December 1, 2005 / 12:51 a.m. CT (0651 GMT) Canadian candidate: Dr. Marc Garneau, President of the Canadian Space Agency and Canada's first astronaut to fly in space was announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Paul Martin as a Liberal candidate for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec, in the Jan. 23 federal election. Garneau flew on three shuttle missions, logging over 677 hours in space. "Space and Parliament can be kind of similar at times," Prime Minister Paul Martin said.
December 1, 2005 / 1:26 a.m. CT (0726 GMT) Losing Them: Eugene Horton, a former NASA public information officer, has self- published (through Lulu.com) Losing Them, which describes the agency's spaceflight tragedies and their first efforts to motivate workforce excellence. Included in the 556 page book are the details of how cartoonists Charles Schulz ("Peanuts") and Johnny Hart ("B.C") assisted NASA, under Horton's co-direction, to assure the success of its lunar missions.
December 1, 2005 / 9:12 p.m. CT (0312 GMT Dec 2) Final flight: Susan Cooper, the widow of Mercury astronaut Gordon "Gordo" Cooper who died in October 2004, said today that her husband's ashes will be included in the memorial payload to be launched on-board a commercial expendable rocket scheduled for no earlier than March 2006, Alan Boyle with MSNBC.com reported. The launch was arranged by Space Services, a company co-founded by Cooper's fellow Mercury astronaut Donald "Deke" Slayton specializing in "post-cremation memorial spaceflights." Cooper's remains will be carried spaceward on the Falcon 1, a yet-to-be tested launch vehicle built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), along with a Pentagon satellite and the ashes of more than 170 people including actor James "Scotty" Doohan of Star Trek fame.
December 2, 2005 / 8:51 a.m. CT (1451 GMT) Sunny day: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft celebrates its 10th anniversary today. A collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, SOHO has allowed scientists to make significant advances in understanding the closest star, the Sun, including the violent solar activity that can disrupt satellites, radio communication and systems on Earth. The observatory was originally designed for a two year mission but its valuable scientific insights led to it being extended to cover a complete 11-year solar cycle.
December 3, 2005 / 3:08 a.m. CT (0908 GMT) Superior Saturday: Bidding on Session II (two) and 500 lots of space memorabilia at Regency Superior's St. Louis, MO, auction begins today at 10:00 a.m. CT. Collectors who pre-registered can take part in-person, via the phone or through eBay Live. An Apollo 11 signed flown beta cloth patch, a poem that flew on Apollo 15 and a Mark IV pressure suit were identified as sale highlights.
December 3, 2005 / 5:15 p.m. CT (2315 GMT) Garden work: The Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is back to its full display with the erection on Friday of the Thor-Able booster damaged during last year's hurricane season, A Field Guide to American Spacecraft's Jim Gerard shares. The upper stage, which had been blown off by the winds and damaged beyond repair, was used to create the fiberglas replica that now tops the Thor. The Juno II rocket, which was completely blown over, was repaired and lifted back into position earlier this summer. Both the Thor and Juno repairs were done by Guard-Lee of Apopka, Fla., which also created the Orbiter Explorer that is at the Visitor Ctr.
December 5, 2005 / 4:53 p.m. CT (2253 GMT) Departure: Veteran International Space Station commander, spacewalker and three time Space Shuttle flier Leroy Chiao has retired from NASA, the space agency said today. The first Asian-American and ethnic Chinese to fly in space and perform a spacewalk, Chiao most recently commanded the tenth ISS expedition crew, logging a total of 229 days in orbit during his 15 years at NASA. Earlier this year, Chiao announced his post-space career plans working as a consultant, public speaker and leadership coach under Sachi Koto Communications, Inc.
December 9, 2005 / 7:33 p.m. CT (0133 GMT Dec 10) Expedition 13: On Wednesday, Russia's Federal Space Agency announced the crew of the 13th expedition to the International Space Station: mission commander Pavel Vinogradov and NASA ISS Science Officer and Flight Engineer Jeffrey Williams. The pair will launch to the ISS on Soyuz TMA-8 with the first Brazilian space- flight participant Marcos Pontes. Their mission is planned to begin in spring 2006. Wasting no time, Russian space memorabilia dealer Alex Panchenko posted to his website photographs of Vinogradov modeling his expedition's and Soyuz crew's patches as made by Panchenko's company.
December 11, 2005 / 5:36 p.m. CT (2336 GMT) Antenna anniversaries: In the same year that remembers 40 years of operations at the NASA Deep Space Network station at Tidbinbilla, Australia, the visitor center at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is marking today 25 years of being open to the public. Each year 70,000 people, including 9000 students on school field trips visit to see exhibits including a moon rock and Mars rover replicas. The main attraction though, is the magnificent views of the largest antenna dishes in the southern hemisphere. NASA uses the antennae along with facilities in Spain and California to communicate with interplanetary spacecraft and for radio & radar astronomy.
December 12, 2005 / 9:00 a.m. CT (1500 GMT) Go for Flight: As they earlier announced, FarthestReaches.com has begun offering items from the personal collection of Flight Director Gene Kranz. Among the first sale listings are mission access badges, flown artifacts and awards presented to Kranz. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Kranz's Texas church's building fund. Coinciding with the debut of the sale, Farthest Reaches' website has been redesigned to enable product searches by mission, astronaut's name and/or type of memorabilia.
December 12, 2005 / 12:07 p.m. CT (1807 GMT) Anatoli Kartashov 1932-2005: One of the first 20 cosmonauts and a finalist to be the first man in space died Sunday at age 73. Anatoli Yakovlevich Kartashov was praised by Yuri Gagarin as being "the best among us" but pinpoint hemorrhaging along his spine developed during centrifuge runs, and he was grounded before flying in space. He left the Soviet space program in April 1961, to return to the Air Force to serve until 1985, when he left to fly as a test pilot at the Antonov Aircraft Bureau, Kiev.
December 13, 2005 / 7:28 p.m. CT (0127 GMT Dec 14) Wings for Windows: Available for Apple Macintosh systems since 1994, A-OK! The Wings of Mercury has been released for Microsoft Windows platforms for the first time. A historically accurate simulation of the United States' first piloted spacecraft, A-OK! users must reference the actual checklists used by the Mercury astronauts to fly the recreated missions. Features include 3-D renderings of the Redstone and Atlas boosters and their launch facilities, sub-orbital and orbital flight profiles and a virtual CapCom (which, like the real thing, can only be reached when over flying ground stations). Demos can be downloaded from Pyramid Designs' website; the full version of A-OK! on CD can be ordered from buySPACE.
December 14, 2005 / 6:32 p.m. CT (0032 GMT Dec 15) RIP UARS: NASA mission managers today "pasivated" UARS, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, after 5,208 days in orbit studying the Earth's troposphere, including the ozone layer. The 14,500-lb. observatory was deployed by the crew of STS-48 aboard Discovery in 1991. Earlier this year UARS' last battery suffered a short triggering the end of its mission. The satellite is expected to reenter uncontrolled in 2008-09, online reports suggest.
December 17, 2005 / 10:37 a.m. CT (1637 GMT) Mercury masterpiece: Spacecraft Films describes their latest release as "without doubt, the most remarkable set we've ever produced." Project Mercury offers 6 DVDs with 24 hours of material including footage of development, training of the Mercury astronauts, Little Joe, development and primate flights, plus film of each mission showing preparation, ingress, launch, on-boards and recovery. New digital transfers promise a view into Mercury as never before. Now shipping from Spacecraft Films and available to buy through our buySPACE store.
December 19, 2005 / 4:22 a.m. CT (1022 GMT) Mars to the 'max: On January 27, Walt Disney Pictures will release Roving Mars, an IMAX documentary that follows the journeys of NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Directed by George Butler (Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure) and produced by Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies), Roving Mars is based on the rovers' principal investigator, Steve Squyres' recent book of the same title. Photographs taken by the two robot explorers, interviews with Squyres and other members of NASA's Mars team and IMAX footage of the rovers' launches are among scenes shown in Disney's recently debuted trailer.
December 21, 2005 / 1:44 a.m. CT (0744 GMT) A mon's best friend: A monument to the last living creature to fly into space before man will be erected next year in Russia, a REGNUM News Agency article reports. In March 2006, a 1.6-foot metal statue of the dog Zvezdochka ("Little Star") will be unveiled in Izhevsk by its sculptor, local artist Pavel Medvedev. Zvezdochka, who was named by first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, flew to orbit on March 25, 1961 in a dress rehearsal for Vostok 1. The monument will be engraved with Zvezdochka's story.
December 21, 2005 / 11:05 a.m. CT (1705 GMT) Packed for Pluto: When the New Horizons spacecraft launches next month to Pluto, it will carry on-board several commemorative items, including a U.S. flag and a compact disc with more than 430000 names, reports Space.com. The probe will also fly with a piece of another spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, as designer Burt Rutan made known at his vehicle's donation ceremony to the National Air and Space Museum in October. A Florida state twenty five cent piece, engraved with the Gateway to Discovery design, will also make the 3-billion-mile journey with New Horizons. The quarter, though symbolic of its launch site, also serves a practical purpose as a spin-balance weight.
December 22, 2005 / 9:05 a.m. CT (1505 GMT) Shaw sentenced: A former conservator at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Florida has been sentenced to jail time for the theft of artifacts – including a Mercury spacesuit boot – and selling them on eBay, the Pensacola News Journal reported. Sherrie Shaw was sentenced to a year and a day in state prison, followed by six years on probation, and must pay more than $3,200 in restitution, the estimated value of the artifacts she stole and sold. Judge Linda Nobles also prohibited Shaw from working in a museum and selling/trading military artifacts.
December 23, 2005 / 6:49 p.m. CT (0049 GMT Dec 24) Present-bearing Progress: An unpiloted Progress cargo craft docked with the ISS Friday afternoon with a cargo of supplies, equipment and fuel for the orbiting outpost. Among its more than 2.8 tons aboard are Christmas presents for station Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev. NASA wouldn't say what the holiday packages contained, but the Itar-Tass news agency reported that the ISS crew would receive a doll of Father Frost (a Russian analogue of Santa Claus), chocolates and DVDs as part of their gifts. This delivery marked the 20th Progress to dock with the space station.
December 26, 2005 / 8:40 a.m. CT (1440 GMT) X-press mail: The U.S. Postal Service will dedicate the theme of its new $4.05 Priority Mail and $14.40 Express Mail 2006 stamps to X-Planes, the experimental vehicles that involved the military, NASA and companies such as Bell Aircraft, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. USPS Art Director Phil Jordan selected for the stamps computer generated images of the X-15 from NASA's archives. The Priority Mail stamp will show the X-15 rotated up to reveal the most surface area. The Express Mail stamp will show colors representing scales of pressures and temperatures against a meshed grid to display air flow around the X-15. The two designs will have text under their images reading "Computer-generated aerodynamic study of an X-Plane." Eight X-15 pilots earned astronaut wings for achieving an altitude of 50 miles or more while flying the rocket planes.
December 28, 2005 / 5:05 p.m. CT (2305 GMT) Remembering Challenger: On Saturday, January 28, 2006, the 20th anniversary of the Challenger accident, The Astronauts Memorial Foundation will join the family of STS-51L commander Dick Scobee; Rick Hauck, the commander of the first post-Challenger flight; and astronaut Joe Allen, the Chairman of the Challenger Center for Space Education, for a ceremony before the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 10:00 a.m. EST public service will remember the lives of the seven Challenger astronauts lost in 1986.
December 29, 2005 / 6:03 p.m. CT (0003 GMT Jan 30) Events in space history: Like Sightings that tracks where astronauts appear, the new collectSPACE calendar lists events and occasions that serve to commemorate or celebrate space history. Extending our existing front page upcoming event listings, the calendar entries can be viewed by name, location and event type.
December 30, 2005 / 12:24 p.m. CT (1824 GMT) Three for '06: The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation will begin on Tuesday taking reservations for their May 5 gala honoring the 2006 inductees to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Announced today, the fifth group of Space Shuttle enshrinees will include Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Henry W. "Hank" Hartsfield, Jr. and Brewster H. Shaw, Jr. The three commanders will be honored by their astronaut peers at an induction ceremony on May 6.