Three Chinese Astronauts Launch for First Occupation of New Space Station

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Three Chinese astronauts launched into orbit on Thursday morning local time for a three-month mission to the nation’s first permanent space station. It will be the longest human space mission in Chinese history, and the country’s first crewed fight in nearly five years.

The mission is commanded by Nie Haisheng, 56, who has logged more than 19 days in space on two previous flights. Nie, who is a major general in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, was joined by Liu Boming, 54, who will be flying to space for the second time, and rookie astronaut Tang Hongbo, 45.

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China to Launch Crew to First Permanent Space Station on Thursday

Shenzhou-12 crew members Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming. (Credit: CNSA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Three astronauts will launch on Thursday morning local time aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft for a three-month long mission to China’s first permanent space station. It will be the longest human space mission in Chinese history, and the country’s first crewed fight in nearly five years.

Launch of the crew aboard a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is scheduled for June 17 at 0122 UTC (June 16 at 9:22 p.m. EDT).

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Bidding for Blue Origin Seat Reaches $4.8 Million; Live Auction Set for Saturday

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Credits: Blue Origin)

Bidding for a seat on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle with Jeff Bezos ended on Thursday with the top bid at $4.8 million.

The auction, which began on May 5, will conclude on Saturday, June 12 with a live bidding session that will be streamed at www.blueorigin.com. The session will start at 1 p.m. EDT/17:00 UTC.

The winner will join Bezos and his brother Mark on New Shepard’s first crewed suborbital on July 20. They will fly on the 52nd anniversary of the first human landing on the moon by NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.

The auction winner will undergo three days of training prior to the launch on the fourth day. The flight will take place at Blue Origin’s facility in west Texas.

Proceeds from the auction will go to Blue Origin’s education foundation, Club for the Future. The non-profit organization encourages students to pursue STEM careers and help plan for humanity’s future in space.

Video: NASA Remembers Astronaut Michael Collins

Video Caption: We are heartbroken to share that astronaut Michael Collins, the command module pilot of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, has passed away at the age of 90.

Collins was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. In 1966, he served as the pilot on the 3-day Gemini 10 mission, during which he set a world altitude record and became the nation’s third spacewalker, completing two extravehicular activities. His second flight was as command module pilot of the historic Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. He remained in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon.

Biography of NASA Astronaut Michael Collins

Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module Columbia during the historic Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Former NASA astronaut Michael Collins, who flew on the Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 missions, passed away on April 28, 2021.

“Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module – some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ – while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.

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Buzz Aldrin & Mike Collins Nominated for Emmy Award

The crew of Apollo 11. (Credit: NASA)

Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have been nominated for an Emmy Award for work they during the first manned lunar landing 51 years ago.

The two surviving crew members were nominated for outstanding cinematography for a nonfiction program relating to CNN’s Apollo 11 documentary. Commander Neil Armstrong has passed away.

“I never thought our film during #Apollo11 would qualify me as a cinematographer – Thanks @TelevisionAcad for the nomination!” Aldrin tweeted.

The documentary was nominated for five awards, including:

Outstanding Cinematography For A Nonfiction Program
Apollo 11
CNN
CNN Films, Statement Pictures, NEON
Buzz Aldrin, Cinematography by
Michael Collins, Cinematography by

Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program
Apollo 11
CNN
CNN Films, Statement Pictures, NEON
Todd Douglas Miller, Directed by

Outstanding Picture Editing For A Nonfiction Program
Apollo 11
CNN
CNN Films, Statement Pictures, NEON
Todd Douglas Miller, Editor

Outstanding Sound Editing For A Nonfiction Or Reality Program (Single Or Multi-Camera)
Apollo 11
CNN
CNN Films, Statement Pictures, NEON
Eric Milano, Sound Design

Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Nonfiction Or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera)
Apollo 11
CNN
CNN Films, Statement Pictures, NEON
Eric Milano, Re-Recording Mixer

Laser Beams Reflected Between Earth and Moon Boost Science

This photograph shows the laser-ranging facility at the Goddard Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory in Greenbelt, Md. The facility helps NASA keep track of orbiting satellites. Both beams shown, coming from two different lasers, are pointed at NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is orbiting the Moon. (Credits: NASA)

by Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Dozens of times over the last decade NASA scientists have launched laser beams at a reflector the size of a paperback novel about 240,000 miles (385,000 kilometers) away from Earth. They announced today, in collaboration with their French colleagues, that they received signal back for the first time, an encouraging result that could enhance laser experiments used to study the physics of the universe.

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Using Sunlight to Save Satellites from a Fate of ‘Space Junk’

by Kayla Wiles
Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No satellite stays the same once launched into space. How much it changes can go unnoticed – until something bad happens.

Carolin Frueh is among only a handful of researchers who have persisted in using a complex technique that can diagnose a problem from thousands of miles away based on how the satellite reflects sunlight.

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Michael Collins Honored with 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

Michael Collins

WASHINGTON,DC (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that Major General Michael Collins has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for … “his lifelong dedication to aerospace and public service in the highest order, both as a pioneering astronaut and inspired director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.”

Established by NAA in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the trophy is awarded annually to a living American for “…significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” One of the most important, historic, and visible aerospace awards in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy reflects a timeline of the most innovative inventors, explorers, industrialists, and public servants in aeronautics and astronautics.

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Michael Collins Answers All Your Questions About Apollo 11

Michael Collins

UPDATED for the 50th Anniversary July 2019
2009 Michael Collins Interviews Michael Collins

Statement from Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins

The following is a series of questions and answers prepared by Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11.

These are questions I am most frequently asked plus a few others I have added. For more information, please consult my book, the 50th anniversary edition of CARRYING THE FIRE, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys. All of the following sections in quotation marks are from that reference.

Q. Circling the lonely moon by yourself, the loneliest person in the universe, weren’t you lonely?

A. No.

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Vice President Unveils NASA Spacecraft for Artemis 1 Lunar Mission on Moon Landing Anniversary

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with an Orion spacecraft in the background. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave remarks in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing and announce to America the completion of NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

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Four Moon Walkers Remain as America Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin steps down the ladder to the surface of the moon. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Fifty years ago today, three astronauts set off on the journey of a lifetime to make the first human landing on the moon. Twelve men would walk on the lunar surface, collect rocks and soil samples, and drive electric cars before the Apollo program ended in December 1972.

As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic first lunar landing on July 20, four of the 12 men who walked on the surface and eight others who flew around the moon are alive to celebrate it.

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NASA Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Historic Moon Landing with Live TV Broadcast, Events

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin steps down the ladder to the surface of the moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon mission and look to the future of exploration on the Moon and Mars with a live, two-hour television broadcast Friday, July 19, and partner-led events taking place across the country from July 16 through July 20.

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Charlie Brown or Snoopy: America’s Future in Space Hangs in the Balance

As the Apollo 10 crew walks along a corridor on the way to Launch Complex 39B, mission commander Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the mission’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 10, the final mission before the first manned landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

During the 8-day voyage, Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernan took the lunar module (LM) to within 47,400 feet (14.4 km) of the lunar surface before rendezvousing with the command service module (CSM) piloted by John Young.

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