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  12/9: Piers Sellers at Royal Aeronautical Society

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Author Topic:   12/9: Piers Sellers at Royal Aeronautical Society
Tykeanaut
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From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
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posted 11-23-2010 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I say chaps, any of you hoping to attend this lecture on December 9th in London?

gliderpilotuk
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posted 11-23-2010 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep, I'll be there as it's only 5 mins from work!

Paul23
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posted 11-24-2010 02:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul23   Click Here to Email Paul23     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He will also be appearing at the National Space Centre on 11 December.

Tykeanaut
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posted 11-24-2010 04:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Paul, living in Worcester that is probably better than travelling to London.

Tykeanaut
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posted 11-25-2010 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Think I'll stick with the London event, the NSC in Leicester haven't even bothered to reply to my e-mail! Anyone else going?

StarDome
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posted 11-26-2010 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have a good time to all attending. Sorry I wont be there.

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-01-2010 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been told by the NSC in Leicester that there will be no autograph/photo opportunity at their event on the Saturday. How true this will be I obviously do not know, but just a warning if anyone thought otherwise.

icarkie
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posted 12-01-2010 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That what I love about the NSC... A few years back there was a shuttle crew that visited with Piers there. I was told no autographs, etc. Including myself there must have been about 10-12 people wanting an item signed. (We were told there might be time to get some signatures. It was a very cold night waiting for the crew.

We did get a item signed (thanks to Piers) and for the 10-12 people who waited I think it took about 10 minutes of the astronauts time. The thing is, I know they're all on a tight schedule but it's not like, say the astronaut visit that Ken has in Yorkshire, with around 250-300 people waiting (just my thought).

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-01-2010 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I was one of those that also had to literally ambush the crew in the dark outside the NSC. It would have been far easier to have organised a signing event within the building and taken less time with no grief. Unfortunately I have also been to a couple of other astronaut events there with similar problems.

spaceman
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posted 12-05-2010 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dedicated space fans just do not get a good deal with the NSC. So many of the events are private/invited guests only or no autograph/photograph opportunities.

However we are only the taxpaying/lottery paying public after all.

David Bryant
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posted 12-06-2010 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to say, I always think of the NSC as a very disappointing place for genuine space enthusiasts: it feels more like a kids' theme park. The best bit is the Blue Streak in the Cafe area!

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-12-2010 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Normally this was an event I may not have attended as it involved a 240-mile round trip and a one-hour tube journey from Hillingdon to Hyde Park Corner and back. However, I did and it was very much worth the effort.

The venue was a perfect setting and very grand. After wandering around the area and having lunch earlier my wife and I arrived at the RAS headquarters at about 5pm. Following free refreshments of tea and coffee we took our seats for the lecture, which was also free. Following the societies medals presentations Dr. Sellers took to the stage looking very smart in his dinner suit.

The talk he gave concentrated on his most recent and third shuttle mission STS-132. This was aboard Atlantis along with five male colleagues which visited the ISS in May earlier this year. The 'prop' he used to illustrate launch and manoeuvres amused the audience but was ideal. It was a NASA gift shop inflatable which had to be blown-up by him during the lecture. His style was terrific, laid-back and kept simple but very informative and interesting. Once the technicalities had been explained via the inflatable a video of the mission was then shown. It also had a great rock music soundtrack which Piers said had been done for free by the band for a cup of coffee!

There then followed a question and answer session which once again was handled impeccably. Two things I learned was that RAF Fairford is one of the emergency landing areas and also the ISS is frequently hit with bullet-sized space debris on its protective layer around the habitation modules. He had seen this evidence for himself during some of his total 41 hours of EVA. The President of the Royal Aeronautical Society then presented him with an Honory Fellowship and he reciprocated with a pictorial display of the mission along with a flown British patch and mission patch. He had also flown an RAS medal on the mission which he handed back to the President.

The all too short talk lasted for about an hour and a quarter. Which was a shame because hands were still in the air for more questions but all good things unfortunately must come to an end.

I had taken along a Midlands Spaceflight Society Apollo 11 commemorative cover which I had framed and intended to hand to him at some point. Although I had made this known earlier I was a little worried that my opportunity had passed when the majority of members including Piers left the room to attend the dinner. Fortunately he was meeting and greeting prior to the dinner so after speaking to the Club President I seized my chance. What a really friendly and pleasant guy, he was genuinely pleased that I had taken the time to visit and really liked the framed cover. I could have chatted with him longer had it not been for his obligations. My wife said he was "very down to Earth!". I knew what she meant.

We finally returned home close to midnight, but it was a terrific day.

Thanks to Nick and Bryar at SPACEBOOSTERS for the photo which he kindly signed for me.

Tykeanaut
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posted 12-12-2010 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a matter of interest did anyone 'brave' the NSC event in Leicester?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 12-12-2010 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
The 'prop' he used to illustrate launch and manoeuvres amused the audience but was ideal. It was a NASA gift shop inflatable which had to be blown-up by him during the lecture.
When I saw Cady Coleman - remember, she flew on STS-93 - she used a model space shuttle, which, coincidentally, had a broken main engine.
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
Two things I learned was that RAF Fairford is one of the emergency landing areas...
I saw an RAF Fairford patch with the Shuttle on it; not sure if that was official or not. There was also a similar one for Moron AB, in Spain, another TAL site.

Trinitytrash
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posted 01-17-2011 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Trinitytrash   Click Here to Email Trinitytrash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too stood out in the cold and tried very hard to get you what you wanted on the STS-121 visit guys... who joined us for the photo shoot with the STS-121 crew that I invited several people here to join us on? Who joined me for coffee in my office after STS-121 when I asked people to keep in touch and let us know what you wanted? I have never recieved an email about anything since!

The National Space Centre does not recieve any funding from the taxpayer or any government body to offer the education remit we have. Yes 50% of the initial funding to build the structure we are housed in came from the National Lottery Millennium Trust, but I am sure you agree that considering we are still open and thriving, this was not a waste of money.

All NASA visits to the National Space Centre include at least one public talk. The one with Piers was advertised on our website for a month in advance and anybody who had a ticket for the day could join for the presentation and Q&A.

We ran a question competition on our Facebook page to ask Piers a question and meet him, another way to get involved.

Our agreement with the Astronaut Appearances Office always includes a stipulation about not having guests sign autographs. Their priority is to educate and inspire when they are with us I'm afraid, although there are events where they do just sign autographs, like Autographica.

The National Space Centre has a mission statement to educate, this is at the core of everything we do, including our visits from astronauts past and present. I am sorry if you feel you have been left out or in some way shunned, you haven't, we just seem to be on different pages.

If you want to talk to us about future visits and how we come to an agreement to keep all parties happy (you tell us how many people are coming and we ask in advance for signed photos - no guarantees, but we will always try for people) let me know.

Tykeanaut
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From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
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posted 01-17-2011 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for your above comments. I have been to three events at the NSC Leicester and have to say that regrettably they all could have been much better organised.

I saw Buzz Aldrin there, Brian Duffy and the STS-121 crew. I obviously am not privy to the details that constitute the organisation but I would be willing to outline where I felt these particular visits could have been improved if you so wish?

I sincerely hope that the NSC continues for many years to come to inspire and teach. However, certain aspects could perhaps be improved?

Steve Procter
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posted 01-18-2011 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting Malika, (and of course your comments Chris). I recall well the event in question and you doing your level best to accommodate everyone's requests on the day but having to balance that with having to stay the 'right side' of the Centre, NASA, the 'tour promoter' and the astronauts themselves. Not easy to juggle that lot!

I think a lot of the 'problems' are down to mixed messages about what is and isn't going to happen and communication in general.

The visit was at the National Space Centre after all and as much as there is great work done to inspire and educate the young, there has got to be something in it for us 'oldies' too.

Therefore, although the astronaut visits are often for the purpose of 'getting the message' across to young people I think they need to accept that there will be a broader interest in the visit, part of which will be your average, run of the mill, space enthusiast and somehow their interest needs to be addressed also.

Tykeanaut
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From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
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posted 01-22-2011 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree Steve. I don't think there are major problems, as you say I think it is all down to communication or indeed the lack of it. This in my experiences has been the problem on the three occasions I have attended an astronaut-themed event.

All times are CT (US)

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