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  Cosmic Rendezvous – An Evening Among The Stars

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Author Topic:   Cosmic Rendezvous – An Evening Among The Stars
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-23-2003 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On October 24th, 2003, plan for launch! Cosmic Rendezvous – An Evening Among The Stars will take place at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas benefiting the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. This first-ever national gala for the Challenger Center, emceed by CNN Anchor Miles O’Brien, will raise money for a new and exciting space curriculum to be shared and taught at all 53 Challenger Centers worldwide.

Former President George Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush serve as honorary chairs. Others committed to attending this gala evening are astronauts and dignitaries including Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12, Apollo 11), Alan Bean (Apollo 12, Skylab II), Karol “Bo” Bobko, (STS-6, STS-51-D, STS-51J), Eugene Cernan (Gemini 9, Apollo 10, Apollo 17), Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7), Joe Allen (STS-5, STS-51A), Dan Brandenstein (STS-8, STS-51G, STS-32, STS-49), Charles “Sam” Gemar (STS-38, STS-48, STS-62), Dr. Bernard Harris (STS-55), STS-63), Tom Henricks, (STS-44, STS-55, STS-70, STS-78), Richard Searfoss (STS-58, STS-76, STS-90), Dr. William Fisher (STS-51I), Norman Thagard (STS-7, STS-51B, STS-30, STS-42, Mir 18), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), and many more [An updated list of astronauts planning to attend can be found under Sightings]. Special invited guests include the families of Apollo 1, STS-51L (Challenger) and STS-107 (Columbia).

The evening will consist of a VIP reception, cocktail reception, silent & live auction and dinner. After the specially designed Westin Galleria space-theme dessert, there will be a live performance by country recording star Lee Greenwood with a dance band to follow for the rest of the evening!

More information can be found here:

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-25-2003 03:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a great event!

Of the astronauts advertised in advance, attending were Allen, Bean, Bobko, Brandenstein, Cunningham, Gemar, Hennen, Henricks, Hieb, Hilmers, and Lounge.

Also present were Burbank, Feustel, Caldwell, Robinson, Wetherbee (who performed together as Max-Q), Culbertson, Coleman, Foreman, McCulley, Altman, Antonelli (who sat our table), Mastracchio, Polansky and Morgan.

Though I didn't approach them all, I believe that everyone listed signed autographs as requested.

The evening began with a reception and silent auction, during which the astronauts mingled freely. In the sea of tuxedos and formal wear, it was sometimes difficult to discern who and where everyone was, but that only inspired more movement within the room.

The auction featured a myriad of donated goods, from pearl necklaces to a set of Code 3 Collectibles' models, to a personalized print of Brian Basset's "Red and Rover" Apollo 1/STS-51L/STS-107 tribute comic strip (which I bid on but ultimately lost).

Segway, as one of the evening's sponsors, had two "Human Transporters" for guests to try. I first watched as Frank Culbertson took one for a spin, and then tried it myself. All I can say, is that its an amazing device and I could see myself using it to get around town back in Virginia (in fact, a neighbor does this very thing).

Dinner was excellent, featuring a butter lettuce and radicchio cup salad with smoked salmon rosettes to begin; grilled filet mignon and crab cakes for the main course; and an original dessert creation inspired by the evening's theme, complete with a fiber optic lit procession by the waiters as they brought the chocolate, ice cream, and liquor treat to the tables.

While we ate, emcees Miles O'Brien (CNN) and Ernie Manouse (PBS) introduced a series of presentations, including a touching speech by June Scobee Rogers (followed by a standing ovation for family members of the Apollo 1, STS-51L, and STS-107 crews), the presentation of the first Challenger Seven award to volunteer fundraiser Dr. Carolyn Farb by veteran journalist Hugh Downs, and a tribute by NASA Adminstrator Sean O'Keefe to the work accomplished by the Challenger Centers.

As dinner wrapped, the entertainment began with performances by Eddie Anders and Mark Wills (who had a song on the radio on February 1 that mentioned the Challenger tragedy), followed by a few songs by Lee Greenwood (with particularly moving renditions of "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "God Bless the U.S.A".

To close out the evening, Max Q took the stage (with Eddie Anders filling on the keyboard).

Former President George Bush was unfortunately unable to attend as scheduled but sent his regards via a letter read by Miles. Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko appeared on screens at the front of the room with a taped message of support for the Challenger Centers.

It was great seeing so many cS readers/members, so many in fact that I won't try to list them here as I know I will forget someone. I would invite you all to chime in here with your own thoughts about the evening.


Posts: 1050
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 10-25-2003 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice evening! Who were the active members of Max-Q?


Russ Still

Posts: 522
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-25-2003 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds great, Robert. Thanx much for the report.


Posts: 345
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-25-2003 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Current Max Q:
Wetherbee drums
Caldwell vocalist, tamborine
Burbank guitar
Feustel guitar
Robinson guitar
Cockrell keyboard (absent last night due to being in Kazakhstan)

New Member


posted 10-27-2003 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bravoblues   Click Here to Email bravoblues     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To add some specifics to the astronaut signings, the following is an excerpt from a Yahoo Group post I made.

It was my pleasure to enjoy the evening at banquet table 25, shared with Rob Pearlman, Tony Antonelli and a USAF fighter pilot friend of his whose name I forgot. The food and entertainment was good with many astronauts attending. However there many people on the list that were a no show including George Bush 41, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Rick Searfoss. I did not see Charles Walker or Bill Fisher either. I showed and asked Allan Bean to sign a Skylab2 cover and an Apollo 12 beta cloth patch, he responded that he would only sign those if I sent them to his home and paid the fee. I asked if he would sign a photo, he said yes and I produced one of him on the moon which he signed and added Apollo 12.

I spoke with Mr. O'Keefe for a few minues and he was glad that collectors were supportive of NASA... seems like good politics at this point when times are bad.

Finally, a tribute to Frank Culbertson who has mastered the brush- off to autograph seekers. Using fast getaway between people and several excuses. He signed for no one that night... again. Mission accomplished Capt. Culbertson.


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