The Source for Space History and Artifacts
End of mission
: After a 10-year trip through space and two years orbiting a comet, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft ended its historic mission Friday (Sep. 30) making a controlled descent to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The first orbiter to rendezvous with a comet and first to deploy a lander, Philae, to the surface, Rosetta sent back data about the composition and evolution of the small, dusty-icy body.
: Building 5 at Johnson Space Center housed the simulators used to train Gemini, Apollo, and shuttle crews. Now, Boeing has installed its first Starliner trainers in the historic facility. The simulators are able to replicate the controls of the commercial crew spacecraft using advanced, configurable touch-screen displays.
Making Mars seem possible
: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has revealed his plans for how to colonize Mars. On Tuesday (Sept. 27), Musk unveiled the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), a four-part architecture designed to fly 100 people (per spaceship) to the Red Planet beginning as soon as 2025. The ITS would be larger and more powerful than the Saturn V, lifting off atop 42 Raptor rocket engines.
: In Xtronaut, players compete to fly planetary science missions, such as sending a sample return probe to the asteroid Bennu. If that sounds like NASA's recently-launched OSIRIS-REx, there's good reason: the board game's designer is also the mission's principal investigator. Dante Lauretta developed Xtronaut to engage and educate the public, kids and adults, in solar system exploration.
Astronauts in NMAAHC
: Mae Jemison and Charles Bolden are represented by artifacts in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened its doors on Saturday (Sep. 24). The first black female astronaut and the first African American to be confirmed as NASA Administrator, respectively, both have items included in the inaugural collection of the Smithsonian museum.
Apollo 1 Memorial Act
: U.S. lawmakers are calling for a new monument to be erected at Arlington National Cemetery to recognize the astronauts who tragically died in a fire on the launch pad 50 years ago this January. Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson on Thursday (Sep 22) introduced the Apollo 1 Memorial Act to honor the crew, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee.
Jack Garman (1944-2016)
: NASA engineer Jack Garman was working in a back room of Mission Control when an alarm threatened to abort the first moon landing. Garman though, was able to identify the warning and give the okay for the flight controllers and Apollo 11 astronauts to go forward with the mission. Garman, who later worked on the software for the space shuttle, died on Tuesday (Sept. 20).
STS-1, STS-2 at T+35 years
: The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation hosted a celebration in Houston on Saturday (Sep. 17) to mark 35 years since the first two space shuttle flights. STS-1 pilot Bob Crippen reunited with STS-2 crew mates Joe Engle and Dick Truly to discuss the historic missions, together with their ascent capcom, astronaut Dan Brandenstein. The gala event, which was attended by more than 200 people, was held at Space Center Houston.
'Courage' for cancer patients
: Kate Rubins donned a very special flight suit on board the International Space Station on Friday (Sept. 16). Named "COURAGE," the flight suit was hand painted by the pediatric cancer patients recovering at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The colorful garment, created as part of The Space Suit Art Project, is intended to raise awareness about childhood cancer and the benefits of art therapy.
Second space lab
: A Long March 2F rocket lifted off from China Thursday (Sept. 15) with Tiangong-2, the country's second space lab. The orbital platform, which is designed to be operational for two years, will support a two-person crew for 30 days. The first taikonauts are scheduled to launch to Tiangong-2 on board Shenzhou 11 in October. Among the space lab's experiments are fluid dynamics and plant growth studies, as well as a gamma-ray detector.
'Endurance,' the movie
: "Endurance," Scott Kelly's memoirs about his 340 days in space, may still be more than one year from release but that didn't stop Sony Pictures on Monday (Sept. 12) from acquiring the film rights. The book, which is being co-written by Margaret Lazarus Dean, will be published in November 2017. Scott and his identical twin brother Mark, also a former NASA astronaut, will serve as co-executive producers on the Sony Pictures' movie.
: Before the term "computer" came to refer to a digital device, it was a title given to mathematicians. The role of African-American female computers who worked for NACA and then NASA is the focus of Margot Lee Shetterly's new book, "Hidden Figures," soon to be the basis for a 20th Century Fox movie. collectSPACE recently spoke with Shetterly about revealing this untold history.
50 years of "Star Trek" and NASA
: On this day 50 years ago (Sept. 8, 1966), "Star Trek" aired its first episode on television, launching the voyage(s) of the Starship Enterprise and a half century of crossovers between factual and fictional space history. From NASA images showing up in early episodes to astronauts donning Starfleet uniforms, "Star Trek" and NASA have shared the "final frontier."
Soyuz TMA-20M lands
: Jeff Williams, Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin are back on Earth, having landed Tuesday (Sept. 6) after 172 days on the International Space Station. The three crewmates, who touched down on board Russia's Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft, served on the Expedition 47 and 48 crews. Williams has now logged 534 days in space, more than any other American in history.
Duane 'Doc' Graveline (1931-2016)
: One of NASA's first six scientist-astronauts selected in June 1965, Duane 'Doc' Graveline died on Monday (Sept. 5) at age 85. Though his time as an astronaut was short, he resigned after two months for "personal reasons," Graveline's research as a flight surgeon advanced the study of countermeasures to zero-g deconditioning. Graveline also served as one of the medical monitors for the Mercury and Gemini missions.
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