: This October will mark the 40 year anniversary of the first manned mission of the United States' lunar program, Apollo 7. To commmemorate the flight, two limited edition, not-for-profit collectibles are now available for order. Benefiting the U.S. Space Walk of Fame, the Allen A. Stevens Apollo 7 patch is the first in a series based on his alternate insignia ideas. Stevens' final art for the Apollo 7 patch appears in color on a limited coin benefiting the Frontiers of Flight Museum, home to Apollo 7's command module. The medallions were created in part using components that orbited Earth on the 1968 mission.
: Steven MacLean, who in 1983 became one of Canada's first six astronauts, was named Tuesday the new president of the Canadian Space Agency. A twice-flown space shuttle mission specialist and the first Canadian astronaut to use Canadarm2, the International Space Station's robotic arm, MacLean was most recently CSA's Chief Astronaut. He is replacing Guy Bujold, who was acting as interim president since January. MacLean is the second astronaut to fill the title; Canada's first in space, Marc Garneau led until 2005.
: Space shuttle Atlantis was secured at Pad 39A at 2:52 p.m. CDT Thursday, having completed the five-hour, three-and-a-half mile trip from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building. The rollout, which was briefly delayed as a result of Tropical Storm Hanna, may be the first time that NASA has moved a shuttle to the pad while under the threat of a hurricane. Atlantis' move was in preparation for the launch of STS-125, the last shuttle flight to the Hubble telescope, currently scheduled to depart in early October for 11 days.
: The European Space Agency had a busy day on Friday as two of its spacecraft reached milestones in their respective missions. At 1:58 p.m. CT, ESA's Rosetta probe came within 500 miles of asteroid Steins, its closest approach as it flew by on its way to a rendezvous in 2014 with the comet Churyumov- Gerasimenko. Then, 224 million miles closer to Earth and two-and-a-half hours later, ESA's first Automated Transfer Vehicle, the Jules Verne, undocked from the International Space Station to enter Earth's atmosphere in three weeks.
: GeoEye-1, launching on Saturday, will provide the highest resolution commercial color Earth imagery to date and thanks to an exclusive agreement, much of that data will be used by Google to improve their Maps and Earth globe-spanning software. But what if you want to track the GeoEye-1 satellite once it's in orbit? Now, thanks to the United States Strategic Command and Analytical Graphics, you can do that in Google Earth, too, and not just for GeoEye-1. With the installation of the free database, users can track every active and dead satellite, spent rocket stage and fragment of space junk in realtime.
: Friday, NASA made known the retirement of astronaut Joe Tanner after 24 years serving the space agency. A veteran of four missions, most recently STS-115 in September 2006, Tanner started his career with NASA as a pilot teaching other astronauts how to fly and land the space shuttle. Joining the astronaut corps in 1992, Tanner logged over 1,000 hours in space, including 46 spacewalking to service the Hubble Space Telescope and assemble the International Space Station. Leaving to accept a position at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Tanner is also privately consulting on aerospace systems.
: Russian news agencies reported on Monday that the home of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, was burglarized as he was hospitalized for heart problems. The theft, according to Leonov's wife, occurred sometime over the weekend. Initial reports listed jewelry among the items taken. The cosmonaut's 'state awards', which were locked inside a vault, were not stolen. The fate of his other space memorabilia, including his original space art, was not said.
: To celebrate NASA's 50th anniversary, the space agency is partnering with Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to offer the book "NASA/ART", a collection of space-inspired art. Co-authors James Dean and Bert Ulrich share 150 color examples with essays by Apollo astronaut Michael Collins, author Ray Bradbury and Tom D. Crouch, curator. "NASA/Art" accompanies a Smithsonian traveling exhibition and features works by Annie Leibovitz, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, among other American artists.
: Yuri Lonchakov, who will command the next Soyuz flight to the International Space Station, described his mission patch for collectSPACE in July. "I will have my patch, TMA-13, and maybe Earth and three people in spacesuits who grab the Earth," said Lonchakov. At the time, we could only imagine what insignia would emerge from his ideas. We now know: the spacecraft-shaped emblem includes the trio of astronauts that Lonchakov envisioned, as well as a notation that the TMA-13 flight will mark the 100th manned Soyuz mission.
: In preparation for the May 2009 flight of Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne, the European Space Agency is launching a competition to find a name for his mission aboard the International Space Station. The winning moniker, says ESA, should embody three aspects: Europe is exploring space; Columbus, the European science lab, is permanently in space; and from space, Earth looks blue because of its water. The winner will receive an astronaut-signed copy of the mission logo.
: China has named Zhai Zhigang as its first spacewalker. Scheduled to launch on September 25 with Liu Baiming and Jing Haipeng on Shenzhou VII (China's third crewed mission and the first to include three crew members), Zhigang will embark on a 40-minute spacewalk, during which he'll demonstrate a Chinese-built spacesuit and deploy a small satellite capable of beaming back images. The 68-hour flight will touchdown on Sep 28.
: School children who reside in ESA member states are invited to design a T-shirt for Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne's yet-to-be named mission to the International Space Station. The artist with the winning design, which should illustrate Europe's role in space and the Earth, will have the opportunity to talk with De Winne as he models the selected shirt aboard the ISS.
: Space shuttle Endeavour arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B Friday, having rolled the 4.2 miles atop a transporter crawler from the Vehicle Assembly Building. The journey marked the first time NASA has prepared a shuttle for a flight it hopes not to launch. Endeavour will be readied to fly only on the off-chance that its sister orbiter Atlantis suffers irreparable damage during the STS-125 mission to the Hubble Space Telescope lifting off from Pad 39A in October. Should that flight proceed safely, Endeavour will be rolled over to 39A to launch its own STS-126 mission planned for November, as Pad 39B is retired from shuttle service to support Ares.
: For what may've been only the third -- and was likely the last time in history, two space shuttles stood on each of NASA's two launch pads Saturday, exposed as if they were both ready to liftoff. The double shuttle view was afforded by a coincidence of events: Endeavour's arrival at Pad 39B on Friday and the anticipated roll-out of Atlantis payload to Pad 39A later on Saturday. As if the sight of the twin spacecraft wasn't rare enough, a rainbow was seen stretching between the pads.
: On Saturday, at the China Millennium Monument in Beijing, the China Arts and Crafts Society revealed three medals commemorating the country's soon-to-be-launched third manned mission and the first to schedule a spacewalk. The "Shenzhou VII Souvenir Jade Medals" feature a "China Aerospace" logo and depictions of the launch, spacewalk, and landing. The medals official release coincides with the Sept. 25 launch.
: When the Expedition 19 crew members start arriving on-board the International Space Station in March 2009, they will gradually expand the outpost's population from the present three to six people. To represent them, the Expedition 19 patch depicts a simplified station orbiting over a whimsical blue, green, and white Earth, while the Sun splashes rays from behind the planet and 10 stars dot the space background.
: Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng became China's fourth, fifth and sixth taikonauts in space on Thursday as their Shenzhou VII spacecraft reached orbit shortly after launching at 8:10 a.m. CDT. China's third manned mission, Shenzhou VII is the first with a three-person crew and among them, Zhai is scheduled to make China's first spacewalk on Friday. The outing will also debut the Chinese-built 'Feitian' space suit.
: The patch worn by the three Shenzhou VII crewmembers is triangular in shape, includes a depiction of three stars, the Earth, and a space walking astronaut, and inscriptions in both Chinese and English. The taikonauts' autographs are more difficult to describe but collectors are sharing reference examples.
: Earlier this month, NASA packed up its Stardust capsule, the historic container that landed the world's first comet particles, and shipped it to the Smithsonian. The shuttlecock-shaped capsule will now go on public display starting Oct 1, NASA's 50th anniversary, sharing space with Friendship 7 and Apollo 11's Columbia.
: Zhai Zhigang made China's first spacewalk on Saturday, working outside Shenzhou VII for about 14 minutes. Saying he felt good, Zhai offered greetings to "my country and the world." At times waving a Chinese flag, he retrieved a solid lubricant experiment from outside the spacecraft to return to Earth. Clad in a Chinese-built Feitian spacesuit, Zhai was helped by Liu Boming, who occasionally poked his head outside.
: Two days, 20 hours, and 28 minutes after launching, Shenzhou VII returned to Earth on Sunday, landing in Inner Mongolia at 4:38 a.m. CDT. Its crew, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng were reported to be in good condition but were taken to a local hospital for observation. They're scheduled to return to Beijing on Monday, for a two-week quarantine recovery.
: SpaceX made history on Sunday night, as their Falcon 1 became the first privately-developed liquid-fueled launch vehicle to reach Earth orbit. Coming on their fourth try at a successful Falcon flight since 2006, the two-stage rocket carried a 364-pound payload, a mass simulator dubbed "RatSat" to a 385 by 410 mi. orbit.
: Two new memoirs to be published in 2009, each by authors who were part of NASA's best or worst moments in history, were announced this past week. Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin is penning "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Road Home from the Moon," his third autobiography since 1973. Harmony Books will publish Aldrin's memoir, which will be about "his triumphs in space and [his] hard times back on Earth," in time for the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing. Hard times are also told in "Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster" by Allan J. McDonald with historian James R. Hansen (author of Neil Armstrong's biography). The first book to cover the accident by an author who was involved in the decision to launch, McDonald directed the Solid Rocket Motor project.
: NASA released Tuesday the assignments for space shuttle Discovery's STS-129 crew. Slated to bring two ExPRESS Logistics Carriers (ELC) and two spare gyroscopes to the space station, the October 2009 mission will be led by Charles "Scorch" Hobaugh as commander, and pilot Barry "Butch" Wilmore. Robert Satcher, Randolph Bresnik, Michael Foreman and Leland Melvin will fly as mission specialists. Joining them for the ride back from the station will be Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, as the final International Space Station crew member to arrive or depart by shuttle.