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December 2, 2021

/ 5:45 p.m. CT (2245 GMT)

'Gateway' to deep space:

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has announced the March 2022 opening of "Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex." The new attraction will feature the exhibit of modern spacecraft and rockets (including a flown SpaceX Falcon booster), as well as immerse visitors in the future of spaceflight using a 4D "flying" theater providing a multi-destination experience.

December 5, 2021

/ 9:00 a.m. CT (1500 GMT)

Return to space:

Once just a mere washer among the myriad of parts that made up the first U.S. spacecraft to fly an astronaut into space, it then became a treasured keepsake suspended from a gold pendant worn by the astronaut's daughter. Now, 60 years after flying as a small piece of Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 capsule, the washer is returning to space with other memorabilia packed by Laura Shepard Churchley for her upcoming flight on Blue Origin.

December 6, 2021

/ 3:35 p.m. CT (2135 GMT)

Group 23:

NASA has chosen its 23rd class of astronaut candidates since the Mercury 7 were selected in 1959. The ten women and men, who will report for two years of training in January, were announced at a ceremony held at Ellington Field, near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, on Monday (Dec. 6). The "ascans" are the first trainees recruited during the Artemis program, with its goal of establishing a sustainable presence on the moon.

December 8, 2021

/ 1:50 a.m. CT (0750 GMT)

Soyuz MS-20 lifts off:

For the first time, two self-funded spaceflight participants launched together for a short stay on the International Space Station. Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano, together with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, lifted off on Russia's Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft on Wednesday (Dec. 8) Maezawa paid for the mission as an introduction to spaceflight prior to him flying to the moon on a SpaceX Starship targeted for 2023.

December 10, 2021

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

George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park:

Home to one of only three remaining Saturn V rockets and the only one with all flight hardware, the rocket park at NASA Johnson Space Center has been named for a former center director. The George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park honors the respected Apollo-era engineer whose contributions to NASA led to six human moon landings, a more diverse astronaut corps and Russia's participation in the International Space Station.

December 11, 2021

/ 9:40 a.m. CT (1540 GMT)

Shepard vs New Shepard:

Laura Shepard Churchley became the first daughter of an American astronaut to fly into space, tracing the flight path of the first American to fly into space on board Blue Origin's New Shepard. Flying with Good Morning America anchor Michael Strahan and four paying passengers, Churchley's launch shared a number of similarities with her father's Freedom 7 mission.

December 14, 2021

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

Playmobil x ESA on Mars:

Playmobil is set to debut a new "Mars Expedition" playset co-branded with the European Space Agency (ESA). The toy features two ESA astronaut figures, an ESA rover with working lights and sound, a Mars trike, a drilling station and an ESA research laboratory. The set is loosely based on the space agency's current and future missions, including an international Mars sample return campaign jointly being planned with NASA.

December 17, 2021

/ 10:00 a.m. CT (1600 GMT)

Post-flight interview:

Just days after lifting off on her own suborbital spaceflight, Laura Shepard Churchley reflected on her mission and how it compared to her father's launch 60 years ago. Speaking with collectSPACE, Churchley likened what she saw to her father's "beautiful view," how her ride reminded her of her dad's Corvette and why she still does not feel she shares the title of astronaut.

December 19, 2021

/ 10:15 p.m. CT (0415 GMT Dec 20)

Soyuz MS-20 lands:

A Japanese billionaire, his production assistant and an experienced cosmonaut returned from a short stay on the International Space Station aboard Russia's Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft. Yusaku Maezawa, Yozo Hirano and Alexander Misurkin landed in Kazakhstan after spending almost 12 days in space. Maezawa shared his experience through a series of videos filmed by Hirano, which then were viewed by millions of people on YouTube.

December 21, 2021

/ 12:30 p.m. CT (0630 GMT)

Step aboard the space station:

The Infinite has opened in Houston, offering daily visits to the International Space Station. The fully-immersive VR experience combines footage from the largest-ever media project filmed in space with a virtual reality full-scale recreation of the space station, resulting in the closest that most people will get to boarding the orbiting complex. If that was not enough, The Infinite then ends with the first VR footage of a spacewalk.

December 23, 2021

/ 4:30 p.m. CT (2230 GMT)

Don't Look Up:

There is no known comet or asteroid on a collision course with Earth (as of today), but that doesn't mean that director Adam McKay's new satirical film, "Don't Look Up" is purely science fiction. In fact, McKay quickly pauses the film to make sure you know the reality: "The Planetary Defense Coordination Office is a real place. This is their logo." Beyond the patch, technical advisor Amy Mainzer tells collectSPACE about the underlying message.

December 25, 2021

/ 7:00 a.m. CT (1300 GMT)

Webb launch:

After nearly a quarter century in development, the world's largest and most powerful orbiting observatory has launched. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), now on its way to the second Lagrange Point (L2) about a million miles from Earth, was built to reveal the earliest of galaxies and exoplanet atmospheres. Before it can do that, though, Webb needs to be unfolded, avoiding more than 300 single points of failure, to be fully deployed.

December 26, 2021

/ 10:15 p.m. CT (0415 GMT Dec 27)

Raise a glass:

The past and future of moon missions both reach milestones in 2022 and The Whisky Barrel has the scotch whisky to toast each. The online spirits merchant now has for sale limited edition bottles of vintage whisky in celebration of the upcoming first launch NASA's Artemis lunar program and the 50th anniversary of the last moon landing with astronauts, Apollo 17.

December 28, 2021

/ 9:15 p.m. CT (0315 GMT Dec 29)

Rich Clifford (1952-2021):

A former NASA astronaut who launched on three space shuttle missions, Michael "Rich" Clifford died Tuesday (Dec. 28) at the age of 69. Clifford served as a mission specialist on STS-53 in 1992, STS-59 in 1994 and STS-76 in 1996, logging more than 27 days in space. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease after his second mission, a condition that he kept secret until years after he retired from the astronaut corps.

December 29, 2021

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

LEGO to launch Artemis sets:

LEGO has revealed the first two sets in its new NASA-inspired line. The LEGO City Space Rocket Launch Center and Lunar Research Base, set to go on sale on March 1, 2022, feature NASA logos and components based on real vehicles, like NASA's VIPER rover. The new sets also include astronaut minifigures similar to those launching on NASA's Artemis I.

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