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October 1, 2015

/ 12:15 a.m. CT (0515 GMT)

'The Martian' stamped spuds


In what may be one of the more unusual promotions for a movie, let alone for a film about an astronaut stranded alone on Mars, you can now mail a free potato to yourself, or a friend, complete with a custom postage stamp featuring the astronaut Mark Watney. 20th Century Fox has partnered with Mail a Spud to send 1,000 postmarked potatoes to fans of the new film "The Martian." (Suffice to say, potatoes play a part in Mark Watney's [Matt Damon] adventures on the Red Planet.)

October 2, 2015

/ 12:35 p.m. CT (1735 GMT)

The real Mars lander in 'The Martian'


The new Ridley Scott film "The Martian" features NASA logos, NASA-inspired spaceships and NASA facilities all shown as how they might look in 2035. A historic spacecraft however, also appears in more than just a cameo. To fact check the film's replica of the real Mars lander, collectSPACE asked the mission's leaders to explain how their probe worked.

October 5, 2015

/ 3:05 p.m. CT (2005 GMT)

Paved with stars


Launched on Kickstarter, a new series of limited edition posters seeks to reinterpret astronauts' portraits as artwork. uniphi space agency, a division of the talent firm uniphi good LLC, has partnered with the New York design house Chop Shop to introduce the first of posters, which features 18 space shuttle and space station astronauts. Inscribed "The path less traveled is paved with stars," the poster is being crowd-funded together with a set of astronaut postcards, offered as is and autographed.

October 6, 2015

/ 7:45 a.m. CT (1245 GMT)

Curating Sally Ride's life


The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday (Oct. 6) is celebrating its acquisition of Sally Ride's personal items and papers, which will serve to represent her life and legacy as the first American woman in space. The collection covers the full trajectory of the late astronaut's career, from the tennis racket she used as she became a nationally-ranked player to the checklists she used to train to the helmet she wore on NASA's jets to the many awards she was bestowed.

October 8, 2015

/ 4:05 p.m. CT (2105 GMT)

Apollo photos redux


Decade-old scans of Apollo astronauts' photos landed in the news this week, in response to tens of thousands of the raw unprocessed images being added to Flickr. Headlines described the photos as "never before seen" and posted by NASA, misrepresenting the gallery, which is composed of previously public images uploaded by the independent Project Apollo Archive.

October 14, 2015

/ 4:15 p.m. CT (2115 GMT)

Readying for a return to flight


Orbital ATK this week shipped the service module for its next space station cargo mission to Florida, where it will be mated to the company's first Cygnus freighter to be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Targeted to lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in early December, the mission, designated OA-4, will mark the return to flight for Cygnus after the previous uncrewed craft was destroyed in an October 2014 failure of Orbital ATK's Antares booster.

October 15, 2015

/ 7:45 p.m. CT (0045 GMT)

George Mueller, 1918-2015


If it weren't for George Mueller, the Apollo program may not have succeeded at landing the first men on the moon "before this decade was out." The head of human space flight from 1963 to 69, Mueller died on Monday (Oct. 12) at age 97. In addition to his management systems and his push for "all-up" testing of the Saturn V, which kept Apollo on track, Mueller played a key part in the design of the first U.S. space station and is often credited as the "father of the space shuttle."

October 16, 2015

/ 12:30 a.m. CT (0530 GMT)

Back the Booster


Forty-five years since its return to New Orleans, NASA's last Saturn V first stage is now the focus of a new mission to ship it to Mississippi for conservation and display. The 'Back the Booster' campaign by the INFINITY Science Center aims to crowd-fund $500,000 to move the S-IC-15 stage to Stennis Space Center for its preservation for future generations. Fred Haise, who would have rode atop the stage had Apollo 19 not been canceled is lending his support and time to the Kickstarter project.

October 16, 2015

/ 2:15 p.m. CT (1915 GMT)

Record time in space


"Records are meant to be broken," astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted from onboard the International Space Station on Friday (Oct. 16). Just a day earlier, Kelly surpassed Mike Fincke's 381 days, 15 hours and 11 minutes for the most cumulative time logged off the planet by an American. Kelly will ultimately total 522 days over his four missions by the time he lands in March 2016. And he will break another record in late October, exceeding the 215 days for the longest mission by a U.S. astronaut.

October 21, 2015

/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0500 GMT)

Back to the flight test


The future becomes history today (Oct. 21), at least as 2015 was envisioned in the movie "Back to the Future Part II" in 1989. It was (is?) at 4:29 p.m. that Doc Brown and Marty McFly landed in future (present?) Hill Valley, California. In real life, it was a NASA mission that launched the first DeLorean time machine on a trip to where, as Doc would put it, "we don't need roads."

October 21, 2015

/ 3:30 p.m. CT (2030 GMT)

Astronaut Hall of Fame closing


The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is closing on Nov. 2, a quarter century (and five days) after it first opened, to become a featured part of a new high-tech attraction set to debut in late 2016 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Hall of Fame will serve as the culminating element of "Heroes and Legends," designed to immerse guests in the history of the early space race. For 25 years, the Hall hosted the world's largest collection of astronauts' personal memorabilia.

October 22, 2015

/ 6:55 p.m. CT (2355 GMT)

NASA's SLS gets its racing stripes


NASA on Thursday (Oct. 22) revealed the new look of its Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, shedding its earlier Saturn V-inspired black and white motif in favor of the "natural orange" color of the foam insulation that will cover its core. The SLS's twin boosters have also gained orange and gray racing stripes. The rocket's updated look was confirmed as part of a critical design review, a milestone toward the first flight of the Space Launch System, targeted for 2018.

October 23, 2015

/ 2:00 a.m. CT (0700 GMT)

Astronaut moon watch sold


A watch worn on the surface of the moon set a new record on Thursday (Oct. 22), selling for more than $1.6 million. Believed to be the highest price ever paid for an astronaut-owned artifact, the Bulova timepiece was used by Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott on his third moonwalk after his NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster broke. RR Auction sold the chronograph to a Florida businessman who collects "one-of-a-kind items."

October 26, 2015

/ 7:30 a.m. CT (1230 GMT)



Astronaut Tim Peake will take a playlist of 75 songs to the space station in December, to listen to in his off time, as well as to challenge his Twitter followers. Several times each week, Peake plans to tweet lines from the music's lyrics. The first person to answer with the correct title and artist of the track will win what Peake says are "possibly the coolest ever patches flown in space."

October 28, 2015

/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0500 GMT)

Lunar rover lost


A 1965 prototype used to develop the Apollo lunar roving vehicle is no longer, after being sold for scrap in 2014. As first reported by Motherboard, the test article built by Brown Engineering was found sitting in an Alabama backyard, but before NASA could request it be returned, the moon buggy was discarded. The lost lunar rover may have once been driven by Wernher von Braun.

October 28, 2015

/ 2:30 p.m. CT (1930 GMT)

Lunar rover found


No sooner did the story of a lost prototype moon buggy break in the news were there reports surfacing that it had been found. The 50-year-old lunar rover was not scrapped as NASA was led to report, but rather it was set aside by an Alabama junkyard owner. The Brown Engineering mobile test article may now be heading to auction, if legal title to the vehicle can be worked out.

October 30, 2015

/ 7:25 a.m. CT (1225 GMT)

'Astronaut' on a 'Journey'


Museum guests can now "Be the Astronaut" on a "Journey to Space" thanks to two new hands-on exhibits at Space Center Houston and the California Science Center. In Los Angeles, visitors can climb aboard the International Space Station, and in Texas they missions and launch to the moon, Mars, the asteroids and Jupiter. Both exhibits seek to educate the public about the science and technology of human space exploration.

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