: A year has passed since an audit discovered artifacts missing from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, but as of yet no arrests or charges have been filed, reports Chris Green in The Hutchinson News yesterday. A number of the stolen then sold items have been recovered by investigators, though none have been returned to the museum. In an interview, Cosmosphere President and CEO Jeff Ollenburger says he knows little more about the case then he did when the items were reported as missing. "The good news," tells Ollenburger to The Hutchinson News, "is that sometime soon the truth will be brought forward by credible people outside of this organization [as] it will be a matter of legal record. We are just waiting like everyone else," he says.
: Los Angeles-based Farthest Reaches is offering collectSPACE readers a chance to save on most of the artifacts and autographs they offer on their website, as well discounting their shipping fees by 50 percent, for all orders placed through November 30th. Some restrictions apply (but you knew that); more details can be found on our "Buy, Sell, Trade" Messages forum.
: Scott Sullivan's Virtual LM, like his Virtual Apollo before it, is a book dedicated to showing the details of design and production through the use of full-color renderings of the structures, components, and sub-assemblies which comprised the complete Lunar Module. As a bonus, the new Apogee Books' title, now in stock and shipping through buySPACE, also looks inside the lunar rover and the astronauts' life-support backpack.
: The Iron Curtain is pulled back in the focus of Rick Houston's next review, The Red Stuff. This direct-to-DVD release profiles the American astronauts' Cold War counterparts through filmed interviews that are subtitled for English-speaking viewers. Houston hints though, that it may be the bonus biography of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin that justifies Stuff to be added to your stuff.
: The robotics engineers who designed the rock abrasion tool (RAT) for the two Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, obtained metal from the World Trade Center to be cut into shields for the drilling mechanisms' wiring, reveals the New York Times in Sunday's cover story. Based in Manhattan, Honeybee Robotics' mission team had intended the shields, each of which were roughly the size of a credit card and adorned with an American flag, to be a "quiet tribute," but "enough time has passed [and they] wanted the families to know."
: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drive as many new people to collectSPACE as you can in a month's time through positive publicity. If you are successful, you could win a 2005 membership in the Astronaut Autograph Club, an Apollo astronaut replica from Code 3 Collectibles, or a Dave Scott signed copy of Two Sides of the Moon from Countdown Creations! Get the word out and win. Its that simple in our first annual Challenge: Campaign! giveaway.
: The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) is marking its 20th anniversary with a limited edition print signed by four of its founders: John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and the late Gordon Cooper (this project was the last Cooper completed for the ASF prior to his passing on October 4). The print, which features a montage of Mercury mission highlights, is limited to only 300 copies available for $195 each starting today (all proceeds to go to scholarships).
: When filming begins in January on the set of Tom Hanks' IMAX movie, Magnificent Desolation 3D: Walking on the Moon, their props' accuracy won't be an issue: the lunar module, rover and other pieces of Apollo hardware will be on loan from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. "Our work on Hollywood projects like Magnificent Desolation... helps us fulfill our mission of bringing information about space exploration to a large audience," said Cosmosphere president and CEO Jeff Ollenburger. While their LM, which was originally built by Grumman for NBC News coverage of the landings, is being filmed in California, an early lunar vehicle prototype will be on display at the Cosmosphere. Acquired on long-term loan from the Smithsonian, the Bendix Lunar Roving Vehicle is a bulky-looking, large-wheeled buggy with little resemblance to the Lunar Rover used by NASA. The LM and other Apollo-era items to be used for the IMAX movie will be returned by early March, reports the Cosmosphere.
: If Apogee Books' release of Virtual LM left you wanting for more details about the Apollo lunar surface spacecraft, then Boggs Spacebooks has the offer for you. Announced as the first in a series of high quality reprints of vintage NASA working documents, the January 1969 Lunar Module Orientation Study Guide was designed to emphasize the LM's subsystems for the craft's instructor group. Comprised entirely of schematics and drawings, it was used to accompany lectures. Bound in a three-ring binder, the reprint will ship Dec. 6 for $25.
: Though we hope readers will return every day of 2005 to check our "Today in Space History" feature (above), for a colorful alternative, we are proud to partner with CountdownCreations.com to sponsor The Year in Space desk calendar. Each week highlights a different photograph from NASA's archives while daily entries remind you of key space exploration anniversaries, astronomical events and annual holidays.
: Boggs SpaceBooks announced this evening they are accepting pre-orders for signed copies of First Man, the authorized biography of Neil Armstrong. That is, copies signed by its author James Hansen, not the 'first man' himself. Details about the bio, such as cover art, a 2005 street date or even the price have yet to surface, though those who place orders with Boggs now will receive an e-mail when more is released.
: Ulrich Lotzmann, Eric Jones and Ken Glover, editors of the Alan Bean Gallery have redesigned their site to more closely reproduce the experience of touring an exhibition. The astronaut-turned-artist's works can be now be browsed by 'rooms' themed by mission or moonwalker (among others). Speaking of touring, James Gerard's site, A Field Guide To American Spacecraft has expanded to track the current locales of spacesuits, stations and the commercial SpaceShipOne.
: While the crew of Apollo 11 donned their spacesuits for their July 1969 launch, Paul Calle sketched the soon-to-be first moonwalker's profile. The resulting print, signed in 1977 by the artist and Neil Armstrong for the Charles Lindbergh Memorial Fund, grew to be one of the most sought after editions due in no small part to it being one of the only examples of Armstrong lending his autograph to a product for sale. Now one of the owners of the Calle print, Chris Bazil has commissioned artist Thomas Smith to complete the crew in a style complimenting the Armstrong original. Offered exclusively through Novaspace Galleries' Astro Auction, the Buzz Aldrin- and Michael Collins- signed giclees are limited to 200 and 50 copies respectively, for $800 each.
: In fewer days than it took to bring the crew back to Earth safely, Rick Houston delivers his review of Spacecraft Films' Apollo 13: The Real Story DVD set, which was only announced as shipping on Tuesday. The three disc release features extras new to the series, including a commentary audio track recorded by Apollo 13 EECOM and cS member Sy Liebergot. For Houston, recommending Apollo 13 was not a problem...
: Based on artist renderings made available by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, the new Mollett Early Spaceflight Gallery will offer visitors the ability to compare up-close the spacecraft and spacesuits that were used to kick-start the United States and Soviet Union racing for the Moon. The gallery, which is named after Hutchinson locals Clarence and Mary Jane Mollett who donated $2 million to the Cosmosphere, will exhibit a flown Vostok, the Gemini X spacecraft and Mercury 4 - Liberty Bell 7.
: TIME Magazine names SpaceShipOne as their "Invention of the Year" in issues hitting newsstands today. The X Prize-winning craft and its inventor Burt Rutan grace the cover of the news weekly, which journalist Chris Taylor describes as having an "ingenious design, entrepreneurial moxie" and "a world-changing vision of the future" in the magazine.
: Mission Control veteran Don Puddy, whose 31-year career with NASA spanned the Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle programs, died Monday at age 67, after a lengthy illness. Puddy was only the 10th person to be named a Flight Director and in that role led the first landing of the Space Shuttle on April 14, 1981. Flags over Mission Control were flown at half staff today in honor of his memory. Memorial services are pending.
: For the next crew of the International Space Station, named by NASA on Tuesday, the outpost will be familiar surroundings. ISS Expedition 11's Flight Engineer and Science Officer John Phillips visited the station for 8 days in 2001 as an STS-100 crew member. Exp. 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev will be making his third launch to the ISS and his second long duration stay onboard. Already the record holder for the cosmonaut with the most spaceflights, Krikalev will have more time above the Earth than anyone, American or Russian, at the completion of this six month mission.
: Did you help design the lunar rover? Do you remember the first rocket firings here at the Marshall Center? Are you a materials engineer who helped define requirements for the Saturn V? Do you have a stash of historical NASA documents from the Saturn/Apollo era that you would like to move out of the garage but don't want to throw away? So begins the lead article in the current issue of the Marshall Star, a weekly newsletter for employees of the Huntsville NASA center. Dubbed Lunar Data Mining by the space center's projects office and materials processing laboratory, the goal is to avoid reinventing the wheel by video documenting expert advice and archiving information sources so the lessons contained within can be applied to The Vision for Space Exploration. The first product resulting from the effort will be a DVD database that includes hundreds of electronic documents, bibliographies, interviews and web links - all indexed and organized by category and cross-referenced.
: For years, the owner of a pencil that Apollo 15 LMP Jim Irwin carried on the Moon has shared his lunar-flown artifact with others by offering for sale laminated cards marked with an X by the writing instrument's well-traveled graphite. Dennis Bylina is now offering to scribe your name - or the name of your choice - in lunar lead on a multi-color 5.5 by 8.5" card for $35 (though names are limited to just 20 letters).