: At the opening of the Shenzhou 5 exhibit in Hong Kong, Yang Liwei signed a 7-foot poster in view of photographers covering the event. Collectors now have an example of the first taikonaut's autograph.
: As if by itself, the solid 18 karat gold Lunar Module crafted by Cartier and gifted to Apollo 11 CMP Michael Collins was not enough to attract bidders to Aurora Galleries' Lot 588 in their auction this weekend, the model was discovered today to hold its own hidden treasure. After being tipped to an embedded microfilm by Buzz Aldrin, Aurora's staff carefully inspected the LM to uncover the untouched roll, stowed within the skirt of the model's descent engine. The contents of the film, which lists those associated with the model's presentation, will be left for the winner to fully reveal, though Aurora's staff admits to having taken a quick peak.
: ISS astronauts and cosmonauts prefer Russian-made shorts, T- and polo shirts, jerseys, underwear, socks and overalls, according to a report by RIA Novosti. The Kentavr-Nauka "space catalogue" of 27 different pieces of clothing and accessories offers crew members choice of colors for their space wardrobes. The clothes are made of "pleasant-to-touch pure cotton and wool, which lets the body 'breath'."
General Director Alexander Yarov describes the pride of the Kentavr-Nauka line as their anti-blackout suit for use before returning to Earth. "Stylish and efficient, it helps them flex their muscles enfeebled in zero gravity." Also in apparent demand is their Montazhnik set, a "fashionable apron" with pockets and clasps with magnets and Velcro fasteners, as well as an attached tool belt.
: NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is about to make history... again. Today, it reached 90 AU, or 90 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun. Next on its cosmic journey is interstellar space, a region previously unreached by any man-made object. First, Voyager must pass through the termination shock, a violent zone that is the source of beams of high-energy particles.
: It was with concern that we read the e-mail this morning from Jim Remar, Director of Collections, Exhibits and Buildings for the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, KS, explaining that during a staff audit of their collection of artifacts not on display that many discrepancies and irregularities were found to exist. Indications are that items missing were sold for personal gain though not by anyone currently employed by the Cosmosphere.
: The first session of Aurora Galleries' space and aviation memorabilia auction begins today with 846 lots open for bidders. Follow the sale as we post the hammer prices from the auction floor in California.
: The first day of bidding at Aurora Galleries' space memorabilia auction saw a flown Apollo 11 flag presentation signed authentically by the crew sell for $27,500 and Michael Collins' 18kt gold LM model (with the surprise inside) reach $45,000. You can browse the hammer prices for yesterday's session as we get ready to begin live reporting for the second and final day of bids.
: Small satellite startup SpaceDev announced today the auction on eBay of a private space mission. The winning bidder will control the design, payload selection, mission name, and on-orbit use of a microsatellite capable of providing 24-hour video of the Earth from space streamed over the Internet. With a "Buy-It-Now" price set at $9.5 million, bidding opened at $250,000 and closes 11:00pm ET on November 20.
: Gathered in Huntsville, Alabama to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the United States' first space station, Skylab astronauts Alan Bean and William Pogue spoke yesterday with the crew of the International Space Station, trading notes and experiences.
: Hollywood daily Variety reported today that Gary Glasberg ("Crossing Jordan") is scribe and executive producer for an educator astronaut themed drama to air on ABC. The script follows a teacher who moves his family to a small town near Houston. "It's sort of 'The Wonder Years' meets 'Everwood,'" described former ABC executive Stu Bloomberg to Variety.
: The DVD release of the four Disney telecasts produced in collaboration with Wernher von Braun, previously announced for December 2, has been delayed until May 18, 2003. "Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond", part of the Walt Disney Treasures series, was postponed due to production issues, reports DVD news source TheDigitalBits.com.
The offer of an Apollo 8 flown flag signed by the crew to NASA Administrator James Webb should have been enough to grab collectors' attention. However, for those who needed another incentive, there was always the bikini-clad model draped over it...
: If there are still those who question Tom Hanks' deep affinity for all things space, they only need to look at his design for one of the 75, 700 pound, 6 foot tall statues of Mickey Mouse commissioned by the Walt Disney Company to mark the Mouse's 75th anniversary.
: The spiritual journey of Columbia's final commander is the focus of a new biography written by his widow. "High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband" by Evelyn Husband will be released January 8, from Thomas Nelson, Inc. The 224-page hardcover can be pre-ordered now through Amazon.com.
: Enterprise, the United States' first Space Shuttle, was towed yesterday from the hangar where it sat in storage for 18 years at Dulles International Airport to its new home, the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The move came with little fanfare, unlike the ceremonies held earlier this year for the arrivals of the Concorde, Enola Gay, and XV-15 Tilt Rotor, due in part to the on-going preparations for the public opening of the Center on December 15.
: Announced in September, the 12,000-square-foot exhibition "SPACE: A Journey To Our Future" opens today at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington. SPACE will be on display in Seattle through May 9, before traveling to major science centers and museums in North America over the next five years.
: Lelands' current Americana online auction includes eight space memorabilia lots (six if you exclude two Star Trek props). Among them are a flag carried during combat in Vietnam and then flown on Apollo 16, a Mir space station control panel, and a desk set presented as a retirement gift to NASA employee Joseph Healy that may or may not contain tiny flecks of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 moon rock.
Healy's story harks back to an article we published just after our debut in 1999, when the same desk set had been confiscated for testing by NASA after his daughter tried to have it appraised for sale. However, the space agency couldn't determine whether the replica moon rock topping the set was embedded with real lunar material without destroying the presentation. So, NASA returned the desk set to the family (eliciting an appearance by the desk set on NBC's The Today Show).
Presumeably anyone seeking to buy the desk set today for the minimum of $50,000 or more will need to look into melting down the epoxy to expose what if anything is the surprise encased inside.
: The Apollo 7 Command Module will return to the United States next year, thirty years after it went on display at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The homecoming, which is at the request of the Smithsonian, will take place no later than September 2004 after which the CM is likely destined for a museum in either the northeastern U.S. or in California. Both regions are currently without a flown, crewed CM. After Apollo 7, the only CM outside the U.S. will be Apollo 10 which is on display in the United Kingdom.
: First American woman in space, Sally Ride has authored her fifth book aimed at educating children about space exploration. In "Exploring Our Solar System", published by Crown Books for Young Readers, Ride and co-writer Tam O'Shaughnessy explain the formation, current conditions, and possibility of life on each of the nine planets.
: We give thanks today to the artists at Code 3 Collectibles for their attention to detail while sculpting their statue of Alan Shepard, "The Moon Shot". Not only did they faithfully recreate the fifth moonwalker's lunar golf swing, but they also cast a replica of his A7L spacesuit deserving of its connection to the Smithsonian.
: Artist Robert McCall is planning his own Museum of Art in Peoria, Arizona, with 400 of his works on display, reports the Times-Dispatch. Opening in 2005-2006, the gallery will also include McCall's library as well as photographs he has taken over a 50-year period. The Times-Dispatch spoke with McCall in connection with his solo show in the Marsh Art Gallery at the University of Richmond, VA. "Robert McCall: Celebrating 100 Years of Powered Flight" is open through December 14.