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October 20, 2014 / 6:20 p.m. CT (2320 GMT)
Alan Bean Plus Four: Tom Hanks imagines a modern-day bootstrap mission to the moon in "Alan Bean Plus Four," an original work of fiction in the current issue (Oct. 27) of "The New Yorker." The actor, who's no stranger to playing an astronaut, crafts a tale of four friends who travel around the moon in a way less complicated way than Alan Bean did aboard Apollo 12, 45 years ago this November.

October 17, 2014 / 5:30 p.m. CT (2230 GMT)
675 days in orbit: For almost two years, the U.S. Air Force's X-37B reusable space plane orbited the Earth conducting a secretive test mission. On Friday (Oct. 17), it returned to a landing in California after 675 days in space. The touchdown on a runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base marked the end of the X-37B program's third mission, with a fourth flight planned for 2015. Built by Boeing, the orbital test vehicle used on this mission previously flew in 2010.

October 15, 2014 / 12:25 p.m. CT (1725 GMT)
Flight of the Phoenix: As perhaps a patch before its time, the Apollo 7 crew's first idea for their mission's official insignia was to pay tribute to the fallen Apollo 1 crew. Overruled by NASA, the Phoenix-themed patch did not become a reality until 45 years later, when astronaut Walt Cunningham had it made as a commemorative emblem.

October 13, 2014 / 7:20 a.m. CT (1220 GMT)
Astronaut Wives Club: ABC's limited event 10-episode TV series, "The Astronaut Wives Club" has finally leapt off the launch pad and begun filming in New Orleans. Based on the 2013 bestselling book by author Lily Koppel, the series has completed casting seven actresses to play the spouses of the Mercury 7 astronauts, but plans to grow the cast to include the Gemini and Apollo wives, too.

October 9, 2014 / 1:10 p.m. CT (1810 GMT)
Go for Payload: Two years after landing on display at the California Science Center, the retired space shuttle Endeavour was "Go for Payload" Thursday (Oct. 9) as it received its final cargo. A Spacehab module it previously had flown to space was returned to its payload bay to outfit Endeavour for its vertical display, scheduled for 2018.

October 8, 2014 / 7:30 a.m. CT (1230 GMT)
Houston, we have a Smithsonian Affiliate: Space Center Houston, the non-profit visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas, is now the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Houston. The center's new status grants it access to the national collection of more than 138 million artifacts, specimens and artworks, as well as more than 50 traveling exhibitions developed by the Smithsonian.

October 6, 2014 / 6:35 p.m. CT (2335 GMT)
A 'more fitting container': An architect with a lifelong interest in spaceflight has put forth his design for a new structure to display the historic Saturn V rocket outside the entrance to NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Brantley Hightower's concept restores a view of the rocket from the outside and includes gantry-like catwalks to offer visitors the chance to see the moon booster from above.

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October 4, 2014 / 10:55 a.m. CT (1555 GMT)
Sweets memories: Ten years ago Saturday (Oct. 4), SpaceShipOne won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE by reaching space for a 2nd time in two weeks. Flying along the side and aboard SpaceShipOne were M&M's candies, a symbol of Mars, Inc.'s sponsorship and a nod to a prior flight's payload of a pocketful of the colorful chocolates.

October 1, 2014 / 6:25 p.m. CT (2325 GMT)
Final countdown: NASA's countdown clock at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have already ticked down to its final launch. In use since Apollo 12 in 1969, the clock will soon be replaced by a more modern display, capable of showing not just the countdown but also NASA TV programming. NASA hopes for the new screen to be in place by December in time for the Orion EFT-1 launch.

September 30, 2014 / 3:05 p.m. CT (2005 GMT)
Canadian Space Agency's silver coin: The hologram on the Royal Canadian Mint's new coin commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Space Agency adds depth and movement to its design: the astronaut on its reverse seems to float above the Earth. The limited-edition silver collector coin, which features the Canadarm2 robotic arm, was revealed Tuesday (Sep. 30) with the help of CSA astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques.

September 29, 2014 / 4:45 p.m. CT (2145 GMT)
First Man at the movies: The life of the late Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is now the focus of both a feature film and television miniseries in the early stages of development. Director Damien Chazelle is reported to be in talks with Universal Studios to helm "First Man," based on historian James Hansen's bio by the same title. Meanwhile, TNT has dusted off its almost decade-old plans for "One Giant Leap" as a four-hour TV miniseries.

September 26, 2014 / 4:55 p.m. CT (2155 GMT)
Trade you a Dragon? Fans of NASA's new commercial crew spacecraft can now collect Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon as trading cards. The agency is offering the set of three collectible cards as a free download from its website. Like sports cards, stats about the private space capsules are printed on the back side of the cards.

September 25, 2014 / 4:45 p.m. CT (2145 GMT)
TMA-14M to space station: Russia's Soyuz TMA-14M crew launched to the International Space Station on Thursday (Sept. 25), lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a six-hour flight to the orbiting laboratory. Flying to the station were cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, together with NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore. Serova is the first Russian woman to fly in space in nearly 20 years and only the fourth female cosmonaut.

September 24, 2014 / 2:25 p.m. CT (1925 GMT)
Don't Panic: Samantha Cristoforetti, a self-described science fiction fan, was thrilled to learn she would be onboard the International Space Station during Expedition 42. Drawing the connection between the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and her expedition's numerical designation, Cristoforetti and her crew embraced the Douglas Adams franchise for their poster and a patch.

September 24, 2014 / 1:45 a.m. CT (0645 GMT)
Mangalyaan in orbit: India made history on Tuesday (Sept. 23) with the arrival of its first interplanetary probe in Mars' orbit. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft performed a 24-minute orbital insertion burn to become only the 13th probe in history to circle the Red Planet. The Indian Space Research Organization designed the mission as a technology demonstration, but the Mangalyaan ("Mars Craft") carries four science instruments and a camera.

September 22, 2014 / 10:45 a.m. CT (1545 GMT)
MAVEN in orbit: NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or MAVEN spacecraft successfully entered Mars' orbit on Sunday (Sept. 21), where it will now prepare to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN, which is the twelfth probe in history to circle Mars, is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.

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