March 1, 2013 / 1:15 p.m. CT (1915 GMT) Dragon – ISS or bust: SpaceX launched its fourth Dragon capsule Friday on the second NASA-contracted mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The launch, by one of the company's Falcon 9 boosters, proceeded to plan but soon after entering orbit, the Dragon encountered a problem with a propellant valve, preventing the use of three out of its four maneuvering thruster pods. Whether the unmanned Dragon can reach the orbiting lab and complete NASA's CRS-2 mission is still to be seen.
March 3, 2013 / 6:25 a.m. CT (1225 GMT) SpaceX Dragon reaches station: SpaceX's supply packed Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station early Sunday, to make a day-late delivery of crew provisions and science experiments for the orbiting lab. Its post-launch thruster problems resolved, the Dragon got the go to rendezvous with the station and was captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm under the control of Expedition 34 commander Kevin Ford. The Dragon's cargo includes a surprise for the station's crew: apples and other fresh fruits picked from the orchard of a SpaceX employee's father.
March 4, 2013 / 3:20 p.m. CT (2120 GMT) Apollo capsule lands in Alamogordo: The New Mexico Museum of Space History took delivery of an Apollo boilerplate capsule on Friday during a ceremony to mark its newly-attained status as a Smithsonian Affiliate. A full-scale command module, the steel spacecraft was used to train the Navy and Air Force on recovery operations for the three-seat capsule. Prior to landing in Alamogordo, the capsule sat outdoors at a science center in Ocala, Fla.
March 6, 2013 / 7:30 a.m. CT (1330 GMT) Shrink-wrapped shuttle: As of Wednesday there are just 115 days until "Space Shuttle Atlantis," the exhibit, opens at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. A showcase for Atlantis, NASA's last orbiter to fly in space before the fleet was retired in 2011, the 90,000 square-foot, $100 million exhibit displays the shuttle raised off the ground and angled to one side, as it was seen from aboard the International Space Station. As work continues towards completing the six-story building and erecting its towering entranceway, Atlantis sits, wrapped inside 16,000 sq.ft. of plastic, as collectSPACE captured in photos.
March 8, 2013 / 4:40 p.m. CT (2240 GMT) Fast track to the space station: As a crew member aboard Soyuz TMA-08M, astronaut Chris Cassidy will take the fast track to the International Space Station (ISS), launching on the same day that he, Pavel Vinogradov and Aleksandr Misurkin arrive at the orbiting outpost. The expedited rendezvous will be achieved by compressing the crew's timeline, which Cassidy told collectSPACE.com on Friday results in a "long work day." Otherwise, he will only miss spending a night in the Soyuz, which he might make up for later. "I can maybe do that sometime during the six months [on the space station]. I'll go have a little campout, bring myself some marshmallows and hang out inside the Soyuz and sleep for a night," Cassidy said from Star City.
March 11, 2013 / 8:35 a.m. CT (1335 GMT) "Mission 26," the exhibit: The final journey for space shuttle Endeavour, last year's trip by air and road from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the California Science Center in Los Angeles is the focus of a new exhibit at the retired orbiter's west coast home. Opening Monday at the CSC, "Mission 26: The Big Endeavour" features more than 80 photos capturing the shuttle's move, many of them by photographers working for the Los Angeles Times, the sponsor for the gallery. The photo exhibit also incorporates a short time lapse video and contributions from students.
March 11, 2013 / 6:15 p.m. CT (2315 GMT) Raising Orion's shields: NASA announced an Exploration Design Challenge on Monday to give students in kindergarten through 12th grade the chance to join the first spaceflight of the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle, the Exploration Flight Test-1, launching in 2014. The challenge engages students in learning more about and designing an effective radiation shield to protect future astronauts flying aboard Orion missions to beyond the moon and to Mars.
March 13, 2013 / 8:20 p.m. CT (0120 GMT March 14) Canada in charge: The International Space Station has a new commander and he's from Canada. Chris Hadfield, a veteran astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, accepted command of the orbital outpost's Expedition 35 on Wednesday, becoming the first of his countrymen to lead a space mission. Hadfield wrote of his command, "It's a first for our country, but is really just the culmination of a lot of other firsts. I stand on the shoulders of so many that have made this possible, and now take my turn to try and add to that solid foundation for the Canadians that follow."
March 16, 2013 / 12:30 a.m. CT (0530 GMT) TMA-06M touches down: NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, together with cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin with Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos, touched down aboard Soyuz TMA-06M in the steppe of Kazakhstan, northeast of the remote town of Arkalyk on Friday (EDT). Despite fog, low visibility and below freezing temperatures, recovery teams were able to reach the crew to help them exit the spacecraft and adjust to gravity after five months on board the International Space Station.
March 18, 2013 / 7:00 a.m. CT (1200 GMT) Money for moon photos: The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has been retrieving the moon's past since 2008. Using data tape records from the first spacecraft to capture photos from lunar orbit, spare parts found on eBay and the efforts of retired engineers and students, the project, based out of an abandoned McDonald's, has given new life to previously low-resolution imagery for scientists to study and the public to enjoy. Having processed 600 of the more than 1,400 almost 50-year-old images, LOIRP is now seeking crowd-funded support to complete the job.
March 20, 2013 / 1:30 p.m. CT (1830 GMT) F-1 engines raised off ocean floor: Almost exactly one year ago, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, announced that an expedition he funded had found Apollo F-1 engines on the ocean floor. On Wednesday, he revealed that his team had successfully raised two of the Saturn V first stage engines — or at least the twisted and crumpled parts needed to rebuild two for display — from 14,000 feet below the ocean's surface. The parts, and Bezos, are now on their way back to shore, where the engines will undergo restoration to stabilize and prevent further corrosion.
March 21, 2013 / 3:55 p.m. CT (2055 GMT) SCORE for space, audio history: The first audio message to be played back from outer space has been selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry, alongside other choices including Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." The Library of Congress will preserve the voice recording of President Dwight Eisenhower, whose Dec. 19, 1958 relayed orbital broadcast established Project SCORE as the world's first communications satellite. The "simple" message conveyed Eisenhower's and "America's wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere."
March 22, 2013 / 10:30 a.m. CT (1530 GMT) Return to the Cape: The Apollo F-1 engines that were recovered from the ocean floor by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos arrived on shore in Florida on Thursday, more than 40 years after they were last at Cape Canaveral attached to a Saturn V rocket poised for launch. The parts for two of the colossal engines were offloaded by workers from the Seabed Worker, the multi-purpose vessel that for three weeks served as the platform for the privately-funded expedition. The Apollo engines will now be restored to halt the effects of corrosion and prepare them for display.
March 22, 2013 / 6:00 p.m. CT (2300 GMT) Historic Enterprise: NASA's original orbiter, the space shuttle Enterprise, now located at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, was added this month to the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the first orbiter to receive the distinction. Since 1966, the register has served as the official list of the nation's places considered worthy of preservation. The Intrepid museum, which is a National Landmark, will reopen Enterprise on display this summer.
March 24, 2013 / 1:30 a.m. CT (0630 GMT) Moonwalker's memorabilia: Buzz Aldrin is not selling his flown-to-the-moon documents and memorabilia, contrary to headlines he is behind the listing at Bonhams Space History Sale on Monday. The Apollo 11 moonwalker contacted collectSPACE to set the public record straight – despite the recent passage of a law confirming he and his fellow astronauts own their mission mementos, he has no intention of selling any more of his Apollo 11 artifacts.
March 25, 2013 / 10:45 a.m. CT (1545 GMT) LEGO-less ISS: For two years, hundreds of LEGO toy bricks have circled the planet on board the International Space Station (ISS). On Tuesday, they are all set to come home. Packed inside SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft for the trip back to Earth, the iconic multi-color bricks were used by station crew members to build simple tools (and a not-so-simple model of the station itself) to demonstrate to students the basics of working in microgravity. The LEGO toys are returning to Earth with science samples and spent hardware on SpaceX's second station resupply mission.
March 25, 2013 / 5:05 p.m. CT (2205 GMT) Cosmosphere's F-1 engine conservation: Just days after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his team recovered more than 25,000 pounds of Apollo-era F-1 rocket engine parts from the ocean floor, the artifacts arrived at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center to undergo conservation by its SpaceWorks division. The effort will be conducted in full view of the public, both in Hutchinson and online. Unlike the Cosmosphere's past work on Liberty Bell 7 and Apollo 13's Odyssey, which were fully restored, the F-1 engine parts will only be stabilized and conserved.
March 26, 2013 / 4:20 p.m. CT (2120 GMT) Street to space art: When the non-profit in charge of promoting and managing science for NASA on the International Space Station (ISS) needed a mission patch for ARK1, its first sponsored payload, it hit the streets in search of an artist. There, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space 'found' renowned street artist Shepard Fairey, whose design for the patch was recently revealed.
March 28, 2013 / 4:10 p.m. CT (2110 GMT) Same-day delivery: A veteran commander, a rookie cosmonaut and a U.S. Navy SEAL-turned-astronaut lifted off Thursday on board the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft on the first "express" mission to the International Space Station. Pavel Vinogradov, Aleksandr Misurkin, and Chris Cassidy will reach the orbiting laboratory in just under six hours, rather than the normal two days that previous crews have taken, by following a computer-assisted, compressed four-orbit rendezvous timeline of Soyuz thruster firings.
March 28, 2013 / 9:35 p.m. CT (0235 GMT March 29) Rapid rendezvous: Were it any other flight to the International Space Station (ISS), the Soyuz TMA-08M crew would still be at least a day away from the orbiting outpost, having launched less than six hours earlier. But in a first for the station, Pavel Vinogradov, Aleksandr Misurkin and Chris Cassidy followed the "fast track" and docked at the orbiting laboratory Thursday, on the same day as their liftoff. The trio will join the station's 35th expedition already in progress before beginning ISS Expedition 36 in May.
March 29, 2013 / 3:15 p.m. CT (2015 GMT) Blue Planet, revisited: IMAX and The Walt Disney Studios will co-produce the next "3D cinematic space spectacle" from acclaimed filmmaker Toni Myers, the companies have announced. The still untitled film, which will be made in collaboration with NASA, will use views of our home planet from space to explore mankind's future on – and off – the Earth, including pondering the possibilities of a "Goldilocks" Earth-like planet located light-years away.