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November 1, 2006

/ 7:19 p.m. CT (0119 GMT Nov 2)

Space (tourist) art

: Pop artist Peter Max gifted first female space flight participant Anousheh Ansari with an installation of 12 recently-painted portraits at his New York flagship gallery on Wednesday.
    Max's prior space-themed images include portraits of John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin, a series honoring Apollo 11 and the painting "Air And Space," commissioned by the Smithsonian for the 25th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's moonwalk. His art has also appeared on the cover of the National Space Society's magazine, Ad Astra.
    Max's dozen portraits of Ansari honor her International Space Station mission. All twelve are oil on canvas done in the artist's pop expressionist style in a rainbow of hues.

November 1, 2006

/ 11:02 p.m. CT (0502 GMT Nov 2)

Lost and found

: Up to 100 original Apollo science data tapes have been found under the seats of an Australian college's lecture hall, having been considered lost for years. According to Cosmos magazine, the tapes contain "a daily record of the environmental conditions and changes taking place at the lunar site after the Eagle landed safely in the Sea of Tranquility." Specifically, they contain the results of the Lunar Dust Detector Experiment designed by Sydney-born physicist Brian O'Brien. He had delivered the tapes to Curtin University of Technology for their safe keeping, but after 25 years were moved into the basement. They were ultimately located after O'Brien, 72, was inspired to look for them having heard of other Apollo missing tapes in the news. As for his now-identified reels, one has been shipped to NASA to test recovering its data.

November 3, 2006

/ 7:54 a.m. CT (1354 GMT)

Talkin' 'bout

: Our Generation, a series on The History Channel covering experiences that shaped the baby boom generation, will turn its focus to the first lunar landing in an episode debuting today at noon and 6 p.m. CST on the cable channel. Apollo 11: The Moon Landing features interviews with people who witnessed and made history at Florida and Texas space centers and the Moon.

November 3, 2006

/ 9:04 a.m. CT (1504 GMT)

Ary plans to appeal

: The former president of the Kansas Cosmosphere, Max Ary has filed notice he will appeal his conviction on 12 federal felony counts for stealing space artifacts from the museum he helped found and selling them at auction. According to The Hutchinson News, Ary's new court-appointed attorney filed the notice with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on October 27. The case has not as yet been docketed by the appellate court.

November 3, 2006

/ 4:27 p.m. CT (2227 GMT)

Space shuttle signatures

: The first female shuttle commander, an original pioneer with 36 years between his two orbital flights and an astronaut who spacewalked to repair the Hubble Space Telescope are among those set to participate in a 4th year of the Astronaut Autograph Club (AAC), the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation posted to their website today. The 2007 Space Shuttle Edition of the AAC will offer its members an autographed photo and personalized letter for every month of next year by space shuttle veterans including Eileen Collins, John Glenn and Kathy Thornton. Other astronauts included for the $34.95 per month enrollment fee are jet backpack test pilot Mark Lee, Mir resident John Blaha and Sky Walker Tom Jones.

November 3, 2006

/ 5:50 p.m. CT (2350 GMT)

Selling centimeters in space

: In 2005, a British college student made headlines and more than $1 million by selling one million pixels for $1 each on his website. For their investment, buyers could place an ad, logo or image and link that fit within the pixels purchased. In a new twist to the concept, students at MIT have launched YNIS — — which sells square centimeters on the outside surfaces of their Mars Gravity Biosatellite, scheduled for launch in 2010. Individuals and companies can pay to fly their corporate logo, photograph or even their signature into Earth orbit. Reservations start at $35 for a square centimeter on the underside of a solar panel to $250/sq cm that will be returned to Earth and the owner (or for $150, your logo can be clearly photographed in space). Fees are tax-deductible and will help underwrite the $30 million needed for the satellite that will study how mammals are affected by Mars-like gravity long exposure.

November 6, 2006

/ 12:02 a.m. CT (0602 GMT)

Moonwalkers movie

: This evening at Fox Studios in Hollywood, the cast and crew of a new documentary about the 12 men who walked on the Moon will be met by the 2nd and 10th Apollo astronauts to do so to view together the result of their two years of work.
    The Wonder of it All, directed by Jeffrey Roth, focuses on how the dozen moonwalkers were personally affected by their history-making missions. The movie features new interviews with 7 of the 9 living men whose bootprints are still preserved in the lunar dust today. In addition to Buzz Aldrin and Charlie Duke, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, John Young, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt were filmed for more than 12 hours. Their candid recollections include statements never heard until now.
    A film festival and screening schedule for The Wonder of it All will soon be released. Until then, a brief synopsis, trailer video and production photographs are available via the documentary's website. Images from tonight's viewing will be posted to collectSPACE afterwards, courtesy Roth.

November 6, 2006

/ 10:50 a.m. CT (1650 GMT)

Mud muddles museum's move

: The USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is stuck in the mud, halting today's planned move to Bayonne, New Jersey for renovations. Built into the aircraft carrier that served as prime recovery ship for Scott Carpenter's Mercury flight and that recovered the Gemini 3 crew and spacecraft, the Intrepid Museum has been moored at the same Hudson River, NY pier for 24 years. Among its space displays are a mockup of a Gemini capsule and a model of the Apollo 12 Intrepid lunar module. The Coast Guard's efforts to move the ship were scrubbed as the tide went down at 11:30 a.m. CT. It is not yet known when another attempt will be staged, but when successful the Intrepid's overhaul will run two years.

November 7, 2006

/ 8:10 a.m. CT (1410 GMT)


: Five-time shuttle astronaut Col. James Halsell (USAF, ret.) has decided to leave NASA to take a position with private industry. His first spaceflights were as pilot of STS-65 in 1994 and STS-74 in 1995. He next commanded a microgravity science mission STS-83 in April 1997, and its re-flight three months later, STS-94, after the first attempt was cut short due to problems with one of three fuel cell power generation units. Halsell's last mission was as STS-101 commander in 2000, which flew and installed equipment and supplies for the International Space Station. After his fifth flight, he served as manager of launch integration, led the post-Columbia return to flight planning team and was asst director of aircraft operations.

November 7, 2006

/ 12:03 p.m. CT (1803 GMT)

TIME-tested heroes

: In 1946, TIME began an edition in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To mark the 60 year anniversary of the Atlantic edition, TIME has devoted their current (November 13) issue to celebrating 60 heroes who emerged since they began publishing. The magazine's list includes rebels and leaders (e.g. Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela), business and culture (e.g. The Beatles) and inspirations and explorers (e.g. Jacques Cousteau and Princess Diana). Also chosen by TIME for the third category is first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Dennis Tito, who lifted off in 2001 from the same pad as Gagarin used in 1961, contributed TIME's essay honoring Gagarin.

November 8, 2006

/ 9:27 p.m. CT (0327 GMT)

NASA to honor moonwalker's memory

: Gemini, Apollo and Skylab veteran Charles "Pete" Conrad (1930-1999) will be honored during a NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award Ceremony at Seattle's The Museum of Flight on November 18. The event is timed to coincide with the 37th anniversary of Apollo 12, that made Conrad the third man to walk on the Moon. Conrad's second wife, Nancy will accept the posthumous award, a small sample of moon rock collected by Conrad and his Apollo 12 crew mate Alan Bean, which she will then give to The Museum of Flight for public display. Conrad will be the 20th person to be named an Ambassador of Exploration since 2004, a distinction NASA is giving to early astronauts and leaders.

November 9, 2006

/ 7:56 p.m. CT (0156 GMT Nov 10)

Delivering Discovery

: Early on Thursday, the space shuttle scheduled to launch the next mission STS-116 was moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center. Perched atop the mobile launch platform and carried by a massive crawler transporter, Discovery made the 4 mile rollout in just over eight hours. STS-116's payload, a station truss segment and Spacehab module was already at the pad, and will be installed in Discovery's payload bay on Saturday. NASA decided today to open the launch window on December 7.

November 11, 2006

/ 3:42 p.m. CT (2142 GMT)

Moon shot

: Shoot for the Moon, the Adler Planetarium's new exhibit highlighting past and future NASA lunar missions, opens to the public today. Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Gemini XII, the gallery displays the restored two-man spacecraft that completed the Gemini program and served as home for four days to astronauts Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin.
    The exhibition begins with A Journey with Jim Lovell featuring the Lovell Collection of personal space artifacts, in addition to the capsule. Mission: Moon continues the journey from the Gemini program to focus on the historic Apollo missions. Young visitors are next invited to serve as team members going back to the moon in this century in the Lunar Dangers Training Lab. Finally, A Lunar Leap, Touch Down uses interactive elements to allow the public to discover the thrills and challenges of lunar exploration.
    Prominent in the gallery are four of the lunar missions: Lovell's Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 flights, Aldrin's Apollo 11, and mankind's last lunar landing to date, 1972's Apollo 17.
    Earlier this week, Lovell and Aldrin reunited in Chicago, Illinois for a preview of the Adler exhibit. Today, they will take part in a celebration of their anniversary at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Florida, near the pad from where they launched 40 years ago. Tonight, they'll attend an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation dinner in their honor.

November 13, 2006

/ 12:02 a.m. CT (0602 GMT)

Arm anniversary

: Twenty-five years ago today, STS-2 pilot Dick Truly extended the Canadarm remote manipulator system, or robotic arm, beyond the shuttle's payload bay into space for the first time in history. The milestone move from on-board Columbia, which itself was setting a world record as the first reusable spacecraft flying its second mission, came at 10 a.m. CT. About an hour later, the first photographs of the deployed arm were sent to Earth, showing it in an inverted "v" shape position.

November 14, 2006

/ 11:17 p.m. CT (0517 GMT Nov 15)

Advertising for astronauts

: Taco Bell laid out a target for Mir; Pizza Hut delivered to the ISS; now, the house that Col. Sanders built has branded the earth. Kentucky Fried Chicken said today that their new logo has become the first to be visible from space and has shared satellite imagery to prove it. The 87,500 square foot KFC "Face from Space" took nearly a month to create and six days to layout the 65,000 one-foot by one-foot painted tile pieces in the desert of Rachel, Nevada. At 423 miles high above the planet, a GeoEye satellite caught Col. Sanders in a new red apron, only the fourth logo in KFC's 50 years.

November 15, 2006

/ 11:02 p.m. CT (0502 GMT Nov 16)

Signatures for scholarships

: Released 40 years after the final splashdown of NASA's second manned flight program, the Gemini XII 40th Anniversary Print by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is signed by GT-12 crewmembers James Lovell and Buzz Aldrin. The sale of the limited edition prints will fund $10,000 scholarships for college students pursuing science or engineering degrees.

November 16, 2006

/ 5:12 p.m. CT (2312 GMT)


: A 107 lb. glass paperweight, the world's largest, was unveiled today by the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Commissioned by the museum to be their thousandth paperweight, Megaplanet is the creation of artist Josh Simpson, whose Planets typically incorporate detailed and multilayered land and seascapes and vistas of outer space. Simpson is in part inspired by his wife, astronaut Cady Coleman, a veteran of two space shuttle missions. Megaplanet measures more than a foot in diameter, is comprised of more than 30 layers of glass, and took 18 months to create. To handle the intense heat and increased size and weight, Simpson required custom tools including special blowpipes, to form the Megaplanet.

November 20, 2006

/ 11:41 p.m. CT (0541 GMT Nov 21)

Sponsoring Skylab

: The grassroots bid to restore a full scale Skylab mockup has just risen in price. In addition to raising funds to repair outdoor weathering to the 1-G trainer (in part by trading spent Skylab supplies for donations) the volunteer restoration team recently learned that $20,000 more is needed for a building to hold Skylab. Although they remain on schedule to complete the repairs by June, the trainer will remain outside until at least 2008, offering new challenges to protect it from degrading again. The Huntsville, Alabama-based team has offered to brand the building with the name of a sponsor providing $20,000.

November 22, 2006

/ 11:43 a.m. CT (1743 GMT)

Lost orbiter

: Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), the longest serving and most productive of any mission ever sent to the red planet has gone silent. The probe has not broadcasted to Earth since November 2, possibly due to an issue with a solar array, which may have left it unable to draw enough power to communicate. NASA's efforts to regain contact with the orbiter have been without success but are continuing. Attempts to view MGS using the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have also returned no results. NASA will next try to hear Global Surveyor using the rover Opportunity on the surface.
    Mars Global Surveyor was launched in November 1996 and began orbiting the red planet on September 11, 1997. Among the probe's achievements, it pioneered the use of aerobraking at Mars, it evaluated landing sites for NASA's rovers and returned more than 240,000 images. Originally the plan was to operate for only one Mars year, but based on the science it returned its life was extended four times.

November 22, 2006

/ 8:10 p.m. CT (0210 GMT Nov 23)

Swing swung, now what?

Mikhail Tyurin has become the third to play golf in space, having successfully launched a little white ball off the International Space Station this evening. The space shot was the result of commercial partnership between Canadian golf company Element 21 and the Russian Federal Space Agency. The swing now swung, what's to become of the two scandium six irons, two extra golf balls and the special tee?
    Element 21 spokesman Joe Wieczorek in an interview with collectSPACE said that the golf equipment would be brought back to Earth with a future reentering Soyuz. The fate of the balls and tee has not yet been decided but the space-swung, ISS crew-autographed, gold-plated club will be on tour. "[We are] looking at the possibility of having it on display at select E21 golf retailers. So, stores that are going to be selling the E21 drivers, irons, hybrids, [etc.,] will probably have the [space six iron] on loan for a period of time so that [people] can actually come up and view it. So, it will be kind of a mini-museum," said Wieczorek.
    After the tour is done says Wieczorek, E21 will decide between auctioning the club to raise funds for a "kids and golf" charity or donating it to a museum. The latter would be consistent with past space-used clubs. Both the moon six iron swung by Alan Shepard and the putter smuggled on-board STS-72 for Brian Duffy were donated to the U.S. Golf Association's Golf House and Museum, Far Hills, NJ.

November 23, 2006

/ 12:03 a.m. CT (0603 GMT)

Space turkey with all the trimmings

: The only American in space this Thanksgiving, Michael Lopez-Alegria can and will partake in a traditional turkey meal when he floats sits down to dinner today, accompanied by candied yams and cornbread dressing. Lopez-Alegria can even enjoy some cranberry sauce, thanks to a choice of single-serving condiments on-board. The thermostabilized smoked turkey may be similar to that eaten by the Apollo 11 moonwalkers as their first meal on the surface, but the variety of side dishes has expanded by giant leaps since then. The evolution from squeeze tubes to celebrity chefs continues as NASA plans for food on the Moon and Mars.

November 29, 2006

/ 3:00 p.m. CT (2100 GMT)

Lion's share of shuttle

: During the Apollo years, there were primarily two companies from which NASA ordered its embroidered mission patches: Lion Brothers of Owings Mills, MD, and AB Emblem of Weaverville, NC. Beginning in 1970 though, NASA chose to work with just the latter, and AB became NASA's official contractor for emblems (through modern day). Lion however, did not stop making mission patches, continuing into the first 10 years of the space shuttle program. Identifying post-1970 Lion Apollo patches is made easier by their choice to use hidden hallmarks. The same cannot be said for their STS emblems and as such a group of enthusiasts have begun assembling illustrations of the rarer-but-more-recent Lions.

November 29, 2006

/ 6:37 p.m. CT (0037 GMT Nov 30)

Cassini's cover shot

: Breathtaking images taken from NASA's Cassini spacecraft are inside and on the cover of the current issue of National Geographic magazine. "Saturn, As You've Never Seen It" explains how the mission is solving mysteries about the origin of the solar system. The December magazine also includes a special map supplement of the solar system, reflecting the status of Pluto as a "dwarf planet." The cover shot of Saturn got thousands of votes in an online poll that asked readers to 'match wits with the editor' as to what would be the image.

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