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.
Christa's lessons lift off
: NASA astronauts and educators Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold will complete the science lessons planned by Christa McAuliffe on the International Space Station. McAuliffe, who died 32 years ago on the space shuttle Challenger, was set to be the first teacher in space. Acaba and Arnold will film four of McAuliffe's lost lessons for distribution by the Challenger Center.
Astronaut Hall of Fame
: Two space shuttle-era astronauts will be honored with induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in April. Scott Altman, who commanded the last flight to service the Hubble Space Telescope, and Thomas Jones, who made three spacewalks to help install the U.S. Destiny lab on the International Space Station, will enter the Hall of Fame during a ceremony on April 21 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
Astronaut removed from flight
: In January 2017, NASA announced that Jeanette Epps would be the first African American astronaut to serve on the crew aboard the International Space Station. One year later, she has been removed from her flight. Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a fellow NASA astronaut and Epps' backup, will take Epps' seat on Russia's Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft slated for launch in June and serve on the station's Expedition 56 and 57 crews.
'First to the Moon'
A new documentary that looks back at Apollo 8, the first mission to fly astronauts to the moon aims to be out by the flight's golden anniversary this December. To do so, director Paul Hildebrandt is looking to crowdfund the production expenses for his film, "First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8," which when complete will feature restored archival footage and interviews with Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders.
LEGO Moments in Space
: LEGO launched a design contest on Monday (Jan. 15) to find ideas for a space-themed promotional set to be a "gift with purchase" in 2019. The LEGO "Moments in Space" contest is open through Feb. 9 and seeks small to mid-size space models that can be "as sci-fi or realistic as you wish." The winning idea may be adapted for distribution at LEGO shops and Legoland.
'One Strange Rock'
: "I am going to tell you about the most incredible place — and you know what? You're walking on it." Will Smith hosts "One Strange Rock," a new series that looks at Earth from the unique perspective of astronauts who spent time onboard the International Space Station. The ten-part documentary, from filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, premieres March 26 on National Geographic.
SpaceX pulls patch
: SpaceX on Friday (Jan 12) pulled its Zuma mission patches from gift shop and online sales, amid reports that the secret satellite had been lost. After clarifying that its Falcon 9 rocket had done "everything correctly," the company reportedly recalled the emblems in "consideration for its customer," the U.S. government. Prior to Friday, SpaceX had only withheld its patches from sale if the mission the insignia represented was not a success.
Team Rocket or Groot?
Move over Thanos, the Guardians of the Galaxy are taking on a new challenge: space station science. Groot and Rocket are the inspiration for two teams of research opportunities in the Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge, a contest for students presented by Marvel and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Two of the technology or plant growth investigations will be performed on the space station.
: Astronauts who flew into space with John Young and others who he inspired are sharing memories of their colleague and hero who died on Friday (Jan. 5) at 87. More than 30 space explorers took to social media to pay tribute to the late Apollo moonwalker. Bob Crippen, who flew with Young on the first space shuttle mission, said Young's memory will live on if remembered in the hearts of those who associated with the space program.
: Imagine trying to use Siri or another digital assistant to recognize speech amid random interruptions from 35 people in different locations, often speaking with Texas accents. That is just one of the technological challenges researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas faced when digitizing and transcribing NASA's Apollo audio to make the moon mission archives publicly accessible.
NASA 60th anniversary
: NASA debuted the official logo to mark its 60th anniversary year on Wednesday (Jan. 3). Created by Matthew Skeins, a NASA artist, the logo depicts "how NASA is building on its historic past to soar toward a challenging and inspiring future." The art features "60" and "NASA" in bold and tall type above Earth with the United States visible at night. Two vectors form the number "6" while representing NASA's aviation and space efforts.
Campaign for more space
: The Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma is fundraising to expand its facility, kicking off its 25th year. Named after astronaut Thomas Stafford, the museum's Legacy Campaign is seeking an initial $3 million to provide for more exhibit and event space, a restoration area and the commissioning of a full-scale replica of the Apollo 10 lunar module "Snoopy."
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