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December 1, 2020

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

Chang'e 5 landing

: One week after leaving Earth, China's Chang'e 5 probe has touched down on the moon to collect and bring back samples. Landing in the "Ocean of Storms" near an isolated volcanic formation, Chang'e 5 is humanity's 21st mission to safely reach the surface. If all goes to plan, Chang'e 5 will be the 10th mission to bring back lunar rock and soil for its study and display on Earth.

December 1, 2020

/ 4:35 p.m. CT (2235 GMT)

Flight-proven space art

: Last May, Tristan Eaton watched as the artwork he created for SpaceX lifted off on the company's first flight to carry NASA astronauts. Now, the artist is staging a launch of his own. Replica panels and metallic prints of Eaton's "Human Kind" SpaceX-flown pieces are set to go on sale on Thursday (Dec. 3). The art features NASA and SpaceX vehicles in montages designed to highlight the overlap between science and culture.

December 3, 2020

/ 6:15 p.m. CT (0015 GMT Dec 4)

'For All Mankind' patches

: In debuting its new, limited edition set of "For All Mankind" mission patches, collectibles company Icon Heroes revealed hints to the state of space history in the second season of the Apple TV+ series. The 19 embroidered emblems, which come in a tin autographed by producer Ronald D. Moore, depict a mix of real-life spacecraft (including Skylab and the space shuttle) and fictional Jamestown moon base expeditions.

December 4, 2020

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

Shuttle booster moved to March

: A space shuttle solid rocket booster is now on display at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California, where it will be part of a memorial to fallen astronauts. The rocket booster was delivered by truck from NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center on Tuesday (Dec. 1). Previously, the massive space shuttle artifact was exhibited at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida along with a second booster that was moved to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson.

December 5, 2020

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

Return from Ryugu

: After six years and 3.3 billion miles (5.2 billion km) traveled, JAXA's Hayabusa2 probe returned samples from the asteroid Ryugu to Earth. The probe's reentry capsule descended under a a parachute to a landing in the Australian outback on Saturday (Dec. 5). The Hayabusa2 spacecraft touched down twice on Ryugu and retrieved rocks and soil from above and below the surface.

December 8, 2020

/ 2:30 p.m. CT (2030 GMT)

ISS Experience

: You can now see, hear and experience what it is like to live on board the International Space Station without having to leave the planet, let alone your home. With a virtual reality headset and "Space Explorers: The ISS Experience," the latter a four-part series from Felix & Paul Studios in association with TIME Studios, the public can virtually visit the station like never before possible.

December 9, 2020

/ 2:05 p.m. CT (2005 GMT)

Artemis Team

: NASA has revealed the 18 astronauts who are the first members of the "Artemis Team," a cadre that includes the first woman and the next man to walk on the moon. The team, half of whom are women and half of whom have yet to fly into space, will pave the way for the early Artemis missions, but are not guaranteed to all fly to the moon. NASA's Artemis program is working towards launching the next astronauts to orbit the moon in 2023 and then return humans to the lunar surface in 2024.

December 9, 2020

/ 9:15 p.m. CT (0315 GMT Dec 10)

Starship flies high, lands hard

: SpaceX on Wednesday (Dec. 9) launched its first high-altitude test of a prototype Starship planetary spacecraft. The steel-skinned vehicle flew a successful ascent and performed its landing flip maneuver, but slammed into the ground and exploded. Among its intended uses, SpaceX is developing Starship to land NASA's Artemis astronauts on the moon.

December 10, 2020

/ 1:00 p.m. CT (1900 GMT)

Space Force Station

: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and its headquarters at Patrick Air Force Base have been redesignated for the Space Force, although the association is in name only. Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base will continue as U.S. Air Force installations, but the new names reflect the space missions the 45th Space Wing and its partners execute.

December 14, 2020

/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0600 GMT)

Hubble coin deployment

: The U.S. Mint on Monday (Dec. 14) is releasing rolls and bags of the Maryland American Innovation $1 coin featuring the Hubble Space Telescope. The golden dollar, which depicts the observatory in orbit, celebrates the past 30 years that the Hubble Space Telescope has served as symbol of invention and ingenuity.

December 16, 2020

/ 8:55 a.m. CT (1455 GMT)

OFT-2 patch

: The next Boeing Starliner test flight will be represented by a mission patch that symbolizes the team behind its success. The company's Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) insignia derives its shape and general style from Boeing's other Starliner flight test patches, but uses a new purple color scheme and additional imagery to convey the team's focus on safety and pride in the spacecraft.

December 16, 2020

/ 1:40 p.m. CT (1940 GMT)

Chang'e 5 returns

: China's Chang'e 5 has returned to Earth carrying the first pieces of the moon collected in more than 40 years. The 23-day robotic mission came to an end on Wednesday (Dec 16), with the probe's "returner" capsule landing in Inner Mongolia. The last time that moon rocks and soil were brought back for study was in 1976 by the former Soviet Union's Luna 24. Chang'e 5 was China's first lunar sample return mission and the 10th in history, including the six U.S. Apollo moon landings.

December 16, 2020

/ 4:00 p.m. CT (2200 GMT)

Canadians on Artemis

: NASA's next crew to launch to the moon will include Canada's first astronaut to fly into deep space. The Canadian Space Agency will collaborate on NASA's lunar orbit Gateway, overseeing all of the external robotics needs to support the human-tended outpost. In return, NASA has agreed to fly two Canadian astronauts to the moon, including a seat on Artemis II, the program's first crewed mission, planned to launch in 2023.

December 18, 2020

/ 12:00 a.m. CT (0600 GMT)

Chief Astronaut

: NASA has named its new Chief of the Astronaut Office, who may pick the next crews to fly to the moon. Astronaut Reid Wiseman succeeds Pat Forrester in the role and is charged with managing the needs of the 46 active members of the corps. Wiseman previously spent 165 days on the International Space Station in 2014. He is the 17th chief astronaut to lead the office since 1962.

December 18, 2020

/ 6:25 p.m. CT (0025 GMT Dec 19)

First 'Guardian' in space

: NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Space Force on Friday (Dec. 18), during a swearing-in ceremony aboard the International Space Station. The first astronaut to join the newest branch of the U.S. military, Hopkins became the first "Guardian" in space, the title the Space Force has now assigned all of its service members.

December 21, 2020

/ 5:10 p.m. CT (2310 GMT)

Christa McAuliffe coin

: The U.S. Mint has revealed its final artwork for the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar, celebrating the life and legacy of the fallen "Teacher in Space." The coin, which is timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, will include McAuliffe's quote, "I touch the future. I teach." A surcharge from each coin sold will go to FIRST Robotics to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

December 30, 2020

/ 4:05 p.m. CT (2205 GMT)

Plum Brook now Armstrong

: NASA's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio is now the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility. Renamed at the direction of Congress to celebrate the life of the first astronaut (and native Ohioan) to walk on the moon, the facility's large vacuum chambers are used to test spacecraft, engines and rocket parts, including the Artemis I Orion, NASA's first moon-bound crew capsule since the Apollo command module.

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