June 1, 2012 / 4:45 p.m. CT (2145 GMT) Shuttle replica docks: Houston, we have a space shuttle... replica. The mockup, which was known as "Explorer" for the 18 years it was displayed at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, arrived in Houston's Clear Lake, opposite Johnson Space Center, on Friday. Delivered by barge, the replica's docking launched "Shuttlebration," a public celebration, which will culminate Sunday with a one mile parade to Space Center Houston, where the walkthrough mockup will go on display.
June 3, 2012 / 5:26 p.m. CT (2226 GMT) Shuttle replica road trip: The replica space shuttle that docked in Houston's Clear Lake on Friday swapped its seaworthy barge for a 144-wheel trailer on Sunday to go on a mile long, six hour Sunday drive to Space Center Houston. The road trip, which was anticipated to take half the time, ran into obstacles along the way, including traffic lights that had to be moved and trees that were too tall.
June 3, 2012 / 11:57 p.m. CT (0457 GMT June 4) Enterprise embarks: NASA's space shuttle Enterprise arrived in New Jersey on Sunday after departing New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport by barge. The prototype orbiter will spend Monday in Bayonne before heading to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the west side of Manhattan for display. The Sunday sea trek saw Enterprise float past Coney Island in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, passing under several crossings along the way, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
June 4, 2012 / 2:04 p.m. CT (1904 GMT) Enterprise damaged, delayed: Enterprise, NASA's 1970's prototype space shuttle, has suffered a couple of setbacks of late as the result of uncooperative weather on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. On Sunday, Enterprise was damaged at sea as its right wingtip scraped up against the ship bumper under a railroad bridge as the shuttle was being barged to New Jersey. Poor weather on Monday then forced a delay in the orbiter's preparation for the final leg of its trek, which in turn postponed Enterprise's planned arrival at the Intrepid.
June 5, 2012 / 1:10 p.m. CT (1810 GMT) Hand-me-down Hubbles: A couple of spare spy satellites may soon have a new mission as astronomical observatories, thanks to the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO gave the surveillance satellites – each with a main mirror nearly 8 feet wide (2.4 meters), rivaling the Hubble Space Telescope – to NASA, the agency revealed in a surprise announcement on Monday. The earliest either of the spy satellites could be recycled into a new space telescope and launched into orbit would be 2020.
June 6, 2012 / 6:45 p.m. CT (2345 GMT) Enterprise lands on Intrepid: For the first time in history (and very likely, the only time in history), a space shuttle landed aboard an aircraft carrier on Wednesday. Space shuttle Enterprise was craned onto the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's flight deck, where it will be publicly displayed beginning in July. The prototype shuttle's landing followed a sea trek up the Hudson that brought Enterprise past the Statue of Liberty and World Trade Center.
June 10, 2012 / 12:10 p.m. CT (1710 GMT) 'Go' for tours: For the first time in over 30 years, NASA is inviting the public inside its Launch Control Center, or LCC, at Kennedy Space Center, where all of the 152 launches during the Apollo and shuttle programs were led. The new "KSC Up-Close: Launch Control Center Tour" is the second in a series of rare-access tours being offered by the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
June 15, 2012 / 4:33 p.m. CT (2133 GMT) Patch preview | Shenzhou 9: Two dragons adorn the mission patch for Shenzhou 9, the fourth Chinese manned space flight and the first to attempt a piloted space docking. The mission's three-person crew, which includes the first "taikonaut" to fly twice into space and China's first woman in space, will wear a '9'-shaped patch that features their Shenzhou docking with the Tiangong-1 lab module.
June 16, 2012 / 6:30 a.m. CT (1130 GMT) Departure: NASA on Friday announced the recent departure of space shuttle astronauts Kenneth Ham and Nicholas Patrick. Ham is a veteran of two spaceflights, having served as pilot of STS-124 in 2008 and commander of STS-132 in 2010. Patrick served as a mission specialist on STS-116 in 2006 and STS-130 in 2010. Ham is leaving to serve as an instructor at the Naval Academy, where he graduated in 1987. NASA did not identify what Patrick next planned to do, though noted that he had most recently led the human-systems design of the Orion MPCV cockpit.
June 16, 2012 / 6:56 a.m. CT (1156 GMT) Shenzhou 9 launches: China has launched its fourth manned space flight, Shenzhou 9, to achieve the nation's first piloted docking with a prototype space station. Shenzhou 9 lifted off on a Long March 2F rocket at 6:37 a.m. EDT (1037 GMT) Saturday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert. The mission's three man crew includes China's first woman in space, Liu Yang, who entered orbit 49 days years to the day after the world's first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, flew in 1963.
June 16, 2012 / 9:23 a.m. CT (1423 GMT) Secret space plane returns: One year and 104 days after launching into Earth orbit, the U.S. Air Force's second X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) landed in California Saturday, touching down autonomously at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 469-day mission, which lasted for 199 days longer than the 270 days that it was rated to fly, was classified. The mini space shuttle with a 15 foot wingspan was in space longer on just this flight than any of NASA's retired orbiters over the course of their many missions.
June 18, 2012 / 9:21 a.m. CT (1421 GMT) Shenzhou 9 docks to Tiangong-1: China's first crewed space docking was achieved on Monday as the nation's manned Shenzhou 9 spacecraft linked up with the Tiangong-1 lab module in Earth orbit. A few hours after the automated docking, Shenzhou 9 crewmates Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first woman in space Liu Yang came aboard the prototype space station, where they will spend ten days conducting science experiments. The taikonauts will also perform one more docking under manual control.
June 20, 2012 / 7:40 a.m. CT (1240 GMT) Patch preview | Soyuz TMA-06M: The next crew to fly to the International Space Station will do so in July on board Soyuz TMA-05M. They (Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko, Suni Williams with NASA, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA] astronaut Akihiko Hoshide) will be joined on orbit in October by the Soyuz TMA-06M crew for the station's 33rd expedition. The TMA-06M crew (Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin of Roscosmos and NASA's Kevin Ford) designed their Soyuz patch to reference their arrival using the station's solar arrays to form "XXXIII."
June 21, 2012 / 10:59 a.m. CT (1559 GMT) Encasing Enterprise: Since space shuttle Enterprise landed on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum June 6, work has been underway to envelop NASA's original prototype orbiter inside an inflatable pavilion for its public display. That pressurized shelter was fully deployed Thursday morning, though final configuration work led to it being temporarily deflated again. The Intrepid will open its new shuttle pavilion to the public July 19.
June 21, 2012 / 7:02 p.m. CT (0002 GMT June 22) Space Station Live! NASA is providing the public with a new way to take an inside look at what happens on the International Space Station (ISS) and in Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. For up to the minute, live streaming data from the orbiting laboratory log onto NASA's Space Station Live! website or download the companion ISSLive! app for Android and iOS devices.
June 24, 2012 / 5:13 a.m. CT (1013 GMT) Shenzhou 9 demonstrates docking: China on Sunday accomplished another first for its space program as taikonaut Liu Wang took manual control and docked Shenzhou 9 with Tiangong-1. The orbital meeting, which was the second in six days for the manned spacecraft and lab module, was called an important step toward China's plans to establish its own space station within the decade.
June 25, 2012 / 2:00 a.m. CT (0700 GMT) Departure: Robert Thirsk, one of the original six Canadian astronauts and the first to fly a long-duration mission, will leave the corps in August, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced. Thirsk, who in 2009 worked for six months on the International Space Station (ISS) as a member of the Expedition 20/21 crew, earlier flew a 17 day mission on the space shuttle Columbia in 1996. Thirsk has been named to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research where he'll direct public, government and institute affairs.
June 25, 2012 / 7:23 a.m. CT (1223 GMT) The original space shuttle (mockup): Next month, a mostly wood and plastic model of the space shuttle will go on display outside of the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, California. The mockup is full size, has a detailed interior and just one wing. But what really sets this space shuttle apart is when it was created. Built by North American Rockwell as part of its bid to build the shuttle fleet for NASA, the mockup dates to 1972, before the last of the Apollo astronauts walked on the moon.
June 27, 2012 / 7:41 a.m. CT (1241 GMT) Super Guppy soars with Seattle's shuttle: NASA's Super Guppy cargo aircraft lifted off from Houston Wednesday lofting the nose of the Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT), a full-length space shuttle mockup that was used to train every astronaut who flew on the winged orbiters. Piloted by veteran astronaut Greg C. Johnson as well as NASA pilot Dick Clark, the Super Guppy is flying to Seattle's Museum of Flight, where the space shuttle trainer will go on display. (collectSPACE will have in-flight reports and imagery after the Super Guppy crosses California on its way to Seattle.)
June 29, 2012 / 8:58 a.m. CT (1358 GMT) Shenzhou 9 lands: China's Shenzhou 9, its fourth manned spaceflight, returned to Earth Thursday evening, landing in Inner Mongolia after nearly 13 days in space. Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang, and China's first woman in space Liu Yang smiled and waved as they exited the spacecraft, which live video showed had flipped over during the touch down. The mission made history by demonstrating the first manual docking by a Chinese spacecraft, and spent nearly 10 days conducting science on the Tiangong-1 module.
June 29, 2012 / 10:37 a.m. CT (1537 GMT) Super Guppy in-flight exclusive: NASA on Thursday invited collectSPACE on board its Super Guppy as the jumbo cargo plane flew over California on its way to deliver a space shuttle crew cabin trainer to The Museum of Flight in Seattle. The hour-and-a-half flight between March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles and Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento provided to opportunity to not only photograph the unique NASA aircraft but also hear from its pilot, space shuttle astronaut Greg C. "Ray-J" Johnson.