March 2, 2014 / 11:35 p.m. CT (0535 GMT March 3) Pull of "Gravity": "Gravity" was in full force at the Academy Awards on Sunday evening (March 2), pulling in seven Oscars, including best director for Alfonso Cuarón. The space thriller, which featured detailed depictions of real-life spacecraft and was made with technical advice by astronauts aboard the real space station, won all but three of the Oscars for which it was nominated. The real crew of the International Space Station sent congratulations to the filmmakers on the awards, thanking them for "bringing this ultimate in extreme environments to moviegoers."
March 4, 2014 / 6:20 p.m. CT (0020 GMT March 5) William Pogue, 1930-2014: Skylab 3 (SL-4) pilot William R. "Bill" Pogue died on Monday (March 3). He was 84. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 1966, Pogue had been slated to fly to the moon on Apollo 19 but the mission was canceled due to budget cuts. Instead, Pogue spent 84 days onboard the United States' first space station, setting (with his crewmates) a record for the longest human space flight at that time (1974). Prior to his joining NASA, Pogue was a pilot with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
March 5, 2014 / 8:50 a.m. CT (1450 GMT) Mars map blasts off: Just a week after the launch of its Mars Crater Map crowd-funding project, Uwingu says it has raised more than $80,000 through the naming of over 6,000 of the Martian landmarks. Though the names it charts are unofficial, Uwingu has entered into a partnership that will put its map into use on the Red Planet. Mars One, which aims to land four astronauts on Mars in 2025, will fly and use the Uwingu map on its robotic and human flights.
Some disassembly required: When NASA 905, NASA's original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, moves to Space Center Houston this spring, it will do so in several still-very-large pieces. The dismantling of the historic jumbo jet will allow for NASA 905 to navigate from Ellington Field to the Johnson Space Center's official visitor center, where, once it is reassembled, the airplane will be paired with the space shuttle Independence high-fidelity mockup for display.
March 7, 2014 / 12:45 p.m. CT (1845 GMT) Land the STA: One of NASA's four Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) is set to land at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for display, but not without your help. The Alabama home to Space Camp has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help prepare their Shuttle Park for the arrival of the modified Gulfstream II business jet. In return for the public's support, the center is offering STA logo mementos and experiences, including behind-the-scenes VIP tours.
March 9, 2014 / 6:20 a.m. CT (1120 GMT) Kibo commander: "Welcome Wakata-san," radioed Japan's mission control in Tskuba to JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, marking his becoming the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. Wakata will lead the orbiting outpost's 39th expedition, which will begin Monday (March 10) and extend to May. "I'm very proud as a Japanese to be be given this important commandership of ISS," Wakata said while gathered with his crewmates in Japan's Kibo laboratory aboard the station on Sunday.
March 10, 2014 / 6:30 a.m. CT (1130 GMT) SpX-3's three-sided patch: SpaceX's patch for its third Dragon mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) has three sides and depicts three milestones for the NASA-contracted Commercial Resupply Services-3 (CRS-3) flight. Scheduled to launch on Sunday (March 16), the company's unmanned Dragon capsule will carry science to and from the orbital outpost, including HD camera and laser communication experiments. The Falcon 9 rocket used to loft CRS-3 (SpX-3) will also be the first to sport landing legs to be used in a "soft splashdown" test.
March 10, 2014 / 10:35 p.m. CT (0335 GMT March 11) Soyuz TMA-10M lands: One-hundred-sixty-six (166) days after leaving the Earth for the International Space Station (ISS), the Soyuz TMA-10M crew returned Monday (March 10) to a landing in Kazakhstan. Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Michael Hopkins of NASA served on the space station's Expedition 37 and 38 crews; their undocking marked the start of Expedition 39.
March 11, 2014 / 5:10 p.m. CT (2210 GMT) Project MERCCURI: Space history is set to be grown on the International Space Station, thanks to a group of cheerleaders. Microbes found on John Glenn's Mercury capsule, on eight Mars spacecraft, and on a camera with a connection to Buzz Aldrin will launch with other bacteria on SpaceX's CRS-3 Dragon as part of Project MERCCURI, a citizen science experiment by UC Davis, SciStarter, and the NBA and NFL members of Science Cheerleader.
March 14, 2014 / 5:00 a.m. CT (1000 GMT) Houston, we're 'Live From Space': For the first time, NASA will open its active Mission Control Center to a live television broadcast Friday (March 14). National Geographic will air "Live From Space," a two-hour special to feature the orbiting laboratory as it completes a full orbit of the Earth. The show's executive producer, Al Berman, told collectSPACE that TV audiences have yet to see anything like "Live From Space." "If they've any interest in space at all, I think they will be riveted throughout the entire time."
March 15, 2014 / 6:10 p.m. CT (2310 GMT) Orion EFT-1 delays to December: The first flight of the Orion capsule, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), has slipped from September to December to allow for "more opportunities for launches this year," NASA confirmed on Friday (March 14). Despite the delay, the space agency is maintaining its original schedule to complete the assembly and testing of the spacecraft. EFT-1 will launch the Orion on a two-orbit flight that will travel 15 times farther out into space than the International Space Station before returning to Earth faster than any contemporary human spacecraft.
March 17, 2014 / 6:05 a.m. CT (1105 GMT) F-1 engines and explorers: A year after his expedition team raised them from the ocean floor, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was honored at The Explorers Club's 110th Annual Dinner in New York City on Saturday (March 15) for the recovery of NASA's Apollo F-1 engine parts. Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and Explorers Club president Alan Nichols presented Bezos with a Citation of Merit for finding and salvaging the sunken parts, including at least one F-1 thrust chamber that helped launch Aldrin to the moon.
March 19, 2014 / 3:00 p.m. CT (2000 GMT) Spring space sales: Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, space artifacts are selling – all signs that spring is in the air! Galleries, charities and even occasional authorities are setting up to sell hundreds, if not thousands, of space artifacts and astronaut-owned mementos over the next few months. At least seven space-dedicated auctions are set for this spring, offering everything from spacesuits to moon-flown patches to an astronaut-guided NASA tour.
March 21, 2014 / 1:35 p.m. CT (1835 GMT) Taste of space: The new "Taste The Stars" dinner at Costa Rica's Four Seasons Resort offers a space-inspired menu that skimps on the astronaut ice cream but features a steak sauce made with real meteorite. The resort's chefs worked with former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz to develop the dining experience, which also includes a stargazing session guided by an astronomer. "What was really interesting to me," states Chang Diaz, "was the idea of taking influences from what I saw and ate up there [on-orbit] and getting the chefs to take it to the next level.
March 23, 2014 / 12:05 a.m. CT (0505 GMT) Apollo Hasselblad auction: A camera that was advertised as having been used on the surface of the moon by Apollo astronaut Jim Irwin sold for 550,000 euros (€660,000 with buyer's premium, or about $910,400 U.S.) at the WestLicht Photographica auction in Vienna, Austria on Saturday (March 22). The high bid was more than 18 times what was paid for the same camera (at least its body, less one white Velcro square) in 2012, when it was offered as a possibly-flown, but-only-to-lunar-orbit Hasselblad camera.
March 25, 2014 / 9:30 p.m. CT (0230 GMT March 26) - UPDATED Station docking delayed: Soyuz TMA-12M crew members Alexander Skvortsov, Steve Swanson and Oleg Artemyev launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Tuesday (March 25) for what was planned as an accelerated, six-hour flight to the International Space Station. A missed engine firing however, resulted in the crew having to revert to a more historically-routine, two-day rendezvous timeline. The Soyuz is now due to dock at the outpost Thursday.
March 27, 2014 / 1:50 a.m. CT (0650 GMT) 45 past the moon: Omega has revealed the Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary LE wristwatch, a commemorative version of the timepiece worn during the first moon landing in 1969. The watch, which is limited to 1,969 pieces, includes features from the original chronograph but with a laser-etched black dial and 18-karat gold bezel that is unique to this edition. Omega says the watch celebrates the link between the lunar landing and iconic wristwatch.
March 28, 2014 / 11:25 p.m. CT (0425 GMT March 29) T-365 days to a year in space: As of Friday (March 28), NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko were one year from embarking to the International Space Station to begin the orbiting outpost's first yearlong mission. Kelly is counting down the days by posting daily to Twitter as he prepares to leave the planet. The 12-month mission is aimed at better understanding the challenges associated with sending astronauts beyond the Earth to the vicinity of the moon, an asteroid and to Mars.
March 31, 2014 / 1:00 a.m. CT (0600 GMT) R/V Neil Armstrong: The U.S. Navy named its newest research ship for the first man to walk on the moon at a christening ceremony at the Port of Anacortes, Wash. on Saturday (March 29). The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will operate the R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) to continue science studies in the Atlantic, western Pacific and Indian ocean regions. The first vessel in its class, "the R/V Neil Armstrong will provide a continuum of exploration for the next 50 years," said Carol Armstrong, the widow of the Apollo 11 astronaut and sponsor of the ship.
March 31, 2014 / 1:45 p.m. CT (1845 GMT) NASA 905's final 'flight' plan: The modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet that for three decades was used to ferry space shuttles across the country will depart on its last journey at the end of April, Space Center Houston officials announced Monday (March 31). The partially disassembled Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will take off down the streets, rather than up in the air, as it is moved from Ellington Field to the site of its future exhibition. The transport, which will cover 8 miles (13 kilometers) will take two nights to complete.