Category Archives: Space participation

NASA Langley student space art contest winners

Earlier this month NASA Langley announced the winning entrants in a space art competition: Winners of 2020 NASA Langley Student Art Contest Named | NASA

The winners of NASA’s Langley Research Center’s 2020 Student Art Contest have been selected out of nearly 1,300 entries from 40 states and Puerto Rico.

This year’s contest received a record 1,277 entries from students across the United States. These students, part of the Artemis generation, depicted the theme “We Are Going” with insightful compositions and beautiful creativity. Each piece is wonderfully imaginative, and each student, from kindergarten to 12th grade, used their incredible talents to showcase their interpretation of the theme.

(Finalist # 55) 6th Grade Mehar Kapoor

(Finalist # 55) 6th Grade Mehar Kapoor – 1st Place / 6th Grade

The art contest is intended to illustrate where NASA is going next in the realms of research, development, missions and innovations that highlight NASA’s human exploration activities which touch aspects of our lives here on Earth.

This year’s guest judge was Michael Kagan, an award-winning artist who’s had his artistic talents showcased in solo and group exhibitions all over the world. His most recent exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, entitled “I Was There When It Happened,” featured Kagan’s lifelong interest in NASA, technology, space and innovation.

(Finalist # 39) 8th Grade Kendra Vincent

Finalist # 39) 8th Grade Kendra Vincent – 2nd Place / 8th Grade

The grand prize winner was announced a few days later: New Jersey Student Takes Grand Prize in NASA Langley 2020 Art Contest | NASA

The simplest of ideas can turn into the grandest of results. One high school student took the simple idea that space is reachable, translated that idea into art, and is now the grand-prize winner of NASA’s Langley Research Center’s 2020 Student Art Contest.

Camila Garcia, a tenth-grader at North Bergen High School in North Bergen, New Jersey, earned the highest honor in the yearly competition.

“Camila Garcia, a tenth-grader at North Bergen High School in North Bergen, New Jersey, was named the grand-prize winner for her entry in the 2020 NASA Langley Student Art Contest.” Credits: NASA Langley Research Center

“My inspiration for my artwork was simply the idea of things being reachable,” she said. “It was a very consistent concept within my thumbnail sketches, especially since they all revolved around people.”

Camila’s winning entry is a woman astronaut gazing out into space and the Moon with the words “We Are Going” at the bottom of her helmet.

“In the case of my artwork in particular, it’s more emotionally centered around the idea of something being reachable as the mere gaze I have (I am the subject of my drawing) towards the Moon is that of amazement at how far I’ve truly come,” she said.

(Finalist # 14) 3rd Grade Daniel Chia

(Finalist # 14) 3rd Grade Daniel Chia – 3rd Place / 3rd Grade

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Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR (DESIGN)

Sample of the artworks displayed in “Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR”

Chesley Bonestell documentary now on the International Space Station

The award-winning documentary Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future was recently transmitted to the ISS for viewing by the space station’s crew: “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future”, is now onboard the International Space Station, available for viewing by the crew. – Space Hipsters/Facebook.

See the earlier posting here about the film and check out the trailer:

Chesley Bonestell was an architect and painter who worked on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Chrysler Building. He worked on famous movies like Citizen Kane as a matte artist, and his mesmerizing paintings of planets and star systems helped inspire America’s space program. Why is it that no one knows who he is today?

Producer Douglass Stewart, was  interviewed last year on The Space Show about Bonestell and the film:

During this one segment 72 minute program, not only did our guest take us through the life and art of Chesley Bonestell, but the same for documentary film making, distribution and film festival issues plus lots more.

Bonestell’s visions are still coming to life. Here is an illustration he created for an article by Werner von Braun and Cornelius Ryan in Colliers Magazine, April 30, 1954:

Illustration of a Mars expedition landing site by Chesley Bonestell for Colliers Magazine, April 30, 1954. Via Sept/Oct. 2013 issue of Horizons, the newsletter for the Houston chapter of the AIAA

And here is a full-scale 1st-gen prototype of the Starship, a fully reusable space transport currently in development by SpaceX:

The Starship Mk-1 prototype on display at the SpaceX Boca Chica, Texas facility in 2019. Credits: SpaceX

And a SpaceX illustrator’s vision of Starships at a Mars settlement:

Starships at a Mars settlement. Credits: SpaceX

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A Chesley Bonestell Space Art Chronology

Axiom Space contracts SpaceX to take private astronauts to the ISS

SpaceX gets a second contract for a commercial human mission to low earth orbit on the Crew Dragon just a couple of weeks after the first one:

Axiom Space plans first-ever fully private human spaceflight mission
to International Space Station

HOUSTON – Today Axiom Space announced it is planning history’s first fully private human spaceflight mission to the International Space Station.

Axiom has signed a contract with SpaceX for a Crew Dragon flight which will transport a commander professionally trained by Axiom alongside three private astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The mission, set to launch as soon as the second half of 2021, will allow the crew to live aboard the ISS and experience at least eight days of microgravity and views of Earth that can only be fully appreciated in the large, venerable station.

“This history-making flight will represent a watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space,”

Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said.

“This will be just the first of many missions to ISS to be completely crewed and managed by Axiom Space – a first for a commercial entity. Procuring the transportation marks significant progress toward that goal, and we’re glad to be working with SpaceX in this effort.”

This is the first of Axiom’s proposed “precursor missions” to the ISS envisioned under its Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. Discussions with NASA are underway to establish additional enabling agreements for the private astronaut missions to ISS.

Axiom plans to offer professional and private astronaut flights to ISS at a rate of up to two per year to align with flight opportunities as they are made available by NASA, while simultaneously constructing its own privately funded space station.

“Since 2012, SpaceX has been delivering cargo to the International Space Station in partnership with NASA and later this year, we will fly NASA astronauts for the first time,”

said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.

“Now, thanks to Axiom and their support from NASA, privately crewed missions will have unprecedented access to the space station, furthering the commercialization of space and helping usher in a new era of human exploration.”

With its team’s vast experience in human spaceflight, Axiom serves as a one-stop shop overseeing all elements of its missions. In addition to contracting with SpaceX for a Crew Dragon vehicle to transport its crew to the ISS, Axiom’s turnkey service for the mission – two days in transit and at least eight days aboard the ISS – includes training, mission planning, hardware development, life support, medical support, crew provisions, hardware and safety certifications, on-orbit operations and overall mission management.

A phenomenal view – the world as seen by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg from the Cupola of the International Space Station.

NASA recently selected Axiom’s proposal to attach its space station modules to the ISS beginning in the second half of 2024, ultimately creating a new ‘Axiom Segment’ which will expand the station’s usable and habitable volume. When the ISS reaches its retirement date, the Axiom complex will detach and operate as a free-flying commercial space station.

By serving the market for immediate access to space while building the future platform for a global user base, Axiom is leading the development and settlement of low Earth orbit now and into the future.

About Axiom Space: Axiom Space was founded in 2016 with the aim of creating humanity’s home in space to ensure a prosperous future for everyone, everywhere. While building and launching the Axiom Segment of the International Space Station to one day form the world’s first commercial space station, Axiom provides access to the ISS today by conducting crewed missions for professional and private astronauts. More information about Axiom can be found at


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See You In Orbit?:
Our Dream Of Spaceflight

Videos: Night sky highlights for March 2020

** Tonight’s Sky: MarchSpace Telescope Science Institute

In March, the stars of spring lie eastward: Look for the constellations Gemini and Cancer to spot interesting celestial features like star clusters M35 and the Beehive Cluster, and NGC 3923, an oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern. Keep watching for space-based views of the galaxies.

** The Virtual Planetarium: what to see in the night sky, March 2020BBC Sky at Night Magazine

The Sky at Night presenters Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel reveal their astronomy guide to March 2020.

** The Night Sky | March, 2020The Astrophotographer Judah

This video lists several upcoming conjunctions. In astronomy a Conjunction is defined (Britannica) as

an apparent meeting or passing of two or more celestial bodies. The Moon is in conjunction with the Sun at the phase of New Moon, when it moves between the Earth and Sun and the side turned toward the Earth is dark. Inferior planets—those with orbits smaller than the Earth’s (namely, Venus and Mercury)—have two kinds of conjunctions with the Sun. An inferior conjunction occurs when the planet passes approximately between Earth and Sun; if it passes exactly between them, moving across the Sun’s face as seen from Earth, it is said to be in transit. A superior conjunction occurs when Earth and the other planet are on opposite sides of the Sun, but all three bodies are again nearly in a straight line. Superior planets, those having orbits larger than the Earth’s, can have only superior conjunctions with the Sun.

** Superb Stargazing *** Let’s Take a Trip to the Brightest Stars *** March 1-5 2020 – nemesis maturity

Let’s take a trip to the stars, constellations, planets and Moon, and discover the amazing wonders of the night sky. Let the Moon guide you to the brightest stars of the night sky over the next several evenings. Happy New Month and Happy Skywatching!

** [ Update March.2.2020: What’s Up: March 2020 Skywatching Tips from NASA

Looking for astronomy highlights for March 2020? This month, early risers enjoy a planetary grouping of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the early morning sky. Plus a closer look at Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, and spot a lovely trio at sunset on March 28. Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at… .


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More Things in the Heavens:
How Infrared Astronomy Is Expanding Our View of the Universe

Space Adventures to fly private citizens on SpaceX Crew Dragon

Space Adventures and SpaceX announced today plans to fly four private citizens on a Crew Dragon flight. The Dragon would not go to the ISS but would be a “free flyer” mission in which the citizen astronauts would enjoy microgravity and views of Earth in the spacecraft. The spacecraft would go to 2-3 times the altitude of the ISS. The first launch is aimed for the late 2021 to mid-2022 time frame. The mission would last up to five days.

Space Adventures Announces Agreement with SpaceX
to Launch Private Citizens on the Crew Dragon Spacecraft

Mission profile provides opportunity to break a world record

February 18, 2020 – Vienna, Va. — Building on the success of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station in March 2019 and the recent successful test of the spacecraft’s launch escape system, Space Adventures, Inc. has entered into an agreement with SpaceX to fly private citizens on the first Crew Dragon free-flyer mission. This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program.

The Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 on Pad 39A before the launch on March 2, 2019 of the uncrewed vehicle for a test mission  to the ISS.

If interested parties are secured, this mission will be the first orbital space tourism experience provided entirely with American technology. Private citizens will fly aboard SpaceX’s fully autonomous Crew Dragon spacecraft launched by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, the same spacecraft and launch vehicle that SpaceX will use to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the  Space Adventures’ team on the mission,”

said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX.

“Creating unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space is why Space Adventures exists. From 2001-2009 our clients made history by flying over 36 million miles in space on eight separate missions to the ISS. Since its maiden mission in 2010, no engineering achievement has consistently impressed the industry more than the Dragon/Falcon 9 reusable system. Honoring our combined histories, this Dragon mission will be a special experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity – capable of reaching twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor,”

said Eric Anderson, Chairman, Space Adventures.

A view of the Crew Dragon during the uncrewed test flight in March 2019. The vehicle here was on it’s way back to earth after departing the ISS. Credits: NASA TV.

About Space Adventures: Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers, is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It offers a variety of programs available today, including spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, around the Moon, record-breaking orbital missions, and various training and spaceflight qualification programs. The company’s orbital spaceflight clients include Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott, and Guy Laliberté. For more information, please visit


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See You In Orbit?:
Our Dream Of Spaceflight