Command module encased
: After almost a month of work, the California Science Center completed its new display for NASA's Apollo-Soyuz Test Project command module, giving visitors a clearer view of the spacecraft flown on the first joint U.S. and Russian mission in 1975. A glass case with interior lighting has replaced the ASTP command module's previous Plexiglas wrap, improving visibility while also meeting new Smithsonian conservation standards.
Space market size
: Before it expands its on orbit operations with the launch of two large inflatable space stations, Bigelow Aerospace is looking to quantify the market for platforms above Earth. To that end, and to establish its sales and customer service arm, the company has formed Bigelow Space Operations. BSO will investigate the global space market while working to secure new payloads for the International Space Station, ahead of its own stations.
: An astronomer is replacing a fighter pilot in a private competition to send the first German woman to space. Suzanna Randall, 38, of ESO, the European Southern Observatory, has replaced fighter pilot Nicola Baumann in the Die Astronautin initiative. Randall will train and compete alongside meteorologist Insa Thiele-Eich, the daughter of veteran astronaut Gerhard Thiele, for a chance to fly on a privately-funded mission to the space station.
: Less than a week after one was launched into space, the market for Tesla Roadsters has skyrocketed — at least in miniature toy form. The Mattel Hot Wheels version of the red Roadster released in 2016 had been selling on eBay for $5 to $15, until Elon Musk put one aboard SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. Since then, the toy cars have been commanding upwards of $100.
Mercury All American
: A new high-top has the "right stuff" to honor the 60th anniversary of NASA's Project Mercury and a company's role in it. The Mercury All American made by Heddels and PF Flyers, the latter previously part of B.F. Goodrich, is styled after the original astronauts' boots and the athletic shoe they wore to train. Limited to 21 pairs, the sneakers are built out of aluminized nylon, nickel alloy, parachute cord and other spacesuit materials.
Fourth electric car in space
: Should all go to plan, the maiden flight of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will put a Tesla Roadster on a path to become the fourth electric car in space. The midnight cherry convertible may become the first car to depart on a billion-year Mars elliptic orbit, but the first-ever electric cars in space were the Apollo lunar rovers launched by the Saturn V rocket almost 50 years ago.
Bringing Columbia Home
: The effort to find and recover the remains of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew 15 years ago was the largest ground search in U.S. history and yet it has gone largely untold, until now. Michael Leinbach, who was the shuttle's launch director and led the reconstruction of the debris, and co-author Jonathan Ward reveal the recovery's story in "Bringing Columbia Home."
Leonid Kadenyuk, 1951-2018
: Trained as a Soviet cosmonaut and an American payload specialist, Leonid Kadenyuk became the first astronaut from an independent Ukraine to fly in space. Kadenyuk, 67, died on Wednesday (Jan. 31) in Kiev. His first and only spaceflight was onboard the space shuttle Columbia's STS-87 mission in 1997.
: Fifteen years after it was found and recovered from where it tragically fell back to Earth in pieces, the space shuttle Columbia is serving a new mission at NASA. The space agency's new Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned Program now uses the orbiter's debris to help educate workers inside and outside of NASA to learn from the past to make the future more successful.
: Born out of a project to create replica World War II Enigma machines, S&T GeoTronics' OPEN DSKY reboots the Apollo spacecraft's display keyboard as an Arduino-based open source unit. The replica DSKY is capable of running the Apollo Guidance Computer code but assuming you do not have the need to pilot a command or lunar module, it can also show the time, monitor your travel and even play sound recordings. S&T GeoTronics is crowd funding OPEN DSKY on Kickstarter through March 3.
The Humanity Star
: Rocket Lab, which saw its first Electron launch vehicle reach orbit on its second test flight Saturday (Jan. 20), has revealed "The Humanity Star" is now circling Earth. The geodesic sphere-shaped satellite is covered in 65 highly-reflective panels to shine from orbit, like a disco ball casting light on a dance floor. Designed as a "focal point for humanity," Rocket Lab says The Humanity Star will become the brightest object in the night sky.
LEGO scrubs shuttle, tower
: LEGO will not be launching a fan-created model of NASA's space shuttle or selling a launch tower for its previously released Saturn V rocket set. The toy company on Monday (Jan. 22) reported it had rejected the 'NASA Space Shuttle (Saturn V Scale)' by Andrew Harkins and the 'NASA Saturn-V Launch Umbilical Tower' by Valerie Roche and Emmanuel Urquieta following the completion of its latest LEGO Ideas product review.
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