April 2, 2014 / 12:00 a.m. CT (0500 GMT) North Korea's NADA: Marking a year since its founding, North Korea revealed the name and official logo for its space agency, and it was "nothing" if not interesting. Emblazoned across the blue globe-shaped emblem is the acronym for the DPRK's National Aerospace Development Administration, or NADA. According to announcement, the logo is intended to symbolize the peaceful development of space and the DPRK's "will to launch satellites" into orbit.
April 3, 2014 / 12:10 a.m. CT (0510 GMT) Loss of signal: NASA on Wednesday (April 2) suspended most of its joint activities with Russia given the country's "ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty," the space agency said in a statement. NASA and Roscosmos will however continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station.
'Milestone' makeover: The National Air and Space Museum's main hall, the "Milestones of Flight," will undergo a major renovation to be ready for the museum's 40th anniversary in 2016. The gallery's modern makeover will include digital kiosks, an integrated mobile experience and the addition of an Apollo lunar module (as well as the move of Apollo 11's "Columbia" to a different hall). The expanded "Milestones" will be named for Boeing, which donated $30 million to the Smithsonian in support of the renovation.
April 7, 2014 / 6:25 p.m. CT (2325 GMT) Bonn voyage: Liberty Bell 7, astronaut Gus Grissom's Mercury capsule that spent nearly 40 years on the ocean floor, will return to the sea this summer. The spacecraft will depart the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center for a trip by ocean freighter to Europe, where it is to go on display for four months at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn. The capsule will be a part of the exhibit "Outer Space: The Space Between Art and Science," which will connect space artifacts, scientific displays and science fiction to historical and modern works of art. Liberty Bell 7 will leave for Germany in August to go on display from October 2014 through February 2015.
April 9, 2014 / 3:25 p.m. CT (2025 GMT) Apollo 13 astronaut auction: 44 years ago this Friday (April 11), astronaut Jack Swigert found himself launching on Apollo 13, having come off the backup crew three days earlier. He was the first to alert Mission Control that 'we've had a problem' when an explosion occurred midway to the moon. Now, the mission patches that he wore during that ill-fated mission, the mechanical pencil he carried, and other memorabilia from his estate is heading for an auction to be held in May by Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders.
Launch pad lease: NASA on Monday (April 14) signed a 20-year lease with SpaceX for the use of Kennedy Space Center's historic Launch Complex 39 in Florida. "This historic site, from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began ... is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who as an astronaut lifted off from the same pad. SpaceX intends to use Complex 39A to launch its Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets, including crewed missions.
April 17, 2014 / 8:55 p.m. CT (0155 GMT April 18) John C. Houbolt (1919-2014): On Nov. 15, 1961, NASA Langley engineer John Houbolt fired off a letter to the agency's number two official that began, "Somewhat as a voice in the wilderness, I would like to pass on a few thoughts." Houbolt, who died Tuesday (April 15) at the age of 95, then asked, "Do we want to go to the moon or not?" Houbolt argued for "lunar orbit rendezvous," a plan that ran counter to NASA's prevailing thoughts on how to land men on the moon. But Houbolt's persistence in championing the alternate approach resulted in its adoption and in the years since, has been credited as critical to Apollo's success.
Dragon departs for space station: SpaceX on Friday (April 18) launched its third NASA-contracted International Space Station cargo run from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's LC-40 in Florida. Packed with more than two tons of science experiments and supplies, SpaceX's fourth ISS-bound Dragon capsule lifted off on a Falcon 9 booster on the month-long Commercial Resupply Services-3 (CRS-3 or SpX-3) mission after more than a month of delays.
April 21, 2014 / 1:30 p.m. CT (1830 GMT) Cyber-space memorabilia: As an artifact of 1998 computing power, the Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop sold by RR Auction on April 16 is a world away from the more than $60,000 it commanded. But as the machine Bill Clinton used to send the first email by a sitting U.S. president, and as that email was sent to John Glenn on the space shuttle Discovery, the computer has the crossover appeal of being presidential, cyberspace and space memorabilia.
April 23, 2014 / 9:45 a.m. CT (1445 GMT) Apollo 12 astronaut auction: A selection of lunar mementos from the personal collection of Apollo 12 moonwalker Alan Bean form the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions next Space Signature auction. The May 14 sale features nearly 20 lots belonging to Bean, many never having been offered at public auction before, including a trio of artifacts carried out onto the Ocean of Storms. In addition to a pair of scissors and a pen, the auction offers a cloth strap from the life support backpack Bean wore on his moonwalks.
April 24, 2014 / 6:00 a.m. CT (1100 GMT) 'Repairing Hubble': Two of the instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope are now on display in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. "Repairing Hubble" marks the 24th anniversary of Hubble's launch into space aboard the shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features the orbiting observatory's "contact lenses," COSTAR, and the first camera to demonstrate the unique capabilities of astronomical imaging from space, WFPC2.
April 28, 2014 / 6:15 a.m. CT (1115 GMT) 'Oversize load': A 1,000-foot convoy is now ready to roll with NASA 905, NASA's original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, on an eight-mile, two night road trip from Ellington Field to Space Center Houston starting Monday (April 28). The Boeing 747 jumbo jet, which for three decades ferried NASA's orbiters across the country, will go on display next year as part of a new eight-story-tall attraction that will pair the aircraft with the replica space shuttle Independence.
Night flight: NASA's original Shuttle Carrier Aircraft completed the first leg of a two night eight-mile road trip to Space Center Houston overnight on Monday (April 28). It will finish the trip overnight on Tuesday, arriving at the site of its public attraction early Wednesday morning. The modified Boeing 747, once reassembled, is set to become the centerpiece of a $12 million, eight-story exhibit that will top the aircraft with a walk-through space shuttle replica.
April 30, 2014 / 8:45 a.m. CT (1345 GMT) Home sweet home: Two years after ferrying its final orbiter and two nights after departing on an eight-mile road trip, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft arrived at Space Center Houston on Wednesday morning (April 30). Known by its tail number, NASA 905, the historic Boeing 747 jet will be topped with the replica space shuttle Independence as the centerpiece of a $12 million attraction opening in 2015.