Category Archives: Events

Chesley Bonestell documentary to debut at Newport Beach Film Festival

A new documentary movie about pioneering space artist Chesley Bonestell will debut May 1st at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The film is titled Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future:

Behind every architect and builder is an artist who takes designs and ideas, morphing them into beautiful images for everyone to understand. Chesley Bonestell was this artist, yet very few know his name. He worked on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Chrysler Building, as a matte artist on famous movies like Citizen Kane, and his mesmerizing paintings of planets and star systems helped jumpstart America’s space program. His iconic “Saturn As Seen From Titan”, became known as “the painting that launched a thousand careers.” Discover the power of the forgotten man whose art inspired Americans to conquer “The Final Frontier”.

“Saturn As Seen From Titan” by Chesley Bonestell

Note that back in 2013 the AIAA Houston Section‘s Horizons Newsletter posted hi-res reproductions of the famous and influential series of articles on spaceflight by Wernher von Braun in Colliers Magazine in 1952-54, which included many illustrations by Bonestell. I wrote about this in these postings:


Yuri’s Night – World Space Party : Celebrate “humanity’s past, present, and future in space”

The annual Yuri’s Night – World Space Party happens this week in honor of the first human – Yuri Gagarin – to go into space on April 12, 1961.

Yuri’s Night is the World Space Party. We hope to see you dream, explore, and celebrate with us at the hundreds of YN events held around the world each April.

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!”  — Yuri Gagarin, 1st human in space.

Find a party near you at

Here is a message from the National Space Society about the global event:

The National Space Society has teamed with Yuri’s Night!

The crew of Expedition 27 celebrates Yuri’s Night aboard the International Space Station in 2011

The National Space Society invites you to celebrate Yuri’s Night in your local area. Yuri’s Night is a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night parties and events are held around the world every April in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.

Yuri’s Night events combine space-themed partying with education and outreach. These events can range from an all-night mix of techno and technology at a NASA Center, to a movie showing and stargazing at your local college, to a gathering of friends at a bar or barbecue.

In 2011, the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight, over 100,000 people attended 567 officially-recognized events in 75 countries on all 7 continents, while tens of thousands more watched the 12-hour live Yuri’s Night Global Webcast and participated online in the virtual world of Second Life.

The list of North American events this year can be accessed at

Yuri’s Night would like to thank the National Space Society for helping make Yuri’s Night in Los Angeles on April 7 the best event ever in the long history of Los Angeles Yuri’s Nights. The massive dance under the space shuttle Endeavour was truly awesome. (For details see

This is just the beginning! On April 13 the Yuri’s Night celebration will rock the Space Coast in Florida with a dance under the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Help the National Space Society make this party one for the history books.

For more information and to get tickets see

Chantelle Baier
Director, National Space Society
Event Coordinator, Yuri’s Night

The first Las Cruces Space Festival – April 12-14, 2018

The Las Cruces Space Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico, near Spaceport America, will celebrate “Space for Everyone” : 

The first Las Cruces Space Festival (LCSF) will be held from April 12 – 14, 2018 to celebrate space-related activity and interest in the Las Cruces region. Locals as well as visitors are invited to join this inaugural celebration of all things space! We’re making space for everyone!

Space activity is an area of huge interest for many people, part of our culture and of our heritage. We all benefit from previous space innovations, including cell phones, GPS and weather tracking, just to name a few!

There is already much space-related activity in the area, and it’s also set to increase over the coming years, offering new prospects to our youth and drawing in experienced experts in the field to this area to help achieve our space goals.

More details about the Festival and events will continue to be updated on this site as they become available. Check back often for new events and details! We can’t wait for LCSF 2018 – it’s going to be out of this world!

More at Organizers release details of three-day Las Cruces Space Festival :

On Thursday, April 12, events will be geared toward children and families in a celebration of the anniversary of human space flight. Yuri’s Night, celebrated worldwide, marks the 1961 date when the Soviet Union launched Yuri Gagarin into orbit around the Earth. 

Events will take place on the New Mexico State University campus and will include a mobile planetarium and a tech center featuring a space flight simulation. There will also be educational NMSU Space Talks and stargazing. Las Cruces Public Schools is also planning events earlier in the week.

On Friday, April 13, a Space Showcase at Mesilla Valley Mall will offer an opportunity for budding astronauts, curious minds and science buffs to interact with and ask questions from experts in space travel, aerospace and space exploration.

Virgin Galactic is bringing a full-scale replica of a SpaceShipTwo suborbital rocketship.

And there will be tours of the spaceport:

Festival organizers are also aiming to set up a space tour from Las Cruces to Spaceport America. KTAL 101.5 Community Radio in Las Cruces will broadcast special features and interviews throughout the week of the festival.


Videos: SpaceX to attempt first launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX hopes to launch its  Falcon Heavy rocket today from Kennedy Space Center. The 3 hour window for the launch opens at 1:30 pm EST  (1830 GMT). There are large crowds reported gathering in the Cape Canaveral area to watch the launch.

Falcon Heavy on Pad 39A on Monday evening, Feb.5, 2018

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk gives this test a 50/50 chance of success. Problems could range from an explosion on the pad due violent interactions of the exhausts of 27 engines firing simultaneously to problems with the two side boosters separating from the core. Here is a recording of a press briefing given by ELon yesterday:

With the high risks for the first launch of a new rocket, usually a boilerplate mock-up of a spacecraft or just plain ballast is used as a payload. Elon instead chose to fly his red Tesla Roadster.

Elon’s red Tesla Roadster set on an adapter before placement in the Falcon Heavy nosecone.

If the flight is a success, the roadster will be sent into an orbit that will see the roadster cycling out to the orbit of Mars and back near earth for the next billion years or so.

Here is a SpaceX animation of the mission. Note that the two side boosters are to return to the Cape for landing on ground pads while the center core will attempt to land on a platform at sea:

About 15-20 minutes before lift off, the SpaceX webcast will go live. You can also watch it here:

As of 12:10 pm EST, the target liftoff time is 2:20 pm EST (1920 UTC) . If the rocket does not get off the ground today, there will be another opportunity on Wednesday afternoon.

Updates and background info on the launch:


Videos: 40th Anniversary of the Voyager missions

To mark the 40 years of the flights of the two Voyager spacecraft through the solar system and into interstellar space, NASA held an event with several of the scientists involved in the project to discuss what it has accomplished:

This segment with William Shatner is about public messages transmitted to Voyager 1:

From the caption:

On Sept. 5, 2017—the 40th anniversary of Voyager 1’s launch—NASA revealed the winning #MessageToVoyager and beamed it into space. “Message to Voyager” is a social media campaign inspired by the messages of goodwill carried on the Golden Record aboard each Voyager spacecraft.

NASA invited the public to submit short, uplifting messages to the Voyager 1 spacecraft and all that lies beyond it. These messages were a maximum of 60 characters and were tagged #MessageToVoyager. NASA tracked more than 30,000 submissions. The Voyager team together with JPL and NASA headquarters selected their 10 favorites, which were then put to a public vote. The winning message was sent into interstellar space by a command that originated from the Deep Space Network (DSN) mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with help from the original Captain Kirk, actor William Shatner; Tracy Drain, Juno mission deputy chief engineer; Jeff Berner, DSN chief engineer; and Annabel Kennedy, DSN command engineer.

To see all 10 finalist messages and get more details about the #MessageToVoyager campaign, visit