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Monday, July 20, 2009

40th Anniversary Celebration Today

People joined together at the Cosmosphere today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of man's landing on the moon.

With audio from 40 years ago playing in the background, people enjoyed cake and liquid oxygen, tang-flavored ice cream. Thanks to Wal-Mart for donating the cake.

Both KSN and KAKE TV, as well as the Hutchinson News covered the event as President and CEO Chris Orwoll made some brief comments before cutting the cake. KWCH did a preview piece on Sunday night's news.

Today also marked the opening of the special exhibit from Leslie Cantwell, "Reflections: Images of Apollo."

In case you can't make it out in the photo, Buzz Aldrin inscribed this photo with the words, "Envy the nation that has heroes."
The Cosmosphere also opened the exhibit today featuring The Trophy Trout and other Apollo "gotcha" gifts.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cosmosphere Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing

On July 20, 1969, at 2:17 p.m., Apollo 11 landed on the moon. It remains one of man's greatest achievements of all time. The Cosmosphere will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this milestone Monday with a number of different activities. Most are free to the public.
OPENING OF "REFLECTIONS: IMAGES OF APOLLO"Photographs and messages from Apollo astronauts and Mission Control personnel sharing their thoughts, quotes and poems inspired by that era. This is the first showing of this exhibit inside the United States. (see additional information below)
OPENING OF NEW APOLLO ARTIFACT EXHIBIT"Gotcha" gifts given to Guenter Wendt, Pad Leader for Apollo 11, by Neil Armstrong and his crewmates on launch day.
FREE SCREENINGS OF APOLLO DOCUMENTARIESShowings at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM in Discovery RoomWonder of it All Live from the Moon
IMAX FILM - MAGNIFICENT DESOLATIONShowing at 10 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM and 6 PM. Tom Hanks captures the experience of walking on the moon in this IMAX classic. Get your 40% discount on tickets at the front desk for this film showing in the IMAX Theater.
KIDS' COLORING AREAMain lobby: color a reproduced Apollo-era coloring page.
CAKE AND LIQUID OXYGEN ICE CREAMCake will be cut at 2:17 PM in the main lobby. Enjoy cake, Tang-flavored liquid oxygen ice cream, and other refreshments.
SHARE YOUR MEMORIESShare your memories of the Apollo landings. Come in and record your memories on video of the Apollo landing so your thoughts on the significance of that amazing event can be preserved for posterity and shared with others. You can also go to http://www.cosmo.org/moonlanding/ and write on the moon landing memories blog at any time.
Reflections: Images of Apollo In honor of the 40th anniversary of man walking on the moon, The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is hosting, "Reflections: Images of Apollo," a unique photo exhibit from Space Collector, Leslie Cantwell. This is the first time these inscribed photographs have been seen in the United States.
Gathered personally by Mr. Cantwell, this exhibit features 100, large-scale, official NASA photographs inscribed by the astronauts and others involved with the missions. This is the largest collection of its kind, and the Cosmosphere is pleased to be chosen as the first place Cantwell has allowed to exhibit the photos in the US.
The collection includes not only autographs, but also lengthy inscriptions by many of the astronauts. Some capture funny exchanges that occurred at the time, others feature text from the great writers and poets throughout history, and some include descriptions of chilling moments of the space program.
It's rare to have even a signature from astronauts John Young, Buzz Aldrin or Michael Collins, but in this collection they have also written lengthy personal inscriptions on the photos. This collection is a tribute to the Apollo program and its extraordinary achievements.
In addition to those listed above, also included are photos signed by Alan Bean, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Harrison Schmitt, Gene Kranz, and Gene Cernan, as well as many others. Walter Cunningham, Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 7, is quoted as saying, "These are rare and unique pictures from a unique time in the history of the world."
Cantwell's interest in the US Space program started in 1981 when he met moonwalker Jim Irwin in Germany. Irwin inscribed a photo of a man standing on the moon with the words, "with love from the moon." Cantwell put it aside, but when he rediscovered the photo 10 years later, it ignited an interest in this history and he began pursuing other photos.
The decision to combine the 16" X 20" photos with handwritten text from those involved takes the photo beyond visual art. Cantwell is preserving an important part of our history like no one else has and is promoting the achievements of the American space program to a new generation.
The original photographs will be on display at the Cosmosphere beginning on July 20, the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Apollo 1 Archive at Cosmosphere

For the first time ever, some of the most key historical documents regarding the failures and achievements of the early Apollo space program will be made public on July 10, 2009, via a cooperative effort of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and Fort Hays State University. Former Astronaut Charlie Duke, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Fort Hays State University will be holding a joint press conference at 4:15 p.m., Friday, July 10, at the Cosmosphere to unveil this previously unreleased archive to the public and discuss the cooperative efforts that led to the release of the digitized collection, in this 40th anniversary month of the Apollo moon landing

In January 1967, when the Apollo program was still trying to get its first manned spaceflight off the ground, three astronauts were killed in the tragic Apollo 1 fire. NASA and its contractors spent almost two years investigating the accident and redesigning the Apollo Command Module before its successful launch in October 1968. Many historians say that without those corrective actions to the Apollo spacecraft, the success of Apollo 11 in July 1969 would not have been possible.

The archived notes of Apollo 16 Moonwalker Charles ("Charlie") M. Duke, Jr. and Apollo 13 Astronaut Jack Swigert, from the Astronaut Office, concerning the post-accident investigation and redesign will be made public for the first time. The notes are held by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center and, through a partnership with Forsyth Library and Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, efforts to digitize this collection and house it on the web where it could be reviewed and studied by organizations and individuals around the world have been completed. The digitization process has taken nearly 5 years and the collection is now being made available via the web on this 40th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 moon landing. No other public documents provide such insight into the inner workings of the investigative and corrective process of the early space program.

Astronaut Charles M. Duke, Jr. donated these documents, after a recommendation from David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc., who discovered the archive while cataloging and appraising Duke's personal collection. It has been nearly a decade since they first discussed where they should place this valuable collection. Frohman recommended the Cosmosphere as an ideal place for the intact collection and Duke generously agreed.

Astronaut and Moonwalker Charlie Duke will be at the Cosmosphere on July 10 for the official press announcement and opening of this digital archive. The Cosmosphere will hold a joint press conference with Fort Hays State University and astronaut Duke at 4:15 that afternoon at the Cosmosphere, 1100 North Plum in Hutchinson, KS. That evening at 6:30 he will attend an invitation-only reception for Premium Members of the Cosmosphere, and at 7:30 will offer a members only presentation. People can become members at www.cosmo.org or by calling 620-665-9310.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NASA Roundtable Thursday about the Legacy of Apollo

NASA Invites Media and Public to Discussion About Legacy of Apollo

WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, July 16, at 1 p.m. EDT, (noon, central time) NASA will host a roundtable discussion titled "Apollo: History and Legacy," to mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the panel in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW in Washington.
The discussion will be broadcast live on NASA Television. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
The discussion will begin with remarks by NASA Acting Administrator Christopher Scolese. NASA Chief Historian Steven J. Dick will moderate the discussion.

The panelists are: - Cristina Guidi, deputy director, Constellation Systems Division, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters - Roger Launius, senior curator in space history, National Air and Space Museum - John Logsdon, Charles A. Lindbergh chair in aerospace history, Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Washington - Craig Nelson, author of "Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon" - Michael Neufeld, chair of the division of space history, National Air and Space Museum, and author of "Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War"

NASA's Apollo 40th anniversary Web sites provide easy access to various agency resources and multimedia about the program and the history of human spaceflight, including a gallery of Apollo multimedia features. The site is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/apollo40th
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

Joe Engle Was a Big Hit

Astronaut Joe Engle spoke to a standing-room only crowd at the Cosmosphere Friday night. Some people had traveled quite a distance to see him.

He used a model of the X-15 during his speech. There were three of these planes, and two still exist. The one Engle flew most of the time is in the Smithsonian, where this photo was taken some years ago.

The other one is in a museum in Dayton, Ohio. This photo was taken in 2004.

The warnings on the side give reason to pause.

Afterwards he signed photos and models and chatted with people until everyone got through the line.

He was the grand marshal in the Hutchinson Patriot's Parade the next morning.

Photos courtesty of Greg Holmes at www.thelope.com, and Patsy Terrell at www.patsyterrell.com.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Joe Engle at Cosmosphere

NASA astronaut Major General Joe Engle will speak at the Cosmosphere tonight - Friday, July 3 - at 7 p.m. in a presentation that's free and open to the public.

A native Kansan, Engle was an X-15 pilot and spacecraft Commander on Shuttle missions. The following morning, he will be the Grand Marshal in the Hutchinson Fourth of July Parade.

Engle was the youngest pilot ever to qualify as an astronaut in 1965 when he flew the X-15 to an altitude of 280,600 feet. In 1981, Engle commanded the second orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle "Columbia," and became the first and only pilot to manually fly an aerospace vehicle from Mach 25 to landing.

Engle was Commander of Space Shuttle "Discovery" on flight 51-I in 1985. The crew deployed three communications satellites, and performed a successful on-orbit rendezvous and manual repair of a disabled communications satellite.

Engle has flown over 185 different types of aircraft including 38 different fighter and attack aircraft. He has logged more than 14,700 flight hours - 9,900 in jets and over 224 hours in space.

His military decorations include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, and the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. He has also been awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and NASA Space Flight Medal with device.

As "Test Pilot Emeritus" of the USAF Test Pilot School, he remains active in flying, including current jet fighter aircraft, and is also an avid outdoor sportsman and wildlife enthusiast. He has been inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and in 2001 he was one of four aviation pioneers enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.