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  Astronauts' acts of kindness: your stories (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Astronauts' acts of kindness: your stories
ASCAN1984
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Posts: 1021
From: County Down, Nothern Ireland
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-13-2004 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What has been the kindest thing an astronaut has ever done for you?

For me it would happen to be a certain astronaut signing something in person for me. In fact all astronauts have been wonderfully kind.

sts205cdr
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From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 04-13-2004 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll never forget waiting alone in a hotel lobby near JSC, minding my own business, when Pat Forrester walked up to me on his way out the door. Having noticed all the NASA patches on my jacket, and without a word, he reached down into a pocket on his flight suit and handed me an STS-105 patch. A simple act of kindness that still touches me to this day.

James Brown
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 04-13-2004 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had one fly a Robbins Medallion for me twice, on two different missions.

Ben
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From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 04-13-2004 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Story Musgrave asked me, upon meeting him at the the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Astronaut Encounter in November 2001, to be his 'personal guest' to a surgeon's convention breakfast the following week in NYC (where he found out I lived).

jamato99
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From: Leesburg, VA USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 04-13-2004 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jamato99   Click Here to Email jamato99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tracked John Glenn down in the middle of his work day during the summer of 1998. I watched him vote in the Senate chambers and saw him exit the room so I thought I'd see if I could catch him on the escalator. Much to my surprise and enjoyment, he happened to be right in front of me on the escalator leading to the tram under the Capitol. I asked if he had time for an autograph and he said "Sure" asking my name and personalizing his autograph on my Life magazine. I remember buzzing the rest of the day.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 04-13-2004 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many things spring to mind - writing personal letters of recommendation, inviting me to their homes... the most notorious Apollo non-signing astronaut asking, unbidden, if he could sign a photo for me...

But the most special would be flying something into space for me, and taking a photo holding it in space (this was over a decade ago, before such favors were commercialized by the Russians).

BMckay
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From: MA, USA
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posted 04-13-2004 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arranging for VIP landing passes for my family and a shuttle launch pass for myself. A private tour of NBL in Houston and for the times they have come out for school visits. They all have a smile on their faces and are good people.

november25
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From: Douglas, Isle of Man, UK
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 04-13-2004 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for november25   Click Here to Email november25     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After Watching a certain astronaut for two hours, the nicest thing was getting a kiss on the cheek, and being closer to that someone I have admired greatly, and then saying to me- "Thank You Brenda for coming all this way, and see you again." I mean all the way from the UK.

This was my moment, I shall treasure.

icarkie
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Posts: 616
From: BURTON ON TRENT /England
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 04-13-2004 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The one that comes to my mind is meeting Jerry Ross here in the UK a few months back with the three astro-musketeers (Mark, Ollie and Rob). While waiting at the end of the show Col. Ross was signing the three shuttle books for Mark, Rob, Ollie and like John in the above post Col. Ross just pulls out a mission patch for my daughter who was waiting with me (a GREAT guy).

The other example is with the kindness of Yuri Usachev and Rex Hall last year over a lost mission sticker, again for my daughter. I will never forget what Rex and Yuri did that weekend (thank you).

sfurtaw
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From: Saginaw, MI USA
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 04-13-2004 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sfurtaw   Click Here to Email sfurtaw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jack Lousma was my favorite astronaut while growing up (and still is). As a kid I used to write to him way too often (Christmas and birthday cards, etc.) I had the honor of meeting him in '84 and in '88.
  1. I was 11 years old in '84 when he was running for U.S. Senate. My mom took me to our local Republican Headquarters to meet him, but he had already left. After my mom told the secretary our story, she called his current location, and he walked back to see me! I was just an 11-year-old who couldn't even vote! He signed a couple of brochures and posed for some pictures.

  2. I again saw Col. Lousma at a function of Michigan's Own Military & Space Museum in Frankenmuth, Michigan in 2001. Upon approaching him, he extended his hand saying, "Jack Lousma." I shook his hand saying, "Scott Furtaw" thinking to myself that maybe if I jog his memory, there's a slight chance he'll remember me. Before saying anything else, he said, "Well I haven't seen you in a while! Last time I saw you, you were this big. I see you're married now. What is her name?" I was so surprised, I totally forgot any questions I had planned on asking him.
The museum director's wife said it best when she referred to him as "a prince of a guy." He is all class.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-13-2004 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are many astronauts to whom I am in debt for their kindness that I hesitate to single out just one or two. That said, for their role shaping my childhood interest in space exploration, Deke Slayton and Larry DeLucas deserve a great deal of credit.

Deke Slayton was the first astronaut I had ever met and was thrilled simply to be in his presence. I was 11 and had dragged my parents to an evening lecture at Princeton University. I was the only kid in the place, surrounded by a packed room of college students. Deke was there to talk about his launch services company, yet he was so kind to take a good deal of time talking with me after his lecture. I had just written a report for school on space junk and he humored my juvenile questions with class and patience. He gifted me with the presentation materials he had used to deliver his lecture, posed for a photograph and signed my Who's Who (which is a whole 'nother story that leads to many, many acts of kindness).

A few years later, I read in my father's optometry magazine that Larry DeLucas was scheduled to fly on an upcoming shuttle flight to test new lenses. Though it was the wrong thing to do, I traded on my father's name and as Dr. Pearlman began a series of calls that would lead me to the Astronaut Office at JSC, where I left a message that I needed to discuss something with Dr. DeLucas. Fifteen minutes later the phone rang and it was him. I profusely apologized for my deception and explained that I wanted his job when "I grew up". He spent a few minutes on the phone chatting with me and then said he had to return to training. To this day, I do not know how exactly he got my address but a few weeks later a personalized portrait and crew signed photo arrived, in addition to a signed copy of the article I told him was what started my quest to talk with him.

John K. Rochester
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From: Rochester, NY, USA
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posted 04-13-2004 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I also had a Deke story... he came to town many years after ASTP, and was appearing at a mall in Downtown Rochester. I had to go, and was amazed that when he got there, there were three people waiting to see him. The child in front said "He's too old to be an astronaut", and left. Good ya little creep, more time for the two of us that were left. I felt so bad for Deke, but he handled it with great class, and we got to talk about everything from Mercury to the Apollo 1 fire. As word spread throughout the mall, more people showed up, but I still felt bad that not as many showed for one of the great guys of the program (years later, same mall, big signs to see "The world famous astronaut.. John Fabian!). And the nicest thing that Deke did was to take the time to talk to me about all subjects and to sign Murray and Cox's "Apollo" (as well as Gareth's Time Magazine).

Carrie
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From: Syracuse, New York, USA
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posted 04-13-2004 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Carrie   Click Here to Email Carrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've met Rick Searfoss and Harrison Schmitt, and both of them seemed to be just as impressed that I came to see them as I was to meet them. That was a nice feeling. I hope I get it again when I meet Story Musgrave this Sunday!

nojnj
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From: Highland Heights, KY
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posted 04-13-2004 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My "kindest" story involves John Glenn. John and Annie Glenn were at the "Inventing Flight" celebration in Dayton, OH for a signing event. I attended with my son and daughter. The event organizers were only allowing one item each. My son sat his picture down, and someone must have taken it. The organizers were unsympathetic. Upon hearing my son's distress, he made the uncaring person go get another photo to sign. During this time we talked for a few moments, while the others in line waited. He then signed another photo. By this time the organizers were very impatient and tried to wisk us off.. Mr Glenn said "Hey wait a minute! they did not get their picture with me!" I got a great photo of Mr. Glenn shaking my son's hand with my daughter. I have since sent it to him and it is inscribed "to the Luse Family, John Glenn" What a treasure to keep and great memories of meeting John and Annie Glenn.

Cougar20
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posted 04-13-2004 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cougar20   Click Here to Email Cougar20     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My biggest thrill was meeting an Apollo astronaut after a presentation he gave at my local flight museum. I asked him to sign my book and despite the long line behind me, he engaged in a conversation with me. I was about 12 and I told him he was one of the reasons I wanted to be an astronaut. He said that hearing something like that from a future astronaut was always the biggest thrills of his shows.

It was a small comment and a small conversation, but I will never be able to forget how kind he was towards me and genuinely interested he seemed to be in my career.

RichieB16
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From: Oregon
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posted 04-14-2004 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, I have never had the honor of meeting an astronaut - yet. So, the only kind things that they have done for me has been through the mail.

Probably the nicest thing was from William McCool who I wrote to in Sept of 2001, I received a normal ISP from him after a month and added to my collection - not really thinking anything unusual about it. About a year later, I received another package from him - one that I hadn't written for or requested. Inside was an inscribed STS-107 crew photo-signed by everyone. This was instantly one of my favorite pieces because it was the only muti-signed item I had plus it was a mission that I had been following extra closely because of all of the scientific objectives that they were planning, and he gave it to me out of his kindness. It's one of my most prized possessions.

MrSpace86
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From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 04-14-2004 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Richie, that is so awesome! I havent met many astronauts, but I can tell you that Steve Hawley and Barbara Morgan were very nice. I met Steve when he gave a lecture at a High School in 2002. He kindly spoke with me about Space Camp and signed a photo I took with me. I met Barbara at an event last year (I was the youngest person there) and after her speech, she and June Scobee kindly posed for pics. Afterwards she gladly signed a pic that I had and a book that I carried for a friend that couldn't attend (Women Space Travelers or whatever, from the same series as the NASA mission reports). She flipped through it and said it was cool and then after signing the stuff gave me a hug and said she hoped to see me at NASA soon. Hopefully, I'll see her there in a few years!

spaceman1953
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From: South Bend, IN
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posted 04-14-2004 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First, I gotta say that every astronaut I have ever had the chance to meet, was nothing less than gracious. Each and every one of them and I am damn proud to have taken the time to go see them whenever possible...

So that is a tough question, they did great things over the years in person and through the mail. I will be brief, which is exceptionally hard for me...

In July, 1994, I made it to my first (and so far, only) Oshkosh EAA event. Some 26 Apollo astronauts were there for a Salute to Apollo.

Autographs were super-discouraged... "since they can't sign for all, they would rather not sign for any", was the rule.

I was standing where I had no business standing... there was Stu Roosa. I thanked him for a letter he had written many years before. I mentioned that autograph rule and he asked me if I would like him to pose for a photograph with me. I never was "into" that... don't know why, probably because I am so ugly. He said his wife would be glad to take the picture. I checked the camera but the film was jammed. After a few frantic minutes I got it fixed up and asked if he still would pose, he asked his wife. She took the picture and I was blessed with another astronaut memory of a lifetime... he passed that very next December.

Needless to say, that was one of the nicest things an astronaut ever did for me.

randy
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From: West Jordan, Utah USA
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posted 04-14-2004 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably the kindest thing an astronaut has done for me personally was when Don Lind allowed me to visit him and his family and stay in their home for a week after I graduated from high school. My mom arranged the whole thing as a graduation present for me. He took me and a group of scouts on a tour of JSC. While on the tour, I met Al Bean, Al Shepard and Tom Stafford. It was a very memorable week!

music_space
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From: Canada
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posted 04-14-2004 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So many things... Buzz signing my Christie's 2001 catalog... Story's long and involved conversation with me at Astronaut Encounter... Same with Julie Payette... Canadian Steve Mclean helping me invite his friends in Houston to my show, including Ilan Ramon and his family. And who else am I forgetting?

But what about nice things done by others than astronauts, who either had me meet people, gave me collectibles or entrusted me with artefacts? How about former JSC historian Glen Swanson who opened doors for me, Shelly Kelly at the University of Houston in Clear Lake (where they have the Apollo Archive), Wayne Edelman and his Houston favors, Roy Hatch, ex-NASA employee, NASA's Michael Ciancone and his exceptionnal pre-58 rocket litterature, Della Grisby and Gwen Griffin of the Space Agency, Richard Stinson at the old Grumman museum, Josh Stoff at the neighboring Cradle of Aviation Museum with his behind-the-scene visits (standing in the LM simulator, what a memory!) Paul Fjeld who restored the LMs there. And who else am I forgetting?

I find that, all and all, this community is a benevolent one. Even the professional ones in our group, I find, go above their interests when they appreciate one's personality and commitment to space history: Florian, Donnis, Victoria, Gregg, others too.

Can't forget a ton of favors we do for each others, with data, with artefacts... We're a good bunch, I find.

In this outpour of gratitude, I have to mention one more for which passion of history and collecting lives along with passion for people.

Hi, Robert!

collshubby
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From: Madisonville, Louisiana
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posted 04-14-2004 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've never met an astronaut, but hopefully one day I will. So, my experience is limited to the mail.

Any astronaut who takes the time to sign for me is being very kind. But I always remember the times where they include a little something, like a copy of an article they have written, a mission patch or decal, an extra signed photo, etc. Something they obviously do out of sheer kindness.

BobbyA
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From: Northern Virginia
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posted 04-14-2004 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BobbyA   Click Here to Email BobbyA     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the dinner at the autograph convention in DC last year I walked up to Rick Searfoss to ask for a photo. He immediately asked my name and introduced himself, as if I didn't know who he was. He asked me what I do for a living, I told him that I am a history teacher and he went on to say how noble of a profession I have. I returned the complement. We talked for a short while and some time later I wrote to him asking for an autographed photo for my classroom. He sent me three, two for myself and one addressed to my students that I hang in my classroom. He is all class.

Rob Joyner
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From: GA, USA
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posted 04-15-2004 03:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert and John, you are so very lucky to have met Deke Slayton. I wish he was still with us.

As far as kindness goes, if any of our heroes gives us the time of day at all, it is an act of kindness. They don't have to do it...

Walt Cunningham was kind enough to talk with me alone in the 'Astronaut Encounter Readyroom' at KSC.

John Glenn was kind enough to wait twice while a friend worked out the flash on the camera to take our photo.

Jack Lousma was kind enough to mention and talk with me about the SkyLab wife patch which flew on their mission.

Ed Gibson was kind enough to thank me a few times for driving over six total hours just to get his autograph. We talked about that when we sat together with his wife at last year's Gala.

Story Musgrave was kind enough to take extra photos with me and my nephews and to mention me as I asked a question at the 'Lunch with an Astronaut' at KSC.

Winston Scott was kind enough to sign a message in sprinkling rain to a good friend who was in the hospital, and this was after he spoke at the first anniversary of the Columbia tragedy at KSC.

I am so very lucky to live only three hours away from one of greatest places on Earth!

Rick Boos
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From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 04-15-2004 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Three astronauts come to mind: Jim Irwin, Charlie Duke, and Neil Armstrong.

After I lost my brother due to a tragic accident, Jim Irwin took me under his wing and became my "adopted brother". He also invited me to join him in climbing Mt. Arrat in search of Noah's ark. I had to decline (something I kick myself for to this very day) but I sent him a simple silver cross and asked him to place it on the mountain top for me... he did!

But probably the single most touching thing he did for me after my accident was to come to my house and pray for me and anoint me with oil and lay hands on me and ask for God's healing.

Charlie Duke also did the same for me (not at my house but elsewhere), something I shall never forget. Also Charlie and Dottie gave me my first computer! The very one he used in writing "Moon Walker".

As for Neil Armstrong, I attended his Dad's funeral and was really tore up, as Neil's parents were just like family to me having known them for over 25 years. Seeing how broken hearted I was, Neil excused himself from the reception line and took me to the side of the room and had a nice long talk with me. I saw for the first time a different "warm" side of Neil.

GoesTo11
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From: Denver, CO USA
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posted 11-12-2011 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I stumbled across this thread while searching another (more specific) topic, and since the last entry was so old I thought it was worth revisiting via an anecdote of mine:

In the summer of 1986, I was an Air Force brat at RAF Alconbury, UK. At some point that year (I can't put an exact date on it), a delegation of USAF astronauts passed through Alconbury on the "re-bluing" tour of overseas installations that the USAF and USN organized during the post-Challenger stand-down.

At the time, my mother was in the base Public Affairs office, and she wrangled me an invitation to a meet-and-greet session with the astronauts at the Alconbury Officers' Club. I was in junior high then, and while my fascination with the space program, and my adulation of astronauts, had already begun to fade in favor of interest in things like girls, football, and girls, I was still more than a bit intimidated when I walked into the O-club ballroom and saw actual astronauts, in the flesh, right there in front of me.

Consequently, I was a bit of a wallflower. Eventually, though, John Blaha noticed me and motioned me over to "his table" for some chit-chat and some (unsolicited) autographs. I don't recall any specifics of our conversation, just his kind manner and that of his colleagues...they were basically there to work the brass, never mind some star-struck kid. But they found the time to make me feel welcome.

This memory came to mind recently as I was helping my parents weed out and pack up their belongings in preparation for their move to Phoenix. While going through some boxes that were mostly filled with ephemera of their Air Force careers (medals, awards, plaques, etc.) I came across a memento of that day at Alconbury I'd thought long lost: A (cheaply) framed picture of Columbia about to touch down at Edwards to end STS-1, signed by Blaha, Bo Bobko, John Casper, Fred Gregory, and Blaine Hammond. I've never been into autographs, but I was thrilled that that photo survived our many moves and I treasure it now.

Incidentally, the discovery of that photo moved me to email Mike Mullane, as he'd reminisced about the 1986 "re-bluing" tour in Riding Rockets. He replied that he had indeed been at Alconbury on that trip (though I didn't meet him then), and shared some impressions of the base as a duty station of his in the early '70s as contrasted with what he saw in 1986.

-------

The question I wish I'd had the guts/presence of mind to ask the USAF delegation: "Is it me, or does NASA take really, really good care of their Navy guys?"

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
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posted 11-12-2011 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't had many experiences with astronauts but the ones I have had are very memorable

In 2008 my high school marching band had a trip/competition to Virgina Beach (we got first place naturally) and one of the stops was to the VA air and space center. John McBride was there and I was very happy when I saw him He was waiting for an elementary or middle school to show up to give a talk and I nervously went up to talk to him for a bit. I said "Hi my name is David and I am a huge NASA fan and I hope to work for NASA. May I please have a photo with you?" He smiled and shook my hand replying "Sure once I give my presentation" So I walked around the museum, went to the gift shop bought "New Moon Rising", then walked back to where he was presenting in front of Yankee Clipper and listened to his talk standing just far away enough not to intrude on the group.

He talked about NASA and being an astronaut. When he got to the part where he said "NASA says that the first astronauts who will walk on Mars right now will be in the age group of 8-16. How many of you are that old?" Being on the very edge of the group raised my hand and he smiled when he looked around and saw mine. He talked some more, saying that you should do your work, study, learn math, science, etc. While he is giving the presentation (there were other school groups set up including my own) I am the only one from my school not playing in the fighter jet simulator. After he was done and they left, he came up to me and said "So where do you want the photo?" We went over to Yankee Clipper and got the photo there and I thanked him again. He saw my book and asked if he would sign it for me. He flipped through the book a bit and then signed the front page "To David best wishes. John McBride Shuttle Pilot May 2 08 @VA air and space center, Hampton VA" I thanked him again and he gave me a presigned photo of him addressed to my high school band (I guess they told him what groups were going to be there) and told me to give it to the band. By then it was time to go so I shook his hand and thanked him again. I give the photo to the band director (who for some reason though I got him to sign it) and then the book to my friends (which was the entire band) who were wondering why I was listing to "that guy" the entire time. They were a bit impressed that it was an astronaut.

I have also had a few small chats with astronauts over Twitter. Last December when I saw Mike Fincke tweet a photo of them using the digital simulator when I was in my computers class at college. I commented on the photo that it was really cool and that I will be at the launch. Due to my college's spotty wifi it sent the comment twice and I apologized for that. He replied "No worries. What are you in college for?" I told him US History and I hope to work for NASA's History department (Still do if I can't learn the math needed for astronomy) he replied that it was nice. I though it was so kind that he took time to reply to me. That Halloween, Clayton C. Anderson tweeted something to the phrase of "if you have a really good costume come over and I will judge it" I replied that I would because I do a really good Gollum impression but I live in NJ. He replied with a simple "Do you have hairy feet?"

My favorite one was when I won "Where over the world as Commander Scott Kelly" contest (still haven't gotten the signed photo) when he sent me a message congratulating me for winning and he then tweeted "Congrats to fellow Jersey boy for winning this week's photo" That was just as cool because he seemed a bit proud that some one from his home state got one. (Ironically enough when he tweeted a photo of Atlantic City which is an hour from me I got wrong)

micropooz
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posted 11-12-2011 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not an astronaut, but could-have-been, had he been assigned a 50+ mile mission in the X-15:

Back in the 1980's, I was trying to get a handle on the flights of the M2-F1 lightweight lifting body. No flight log had been published. I pulled together all of the random flight dates that I could find (maybe a dozen or two). On a lark, I sent them to Milt Thompson, one of the pilots for this vehicle, to critique. I really didn't expect an answer and months went by. Then one day, I got a phonemail (this was before email) message at work from a Milt Thompson apologizing for the delay, and that he had pulled together a more complete list that was in the mail! Well, my first reaction was to look around at the jokers in my office to see who may be pulling a prank, but nobody looked guilty. And a couple of days later, here came Milt's multi-hundred flight flight-log of the M2-F1! It formed the basis for the M2-F1 flight log in Dale Reed's "Wingless Flight" and for some of the recollections in Milt's post-mortem book "Flying Without Wings".

Several months later, I caught wind of the X-15 30th anniversary celebration at Edwards about a week before it was to happen. I called Milt, and he got me in! He took me around and introduced me to Crossfield, Peterson, Rushworth, Bob White, Knight, Dana, "Stormy" Storms (NAA's Project Manager for the X-15), Walt Williams (Dryden Director at the start of the X-15 program), Paul Bikle (Williams' successor), Fitz Fulton, and CC Bock (both B-52 mother-plane pilots). It was an incredible day...

Milt was a true gentleman. He passed away in 1993.

HistorianMom
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posted 11-12-2011 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HistorianMom   Click Here to Email HistorianMom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few years back, I think nine years ago, Sally Ride came to the university where I teach. She had just written her children's book, and my son's interest in space flight was just awakening. He was in second grade, so 7 or 8 years old.

She was doing a book signing at the university bookstore in the morning and then a lecture for a physics class in the afternoon. I called over the physics department and asked whether the lecture was going to be non-technical enough that an 8 year old would be able to get anything out of it, because he was a fan of Ms Ride's. I got a call back that Ms Ride thought the lecture was going to be too much for a child, but that she had some time between lunch and the lecture and if I wanted to bring the child by to talk to her, she would be happy to spend some time with him.

So he went over and spent about fifteen-twenty minutes just talking to her about his interest in space, and showing her around the university planetarium, where he spent a great deal of time. It was very kind of her.

The only downer was that she gave him a card with her website information on it, and it is a website about getting girls interested in science. Well, when you are a seven year old boy, the idea of spending time on a website dedicated to girls is... well, not going to happen.

Anyway, if he was mildly interested in spaceflight before that, he became absolutely passionate about it afterward, and he's remained so right up to the present day.

ilbasso
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Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 11-12-2011 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got to repay an act of kindness at the ASF show last week.

One of my all-time favorite astronauts and boyhood heroes spent a lot of time ooh-ing and aah-ing over some of my artifacts when I first met him at Spacefest II, which put me on Cloud 9. My conversation with him was my favorite part of that show.

I asked to sit at this astronaut's table at the ASF show this past week, and I was thrilled when I heard that I would indeed be joining him for dinner. However, before the astronaut arrived, a man and his son stood guard at the table and said that they were going to sit on either side of the astronaut so that they could lobby him for the son to get an ASF scholarship. The fellow spent the first half of the evening engaging the astronaut in private conversation. The rest of us, who were looking forward to hearing from the astronaut, grew increasingly frustrated that this fellow was completely monopolizing the astronaut's time with face-to-face conversation. I eventually just started asking questions across the table, which broke the astronaut free from the arm-twisting. The rest of the table joined in with questions, and we were able to salvage the rest of the evening.

Taking a quick photo with the astronaut after dinner, he thanked us for "rescuing him". One doesn't often get to rescue an astronaut!

Joel Katzowitz
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Posts: 425
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 11-13-2011 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several years ago Alan Bean gave a lecture in Columbus Georgia. A group of cS'ers attended and Rob S. brought his daughter along. There was no scheduled autograph session but after the lecture we waited around for Bean to emerge from the room. When he finally appeared we approached him about signing some photos but he said he didn't have time, then he noticed Rob's daughter and stopped to sign a large photo for her. We thought it was great and didn't press to have any of our own items signed. He did mention that we were welcome to send him items through the mail.

I decided to composite a 8"x10" image that included him backing down the LM steps to the lunar surface, the mission patch, a page from his wrist checklist and some other elements. I printed two copies and send them out along with a check to cover his signing fee.

A few weeks later I received a voicemail from Bean telling me how much he enjoyed the artwork I had sent and how it brought back many wonderful memories. Several times he said "you don't have to call me back" but then he gave me his number so.... I caught him in his studio doing some early morning painting and we had a terrific 20 minute conversation.

A week later I received my photo back with a really nice inscription on it and my uncashed check.

astro-nut
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Posts: 604
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-13-2011 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a couple of occasions when astronauts have shown acts of kindness to me. I will leave their names out for persoal reasons

First and foremost is one astronaut who called me on my cell phone and told me that he arranged a VIP launch ticket for me and a friend of mine for the STS-133 launch. I will never forget that!!!

Secondly, is a female astronaut who autographed my photos of her before her public encounter at KSCVC. She was very impressed with my knowledge of her Navy career and her dad.

At another public presentation, another astronaut was more than happy to autograph photos from their flights. This astronaut and I talked a lot about the military and the history of the military and the conflicts/wars that we have served in.

Lastly, is when an astronaut from NASA Headquarters called me on my phone to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and to send me information that I requested about the Columbia tragedy.

I have many other stories to share but I think these stand out among the others. I appreciate it when our heroes are kind to us fans and supporters of the space program!

danpal
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Posts: 48
From: Roma, Italy
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 11-14-2011 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for danpal   Click Here to Email danpal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The evening of my last birthday I received a phone call. "Hello" I said and I heard someone singing "Happy Birthday to You".

It was Paolo Nespoli and he was calling me from the ISS. I never received best wishes for my birthday.

dabolton
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Posts: 299
From: Minooka IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 11-15-2011 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was holding my months-old son at a book signing for Gene Cernan and he reached up and wiggled my sons toe and asked if this guy was gonna go to mars someday.

alanh_7
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Posts: 1045
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-15-2011 06:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without a doubt the kindest thing I have had an astronaut do for me was at the 2008 Astronaut Scholarship FOundation show. My (then) 5 year old daughter and I went over to talk with Charlie Bolden and have a item signed. Bolden smiled looked at the item and said 'that can wait a minute' and waved at my daughter to come around the table. He sat her in the chair beside him and began talking to her about space and the importance of getting an education. General Bolden was so kind to her to this day she remembers it.

To my surprise a year later General Bolden was at the poolside bar. He had just been confirmed as the Administrator of NASA and was there to attend the ASF Apollo 12 tribute diner (he did not do the show). He saw me and waved over and called "How is your daughter doing?" I was pretty shocked that he would remember.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1781
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-15-2011 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had stars in my eyes when I ran into Gene Cernan in a hotel lobby. He was so gracious and generous with his time that I commented on it. His comeback? "Well you paid for the trip!"

Since then I have found every astronaut I've met to be humble and accomodating. When I mentioned this to a NASA employee they had a smart observation - "they don't pick many dummies to fly in space."

Spacepsycho
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Posts: 755
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 11-16-2011 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like others have said, all of these astronauts are gracious to a fault, especially when dealing with kids. I have two favorite encounters.

A few years back I took my son Dylan to an Society of Experimental Test Pilots' event at Disneyland to hear six speakers give presentations. Neil Armstrong spoke about the LLTV/LLRV, it was truly an amazing event with Burt and Dick Rutan, Mike Melvill, Robert Crippen, Bill Dana and many other test pilots in attendance.

Dylan was sitting for three hours drawing, reading and playing on my lap very quietly and patiently. We were able to meet Neil and I was able to get photos of Dylan with the above mentioned men. As the room was clearing out, I spotted Bob Crippen. I had wanted to meet him forever and after chatting for a few minutes, he then turned his attention to Dylan.

Bob did the most amazing thing, he put Dylan on his lap, they sat at an empty table and started reading the SETP 50th anniversary signed book to my son. Five minutes went by, Bob and Dylan were chatting like old friends, I took a few photos and was astounded he would take so much time with a little boy.

When Bob signed and closed the SETP book, he turned around with my son and I took this photo.

My other favorite was on vacation to Orlando a couple of years ago. We toured Kennedy Space Center, had lunch with Al Worden (excellent experience with a great guy) and two days later Story Musgrave was speaking at the Astronaut Encounter.

I've always been a huge fan of Story, so I drove all the way back to KSC to just meet him (my family stayed at Disney World having their fill of space history). I stayed after his talk, we chatted for a few minutes and then he asked me back to the prep room with the KSC guide.

We talked for another 10 minutes. I didn't want to keep him because he was leaving for dinner, but he could tell I didn't want to leave. So he reached over and hugged me, thanked me for supporting the space program and for teaching kids about space exploration in school presentations.

I was beside myself, I couldn't believe Story would send so much time with some old guy who's a space nut and it was the highlight of my KSC experience.

I have to give a shoutout to Rick Searfoss, talk about a guy who's a true class act. At the 2004 Burbank show, he was one of the only shuttle astronauts among all of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo guys and wasn't getting much attention. My sister, Dylan and I walked over to Rick and in 10 minutes, we felt like old friends.

He's a gifted speaker, he makes everyone feel special and talked with my sister for an hour straight. Since Burbank, I've had the chance to see Rick at many events and he's one of the most outstanding people I've had the pleasure to meet.

Mike Z
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Posts: 451
From: Ellicott City, Maryland
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 11-16-2011 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sonny Carter was a former professional soccer player. I was asked by an astronaut from Baltimore if I could send Sonny an autograph from Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson. I did and Sonny was a friend ever since.

He was also a medical doctor. When he found out about my son's many illnesses he started calling me. At that time I was working in soccer. He asked me to send him my resume. I did and he called and said I was well qualified to work in flight crew equipment. I had to turn it down because we had to stay near Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

He was always sending me things even when he was at the ESA he sent me things. That was just before Sonny's commuter flight while doing an appearance for NASA crashed.

On the very morning of the accident I sent Sonny a large box. That night we were playing in Game 7 of the league finals. Win or lose it was our final game of the 1991 season. I sent him a couple running suits, shoes from Adidas, soccer balls and travel bags. We lost the game.

On the way home about 2:00 a.m. I heard there was a plane crash. I wasn't listening too close and thought I heard that astronaut Sonny Carter was on the airplane but wasn't sure. When I got home I put CNN on and they were talking about the crash and Sonny. I was SHOCKED!!!

On the plane was also former Senator John Tower. The day before, Pennsylvania Senator John Heinze was killed an a plane crash.

A couple months later I received a beautiful letter from Sonny's wife, Dana, thanking me for contributing to the joy in Sonny's life. That brought tears to my eyes.

I call Sonny Carter the Brooks Robinson of astronauts. Like Brooks, Sonny would do anything for anyone!!

BMckay
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Posts: 2112
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 11-17-2011 05:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about being invited and going to a Soyuz launch in a snow storm? What an adventure!

randy
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Posts: 1458
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 11-17-2011 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My experience with Rick Searfoss will always stand out in my memory. I had the opportunity to get him to autograph a photo of him at an event in Salt Lake City. He could wee that I was in a hurry, so he asked me to go to the head of the line so I could get back to work. A really classy guy!

mach3valkyrie
Member

Posts: 346
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-19-2011 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met Gordon Fullerton at the 1994 Rose Festival Air Show. It was just after 9 a.m., and no one was around the infield where the planes were on display. I saw someone inspecting a NASA F-18 dressed in flight coveralls and recognized him. My son and I walked over and introduced ourselves.

Colonel Fullerton was very friendly and during the course of our conversation, he invited us to visit him at Dryden Flight Research Center. We had about 15 minutes with him alone before various media and others descended.

That was a great day!


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