October 1, 2013 / 8:30 p.m. CT (0130 GMT Oct 2) Moon dust ale in spacesuit koozies: From Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery and ILC Dover, the contractor that made NASA's lunar spacesuits, comes 'Celest-jewel-ale,' a traditional Oktoberfest beer, with one not so traditional ingredient: crushed lunar meteorite. Steeped like tea, the real moon dust lends "a subtle earthiness. (Or is it mooniness?)" to the limited edition ale. And as if the moon wasn't enough, Celest-jewel-ale is served in a koozie made of the same multi-layer materials as ILC's spacesuits.
'Gravity' reality check: Alfonso Cuarón, the director of Warner Bros. Pictures' new movie "Gravity," originally tried to set his story in a scenario that was completely faithful to real-life spaceflight. The result was a thick script that "was just about explaining to the audiences all [about astronautics], so we had to try to create a balance," stated Cuarón in his interview with collectSPACE. As he and star Sandra Bullock explained, they strove to be accurate while creating "a piece of fiction," not a space documentary.
October 3, 2013 / 4:00 p.m. CT (2100 GMT) Moon engine moonlight move: A mockup of an Apollo Saturn V F-1 engine that for 35 years was displayed outside the plant where the massive engines were built in the 1960s was moved overnight Wednesday (Oct. 2) to Aerojet Rocketdyne's Los Angeles headquarters. The short trip by truck preceded the Canoga Park factory closing and kept the Smithsonian-owned engine on public display.
October 4, 2013 / 3:50 p.m. CT (2050 GMT) 'Gravity' hidden history: "Gravity," the new dramatic thriller from Warner Bros. Pictures, opened in theaters Friday (Oct. 4), providing audiences their first look at director Alfonso Cuarón's movie about spacewalkers Sandra Bullock and George Clooney stranded in orbit. The feature sets the action within modern day spaceflight and includes a number of hidden references that only space enthusiasts may recognize. collectSPACE.com found five nods to real space history in "Gravity." (This article has its own "easter egg"; find it and be treated to the surprise collectSPACE arranged for Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuarón.)
October 5, 2013 / 10:10 a.m. CT (1510 GMT) Space shuttle 'Independence': In 1978, as NASA was figuring out what to call its space shuttles, an ad hoc committee drew together and ranked a list of possible names. Ranked second among the 15 recommended names was "Independence" ("Constitution" topped the list). NASA ultimately chose to use sea vessel names, like Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. On Saturday (Oct. 5), second-ranked "Independence" got its second chance, and was revealed as the new name for Texas' orbiter replica at Space Center Houston. Space shuttle "Independence" will eventually be displayed on top of NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft as part of a new $12-million, six-story attraction.
October 7, 2013 / 12:01 a.m. CT (0501 GMT) Pull of 'Gravity': Warner Bros Pictures' epic space thriller "Gravity" rocketed to the top of the box office its first weekend, pulling in an estimated $55.6 million, reports Variety. The movie, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as stranded spacewalkers, set the record for films released in October. Almost universally praised by critics, "Gravity" was also hailed as impressive by astronauts.
October 8, 2013 / 8:55 p.m. CT (0155 GMT Oct 9) Defending Mount Marilyn: In 1968, prior to leaving Earth on mankind's first flight to orbit the moon, the Apollo 8 crew coined names for several craters and lunar landmarks that they'd be the first to see with bare eyes. Bill Anders named craters for Apollo program leaders, as well as his crewmates and himself, while Jim Lovell selected a small, triangular mountain on the "shoreline" of the Sea of Tranquility to name "Mount Marilyn," after his wife. Despite the names becoming part of the Apollo lexicon, they were ultimately replaced by other designations approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Anders and Lovell are now requesting their original names be recognized.
Scott Carpenter, 1925-2013: The fourth US astronaut to fly in space, the second to orbit the Earth, and the sixth person worldwide to leave the planet, M. Scott Carpenter died on Thursday (Oct. 10), after suffering a recent stroke. He was 88. Selected among the original Mercury 7 astronauts, Carpenter also made history as an aquanaut in the Navy's Man-in-Sea Project, living 30 days on SEALAB II on the ocean floor. Godspeed, Scott Carpenter.
October 11, 2013 / 7:00 a.m. CT (1200 GMT) EndeavourFest: Space shuttle Endeavour's Los Angeles display home for the past year, the California Science Center, is celebrating the first anniversary of the orbiter's arrival at its Samuel Oschin Pavilion with a weekend festival to thank those who supported the shuttle's historic "Mission 26" journey. The three-day public Endeavour Fest begins Friday (Oct. 11) featuring astronauts, SpaceX and Red Bull Stratos capsule displays, the premiere of a short-form documentary about Endeavour's final journey, and an opportunity to learn about the shuttle's permanent exhibit.
October 15, 2013 / 10:15 a.m. CT (1515 GMT) Pretty penny or red cent? Numismatists or coin collectors grade and value coins based on their condition. Recently on eBay, a 1909 "VDB" penny, just like the one now on Mars but in better condition, sold for $1,300. So, would the Mars dust that's now coating the penny stuck to NASA's Curiosity rover enhance or detract from the coin's value? Is it now a pretty penny or not worth a red cent?
October 17, 2013 / 7:30 a.m. CT (1230 GMT) Astronaut Wives Club, the TV series: ABC has green-lit development of a limited drama series based on "The Astronaut Wives Club" by Lily Koppel. Reportedly fast-tracked for a summer 2014 debut, the television show will be adapted from the best-selling book by "Gossip Girl" co-creator Stephanie Savage. Koppel's "The Astronaut Wives Club" recounts the early manned space program from the perspective of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spouses.
October 21, 2013 / 7:50 a.m. CT (1250 GMT) Space at the Olympics: The first woman to fly in space, Vostok 6 cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, took part in the traditional (and terrestrial) Olympic torch relay for the Sochi Winter Games on Saturday (Oct. 19), taking hold of the flame and lighting the cauldron in her home city of Yaroslavl, Russia. Elsewhere at the same time, a torch to be used in the opening ceremonies was ready for its trip on Monday (Oct. 21) to Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where it will be launched to the International Space Station and taken on a history-making spacewalk.
October 22, 2013 / 6:40 a.m. CT (1140 GMT) Spaceship G.David Low departing: Orbital Sciences' first Cygnus commercial resupply spacecraft, named the "Spaceship G. David Low," left the International Space Station on Tuesday (Oct. 22), after 23 days attached to the orbiting complex. The barrel shaped ship brought 1,300 pounds (589 kg) of cargo to the ISS on this demonstration mission and was repacked with trash for its destructive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Beginning in December, Orbital will begin a series of eight cargo resupply flights to the space station under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.
October 22, 2013 / 1:00 p.m. CT (1800 GMT) Dmitri Zaikin, 1932-2013: Chosen in March 1960 as a member of the Soviet Union's first class of 20 cosmonaut candidates, Dmitri A. Zaikin died Sunday (Oct. 20) at age 81. The back-up commander for the 1965 Voskhod 2 mission, which included the world's first spacewalk, Zaikin never flew in space, the result of being medically grounded in 1968. He instead became a long-serving instructor and engineer at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
October 27, 2013 / 12:05 p.m. CT (1705 GMT) Armstrong's moon suit lands on list: Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 lunar spacesuit is the cover for Smithsonian Magazine's collector's issue, "101 Objects that Made America," on sale Tuesday (Oct. 29). The list draws from the 137 million artifacts in the Smithsonian's 19 museums and research centers, including at least two other objects held by the National Air and Space Museum: space shuttle Discovery and the Telstar communications satellite.
October 28, 2013 / 7:40 a.m. CT (1240 GMT) 'Astronaut's Guide' set for launch: Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will leave on a multi-month, four-country tour Tuesday (Oct. 29) to promote the release of his first book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" (Little, Brown & Co/Random House Canada). Scheduled to visit book stores and take part in evening conversations in seven U.S. cities, across Canada, in England and Ireland, Hadfield has more than two dozen signings planned.
October 29, 2013 / 12:20 p.m. CT (1720 GMT) Dream Chaser drop test: A prototype for a space plane designed to taxi crews to Earth orbit soared during its first drop test but then skidded off the runway due to a landing gear failure on Saturday (Oct. 26). Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Dream Chaser engineering test article may have passed a milestone toward taking astronauts to the International Space Station, but was damaged when its left landing gear didn't deploy. The mini-shuttle is based on NASA's HL-20 lifting body vehicle concept and is intended to launch atop United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets.