November 1, 2005 / 11:17 p.m. CT (0517 GMT Nov 2) Jury finds Ary guilty: A federal jury found former Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center director Max Ary guilty of 12 federal crimes on Tuesday relating to the theft and sale of space artifacts from the Hutchinson museum he cofounded. He was ruled guilty on two counts each of wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering; three counts each of mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. He was found not guilty of one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of money laundering. Later in the afternoon the jury separately found that Ary should forfeit $124,140.
November 2, 2005 / 1:24 a.m. CT (0724 GMT) The rumors of Grissom's suit: Amanda Meyer, the Connecticut student who began an online petition to "return" the spacesuit Gus Grissom wore on his Mercury mission to the late astronaut's family, has claimed "victory for the suit" on her website. According to Meyer's post the "Smithsonian has agreed to move the spacesuit" to a museum bearing Grissom's name in Mitchell, Indiana pending $23,000 being raised for the artifact's care. Press reports say that Meyer is now soliciting corporations for the funds. Its not clear who, if anyone at the Smithsonian gave Meyer the green light, but it was not Roger Launius, chair of the Space History Division at the National Air and Space Museum. "There has been no discussion and no decision on any future move of the Grissom suit," wrote Launius in an e-mail to collectSPACE. The Smithsonian, continues Launius, has received no requests for the suit from the Grissom museum and has no plans to remove it from its current display at the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.
November 3, 2005 / 12:40 p.m. CT (1840 GMT) Gemini 12 arrives in Kansas: En route to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Ill., the Gemini 12 spacecraft arrived at the Kansas Cosmosphere this week for a cleaning and restoration, Sarah Hill with The Hutchinson News reports. For years, the vehicle had been on display at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, encased in a Plexiglas case. Museum conservators will spend the next three months addressing missing parts, arresting the minor corrosion that has been discovered on its body and building a display for the craft. Gemini 12 is the third two seat capsule that the Kansas Cosmosphere has restored for the Smithsonian, and the second that Jim Lovell flew. The Gemini 7 and 12 veteran will join the delegation from the Adler Planetarium in a few weeks to view the vehicle and discuss how it will be displayed. The final mission of the program, Gemini 12 was launched in November 1966.
November 3, 2005 / 9:35 p.m. CT (0335 GMT Nov 4) The man who 'saved' Apollo 16 and 17: The last two manned lunar landings of the Apollo Program were almost canceled, but not for budgetary or technical constraints, recounts Dr. Ed David to Roger Pielke, Jr. with the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. As Nixon's science advisor from 1970-1973, David says that the launch schedule for Apollo 16 and 17 had the White House politicos worried of an accident on either mission impacting the '72 elections. Says David, he suggested postponing Apollo 17's start to December, a month after the polls closed, and that Apollo 16 in April was "too early" to influence the outcome. The date change was first resisted by NASA, citing concerns about keeping their team ready, but the rest, as they say, is history: Nixon won on November 7 and Apollo 17 lifted off on December 7, 1972 (Apollo 16 launched on April 16).
November 4, 2005 / 1:14 p.m. CT (1914 GMT) First interview: CBS Network's 60 Minutes will air on Sunday what they are calling the first television profile of Neil Armstrong. Ed Bradley interviewed the first man to step on the Moon in September as they toured the Kennedy Space Center together. Cameras also filmed the former research pilot taking a flight in a sailplane. Minutes talked with Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin and journalist Walter Cronkite for the segment. According to the release issued by CBS, Armstrong revealed his personal feelings about the lunar landing, his family and the fame he shuns.
November 4, 2005 / 1:49 p.m. CT (1949 GMT) Worth their weight-less in gold: More than 600 sets of gold bars commemorating the second crewed Chinese space flight, Shenzhou 6 have been sold by the National Museum of China, Xinhua News reports. The museum began the sale on October 24 of 1,000 sets of two, 100 gram-each bullions at a price of 32,000 yuan ($3,951) per pair. The bars are being sold in Beijing at the museum and through dealers in other areas of the nation.
November 7, 2005 / 5:08 p.m. CT (2308 GMT) Schirra's stone: NASA continues honoring its Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts as Ambassadors of Exploration this month with two ceremonies to donate moon rocks in their names. Officially announced by the space agency on Monday, Richard Gordon will award 'his' moon rock to The Museum of Flight in Seattle on Nov. 19 (see earlier item) and Wally Schirra will present the lucite- embedded piece of the Moon to the San Diego Aerospace Museum on Nov. 16 in California. Schirra is the only man to have flown missions on NASA's trio of early spacecraft.
November 7, 2005 / 6:15 p.m. CT (0015 GMT Nov 8) Coats' new hat: Michael L. Coats, former astronaut and vice president of Lockheed Martin Astronautics, has been selected as director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. Replacing Jefferson Howell, Jr., Coats will be the ninth person to serve as director in JSC's 44 year history. As its pilot and twice commander, Coats flew the space shuttle three times, including the maiden launch of Discovery, logging a total of more than 463 hours in orbit.
November 7, 2005 / 7:06 p.m. CT (0106 GMT Nov 8) Kranz consigns: FarthestReaches.com has announced that it will be coordinating the sale of former Flight Director Eugene Kranz's personal memorabilia. Spanning 35 years of U.S. manned space flight history, from pre-Mercury to the Space Shuttle, the offerings will include access badges, internal memos, flown artifacts, models and a few of Kranz's famous vests that his wife made for each flight that he led Mission Control. The sale is expected to begin this week on FarthestReaches.com.
November 8, 2005 / 10:28 p.m. CT (0428 GMT 11/9) via SPACE.com Inward bound: ESA's Venus Express left Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on a Soyuz rocket at 9:33 p.m. CT (0333 GMT), launching on a 162 day trajectory to Venus. Europe's first mission to the second planet, Venus Express is a near-twin of Mars Express (both were built by Astrium for the European Space Agency). Venus Express carries seven instruments designed to provide a fresh look at the planet's cloud system, measure seismic and volcanic activity, as well as study the planet's global dynamics. Venus Express will enter orbit around its target planet in April 2006, and begin collecting science in June.
November 9, 2005 / 11:58 p.m. CT (0558 GMT Nov 10) Adventure is waiting: NASA has joined with Scholastic, Columbia TriStar Pictures and Houghton Mifflin to create educational materials in support of the movie Zathura. Distributed through bookstores and movie theaters, as well as at NASA educator resource centers and online, the posters and classroom activities use the fiction concepts of the film to explain real space science. Zathura, based on the book by Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg, tells the story of a board game that sends a pair of children on an outer-space adventure. It opens Friday.
November 10, 2005 / 1:35 a.m. CT (0735 GMT) No mere playthings: One of the largest collections of toy robots and space toys to appear at auction will be offered Nov. 17 at Christie's South Kensington in London. The Paul Lips Collection features over 700 lots and is expected by Christie's to fetch more than £200,000 (almost $350,000). Among the diverse models (that date from the 1940s through to the 1970s) are battery powered robots, flying saucers, spaceships, space-dogs, satellites and many other items of space toy memorabilia. Antiques dealer Lips collected the mechanical marvels for 15 years.
November 10, 2005 / 10:35 a.m. CT (1635 GMT) Wakeup concert: The International Space Station crew, 220 miles above Earth, will receive a special live musical wakeup call from Paul McCartney Sunday during a first- ever concert linkup, NASA announced on Thursday. The wakeup will come from McCartney's "US" Tour stop at Anaheim, California's Arrowhead Pond. The former Beatle will play two songs, "Good Day Sunshine" and "English Tea," for NASA Astronaut Bill McArthur and Russian Cosmonaut Valery Tokarev. The call is planned for 11:55 p.m. CT, Saturday, November 12 as the concert is nearing its end; and McArthur and Tokarev are starting the 44th day of their six month mission in space. It will be shown live on NASA TV with video beamed from the ISS.
November 11, 2005 / 1:13 a.m. CT (0713 GMT) Astronaut for auction: To celebrate their 25th anniversary, The Planetary Society is hosting an auction of items and encounters contributed by their directors, advisors and friends. Among the 34 lots open for bidding on eBay are two that feature time touring and talking with Space Shuttle astronaut Tom Jones. Others lending their presence include Mars manager Donna Shirley, planetary scientist Chris McKay and TV host Bill Nye, the Science Guy; memorabilia was donated by Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, cosmologist (and Planetary Society founder) Carl Sagan's estate and Star Trek Voyager actors Robert Picardo and Kate Mulgrew. The auction, which started on November 2, culminates at 8:00 p.m. PST Saturday as it coincides with The Planetary Society's gala award dinner.
November 12, 2005 / 1:56 a.m. CT (0756 GMT) Documentary debut: Tomorrow, the High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, New York will premiere a new documentary about the life, death and legacy of the United States' first "Teacher in Space". Christa McAuliffe: Reaching for the Stars was co-produced by Emmy-award winning video journalist Renee Sotile and former LA radio talent Mary Jo Godges. Narrated by Susan Sarandon and featuring an original song composed for the film by singer Carly Simon, Reaching's producers worked with Christa's mother Grace Corrigan and other family members to gain access to new material, contributor Colin Burgess reports.
November 16, 2005 / 2:42 a.m. CT (0842 GMT) Reference reprint: Selling for as much as $6,000 per pair at auction, the Apollo News Reference manuals are coveted by history enthusiasts and collectors alike. To satisfy the demand for these indepth guides to the Command/Service Module's and Lunar Module's systems Apogee has begun production of exact reprints of the two books, packaging them with a DVD that features rare film of the lunar vehicles. Also included on the disc is a digital slide show of Grumman's Lunar Module 'peel-away' (think Gray's Anatomy) acetate showing over 100 of the lander's components. Available for pre-order at $60 (plus shipping).
November 16, 2005 / 11:00 a.m. CT (1700 GMT) Cape concern: To save money and avoid safety problems, NASA may demolish the building that served as the Mercury Control Center and the engineering support building at Pad 34, where the crew of Apollo 1 was lost in a fire and Apollo 7 launched, reports Florida Today. Local officials concerned with their preservation will visit the buildings today to assess possible other options. The Mercury blockhouse and the Pad 34 pedestal will remain, regardless of NASA's decision pertaining the two faciltiies.
November 16, 2005 / 11:48 p.m. CT (0548 GMT) via Al Hallonquist Richard Lawyer (1932-2005): Forty years to the day after he was selected as a pilot for the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory, Col. Richard E. "Dick" Lawyer died on Nov. 12, 2005, of an apparent deep vein blood clot, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots notified its members. Lawyer, 73, served with the MOL program until its cancellation in June 1969, when he returned to active duty, eventually becoming a deputy commander at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He retired from service in 1983. Lawyer's MOL spacesuit recently made the news when it was discovered in a Cape Canaveral abandoned building. The National Test Pilot School, California, where Lawyer had been scheduled to fly this week, will hold a memorial service on December 17. He will be buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery on January 5, according to the SETP.
November 21, 2005 / 4:44 p.m. CT (2244 GMT) Tracking history: The last ship of Russia's maritime space fleet, the research vessel Kosmonaut Georgy Dobrovolsky may soon be auctioned off as scrap metal, should the campaign to have it transferred to a military space academy in St. Petersburg not succeed, according to BBC News based on a Russia TV broadcast. The ship, which was once among 11 used during the 1970s to track spacecraft in orbit, has since been left to rust away at its dock. Experts say that the Dobrovosky's equipment could still be used to follow the International Space Station, like its sister ship-turned-museum the Viktor Patsayev, which only recently monitored the outpost while NASA's Mission Control was evacuated due to a hurricane. The Patsayev and Dobrovolsky, as well as another vessel, the Vladislav Volkov, were christened after the fallen crew of Soyuz 11.
November 23, 2005 / 5:21 p.m. CT (2321 GMT) Martian milestone: Spirit, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover that landed Jan. 3, 2004, has completed one martian year - that is almost two Earth years - on the red planet. Designed to last only 90 sols (days), the six-wheeled, golf cart-sized rover has sent some 70,000 images and traveled over 3 miles. The martian wind has played a role in increasing Spirit's staying power as dust devils - tiny tornados - have swept dirt off its solar panels.
November 23, 2005 / 7:56 p.m. CT (0156 GMT 11/24) Showcasing space: Britain's Black Arrow, NASA's Mercury capsules and the Iridium commercial network of satellites are some of the artifacts cared for and discussed by museum curators in Showcasing Space, a new book edited by Martin Collins and Douglas Millard. In Space, seven contributors explore the meaning of space artifacts, both as products of particular historical settings and windows for understanding technological and cultural change. Part of a series sponsored by London's Science Museum, Munich's Deutsches Museum and Washington's Smithsonian, Showcasing Space is available in softcover (200 pp) for $39.95 from Michigan State University Press.
November 26, 2005 / 12:06 p.m. CT (1806 GMT) Sample success: After failing at its initial attempt last week, JAXA's Hayabusa probe successfully touched down on the asteroid Itokawa and, in a first-of-its-kind maneuver, collected samples from its surface, Japan's space agency confirmed today. The spacecraft contacted the ground at approximately 4:00 p.m. CT (2200 GMT) on Friday, firing at least one pellet into the surface to stir up material for collection. Hayabusa will return its samples in mid-2007 via a capsule landing in the Australian Outback.
November 29, 2005 / 11:17 a.m. CT (1717 GMT) Apollo advisors: Two Apollo moonwalkers joined 22 other experts on Tuesday as the newly restructured NASA Advisory Council, a group of eminent Americans organized to provide guidance and policy advice to the administrator of the U.S. space agency. Apollo 17 Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt chairs the new Council and Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong is among its newly appointed members. Other space flight veterans advising NASA Administrator Mike Griffin include Discovery's first Return to Flight Commander Frederick Hauck and James Abrahamson, a former USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory pilot trainee. The Council's new members were chosen for their expertise in aeronautics, exploration, human capital, science, and audit/finance. Their first meeting together is today and tomorrow at House and Senate office buildings.
November 29, 2005 / 3:50 p.m. CT (2150 GMT) Gaps in history: Just three hours after an unprecedented EVA (spacewalk) removed two gap fillers from the underside of shuttle Discovery on Aug. 3, Valerie Neal, Curator, Space History Division with the National Air and Space Museum, inquired with NASA about obtaining one of them for the national collection, News & Notes, the quarterly newsletter for NASA's History Division, reports. The request received immediate attention, and on Aug. 8 she received an affirmative response. One or both of the gap fillers will be transferred to the Smithsonian museum once NASA completes its failure analysis. These pieces were of interest to Neal as an unexpected problem on the Return to Flight mission and for provoking a historic EVA.
November 29, 2005 / 6:46 p.m. CT (0046 GMT Nov 30) Cook book: In Cooking for the Astronauts, Dotti Kunde shares the recipes she baked for quarantined shuttle crews as they spent the week before their scheduled launch at Kennedy Space Center. Included in the 116 page hardcover are the directions for the Cape's famous chocolate chip cookies and her crumb-less cake, making it the only one safe for space (not to mention carpets and kids, too!). The recipes were collected and tested over 23 years, which began when Kunde answered a classified ad for a food-service tech needed three to four days a month.