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  10/17: Apollo 7 40th Anniversary panel and luncheon at the Frontiers of Flight Museum

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Author Topic:   10/17: Apollo 7 40th Anniversary panel and luncheon at the Frontiers of Flight Museum
Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-20-2008 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas hosted a luncheon in honor of Walt Cunningham and the 40th anniversary of Apollo 7 on Friday, October 17.

collectSPACE.com was proud to be a co-sponsor of this event, which included a panel discussion and tributes to Walt, Wally and Donn.

collectSPACE: First Apollo flight crew last to be honored

Forty years after flying NASA's first manned Apollo mission, the crew of Apollo 7 was honored on Friday with the space agency's highest award, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

The presentation at long-last recognized the crew's contributions to the United States' first lunar landing program, granting Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walt Cunningham the same award that all of their fellow flown Apollo astronauts received almost four decades earlier.

I hope to soon be able to share video from both the panel and luncheon, but until then, I thought some might enjoy reading a transcription of a few of the video messages that were played for Walt.

President George H.W. Bush

The importance of your mission cannot be overstated. You and your crewmates, Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele, returned America to space nearly two years after the tragic Apollo 1 fire. Your mission restored our nation's confidence in our space program and helped pave the way for the moon landing.

And what a mission it was: after 11 days and 163 orbits, Apollo 7 is the longest and most successful first test flight ever, as a testament of the remarkable skill of the crew and the can do attitude of the thousands of engineers, flight controllers, scientists and support personnel on the ground.

In an age when the word hero is thrown about sometimes casually, you and your crew mates were the real deal. I am thrilled to say thank you today from all of those who remember your outstanding accomplishments. Congratulations again, and may God bless you and our nation.

NASA ISS Science Officer Gregory Chamitoff
I and my crew mates, Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, would like to send a heartfelt congratulations to you on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 7 mission. We offer you and your crew mates, Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele, and to all the pioneering astronauts and cosmonauts, our sincere thanks for making it possible for us to reach for the stars. The Apollo 7 mission was flawless and launched the entire Apollo program and put humans on the surface of the Moon.
Flight Director Chris Kraft
Walt, this should be a great day in your life. It is hard to believe that 40 years ago, we were all standing by for Apollo 7 to carry out the first flight of a manned Apollo spacecraft having come through a very bad period in spaceflight history because of the three deaths on the pad in January 1967. You guys were first up to fly our repaired and rebuilt spacecraft and further than that, the results of your flight were to be evaluated in terms of allowing the next vehicle, Apollo 8, to fly around the Moon before the year was out. Those were heady times.

It was very, very important that the Apollo 7 test to be flown by you three guys was successful. It was very important that all of the systems be tested and found operable and ready to endure an 11 day flight to the Moon. The success of that mission was certainly due to the crew of Apollo 7. You performed flawlessly, the results were really outstanding and without question it allowed us to continue on and plan the first lunar flight in the Apollo program.

So what you did was extremely important, it was extremely successful, we're all very proud of the job you did and you should be, and I know you are as well. I hope that the recognition you received today will restore some of your faith in your fellow travelers. We gave you a hard time once but you certainly survived that and have done extremely well since. You've done well by yourself, you've done well for NASA and I am frankly, very proud to call you a friend.

President George W. Bush
I am honored to join you in celebrating the 50th anniversary of NASA and the legacy of Apollo 7 and one of the astronauts who made it successful, Walt Cunningham.

Throughout his life, Walt has proven himself to be a man of rare talents. He has been a Marine Corps fighter pilot, an innovative entrepreneur, a talented author and the chairman of the Texas Aerospace Commission, a position I was proud to appoint him to during my time as governor.

Yet he is best known for the event the world witnessed 40 years ago, the flight of Apollo 7, the first successful manned mission in the Apollo program. For 11 days and more than 4 million miles, Walt, Donn Eisele and Wally Schirra orbited the Earth while testing the technology that would take us to the Moon and they proved there was no frontier too distant for America's spirit of discovery.

America has always been a nation of explorers. Over the course of generations, Americans have crossed vast oceans and tamed a wild continent under the pursuit of liberty and in the 50 years since NASA was created, men like Walt Cunningham have led us on a new voyage, a journey into the endless mystery of space. With their extraordinary achievements four decades ago, Walt and his crew mates earned our respect, our gratitude and our recognition as American heroes. Today they remain a testament our nation's pioneering spirit and the unlimited talents of our people. Thank you and God bless you.

From left to right: Walt Cunningham, Alan Bean, Bill Anders, Gene Kranz, Mark Davis (WBAP), Neil Armstrong, Farris Rookstool (Powerhousepr), John Healey (NAA engineer).
Walt Cunningham with the Apollo 7 command module at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Dave Clow
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posted 10-20-2008 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Way to go Colonel. It's never too late to honor a great achievement.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 10-20-2008 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Somebody had the modelers gainfully employed... must set some type of record for the most Saturn 1B's in a single location...

------------------
Scott Schneeweis
http://www.SPACEAHOLIC.com/

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-20-2008 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
LAUNCH Magazine/Semroc Astronautics release
Model rocketeers honor Apollo 7's 40th anniversary

More than 30 scale flying Saturn 1B model rockets will serve as the centerpieces on the tables at the 40th anniversary luncheon in Dallas today honoring the Apollo 7 mission and astronaut Walter Cunningham -- the only surviving member of the crew that made America's first ever Apollo flight.

Among those scheduled to attend today's luncheon: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, legendary NASA flight controller Gene Kranz, and 300 others. President Bush will appear via videotape to honor Cunningham and the crew's accomplishments.

The 1/70th-scale models, expertly built by 26 different rocketeers from across the nation, from kits supplied by Semroc Astronautics, are patterned after the SA-205 Saturn 1B that lifted Walt Cunningham, Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele into orbit on October 11, 1968.

While today's luncheon is historic, the build project -- sponsored jointly by Semroc and LAUNCH Magazine -- has made its own model rocket history. The 30-plus rockets on the tables at the luncheon mark the most flying scale models of a Saturn 1B to ever be showcased in the same room at the same time.

"The Apollo 7/Saturn 1B project is the finest example of how our friends have worked so hard to make Semroc look so good," said Semroc founder Carl McLawhorn. "This would not have been possible without the support of some of the best modelers in the country."

Each builder had to sign off, via email, on a non-disclosure agreement because the project had to be completed in secret. Also, Scott Hansen and Buzz Nau provided a private thread on Ye Olde Rocket Forum for the group to communicate back and forth for three weeks.

"Although Walt Cunningham has been aware that a luncheon in his honor was scheduled in Dallas, he was not aware of all that is being done to honor him," said LAUNCH editor Mark Mayfield. "We sort of conspired with Walt's wife Dot to keep much of this from him. And in doing so, we all had to keep this a secret. I just cannot adequately express how excited Dot is about the Saturn 1B models. It just underscores the great lengths to which everyone has gone to make this a special day for Walt and, posthumously, for his crewmates Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele. Their mission was a perfect one, yet they never got the credit they deserved."

Impressively, each Saturn 1B builder (some of whom constructed more than one model each) agreed to donate the rockets for this important event. Following the luncheon, most of the models will be sold at high prices to benefit Be An Angel, a charity that helps children with disabilities. Walt and Dot Cunningham have been actively involved with the charity. However, three of the models judged to be the best among what is clearly an outstanding group of more than 30, will be returned to their builders.

There will also be a random drawing for other prizes for the builders, including a $500 Semroc gift certificate, a $300 cash award, and other gifts as well. The costs of the kits and prizes will be shared jointly by Semroc and LAUNCH. But the labor donated by the builders is invaluable. Some of the modelers spent as many as 150 hours building the Saturn 1Bs.

"It's just incredible how much effort went into this," said Mark Mayfield. "It just shows how model rocketeers come together to support each and support a great cause. The Apollo 7 crew never got their due credit for paving the way for the Moon missions that would follow. You can certainly tell with the support from NASA and the White House, just how important this luncheon is."

Apollo 7 was the first ever manned Saturn flight, and the longest test flight ever, at 11 days, of a new spacecraft. The near perfect mission returned America to space 22 months after the tragic Apollo 1 fire that killed astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. The luncheon honoring the Apollo 7 crew will be held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, where the mission's command module is on display.

Among those who built and donated Saturn 1Bs to the project:

  • John Dyer - Dallas, TX
  • James Gartrell - Cleburne, TX
  • Jack Sprague - Hickory Creek, TX
  • Suzy Sprague - Hickory Creek, TX
  • J. Stuart Powley - Rowlett, TX
  • Bill Gee - Dallas, TX
  • Evan "Buzz" Nau - Manchester, MI
  • Chas Russell - Fort Worth, TX
  • Chan Stevens - Cincinnati, OH
  • Craig McGraw - Mobile, AL
  • Donald Fent - Bartlett, TN
  • Mark Kulka - Tupper Lake, NY
  • David Montgomery - Katy, TX
  • Roy Green - Alpharetta, GA
  • Mario Perdue - McCordsville, IN
  • Gary Degler - Indianapolis, IN
  • Aaron Head - Indianapolis, IN
  • Rick Randol - Indianapolis, IN
  • Jeff Taylor - Coon Rapids, MN
  • Carol Marple - Champlin, MN
  • Mark Thell - White Bear Lake, MN
  • Jim Filler - Frederick, MD
  • Jeff Graham - Battle Creek, MI
  • Caleb Boe - Cottage Grove, MN
  • Tim Lundie - Bumpass, VA
  • Joseph Mosher - Kalamazoo, MI
"I have to say, the first person we called to be a part of this project was John Dyer," said Mark Mayfield. "And then John and the group from Dallas began building 10 of these rockets, assembly style, at Jack and Suzy Sprague's house. Others around the country like Chan Stevens also inspired everyone: It was a Semroc Saturn 1B built by Chan as a Semroc display model at NARAM that actually launched this entire idea. Walt was so impressed with the model that Dot and I, along with Carl McLawhorn, sort of hatched a plan!"

While the Dallas group provided 10 models, several other builders provided two each, including Chan Stevens, Gary Degler and Rick Randol.

LAUNCH will publish a major article on the Saturn 1B modeling project and the luncheon in the November/December issue.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 10-20-2008 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Walt. NASA should be ashamed that you, Wally and Donn were not granted this award 40 years earlier...

Regards,
Rick

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-20-2008 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark Davis with WBAP News/Talk radio has provided a podcast of the panel discussion, which included Alan Bean, Bill Anders, Gene Kranz, Neil Armstrong, Mike Griffin, John Healey and Walt Cunningham.

ff27tls
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posted 10-20-2008 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ff27tls   Click Here to Email ff27tls     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Farris Rookstool III of Powerhousepr told me this would be an event to remember. I thought of those words as Farris guided Neil Armstrong into the hall where I was positioned perfectly to exchange greetings and shake the hand of our first moonwalker. The hall came alive with history as Alan Bean, Bill Anders and Walt Cunningham followed Armstrong's entrance along with Gene Kranz and other veterans of mission control. I felt very fortunate to be part of this historic occasion. Everything from the food down to the gift bags contributed to a first class event.

Kudos to Farris and all the others who put together an outstanding tribute to Walt Cunningham and the flight of Apollo 7.

Terry

divemaster
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posted 10-20-2008 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seeing all of the Saturn 1b models - along with Armstrong, Aldrin, Anders, Bean, Kranz and parts of the trench and NAA - was really wonderful. It was nice to see Walt get his due along with Wally and Donn.

Rob - did you ever find out what the selling price was on the models?

bruce
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posted 10-20-2008 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Walt, Donn & Wally, albeit 40 years late. Good flying!

Best,
Bruce Moody

dwmzmm
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posted 10-20-2008 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those models were sold for $500 each (most of them; I've been told some of the astronauts took home a few). The money raised went to a charity that Walt and Dot are actively involved in, children with disabilities. I built one of those models, and can tell you that it's a great honor and privilege to have a part of this very important and historic celebration!

MCroft04
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posted 10-20-2008 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find Chris Kraft's comments interesting as I thought he declared that none of the Apollo 7 crew would fly again due to their pushback to mission control during the flight. I guess time heals.

dwmzmm
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posted 10-20-2008 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the most recent issue of LAUNCH magazine, Kraft said he personally didn't have any say so in the future crew selection; that was Deke Slayton's (and, I think, Alan Shepard) job.

Delta7
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posted 10-20-2008 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cunningham says he was told by Tom Stafford (Chief of the Astronaut Office at the time) that he would command the first Skylab crew. That wouldn't have happened if Cunningham had been on some sort of indelible "Black List". When Pete Conrad moved in and got the job instead, Cunningham was offered the backup CDR slot, but declined and retired. Again, surely not a sign that he was "black balled" in any way.

TRS
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posted 10-21-2008 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratualtions Walt - a long-overdue recognition for you all.

Craig

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posted 10-21-2008 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for marsguy   Click Here to Email marsguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What an incredible event the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 7 was at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. I have to thank Farris Rookstool, III and the Frontiers of Flight Museum for my invitation. It was a first class event and I felt privileged to be one of the select few that were invited.

Leading up to the event, I had no idea who was going to attend. I assumed Walt Cunningham would be there since it was his flight. I also heard that NASA Administrator Michael Griffin might be there. Beyond that anyone else was a surprise for me.

I left work at about 10 AM to go home and change into my suit for the event. When I got in my car I happened to have the radio on WBAP. I was surprised to hear that Mark Davis was broadcasting live from the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

He was introducing the people that would be on the panel discussion. The first name that I heard announced was Fort Worth's native son, Alan Bean. Bean is a wonderful man and an extremely talented artist, so it is always neat to see him. Then the second announcement made my jaw drop. Davis introduced General Bill Anders. Wow, I've been at a lot of astronaut related events over the years, but only two times previously had General Anders attended one of those events. This added a great deal of excitement as I drove home.

The next two people introduced were Administrator Michael Griffin and Gene Kranz. It just kept getting better. I had seen Dan Goldin a couple of times when he was administrator but never had an opportunity to see nor hear Griffin. Kranz of course is a wonderful man, whom I have a great deal of respect for.

I got home, parked the car and rushed back to the bedroom. I turned on the clock radio and twiddled the dial to get to WBAP. My wife Mary must have thought I had lost it, when I rushed to the radio before greeting her. When I found the station, I heard a man talking. Wait a minute; I know that voice; that is none other than Neil Armstrong! Zowee, jackpot! Having Anders attend was enough, but to have Armstrong there was unbelievable!

We hopped in the car and headed over to the museum. I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. I've been to a lot of events and in the beginning I always felt this way when I went to one. However over the years as you get more experience the excitement level subsides even though you may enjoy the event just as much.

Mary and I got to the museum while the panel discussion was still going on in the auditorium. We milled around by the banquet tables waiting for the luncheon to start. While we were standing there we saw the Director of the museum, Bruce Bleakley. We introduced ourselves and he was genuinely happy to see us there.

He then took us over to see the museum's latest space acquisition. It was an SPS engine and bell from the service module. It was hanging from the ceiling and was displayed with a light in the nozzle, so that you could see where it had been test fired. It is a really a nice artifact.

Mary and I also saw Dot Cunningham by herself in the midst of the banquet tables. Dot has always been the warmest and most friendly person that we've ever met. We went over to greet her and offer our congratulations on the anniversary celebration. She gave Mary and me a big hug, and complimented us, "You guys are so dependable."

The banquet tables with the Saturn 1B's look absolutely stunning. My first thought was I hope they offer to sell these after the event. At 1/70 scale, they were huge and had amazing detail.

Soon the floodgates opened and people started coming into the banquet area upon completion of the panel discussion. I noticed General Anders come in. Soon I saw the first man to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. Armstrong was being escorted by Farris. I had hoped to tell Farris hello and thank him for the invitation, but I could see that Farris as on a mission. He was focused on getting Armstrong where he needed to be.

Mary and I went and found seats at a table. The format of the luncheon was buffet style and soon it was announced that the buffet line was open. Mary and I beat the rush and were about the 4th or 5th people in line. That way we would have our meal over with by the time the speakers program started. The food was donated to the museum by Maggiano's restaurant. I don't think the buffet line, did their food justice. It's fantastic in the restaurant, but serving conditions at a buffet really make it hard for them to put out their best.

Mark Davis, a talk show host at WBAP was master of ceremonies for the banquet. Like the rest of us on this message board, Mark is a dyed in the wool, self avowed space geek. He has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm when it comes to space exploration.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was introduced and gave the opening remarks for the celebration. She is on the museum's board of directors and has been a great help in getting this Air & Space museum off the ground.

A NASA 50th anniversary video was shown. It was fun to revisit the early launches leading to the Moon. Then the subject of the Apollo 1 fire came up. The feeling of fun turned to sadness. It happened over 41 years ago, but when I saw Gus, Ed, and Roger on the screen, I felt an empty place in my heart.

The video continued through the Apollo triumph and forward to the shuttle program. I knew that after the Apollo 1 spot on the video, STS-51L would soon be mentioned. It was again sad to relive those memories. The return to flight brought happiness again.

But there was one more tragedy left to recognize, it was the breakup of Columbia on STS-107. This one nearly brought tears to my eyes. I personally witnessed Columbia's flaming destruction from my front yard on that ill-fated day in 2003 and it was painful to reflect upon it. The video was over and I was glad. Let's get back to celebrating what we were here for.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was announced. Much to my surprise and delight announced that he was going to present to the Apollo 7 crew with the NASA Distinguished Service medal. Apollo 7 was the only Apollo crew to not have received this NASA recognition.

I understand the reasons why this was not done back in 1969. When you reflect from a historical perspective though, this 11 day test flight of a never been flown manned space vehicle had an integral and valuable place in our success of orbiting and then landing on the Moon.

For the embattled crew the award was 39 years too late. Griffin said that he consulted with the NASA old guard and that the conclusion was reached that it was time to honor the Apollo 7 crew. It was time to honor them with the same honor that the rest of the Apollo contemporaries received. I felt really happy for Walt.

Bill Anders accepted the award on behalf of the Schirra family. Donn Eisele's wife accepted the award on behalf of the Eisele family. She commented that she was glad that NASA finally got around to recognizing the Apollo 7 crew. Even if the crew wasn't always heroes to NASA, they were always heroes to the families. Walt of course accepted his own award.

Buzz and Lois Aldrin showed up after the program had started. They weren't sure if they could make it and had just gotten in from College Station, TX. So now we had the first two men to land on the Moon, present at this celebration.

Anders and Bean gave personal tributes to Walt. Bean's was really interesting. He said that being a painter, he doesn't have time to focus on learning about world events. He said that when he needs to know about how he should feel about something like global warming he asks Walt. He said that he has always respected Walt and his opinions and if it is good enough for Walt, it is good enough for him.

For a while I didn't think Neil was going to say anything. But he was announced after Bean and got up to talk. He seemed a little awkward behind the podium at first and started out by saying, he remembers what he learned in speech class years ago, "you decide what to say, you say it, then you say it again." He said that he was the "say it again" part because everything about Walt had already been said by the people before him. The awkwardness passed and Neil actually gave a really nice tribute and it turned out the longest one. Really cool hearing the first man to have set foot on the Moon speak at an event in person.

A video tribute was played that was comprised of personal messages to Walt from people who could not be there. Former President George Bush congratulated Walt. The mayor of Houston, Texas Governor Rick Perry and several others that I do not recall gave tributes. Ed Mitchell gave a greeting from what appeared to be his home and said that he was really enjoying the anniversary celebration.

Chris Kraft was on the video and his words seemed to have an odd tone to me. To me it seemed like Kraft had decided that it was time to bury the hatchet. I felt good about that.

Current President Bush came on the video. Wow. Just a video greeting, but still very powerful message to hear from a sitting President no matter what your political inclination is.

Then Walt's grand-kids and great grand-kids gave a tribute to Grand Poppa. It was very touching. The toddler at the end just blew Walt a big kiss. It was probably the audiences' favorite tribute on the video.

The program was long but thoroughly enjoyable. Dot Cunningham was instrumental in putting the whole thing together. She told us that she had been working on it since July without Walt even knowing about it.

There were goody bags on the chairs which had a neat video, a couple of space related magazines, an Apollo 7 tribute medallion, eye glass cleaner, a space pen and for some lucky people a red ticket for an autographed copy of Walt's audio version of "All American Boys".

Mary and I went over to talk with Lois Aldrin. At first I didn't think she would remember us from Cabo San Lucas but she did. She and Buzz were flying to Paris right afterward to attend the premier of the "Flying to the Moon" 3D movie in France.

I didn't approach Neil, because I had met him before and there were plenty of people who wanted to meet him. Plus he was busy enough just talking with the other astronauts.

The rest of the astronauts hung around for quite a while after the event. I was amazed that Anders was still there. Finally Mary and I approached him to ask for a photo with him. He was happy to oblige. The director of the museum took the photo for us.

I reached out to shake Anders' hand to thank him. He was holding a video in one hand and something else in the other though so he only stuck out his index finger. So I shook his finger. I had to chuckle about that. That was probably the very same finger that took the spectacular earthrise photo from lunar orbit on Apollo 8.

They were selling the Saturn 1B centerpieces to raise money the "Be An Angel" Foundation which benefits children with disabilities. Mary and I bought one of the centerpieces. Not only was the construction of the models outstanding, they had a nice Plexiglas that was etched with the date of the anniversary celebration.

After most people had left and things were winding down, we arranged to have Walt sign our Saturn 1B model. It is truly an impressive piece and looks simply marvelous in my library. It is a nice remembrance from an out of this world event.

Walt was sitting at the next table with a couple of his great grand-kids. He looked over at me at told me hello. I got up to congratulate him and shake his hand. He told me, "I see you more than I see anybody else." I hope that was a compliment, ;-) and I think it was.

The Cunningham's are outstanding people. They have done a tremendous amount for the Frontiers of Flight Museum and I felt honored to witness them receive the recognition that they so justly deserve.

John Dyer
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posted 10-21-2008 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Dyer   Click Here to Email John Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LCDR Scott Schneeweis:
Somebody had the modelers gainfully employed... must set some type of record for the most Saturn 1B's in a single location...
Actually Gainfully engaged - we were not paid for our efforts (except some wone prizes). It was a tough project, but well worth the effort!

dwmzmm
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posted 10-21-2008 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, John is right. We burned a lot of midnight oil and probably lost some of our hair trying to get these built on very short notice. I probably can speak for all those who were on the build project, we did this as a labor of love for our nation's space program and the accomplishments of the Apollo 7 mission. And, yes, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 10-21-2008 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hopefully you were able to snap a "family portrait" of all the models prior to their deployment to the tables - if so would be cool to have posted to the thread..in any case very impressive achievement and I expect to see your feat cited in the next Guinness publication.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-21-2008 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LCDR Scott Schneeweis:
Hopefully you were able to snap a "family portrait" of all the models prior to their deployment to the tables...
I spotted just such a shot on the Ye Olde Rocket Forum.

dwmzmm
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posted 10-21-2008 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I spotted just such a shot on the Ye Olde Rocket Forum.
Believe it or not, I can spot the model I built...

BTW, that picture was taken by John Dyer of the DARS.

rjurek349
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posted 10-21-2008 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walt- well deserved, albeit way tooooo late, recognition. Congratulations! Rich

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posted 10-22-2008 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for msm0202   Click Here to Email msm0202     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a link to a blog I wrote very quickly after the event on the LAUNCH Magazine website, but we'll be posting many more pictures, and will publish several pages on this in the November/December issue.

Walt Cunningham is a regular columnist for LAUNCH and he and Dot went with us to the National Association of Rocketry's annual meet this past summer. He was very impressed when he saw one of Semroc's flying Saturn 1B models, so Dot and I cooked up a plan to secretly see if we could have more than 30 made for the centerpieces at the luncheon. Carl McLawhorn of Semroc agreed and off we went. But it could not have been done without the incredible generosity of these master modelers, who donated their time and talent to this. I've never seen anything like it, and Walt was thrilled when he saw the rockets. (There's a pic of Dot and Walt with the models in the above link.)

People like John and Dave, who have posted here, just did a magnificent job. And the luncheon was absolutely first class. This honor is long overdue for Walt, and I know he's extremely grateful to everyone who participated. We'll also post a full transcript of Neil Armstrong's remarks on the LAUNCH website, but I imagine Robert will have them here as well.

- Mark Mayfield

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-22-2008 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA TV will air the "40th Anniversary of Apollo 7 Tribute from the Frontiers of Flight Museum" at 5:00 p.m. EDT this evening. Additional air times:
  • October 22, 8 p.m. EDT
  • October 23, 2 p.m. EDT
  • October 23, 6 p.m. EDT

Jay Chladek
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posted 10-22-2008 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Man it sounds like it was a fun talk. And I must say, the craftsmanship I see on those Saturn 1Bs is very well done as they all look good. I know first hand the challenges involved with getting models done for displays on short notice, but the difficulty goes up when you have a large number of models with a large number of people building them as coordination efforts are needed to help ensure that they look the same (similar paints, details, etc...).

I bet some of you builders probably were pondering taking all those Saturns for a cluster launch to see if you could set a most number of Saturns flown record (assuming they were built for flight and not just display that is).

If I play my own cards right I might be getting a chance to chat with Walt about his work on Skylab for the Outposts book I am writing. Based on what Colin and Francis wrote about him, he is probably one of the straightest shooters out there as he seems to tell it like it is, but does it in such a way that people really listen.

ilbasso
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posted 10-23-2008 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was overcome with a feeling of sadness when they introduced Walt at the dais and it hit home that he is the only surviving member of his Apollo crew. He joins Ed Mitchell in that category. I hate to think that the day will come in the not-too-distant future that we will not have any members of the Apollo crews among us.

I'm thankful that so much has been done to try to preserve their legacy. When I heard Neil Armstrong on the show jokingly refer to the failing memories of all the septuagenarians on the stage, I laughed and cringed a little. These fellows are like our grandparents...we need to cherish every minute with them and hear their stories with their personal flavor at every chance.

Farris Rookstool, III
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posted 10-26-2008 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Farris Rookstool, III   Click Here to Email Farris Rookstool, III     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As one of the principle organizers of the Apollo 7 40th and NASA's 50th event at the Frontiers of Flight Museum I am thrilled that this event has touched so many people. I wanted to share with you an op-ed piece by our emcee of the event.
Mark Davis: A moment of a thousand lifetimes

I've always been a little bored by the "three dinner guests" parlor game.

Not that I don't enjoy asking myself whom I'd truly invite to such a fantasy meal; it's just that everybody else's answers always seem to be Jesus, Abraham Lincoln and some movie star.

Here's a better question: If you could meet one living person on Earth - shake a hand, have a brief chat, that's it - whom would it be?

I have had the same answer for four decades, and a few days ago it came true.

Some months ago, the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas called to ask if I would like to interview astronaut Walt Cunningham, who flew the first Apollo mission 40 years ago this month.

I was thrilled to meet him, and he was beyond gracious in enduring my endless questions about our race for the moon, which captured my heart as an adolescent and never let go.

My devotion to every detail of America's reach for the moon earned me official Space Dork credentials in junior high school. Decades later, it yielded a payoff beyond description.

Watching men walk on the moon from 1969 to 1972, I thought surely I would visit the moon as a tourist during my lifetime. But I never thought I would ever come close to meeting any of the men whose journeys inspired the world for a moment in history, and kids like me forever.

But it turned out that the Frontiers of Flight Museum, which proudly displays the command module from that first Apollo mission, had plans to honor Walt Cunningham in celebration of the 40 years since Apollo 7 and 50 years since the birth of NASA.

They asked if I would emcee the luncheon and moderate the panel discussion. As soon as I could blurt out yes, the guest list started to take shape:

  • Bill Anders of the Apollo 8 crew, who snapped the iconic photo of a blue Earth above the craggy, gray lunar horizon at Christmastime in 1968 as man orbited the moon for the first time.

  • Fort Worth's own Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon in November 1969.

  • Flight Director Gene Kranz, who motivated Mission Control to bring a crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft home safely in 1970.
Already an Apollo-era kid's dream come true. But then we learned someone else wanted to come.

Neil Armstrong's steps on the moon were half his life ago. Now 78, he refuses all autograph requests, knowing anything he would sign would be on eBay by nightfall. A quiet, guarded man, he has shunned every beam of the limelight that could have swallowed him whole as the first man on the moon. He makes virtually no public appearances.

But he is unfailingly generous to causes he believes in, and one of them is the legacy of his colleagues who put human footprints on another world. He gladly devoted hours to the luncheon and the panel discussion, which meant I spent about five total minutes speaking to him publicly and about 60 seconds privately when the events concluded.

I told him that it was an unparalleled honor to meet him, and as I shook his hand he clasped my arm and thanked me for the job I had done.

It was my joy, I said, to give a few hours of service to an event honoring people whose exploits had filled me with wonder since my childhood. As he headed out of the museum through a crowd of hundreds of other outstretched hands, I remembered the magical night of July 20, 1969, as his ghostly image bounded with Buzz Aldrin's on the lunar surface on a night that unified the world like nothing before or since. I was 11.

Those images were from a quarter-million miles away. Now, equally indelible, I have a memory at age 51 of meeting that man and thanking him, which I could not have expected in a thousand lifetimes.

And for the record, my dinner answer has always been Jesus, Abraham Lincoln and Neil Armstrong.

Mark Davis is heard weekdays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on WBAP-AM, News/Talk 820. His e-mail address is mdavis@wbap.com.

golddog
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posted 10-26-2008 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong's steps on the moon were half his life ago. Now 78, he refuses all autograph requests, knowing anything he would sign would be on eBay by nightfall.
Not if he signed it for me!

divemaster
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posted 10-26-2008 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to admit - the thought DID cross my mind more than twice of all the completion pieces that I could have just by Armstrong and Anders who were sitting mere feet away from me. The two most difficult autographs in the same place at the same time. Instead, I just drank it all in and sighed a few times. I don't think I saw either one approached for an autograph [not that I was watching all that hard].

Farris Rookstool, III
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posted 10-26-2008 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Farris Rookstool, III   Click Here to Email Farris Rookstool, III     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tracy, you are correct. Everyone respected the request for no autographs. This was a private event and as such it was nice that all in attendance respected it as such.

divemaster
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posted 10-26-2008 11:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's good to hear. Everyone respected that it was a private event after all. It was a great event and I was honored to be invited.

I received an e-mail from Walt a couple of days later and he said that he was very surprised by the attendees. A lot of them were kept a secret from him. I appreciated the fact that he took the time to drop me a note to thank me for attending and that he was both surprised and pleased that I made the trip to Dallas. I replied that I wouldn't have missed it for the world [plus Dot told me that I HAD to be there]

I'm waiting to hear how to order the DVD from the event. I wouldn't mind hearing and seeing what was said once again.

Farris Rookstool, III
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posted 10-27-2008 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Farris Rookstool, III   Click Here to Email Farris Rookstool, III     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, keeping this all a surprise was quite difficult. Walt as you know wants to be in the middle of everything. I am sure he was very frustrated that Dot and I were on the phone or she was on the phone with the museum etc... I will let you know about the DVD's. I should know this week. Glad you made it and enjoyed it. We put hundreds of hours planning it for several months and I believe it showed.

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posted 10-27-2008 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by golddog:
Neil Armstrong's steps on the moon were half his life ago. Now 78, he refuses all autograph requests, knowing anything he would sign would be on eBay by nightfall.
Not if he signed it for me!

Me, too!!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-27-2008 11:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lone Star Times published a transcript of Neil Armstrong's tribute to Walt Cunningham:
When I was in college, I took a speech course and nearly flunked it. One thing I remember from that (course) was when you give a speech, you tell them what you're going to tell them, then you tell them, and then you tell them what you told them. {Laughter} We've already gone through the first part, and then the middle part, so I'm going to tell you what has already been said.

Some here will remember the height of the Cold War. Many of you will not. It was a very dangerous time. Thousands of ballistic missiles pointed at each other, armed with nuclear warheads. Created by the two super powers--the ultimate in brinksmanship.

A secondary competition between the same opponents developed. A race; a race for pre-eminence in space. And it attracted many with a big risk, big game mentality. Some of us came from the world of flight research, testing the new aircraft configurations, control systems and flight techniques. Typically our standard protocol was to take relatively small advances into unknown areas so we could encounter and prevent situations from which we could not recover. So there was step by step.

When a new young president, Jack Kennedy--trying to find a way to compete with the Soviets in space--asked the still young space agency, NASA, how it might be possible to beat them at something, anything, NASA answered: Nothing less than a manned flight to the surface of the Moon. And that could not be certain. Well, the president decided to go with it. A manned landing on the lunar surface and a safe return to Earth by the end of the decade. The public agreed, Congress agreed and ultimately the space race was on.

After gigantic booster rockets and new spacecraft had been designed and built, (along with) enormous assembly buildings, launch towers, radars, a communication system that could go the lunar distance, after all that was done, the first Apollo crew sat in their Apollo 1 spacecraft during a simulated countdown test and tragedy stuck. Fire broke out in the cabin. The crew was trapped inside, and three of our friends and colleagues perished.

Their backups, Wally, Walt and Donn would be their replacement. They had been completely prepared to fly the original Apollo command module if it had been required. Now that craft would never fly, nor would one with its shortcomings ever be allowed to fly. The spacecraft went through a major redesign that required a year and a half. But the new spacecraft when completed not only had eliminated the fire problem, but had been given time and incorporated needed changes in many other systems. The crew immersed themselves in the redesign and the development of the procedures of the new flying machine, the Block 2 command module. They were intimately involved in the testing of its systems, which always seemed to take place at 3 o'clock in the morning.

It was now the autumn of 1968, the United States was committed to reaching the surface of the Moon by the end of the decade and we hadn't flown yet. In order to have any chance of meeting the deadline, each successive flight would be obliged to take the largest possible jumps. One step at a time would not do the job. But with any new flying machine, the biggest jump of all is the first flight. Among test pilots that first flight is the big one. The one when any design flaw and overlooked consequence is likely to reveal itself and cause major problems. The crew is spring loaded to observe, to identify, to diagnose and to suggest corrective action for any unexpected abnormality. But while a well-executed flight is exciting and the proof of good work, it is those many months of design, development and pre-flight preparation that are part of the crew's responsibilities and are their actual principal contribution to the project.

All those flights that followed were dependent on the Apollo 7 crew doing their job, a great job. And they delivered. They delivered in the design, in the development, in the testing and in flight--making it possible for the eventual Apollo goals to be achieved by the end of the decade. Thanks Walt, and Wally and Donn.

FFrench
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posted 11-20-2008 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Taken on Veterans Day, this photo shows Susie Eisele Black at her home with the Distinguished Service Medal awarded at this event.

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