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Author Topic:   2004 Astronaut Hall of Fame induction weekend
Robert Pearlman

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

posted 05-03-2004 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having just returned home from a wonderful five days in Florida, I wanted to take a moment to thank the Delaware North Park Services (DNPS) staff (Debbie, Brian, Dan, et al.), the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation staff (Linn, Diane, Howard, et al), friends (Val, Andy) and fellow collectSPACE members (almost too many to list so I apologize in advance if I omit someone which I surely will, but Ben and Alesha, Bryan, Tom, Al, Bob, Mike, Steve, Bill and Vicki, Robert, Dana, Garry, Gerhard, Steffen, Rob, Joe, et al.) for creating long lasting memories of the 2004 Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction.

I should add to that a great thanks to the astronauts, their spouses and families, who were very gracious with their time and continue to serve as great role models for us all: Scott and Patty Carpenter, Gordo and Suzy Cooper, Wally Schirra, John and Annie Glenn, Jim Lovell, Al Worden, Ed Mitchell, Charlie Duke, Walt and Dot Cunningham, Rick Hauck, Dan Brandenstein, Owen and Eve Garriott, Barbara and Clay Morgan, John and Suzy Young, Bob and Pandora Crippen, Joe Engle, Vance Brand, Hoot Gibson, Bob Springer, Mike Coats, Loren Shriver, Steve Oswald, Don Williams, Charlie Walker, Laura Shepard, Bobbie Slayton, Fred Gregory and his family, Dick Covey, Kathy Sullivan and her family, Norm Thagard (and his adorable granddaughter), and June Scobee Rodgers.

I would encourage those who attended to chime in with your favorites memories. Here are just a few of mine:

- The tribute delivered to Dick Scobee by both Norm Thagard and June Scobee Rodgers during the induction ceremony was very touching. When she pointed out that many remember and honored how Dick died but was thankful that the Hall celebrated how he lived, I could do nothing to stop a tear from forming. Its these type of moments that remind us all that astronauts are truly heroes. I also enjoyed listening to Crip tell stories about Norm, Dan Brandenstein about Fred Gregory, John Glenn about Kathy Sullivan, and Joe Engle about Covey.

- The reception prior to the ASF's gala was both relaxed and rewarding. Everyone was in good spirits and there were some great guys -- in addition to the astronauts -- to meet. I always enjoy placing faces with the names I see on the computer screen and I met quite a few cS readers for the first time. Catching up with Guenter Wendt is always and was a special treat. And though I will forget his name (please forgive me if you are reading), I had a wonderful conversation with one of the dedicated individuals who not only worked to repair Hubble but continued to work on its servicing for the past 20 years.

- The gala itself was also relaxed and memorable. Though we all had assigned seats (mine with Bill and Vicki O'Donnell, Gerry Matulka and his wife, Karl Ronstrom and his wife (Karl provided the great photographs you see in the following replies), and Hoot Gibson), everyone was free to wander the floor and meet everyone else. I particularly enjoyed hearing Roger McGuinn perform, including "Turn, Turn, Turn" -- though I am too young to have been around when it was first released, I grew up listening to my parents play the Byrds on our stereo and to hear it in-person brought back fond memories of my not-so-distant childhood.

There are certainly more experiences I could describe (like sitting with Charlie Walker during the induction or getting to know some astronauts I had not met before, like Bob Springer) but I would enjoy greatly to hear from others. What were your favorite experiences?

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited May 03, 2004).]

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 05-03-2004 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a few photographs from the weekend, courtesy Karl Ronstrom of First Photo Studio in Cocoa Beach, Florida. I am sure if you if you wanted to copies of this prints, he would be happy to take orders (321-799-2535):

- Before the VIP reception on Friday night, the astronauts made an unannounced (except to media) stop to tour the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Here we see John Young and Jim Lovell obviously enjoying the opportunity to peak inside a Gemini Trainer:

- The 2004 class of inductees posing at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, from left to right: Frederick Gregory, Richard Covey, June Scobee Rodgers, Kathryn Sullivan and Norman Thagard.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited May 03, 2004).]

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 05-03-2004 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
- The four Mercury orbital astronauts watch as the 2004 inductees are honored, from left to right: John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordo Cooper:

- An amazing assembly of Hall of Fame astronauts, from top left to bottom right (spanning both photographs): on stage - Master of Ceremonies Andrew Chaikin, Norman Thagard, June Scobee Rodgers, Kathryn Sullivan, Fred Gregory, Dick Covey, Jim Lovell, John Young, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordo Cooper, Walt Cunningham, Ed Mitchell, Al Worden, Rick Hauck, Hoot Gibson, Owen Garriott, Vance Brand, Bob Crippen, Joe Engle and Dan Brandenstein:

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited May 03, 2004).]

Robert Pearlman

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

posted 05-03-2004 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
- Gathered for a press conference, the 2004 inductees and ASF director Howard Benedict:

And posing, post-induction:


Posts: 495
From: Highland Heights, KY
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-03-2004 09:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Robert- thank you so much for sharing the memories and photos. I had every intention of going, but personal matters kept me from attending. Next year! or perhaps this year's aviation HOF in Dayton, OH.



Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-03-2004 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Robert, for posting those great photos! The one of the "Atlas Four" looking the same way is one of the best group shots I have ever seen of them.



Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 05-03-2004 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have to agree with Francis, Robert - those are darned good photos. The "Atlas 4" shot reminded me of that very evocative scene in "The Right Stuff" where the gathered Mercury astronauts one by one start looking to the skies at a Houston reception. I must admit the photo of Fred Gregory, Dick Covey and June Scobee Rodgers gave me a small shiver - I'll always remember that MC shot of Gregory and Covey looking in bewilderment at their monitors moments after Challenger had been lost.


Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 05-03-2004 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the de-brief, Robert, we really appreciate it! This was an extra special one!


New Member


posted 05-04-2004 12:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for William   Click Here to Email William     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the pictures...It was truly a great weekend...The gala was great and a chance to chat with the astronauts was unforgettable. It was also great to meet you, Robert, as well as other CollectSpace members. Am already looking forward to next year.

Bill Lower
Terre Haute, IN

Rob Joyner

Posts: 1292
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-04-2004 02:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello everyone,
After traveling through the worst constant downpour of rain ever I finally arrived at KSC an hour and fifteeen minutes behind my personal schedule and ten minutes behind the suggested arrival time. I was so crunched for time I didn't have enough time to even stop at the hotel first. I actually stopped at the Astronaut Hall of Fame Museum at the foot of the KSC causeway and used their lobby restroom to change clothes!
I hadn't been inside the reception area at the Debus conference facility ten minutes when the astronauts came walking in. Apollo 14 Moonwalker Ed Mitchell was the first to enter the room. He is a very softspoken, sincere man. Though I had met many before I said hello to all. Owen Garriott told me he remembered me from last year. "Hoot" Gibson remembered me as well. I had a photo taken of us and his daughter Emily last year. That was the night before his Hall of Fame induction. He told me then that he was actually more taken aback that John Glenn was going to introduce him! We talked about that and he had a good laugh when I told him it was nice of SouthWestern to give him the time off to come back to KSC!
One person I had not met was Apollo 16 Moonwalker Charlie Duke. As it was the case with every astronaut there, all were constantly talking with other people. I finally wedged myself in and introduced myself and after a brief chat I asked if he would sign the Apollo 16 page of my 'space bible', Lattimer's 'All We Did Was Fly To The Moon'. I hadn't seen him sign anything while I was keeping an eye out, but I had always heard he was a good signer. He took a breath and paused. He then said, "Okay. I'll sign just one thing." I responded, "That's all I'd like." He did so and I shook his hand and thanked him.
Barbara Morgan was very sincere when I thanked her for being there, wanting to know where I was from.
I caught Wally Schirra as he was finishing an autograph with someone else. Knowing how he likes to joke I said, "You must be the one they call 'Wally'!" He laughed and he then signed my Gemini VI page. I then asked if he would like to sign my Apollo 7 page. He looked around and said, "Not just now." I said, "Maybe later?" and he nodded and responded, "Maybe later." ('Later' at the Gala Dinner I approached him from about seven or eight feet at his table and asked if now was a good time for the Apollo page. He said, " Yeah, sure!" and motioned me over. I now have Wally's autograph on all three of his mission pages.
Now back to why he declined the first Apollo signature request. As Wally declined I realized then that he was en route to speak with Gordon Cooper standing just a few feet away.
I met Cooper at last year's Gala. After others had their photo taken with Gordo I approached and introduced myself and told him that I was glad that he was there for this year's induction. Such a kind man, he didn't hesitate at all when I asked for his autograph on the Gemini V page. I thanked him and he said slowly, "You're very welcome." God bless him.
Dan Brandenstein. I saw him launch aboard Endeavour's maiden voyage back in May of '92. At last year's Gala each person had a small booklet at their table place. It told of the inductees, the AHOF Foundation, menu, etc. Last August, I took my two young nephews to KSC to meet Story Musgrave, a genuine Renaissance Man. He signed that booklet that day, among other things. Last Friday, "Hoot" Gibson and Dan Brandenstein both signed it too. Now, Sally Ride, if you're reading this!!.......
I saw Bob Crippen at last year's Gala but neglected to bring anything for him to sign. I did so this year! It was announced that all astronauts and family members should report to the side exit to go to the Gala Dinner. I looked at the door and saw Bob Crippen approaching it. Thank goodness for chivalry! He was holding the door for a few ladies approaching. I came up to him and asked if he would sign my photo. He said, " Do you have a pen?" I already had it uncapped, "Yes, sir!" He then held the door open with his elbow and signed his name on the photo. As he was signing I told him that it was a great honor to meet him and that I appreciated the autograph. He responded so very, very humbly in such a low voice that I couldn't make even make out the last few words after he said , "Aw, no, I'm just glad to ..." Wow!
At the Gala Dinner under the giant Saturn V rocket at the Apollo Saturn V Center, where I got Schirra's Apollo page signed, I got Joe Engle to sign the 'Enterprise' page at the back of the 'space bible', Guenter Wendt to sign the opening Gemini page and Vance Brand to sign the Apollo/Soyuz page.
I also got all the new inductees to sign the front of the evening's program. Thagard was first, then Covey, Gregory and Sullivan. It took me a while to locate June Scobee. It was near the end of the evening when I finally saw her nametag. As Roger McQuinn of the Byrds sang an acoustic set wearing a wide brimmed hat not fifteen feet away I told her how glad I was that she and her son and daughter were there. I told her that her being there made the whole weekend that much more special. She held my hand and thanked me so much. That's something I will never, never forget.
The next day she gave an acceptance speech that is second to none. It was so moving and strong and brave that I guarantee all present had a tear in their eye.
Before that wonderful ceremony, Scott Carpenter was signing his book at the Astronaut Encounter stage area. I was told that he was signing his book only. Since I don't collect individual signed books I bought one anyway for my uncle to have signed as a surprise, (and he was !). As I was standing in line I saw Carpenter was signing other items as well. After getting the book signed I went and bought an 8X10 at the Space Shop twenty feet away. I heard that it was his birthday and as he was signing I asked if it was. "Yes" he replied. I then asked how old he was. He looked up, having completed the autograph, smiled and said happily, "I'm 79!". I shook his hand again and thanked him for being there on his birthday. He is a living legend and yet one of the kindest men one could ever meet.
Afterwards I had the privilege of meeting astronaut Brian Duffy. He asked if this was my first time at KSC. I told him that I had been to KSC around twenty times and he responded that I had been there almost as many times as he! A very personable and genuine great guy is he.
Well that's about it, except for one more thing. Since my teenage years, every now and then people ask if I'm from England or Australia. It has to do with the accent. I don't know where I heard it but someone somewhere said that 'English people sing like southern people talk.' I have spent all of my 42 years in coastal GA, and also have in my LP collection an original 'Meet the Beatles' album that was given to my Mom for her 24th birthday. I'm told it was my favorite album. It was even 'autographed' by me so long ago I cannot even remember writing on it.
Here's the funny part. As I was waiting to speak with Scott Carpenter Friday night I soon realized that I'd have to 'join in' the conversation to get to talk with him. As I said before, there was always someone taking with all he astronauts.
I approached and said simply, "Hello Mr. Carpenter." He then said to the three people there, "And then there's a German!"
I looked around for a second and said shaking my head slowly, "German?....uh, I don't think so!"
He replied, " That's not a German accent?"
"No, Sir", I replied, "It's southeast Georgia."
"Russia?", he smiled knowingly.
"No, U.S.!" I told him.
We all laughed and then he said that was the first time he had ever confused a Georgia accent with a German accent!
I replied by saying that this was the first time that anyone had accused me of having a German accent and that this was a first time for both of us!
Everyone there listening had a real good laugh!
I mentioned that to him again the next day when I got my uncle's book signed. We both laughed about it again!
Well, that's about it except for considering Alan Shepard's daughter was there at this year's Gala. It was announced that from now on the AHOF inductions will occur on the first Saturday of May, closest to Shepard's historic flight,(May 5). So mark your calendars for next year, May 7 .
By then I hope there will have been at least one shuttle launch, and, yes, I'll be there for that one!
Thanks for reading!....Rob


Posts: 1004
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-04-2004 06:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello everyone

Robert thankyou so much for posting your experience and photographs. i am so jealous. It looked to be an amazing day. Maybe next year.

New Member


posted 05-04-2004 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for   Click Here to Email     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob - it was a pleasure to meet you in line for Brian Duffy. You never know who youll meet or where. <G> AND your pal.

Quite a summation and between you and the other Rob nothing I can add other than it was a pleasure, as always to see the "usual suspects" and the new folks.

And Rob P., how'd Karl the photographer get in the top photo? <LOL>




Posts: 1843
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-04-2004 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess it's my turn :-)

I had a fantastic time this weekend, both Thursday night and Saturday at the induction.

At "A Night with the Astronauts," I had the pleasure of meeting and receiving autographs from Scott Kelly and Dave Wolf, and hearing them and Schirra, Lovell and Worden speak. Schirra has a good sense of humor, as does Wolf. I enjoyed Wolf's presentation most, and he brought a video of his missions with him to present, which was amusing in itself!

But I think the highlight of that night was talking with Jim Kennedy (KSC director) and Lisa Malone (PAO and countdown commentator) for about fifteen minutes. Kennedy is quite a character, joking with everyone. And both of them were happy to sign a shuttle picture as well.

Saturday I spent the day at KSC with my girlfriend Alesha; it was only her second time to KSC and she hadn't seen much the first time. I skipped the astronaut brunch even though I had tickets for it, and just walked around the VC and viewed Space Station 3D before the induction ceremony. We were going to take the bus tour, but there were problems at the LC-39 gantry and the tours were delayed half an hour, so we left the bus.

Met Brian Duffy at his signing, and then, thanks to Rob and a couple of other members, got to meet Charlie Walker for a minute outside his office before the Astronaut Encounter. Duffy nearly botched the autograph he was signing by putting the wrong name on, but fixed it and apologized.

I began a new project Saturday with this encounter: I recently printed a large 20x24 inch glossy photo of Florida from ST-95, which I hope to get signed by as many space explorers as possible. I think I am going to stick to this rather than getting 8x10s signed each time:

Duffy is the first signee of the print, autographing off Cape Canaveral. Walker added his right above Duffy's.

All the autographs (the photos used at least) from this weekend can be viewed at that link, although I haven't had a chance to scan the actual autographs in yet.

The induction ceremony was great. It was nice to have it in the Saturn V center, albeit the inductees were all shuttle astronauts. I enjoyed the speeches, especially Covey and Scobee as was mentioned. Unfortunately all the attendees were rushed out too quickly to have a chance to meet them. But four astronauts and two top KSC officials made my weekend!

Enjoyed meeting a few of the CS and yahoo list members, inculding Rob, and, if I have this right, Bryan McKay, Bob McLeod, Garry Laing, Al. Sorry if I left anyone out; I met a few people there who I know are CS or list members, without even asking their names when I did.

[This message has been edited by Ben (edited May 04, 2004).]


Posts: 646
From: Douglas, Isle of Man, UK
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 05-04-2004 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for november25   Click Here to Email november25     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Guys,
Thank you all for the great info from the Astro-Hall of Fame Induction weekend. Think last year in June-as I remember it was raining,cause everyone had to dash inside due to the downpour?
Some very good autographs -you all seem to have got-indeed a smashing time was had by all. Look forward to meeting a few of you at the Air and Space Show later.
Dont know how many collectSPACE people are going? How about we meet up -in the space walk of fame- or another idea-make our own name tags etc. Would be hard to go up to someone and ask their name-or are you with CS.etc.This would save asking questions-
what do you think?
again-great stories from HOF Weekend.
Regards from Brenda
This was posted 11.45pm GMT 4\5\04


Posts: 961
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 05-11-2004 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been trying to come up with my top 10 list for the AHOF weekend but I've had to mow the lawn four times since my return. . .hence the delay.

Garry's top 10 (not in any particular order)

1. Speaking with Barbara Morgan and her very supporting husband at the banquet on Friday night. . . a teacher to teacher talk. . . both the Morgans were awesome (this was my top activity of the weekend)

2. Getting my photo taken individually with Al Worden, John Young, and Wally Schirra.

3. Having fun by having a five year old enthusiast ask Gordon Cooper, "Who'se the greatest pilot you ever saw?"

4. Meeting up with fellow CollectSpace and Yahoo Astronaut group friends which included Ben, Rob, Robert, Al2, Mike, Tom T, Bob G 007, Dana.

5. Encouraging fellow CollectSpace readers to become contributers and not just lurkers. I enjoy the diversity of thought, comments, and questions on CS and AL2's websites.

6. Being able to drive roundtrip from Maryland for $114.87 and to use my gas usage for a lesson in my math class.

7. Enjoyed my visit to KSC and AHOF again. I like seeing the childhood mementos of the astronauts.

8. Performance by Roger McGuinn after dinner at the Banquet.

9. Getting Gordon Cooper, Wally Schirra, and Scott Carpenter to autograph a Mercury 7 cover previously signed by Alan Shepard. This cover will be a memorable keepsake for me forever.

10. Enjoying the interaction at the banquet of Wally Schirra with a young space enthusiast who briefly stumped me with Cedna--my mind was thinking Crisco and then Splenda before connecting with the newly discovered solar orbiting body Cedna. . . and the sincerety and warmth Scott Carpenter spoke with at the booksigning to the youngsters.

Mark your calendars for the first weekend in May 2005 for the next induction.

[This message has been edited by MarylandSpace (edited May 11, 2004).]

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