October 3, 2006 / 8:38 p.m. CT (0137 GMT Oct 4) Ford's findings for "a" man: Peter Shann Ford, who last Saturday revealed that he'd identified the missing 'a' in Neil Armstrong's famous "small step for a man" speech has now released his results for all to read and repeat. In an email sent to collectSPACE, Ford wrote that "it would be neat if this [audio study] became an exercise people around the world can join in on — something they really can try at home." To that end, the program he used and the recording he dissected are available via the paper.
October 5, 2006 / 12:42 a.m. CT (0542 GMT) Tomorrow is yesterday: This patch, which is of the same type worn by astronaut Kelly onboard Ares IV, the first piloted mission to Mars in 2032, could be yours if yours is the winning bid. The future is on sale this week in New York, as 40 years of history hits the auction block. Beginning today and continuing through Saturday, over 1000 lots will be offered by Christie's from the archives of CBS Paramount television studios. 40 Years of Star Trek spans five series and ten movies that imagined the future of space exploration by creator Eugene Roddenberry. In addition to tricorders, phasers, captain's chairs, and the odd tribble or two, are lots, such as the Mars mission patch inspired by real space history. Fictional shuttlecraft were designed using real space shuttle parts. Flight suits were patterned after NASA astronaut garments. Even the nameplates from starships bear monikers of earlier space vehicles. And all of it is for sale to the highest bidders... Many of the NASA-influences can be credited to Mike Okuda, technical consultant and scenic art supervisor for Star Trek's many modern iterations, who has also created insignias for the space agency. Christie's auction catalog includes commentary by Okuda and his wife Denise, also a Trek advisor, including notes linking the items to NASA.
October 7, 2006 / 4:39 p.m. CT (2139 GMT) Lots of lots: Two auction houses, each of which has space history memorabilia sales scheduled for later in the month, now have their catalogs online for collectors to review. Regency-Superior issued the listings for their October 15 space-devoted session early last month but recently added the lots' descriptions to eBay's space history collectibles category. The Beverly Hills, California auction includes a sheet of U.S. 4-cent Mercury stamps autographed by the seven original astronauts; a "Phases of the Moon" philatelic cover that flew on Apollo 15 to the Moon; and Wernher von Braun's weekly notes from 1962. Aurora of Bell Canyon, California posted their full-color catalog in PDF format to their website today. Over 2,200 lots will be auctioned October 21-22, with an internet only second chance sale scheduled for October 29. The sale's highlights include Mike Collins' Apollo 11-flown U.S. flag; an SR-71 pressure suit; and a 1:8 scale Buran test model.
October 11, 2006 / 12:02 a.m. CT (0502 GMT) The Aerocar & Armstrong: "I could build a space ship," Molt Taylor told a reporter in 1948 at the close of World War II. "All that is necessary to make the 'trip to the moon' a reality is to bring available talent, money and facilities together." Taylor, who served as the Navy's lead for pilotless aircraft development went on, "I wouldn't be the least surprised to see this happen in my lifetime." Taylor wouldn't build a space ship but 46 years later he would sit with the first man to walk on the Moon in a craft of his own invention. Brought together for the filming of a 1994 A&E Network series, Neil Armstrong, serving as the host, interviewed Taylor about his brainchild, the Aerocar. Taylor's flying automobile has more than just a passing connection to space vehicles and the men that flew them. X-15 pilot Scott Crossfield conducted the Aerocar's wind tunnel tests while at the University of Washington in 1948. These details and more are contained within the newly published book, A Drive in the Clouds by Jake Schultz, a technical analyst for Boeing's New Airplane Development division and a collectSPACE member. Schultz previously worked at Seattle's Museum of Flight, where he presently is acting-chairman of the space collection sub-committee.
October 12, 2006 / 12:56 a.m. CT (0556 GMT) A FCR from the past: Current and former flight controllers gathered on Wednesday at Johnson Space Center, Houston, to attend the re-commissioning ceremony for Flight Control Room-1 (FCR-1, pronounced ficker one) as the International Space Station's (ISS) operations center. First used thirty-eight years earlier (to the day) for Apollo 7, FCR-1 was also mission control for Skylab, the United States' first space station; STS-1, the first shuttle mission; and STS-71, the first shuttle-Mir docking (FCR-1 oversaw 61 missions in total). Revived and redesigned to meet the station's needs, the room retains its long history.
October 13, 2006 / 4:32 p.m. CT (2132 GMT) Cosmonaut candidates: On Tuesday, the Russian Federal Space Agency announced the selection of seven candidates to enter cosmonaut training in January 2007. Of the seven, five are pilots from the Russian Air Force and two are engineers from RSC Energia. The new group has six men and one female, Elena Serova, wife of cosmonaut Mark Serov. The other six are: Alex Misurkin, Oleg Novitskiy, Alexei Ovchinin, Sergei Ryzhikov, Maxim Ponomarev and Nikolai Tikhonov. Igor Panarin, speaking for Roscosmos, said there are now 36 active cosmonauts.
October 13, 2006 / 9:42 p.m. CT (0242 GMT Oct 14) Cells for Skylab: The AIAA all-volunteer team working to restore a full-scale mock- up of Skylab at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama is now offering a solar cell that was flight qualified for the space station to each person who makes a 100% tax-deductible donation of $100 or more. While work is underway, funds are still needed to save this 1-G trainer from degradation.
October 15, 2006 / 4:03 a.m. CT (0903 GMT) Sunday at Superior: Starting at 1:00 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT) today, Regency-Superior will open to live bidding almost 500 lots of space memorabilia at the Stamp Exhibition of Southern California in Los Angeles. For those unable to attend but who are pre-registered, bidding is also available through eBay Live, where collectors who are not participating may also observe the hammer prices.
October 16, 2006 / 12:15 a.m. CT (0515 GMT) Footprints on a Secret Moon: Spacecraft modeler David Senechal put his pen where his passion is and authored Footprints on a Secret Moon. As the cover art, created by Senechal, reveals, a central conceit to the novel is the modification of a Gemini spacecraft museum exhibit to double as a lunar lander. Footprints' protagonist, Alan Malone has a lifelong interest in the Apollo Program, so much so that he finds a way to see the Moon firsthand.
October 17, 2006 / 12:13 p.m. CT (1713 GMT) M3-A13: Premiering tonight on The History Channel is Apollo 13: Triumph on the Dark Side, a new episode in their Man, Moment, Machine series. Using actor re-enactments (including Kansas Cosmosphere's outgoing President and CEO Jeff Ollenburger as astronaut Swigert) and interviews with those who made history (including Sy Liebergot, EECOM and flight director Eugene Kranz), the show centers on the convergence of human ingenuity and technological invention to save the Apollo 13 crew's lives. Filmed in part at the Cosmosphere, Apollo 13: Triumph on the Dark Side is part of The History Channel Space Week.
October 18, 2006 / 8:23 p.m. CT (0123 GMT Oct 19) John L. Finley 1935-2006: One of the first eight candidates selected by the Air Force in November 1965 to train for its Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program passed away last month. Navy Capt. John "Jack" Finley, 70, succumbed to illness on September 19. Finley prepared to fly as an MOL astronaut until 1968, when he returned to the Navy for an additional 12 years of service. In the time since, he was a vice president for FedEx and led two other aviation-related companies. According to his obituary, the Navy will honor his desire for a burial at sea.
October 19, 2006 / 12:36 a.m. CT (0536 GMT) Five for 15: On Wednesday, Roscosmos and NASA named two cosmonauts and two astronauts for the 15th expedition crew to reside on the International Space Station (ISS). Fyodor Yurchikhin will command the mission, which begins when he and Oleg Kotov launch in March 2007 aboard Soyuz TMA-10. Waiting for them will be Sunita Williams, who will be entering her fourth month on-orbit. Williams will be ISS 15's third crewmember until Clayton Anderson arrives with Endeavour in June. He will live on the ISS until September, when Daniel Tani arrives. Yurchikhin and Kotov are scheduled to return to Earth a few days later. Tani will ride home on STS-122 in October.
October 21, 2006 / 1:27 p.m. CT (1827 GMT) Aurora auction: The bidding has already begun at Aurora Auctions, where for today and tomorrow more than 2,200 space and aviation memorabilia lots will be offered. If are not in Bell Canyon, California to raise your bidder paddle in-person, you can still do so virtually through eBay, where you can also watch the bidding live.
UPDATE: Due to technical issues encountered by eBay, Saturday's auction session was halted early at lot 55 (of 1027). As a result, all remaining lots that were scheduled to be bid on Saturday will be offered in Sunday's session. Aurora will begin two hours early at 10:00 a.m. CDT and will announce a new date for the second auction session.
October 24, 2006 / 1:47 p.m. CT (1847 GMT) A new year in space: The Year In Space calendar takes its readers on an out of this world journey while providing a convenient way to organize their busy lives back on Earth. The 53 weekly images represent the full spectrum of space exploration, an informative essay accompanies every photograph, and each calendar page is filled with historic dates in space history. As a leading sponsor for 2007, collectSPACE is happy to provide our readers with discounts of 25%-44% when ordering copies.
October 24, 2006 / 3:50 p.m. CT (2050 GMT) Sticks for sale: Space Food Sticks™, first manufactured by Pillsbury as an entry into the space food craze of the early '60s, are being re-launched into stores. The original energy bars that flew into orbit with the last Skylab mission, will be marketed by Retrofuture Products in chocolate and peanut butter flavors to museums, parks and nostalgia stores, as well as perhaps to space tourists.
October 25, 2006 / 9:26 p.m. CT (0226 GMT Oct 26) Stellar start: NASA's STEREO mission is off to a bright beginning; the Delta II rocket carrying the two satellites streaked through the starry sky after launching tonight from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The spacecraft are on their way to investigating the origin of solar storms erupting from the sun. The twin STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) craft, positioned on opposite sides of Earth, will provide the first 3-D views of the sun and solar wind, improving our understanding of space weather and its impact on astronauts and satellites.
October 25, 2006 / 10:15 p.m. CT (0326 GMT Oct 26) Milli-Sol: NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will finish its 1,000th Martian day on Thursday, continuing a successful mission originally planned for 90 Martian days. The Martian day, or Sol, is longer than an Earth day, lasting 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds. That means that in Earth days, Spirit has been on Mars about 1,026 days. To mark the millennial milestone, NASA has released a color, 360° panorama taken by Spirit's camera.
October 26, 2006 / 3:02 p.m. CT (2002 GMT) Glenn's Swiss stopwatch: TAG Heuer, a maker of chronographs, released today the results of an independent study that found that John Glenn's stopwatch worn on-board Friendship 7 for his historic orbital mission was made by Heuer, establishing them as the first Swiss watchmaker to have a timepiece in space. Omega, maker of Wally Schirra's Sigma 7 flown Speedmaster (the model first worn on the Moon) and Breitling, that Scott Carpenter chose to wear on Aurora 7, were long thought likely to be candidates for the distinction. The evidence backing TAG Heuer's claim was posted to the website OnTheDash.com by space and watch enthusiast Jeff Stein, including flight records, NASA papers and photographs from the mission.
October 27, 2006 / 4:07 p.m. CT (2107 GMT) Three-stage, eighth wonder: USA Today newspaper and Good Morning America on ABC have brought together an international panel of scholars, writers, adventurers and explorers (including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist director of the Hayden Planetarium) to select "Seven New Wonders of the World." Beginning on November 9, the morning TV show will reveal one wonder per day. From the list of runner-ups, they are asking their readers and viewers to vote for an eighth wonder. NASA's moon booster, the Saturn V rocket is among the choices, which also includes the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon.
October 31, 2006 / 6:11 p.m. CT (0011 GMT Nov 1) Hubble's heroes: NASA announced today that it would launch a fifth and final Hubble Space Telescope shuttle servicing mission in 2008. The crew of STS-125 will be led by Scott Altman, who commanded the fourth HST mission as well. "Scooter," as he is known, is one of three STS-109 vets to join STS-125: spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino are the other two. Greg C. "Ray Jay" Johnson, pilot, and mission specialists Megan McArthur, Drew Feustel and Mike Good are all rookies. The crew only learned of the assignment recently. "We were notified in advance," Feustel told collectSPACE at a press conference this afternoon. "Not a whole long time in advance but I had been tracking the Hubble a little bit for the space shuttle program and astronaut office, so I was aware what the mission was about and the complexities." "A few of us had been able work as the team that was investigating the possibilities for potentially going to do a servicing mission," added McArthur, who during the flight will be responsible for operating the shuttle's robotic arm. "We had the opportunity to do some of that development work earlier this year, so [we] learned a little bit about the telescope, but obviously still have a lot to learn." "I didn't fully believe [we had the flight] until I heard the words come out of the administrator's mouth this morning at the press conference," Altman said with a smile. "That was when I really started to get excited." The 11-day mission, which is tentatively scheduled for Discovery, will include five spacewalks during which new gyroscopes, batteries, sensors and exterior insulation will be installed; a wide field camera will be replaced; and the telescope's spectrograph will be repaired. Astronauts also will add fixtures to connect with a future deorbit module to control its reentry into the Earth's atmosphere in 15 years.