverage has been confirmed and details are emerging about the flight. Reports say the mission duration will be anywhere from 90 minutes to 30 hours, with launch and landing during the daytime. There may be as many as 2000 philatelic covers on-board, and the candidates' autographs have been seen online.
: The European Space Agency and the European Central Bank collaborated in October 2002 to fly three sets of euro banknotes and 15 national sets of euro coins with astronaut Frank De Winne on his Soyuz flight to the International Space Station. Flown in support of ESA's educational outreach projects, the euros will be offered to those bidding the highest donations beginning October 20, through October 31.
: Later today at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida, Wally Schirra, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin, Bruce McCandless, Mae Jameson, Roberta Bondar, and Guion Bluford are scheduled join Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Carly Fiorina, chairman and CEO of HP, for the grand opening of Mission: SPACE. In August, we test rode and reviewed the new attraction, which simulates a launch to Mars by using a centrifuge ride system.
: NASA announced today Dr. Steven J. Dick as the new Director, History Office, and Chief Historian. "We are delighted to have Steve join the NASA team," said Michael O'Brien, NASA's Assistant Administrator, Office of External Relations. "With his diverse background, scientific accomplishments and thorough understanding of NASA, he will be an invaluable asset as the agency's historian."
: Jeffrey Dean Arriola's choice to steal two small pieces of debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia ended his career in law enforcement as Sheriff's Deputy and as of yesterday, has sentenced him to a year of probation. He was originally facing two felony charges, but plead guilty in return for a lesser sentence of a single misdemeanor charge.
: NewsChannel 19 reports that an early set of blueprints for the Saturn V rocket have been donated to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The plans, which were once the property of NASA Engineer Hans Weunscher, were saved from being thrown out with the trash by Jimmy Pemberton, who was repairing Weunscher's garage. The 1961-62 blueprints will go on display in the Center's new home for their Saturn V, expected to be completed in 2005. A spokeman from the Rocket Center is quoted as repeating the myth that "there aren't any [blueprints] left" for the Moon booster, when just around the corner, the Marshall Space Flight Center has a full set on microfilm.
: With the introduction today of their third online catalog, Historic Space has brought to collectors the opportunity to own flown artifacts from each of the 11 manned Apollo flights. Encased in one acrylic, the Apollo Spacecraft Collection displays Kapton tape removed from each Command Module, from Apollo 7 through 17.
: Just as the Tsar's daughter vanished only years later to have women claiming to be her, so has been the case with the watch that Buzz Aldrin wore on Apollo 11. Every few months, watch owners have written this site, stating that they have found the Omega Speedmaster that the second moonwalker reported as lost on its way to the Smithsonian in 1971. So it wasn't unusual that we devoted little of our attention to an e-mail received this past June describing Stephen Morley as the latest claimant. That is, until the Californian filed a lawsuit in federal court to claim the watch as his own.
: Our article yesterday regarding Buzz Aldrin's lost and (possibly) found lunar surface worn Omega Speedmaster Professional has lead to us to ask, "Where have the other lunar flown chronographs come to reside?". We have just begun to answer that question, but we need your help. Also, we have just added to the site the full text of the lawsuit filed by Stephen Morely staking his claim to what he believes is Aldrin's lost watch.
: China is the third nation in history to launch a manned spacecraft, with the liftoff of Shenzhou 5 and first taikonaut Lt. Col. Yang Liwei. He will spend 21 hours circling the planet 14 times. Liwei's first words from orbit were "I feel good."
: The next crew of the International Space Station is heading toward its orbital home away from home after a launch at 1:38 a.m. EDT Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Expedition 8 Commander and NASA Station Science Officer Michael Foale, Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri and European Space Agency Astronaut Pedro Duque blasted off on a Russian Soyuz rocket, headed for a scheduled docking with the Station on October 20.
: Yang Liwei wasn't alone on his 21-orbit, record setting flight, he was accompanied by a secret stash of souvenirs, reports Xinhua News. Among the items revealed at a ceremony in Beijing were flags for the 2008 Olympics, the United Nations, and China, as well as a Renminbi note and commemorative stamps and covers. The items were distributed to their owners Friday.
: Soyuz TMA-3 carrying Michael Foale, Alexander Kaleri and Pedro Duque docked with the International Space Station at 3:16 a.m. EDT this morning. Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu, joined by Duque, will return on October 27, leaving behind Foale and Kaleri, who will live aboard the ISS for the next six months.
: You can help raise funds for Alzheimer's research while bidding for a private lunch with John and Annie Glenn at the Congressional Country Club, located in Potomac, Maryland. Organized by the Copper Ridge Institute, the TimeWith™ Great Minds auction also offers an encounter with Walter Cronkite. Bidding through eBay closes November 5.
: For nearly 30 years, Missile, Space, and Rockets Used Books have been a valued source for collectors, historians and enthusiasts to locate and acquire thousands of titles relating to space and rocketry. Today, founder Richard Jackson announced he will close the service on December 20, and is seeking to sell his inventory of 3000 books with a half-off sale.
: For those of you who may have been wondering, yes, Aurora Galleries' auction catalog for their November space memorabilia sale is late. Now set to arrive in mailboxes next week (with an online version later this week) the catalogs' delay, according to Aurora, was caused by the late arrival of sellers' consignments. When the catalogs do arrive, they will include Deke Slayton's Apollo-Soyuz patches and an almost complete collection of Space Shuttle mission Robbins medallions.
: The spacecraft that taikonaut Yang Liwei rode into orbit and then returned safely inside will soon be on public display in western Beijing, reports the Associated Press. Shenzhou 5 will go on exhibit at the Millennium Monument on Friday, near the site where thousands gathered to celebrate Yang's landing. It is not yet known how long the capsule will remain on display.
: Remember the urban legend of how NASA spent millions of dollars to develop a pen that could work without gravity, while the Soviets simply used a pencil? In reality, the pen was developed commercially by the Fisher Pen Company, later to be adopted by NASA and the Russians. But was a special space pen really needed? Pedro Duque tested the theory while writing in his diary from space.
: Aurora Galleries were reported to be under a mandatory evacuation order earlier this afternoon due to the wild fires in southern California, according to Larry McGlynn who spoke briefly with Aurora's Michael Orenstein. It is not clear as of yet what effect, if any, this will have on their upcoming space auction scheduled for the second weekend in November.
: This morning, family members of the STS-107 crew as well as NASA Associate Administrator William Readdy, first Columbia commander John Young, and Representative Dave Weldon will gather for a private ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to unveil the addition of the seven lost astronauts' names to the Space Mirror Memorial. The 42 by 50 foot wall was designed so that sunlight passes through the 24 names etched on mirror-finished granite panels. The public may visit the Mirror beginning at 11:00am today.
: As part of his analysis of the Apollo 13 emergency, flight controller Sy Liebergot had a set of audio reels created for him of the four hour period beginning with the oxygen tank explosion to the total loss of all Command Module and Service Module power. They are now thought to be the only known source recording of the famous "Houston, we've had a problem" distress call. We are proud to present a fortunate collector or historian the opportunity to acquire these original reels framed with Liebergot's original Apollo 13 Mission Control badge. In the process of preparing the reels for sale, we interviewed Liebergot about his career, his thoughts on the future, and his motivations for writing his memoirs.
: Imagine if each month you could receive mail from some of your favorite astronauts, accompanied by an authentic autographed photograph, all while raising funds for a great cause. Imagine no more; the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has announced the Astronaut Autograph Club™, an "astronaut-of-the-month" autograph service with such famous space explorers as John Glenn, Walter Schirra and Charles Duke. Join today, as the AAC is limited to only 350 members, and those who register early will receive a bonus autographed photo and letter from James Lovell!
: In June 2002, NASA co-op student Thad Roberts was well on his way to fulfilling his dream of being an astronaut. That is until he, two of his fellow co-ops and his best friend from high school stole a safe full of Apollo moon rocks from NASA. Now, his (ex-) co-op accomplices must each pay $9000 in reparations. His best friend is in jail. And Thad? He will be spending the next eight years in federal prison.