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December 1, 2014

/ 5:00 a.m. CT (1100 GMT)

Aboard Orion

: When NASA's Orion capsule launches on its first test flight this week, it'll do so carrying a full manifest of mementos and historically significant items. The EFT-1 commemorative kit includes Star Trek, Back to the Future and Marvel memorabilia, as well as an Apollo spacesuit artifact, artwork and music specially recorded for the flight. Lockheed Martin loaded Orion's stowage lockers with a variety of flags, medallions, patches and pins.

December 4, 2014

/ 2:35 p.m. CT (2035 GMT)

Delayed debut

: Thursday's (Dec. 4) attempt at launching NASA's Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) was scrubbed after problems were found with the mission's Delta 4 Heavy rocket. The historic liftoff was delayed a day to troubleshoot some of the Delta's propellant fill-and-drain valves, which failed to close when commanded. The Orion launch will mark the first time in more than 40 years that a NASA capsule designed for a crew has flown in space.

December 5, 2014

/ 6:45 a.m. CT (1245 GMT)

Dawn of Orion

: NASA's first space capsule designed to fly astronauts to Mars launched Friday (Dec. 5) on a four-and-a-half hour test flight hailed as 'the first step to deep space.' Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) began with the Orion spacecraft lifting off atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

December 5, 2014

/ 8:00 p.m. CT (0200 GMT Dec 6)


NASA's first Orion capsule to fly in space returned to Earth Friday (Dec. 5) 4 hours and 24 minutes after it launched on Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). Described as "flawless," the two-orbit mission returned stunning views of the Earth as the uncrewed Orion climbed to 3,604 miles high and as it reentered the atmosphere in a test of its heat shield. A remotely-piloted drone filmed the capsule's descent and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

December 8, 2014

/ 5:20 p.m. CT (2320 GMT)

60,000 miles in 24 photos

: Two days after and 42 years before NASA's first Orion flew 3,604 miles out into space, the agency's last mission to the moon, Apollo 17, soared past the same distance. A first, small step for the new space capsule, NASA's Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 lasted just 4 hours and 24 minutes, but offered a glimpse at things to come. Here, in 24 photographs, is a look back at EFT-1, from the launch to orbit to ocean splashdown.

December 9, 2014

/ 4:45 p.m. CT (2245 GMT)

'Stoopid' space patch

: Invited to design the mission patch for the CASIS ARK3 series of science experiments to be performed on the International Space Station, actor and space enthusiast Seth Green drew inspiration from his inner 'nerd.' Borrowing the shape from the station's own Cupola and deriving its layout from a CASIS motto, Green based his patch's color palette on "Battlestar Galactica."

December 11, 2014

/ 3:05 p.m. CT (2105 GMT)


: Forty-two years (to the day) after the last manned moon landing, Astrobotic on Thursday (Dec. 11) announced the launch of its MoonMail program, offering the public the opportunity to fly their own mementos to the lunar surface. With a starting price of $460, MoonMail aims to open the moon to individuals. "They will make history by participating in the first commercial moon landing," stated Astrobotic's chief executive officer John Thornton.

December 12, 2014

/ 1:50 p.m. CT (1950 GMT)

'Journey To Space'

: Coming to large-format movie screens in 2015, "Journey To Space" tells the true "story of what the next chapter of space exploration will bring," while looking back at what role the space shuttle played in preparing us for that future. Filmed at NASA centers and at commercial facilities, "Journey To Space" features the real hardware being developed for a human mission to Mars.

December 15, 2014

/ 7:45 a.m. CT (1345 GMT)

Skywalker X-33

: Tested and qualified by the European Space Agency, the new version of Omega's Speedmaster X-33, the Skywalker, features a movement based on an invention by ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy. A digital and analog wristwatch, the Skywalker X-33 features mission and phase elapsed time modes to help astronauts track their mission events and a white on black dial to help with visibility in space. The Skywalker will now be included with the standard equipment issued to ESA astronauts.

December 18, 2014

/ 5:05 p.m. CT (2305 GMT)

Next year in space

: One hundred days from embarking on the first yearlong stay onboard the International Space Station (ISS), NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, a Roscosmos cosmonaut, spoke about their upcoming mission during a press conference at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris on Thursday (Dec. 18). The two space explorers said they were excited for their year off the planet, adding that the expedition is a "stepping stone" toward humans leaving Earth for destinations further out into the solar system.

December 29, 2014

/ 2:00 p.m. CT (2000 GMT)

Print a piece of history

: The first-ever hand tool emailed to orbit can now be downloaded from anywhere on Earth. NASA and Made In Space, Inc. have released the file they used to 3D print a wrench aboard the International Space Station. Anyone can now 3D print their own ratchet just like the one uplinked to the station's crew. (Don't have a 3D printer handy? Enter collectSPACE's contest to win a ready-printed space ratchet, courtesy 3D Solid Solutions!)

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