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  Reflections: Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Autograph and Memorabilia Show, 2011 (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Reflections: Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Autograph and Memorabilia Show, 2011
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-05-2011 04:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Today begins the first full day of the 2011 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Astronaut Autograph and Memorabilia Show at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

I'll leave it to those who participated to share their reflections on yesterday's tour and lectures. Friday night's reception gave a great opportunity for many attending to mingle and share stories.

Charlie Duke, who now chairs the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and Jim Lovell, who will be honored at tonight's Gemini XII dinner, welcomed everyone to the show. In their course of his introduction, Lovell shared that his crewmate Buzz Aldrin would not be at this year's show as planned due to a medical concern.

Today at the show, collectSPACE will be revealing a new collaboration and in doing so, will be offering for the first time some significant shuttle artifacts. More details for those unable to attend will be shared after the show weekend.

Please use this thread to share your own reflections of the 2011 AAMS. Hope to see you there!

DChudwin
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Posts: 972
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-05-2011 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hope you are having fun, guys and gals! Wish I could be there with you. I hope we'll get some good first hand reports here.

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 11-06-2011 06:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The astronauts were in rare form. As much ribbing as everyone gives Buzz, his absence was deeply felt by all. However, there were a lot of light moments.

Scene 1: my wife and I are talking to Dee O'Hara. A few minutes into the conversation:

Dee (to me): I remember you from last time, but I don't remember you [my wife].

Me: that's probably because you and I had that little thing going on the side.

Dee (without missing a beat): I know, but I was trying to be discreet about it.

Scene 2: talking with Dick Gordon, who has his arm around my daughter-in-law. I snap a picture, then suggest that I get one with her husband (my son) in the picture. Dick shouts, in mock abject horror, "You didn't tell me she was MARRIED!"

KSC Up Close tour today was amazing! Endeavour seemed practically close enough to touch. We understand she and Atlantis will be trading places next week.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-06-2011 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know if the dates are set for next year's show yet? I went through withdrawal this year. I could not attend due to a wedding yesterday so I want to make sure I clear the schedule for next year's.

benfairfax
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From: Australia
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-06-2011 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for benfairfax   Click Here to Email benfairfax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hopefully next year coincides with the Apollo 17 40th Anniversary. One can only hope!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-06-2011 09:16 AM     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 alanh_7:
Anyone know if the dates are set for next year's show yet?
Next year's dates are November 2-4, 2012.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-06-2011 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am posting this live from the show floor, as the second day of the show is just getting underway.

It has been great to meet and see again so many collectSPACE readers and members (which is probably why there haven't been too many replies to this thread just yet).

At last night's Gemini XII dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting with Ed Gibson. He chaired the Orion Standing Review Board that assessed NASA's development of the spacecraft when it was the crew exploration vehicle under Constellation. We had a good discussion about Orion and the space program in the post-Constellation era.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 11-06-2011 10:07 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Forces of nature similar to Planes Trains and Automobiles conspired to get me there Friday afternoon and leave Saturday afternoon [not going to bore you, if not already], but suffice to say, great seeing everyone I saw from here.

As always the ASF staff support team and volunteers were so helpful, patient, kind, wonderful.

I'm going to go roll up into a fetal position and think about the sigs I missed before I had to leave.

[voice in head: Stop whining. Shut up and be glad you were there for a day.]

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
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posted 11-06-2011 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
(Warning, this is a long post)

Where to begin and describe a wonderful space weekend. We started on Thursday and our four hour drive into Titusville. We had some time to spare so remembering the post about the 30 year collection for sale at "A Cocoa Antique Mall" away we went. We picked up 20 items including a signed copy of "To Rule the Night" by James Irwin. No item was above $10 each, great deals.

Friday was the VAB tour. Due to a mix up we ended up on the wrong tour at first, got off that bus talked to Erick, one of the Delaware North managers, and 15 minutes later we were on the last VAB tour of the day. I must say the folks at Delaware North excelled in customer support that day. The feeling of being inside the VAB as well as being but 20 feet away from Endeavour is incredible. I could spend pages talking about the feelings we felt thinking about history of the building and the vehicle it contains, but as this thread is really about the ASF signing I will say that, if you can go, do it! We were told by the tour guide that it has been 30+ years since they have been allowed to be in the building and they were not sure how long the tours may last so, GO. She also stated that the Endeavour was to be replaced with Atlantis sometime around the 8th of November.

The signing started out some what problematic for us from the early morning post by Robert explaining that Buzz would not be attending (yep, some might read the Wall Street Journal first in the morning, but for the Karsts the morning starts with collectSPACE). As you may have read the plan was to have Buzz and Gene sign the 1/12 scale LM we were bringing, a first and last tribute to the machine that carried men to the moon and became a lifeboat as well. With reading Robert's post we had to shift gears and decide if we were still going to take the LM in or hold off for another time. It was my wife Jackie who reminded me of the fragility of tomorrows so with a few quick calculations we figured out that in lieu of the two Buzz signatures (we were planning on him signing the LM and another item that was significant to us) we could load the LM up with a multitude of LM flyers. We rewrote the list and signature game plan for the day. Thanks for your post Robert, as that would have become a tough planning session at the event.

The morning was overcast and we drove though some light showers to get to KSC but once there it was not raining. We set up our transportation cart and proceeded to wheel it towards the entrance. The LM model is made so that in its resting position the entire weight is reacted through the landing gear. However, for a bumpy ride the model is much like the real LM and the gear is made for one purpose, touch down and static display. Therefore we made the cart with a support that has the weight resting on the area around the decent engine and the foot pads hovered above the base. We installed some foam as a cushion between the support and the LM as well as placing some foam under each footpad, not to carry load but to stabilize the vehicle. The trip in our Tahoe was a non issue. The ride from the Tahoe, over the roughest asphalt in all of Florida as well as the pavers that make up the entrance to the security area, was a pounding we had not planned for (the base for the cart was a furniture dolly with hard wheels, pneumatic wheels will be the first mod if the LM ever moves again).

We managed to get the LM and our other items to the security gates in good condition in spite of the rough terrain. Jackie went in first and despite my checking with the good folks a ASF before hand, including pictures of our LM on cart, we heard the words "there is no way that is coming in here". Our hearts sank. There was Jackie on one side of the metal detectors and me on the other. They would not let her come out without going all the way around to the exit and I could not go in. I told Jackie, find Nicole and ask her what we can do! Jackie went off to the Debus building. Opening the door and seeing Robert inside, Jackie immediately knew to ask him for help in finding Nicole, Nicole then directed Jackie to the Security Officer explained the situation and the radio messages began. The final ruling was that we could bring in the cart and the LM into the ASF event, directly there, get it signed and then leave directly out. What a team effort by all involved and thanks to the flexibility of the KSC officers, the help of the ASF staff, as well as our editor Robert, we were in.

Jackie met me back at security and in we went after a few raised eyebrows by the other officers (hey, at least they have a story to tell over dinner with their families). By then it was misting rain again but Jackie had the foresight to bring a light blanket to throw over the cart so away we went to the event. We entered and immediately thanked all parties. The show had not yet opened to the public so we had a few minutes to speak to old space friends such as Tim Gagnon, Donnis Wills and of course Robert.

Robert had set up a display of a number of flown items for sale. The most of them came from the Spacehab modules and after as few moments of description, we had to have one of the flown lockers and experiment foams. Great looking items, with some great history. The one that holds dear to our hearts is the flown foam as it flew on STS-116. Thanks Robert for making these available. (I will let Robert give more details on these type of items in his forthcoming posts, and yes the words from my wife Jackie when I told her we "needed" these in our collection was a resounding "go for it", I love her.)

The show opened and in we went. It was clear from the set up that maneuvering would be a challenge. We made it to the back of the room and started to decide just how this was going to work. The original plan was to get Buzz and Gene to sign it and that was it. We would park it and get our other items signed and there we are done. Now we were going to get eight astronauts to sign it, yes everyone that was there, and flew the LM, was our plan and they we spread out all over the event as were the people.

At first we thought it may be best to just lift out the model and it's protective carrying case and take it around but as I lifted it the results of its cobblestone ride was evident, the footpads had separated from the posts in three places, and that would make setting it down dangerous, so back on it's pedestal it went. Mike, yes I was stressed when you came up and am sorry if I did not speak at length when you asked about the situation. Jonathan, I wanted to be able to speak with you more but at the time I was trying to figure out what our game plan would be (all the time trying to honor our commitment to the security officers of getting in, getting it signed and getting it out, they never pressured us but I did not want our LM to be an issues with the show or the folks at ASF). For anyone I may have been less than cordial to or short with my answers let me apologize, I was in my get it done Engineering Management mode and was not intending any disrespect to anyone's enthusiasm or questions.

Our next plan was to take the removable case off so that the astronauts would have access to sign it and wheel it all around. After about 20 feet of transport we saw that it was not possible due to close quarters and may people. Our final solution was for Jackie to remain stationary, we broke the cart down to its simplest form (it was modular in construction) just the LM and the protective covering. I was able to manage it through the crowd and thanks to all that were so courteous as I came through.

First stop was Gene. He like most who saw the model was blown away with the detail and once I asked that he sign just below the commander's window he was down on the floor sharpie in hand figuring out how to accomplish the mission, sore knees and all. Gene is a real class act and a wonderful space hero.

Duke was next and he made suggestions on where he could best sign and on it went. Mitchell was next and he came out to the side of the tables, I held on to him and he got his signature on the LMP side. There is a lot of real-estate on the LM but for display purposes we wanted the signatures on the top and sides of the window areas.

Rusty was next and he squeezed his signature under Duke's. Fred Haise found a great spot along the side to place his signature as the LMP side was filling up fast (the flat spot under the LMP window I kept in reserve for Buzz some day and all of the LMP respected that request and none made any smart remarks about Buzz either, like any "family" member when one is down the others hold tight ranks, very admirable I must say).

Dave Scott placed his signature on one side of the upper docking window and Lovell on the other (both on the commander's side naturally). Finally Alan Bean, for various reasons I wanted Alan Bean to be up front on the flat below the area set aside for Buzz. He was very accommodating his table was across from Scott's and as it was naturally crowed there with the two of them signing. Bean had no issue with coming over to where it was parked at the end of Scott's table and signing the model. He asked for me to hold the model up and position it for a good signature and away he went.

All of the astronauts were class acts all were very accommodating and interested in the model's history (it was built by Grumman model works employee, spent 15 years in a Connecticut repertory theater and we obtained it on eBay). Alan Bean said he would have owned it if he had seen it on eBay and when he was signing it he looked at Scott and said "do you think they could get this to the moon now" not sure what the inside comments were but Scott knew exactly what Bean meant.

In between LM signings when the people were to congested to get through without difficulty I would go back to "base camp" where Jackie held down the other items gave her some time to get out and stretch as well as allow me to get our "flat" items signed. It was a shame that Jackie could not accompany me to getting the LM signed but the plan worked out well and the LM remained unharmed a fully signed.

It was after lunch now as we had to wait for Lovell to get back and sign our "Earth Rise" Borman signed print and we wanted Al and Francis to sign their book as they were signing that for free. Both placed some great inscriptions in the book and I had an opportunity to swap my own one room school house with outdoor plumbing stories with Al.

Once we had completed our signings and chatted with our friend Brian (who was helping at Scott's table) we knew we had to get the LM and cart outside the gates as promised (again not at any pressure from ASF or security but from our own commitment to do so). We would have liked to look over more of the items in the lobby, spoke to more friends and cS members but we needed to go and we did not want to leave the LM sitting in the truck on its own so we decided that once out the gates we were heading back to Georgia. We spoke to the officer in charge telling him we were leaving and with another act of kindness he offered to take us out the back gate to avoid the crowds and to limit the ride on the cobblestone return trip.

We went back to Robert who was holding our flown items, picked them up, said our quick good byes and away we went. It was an intense morning of getting it done but once home all is well with the LM. Footpads easily glued in place fully signed and other items back up on the walls.

It was a great event and super people. We did not win any auction items but after picking up the items we did from Robert we felt truly blessed. We trust that all will go well with Buzz and that someday we may try to get him to place his name in the spot we left for him, but honestly right now I am not sure about transporting the LM again.

Footnote:

Photos will be coming.

As far as who ended up signing the LM and what did it cost, I have no problem sharing that info so it is posted below (and as far as the CSM pilots go, maybe next year for your vehicle, but that is another story)

  1. Gene Cernan: $200
  2. Rusty Schweickart: $80
  3. Alan Bean: $150 +$25 (3D item)
  4. Charlie Duke: $100
  5. Jim Lovell: $175
  6. Fred Haise: $125
  7. Dave Scott: $200
  8. Ed Mitchell: $100

    Total: $1155

David Carey
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posted 11-06-2011 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great weekend and as with past ASF events a job well done, even in the face of some last-minute changes. My major regret was not booking a later flight back today but I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with a wonderful group of people.

Echoing earlier posts, the VAB was a highlight add-on experience (a first for me to see inside), particularly with Endeavour in the wings. Amazing to see a building large enough to make the Shuttle look almost petite.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 11-06-2011 10:44 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will be adding to this slideshow of the ASF AAMS 2011. Sadly I was only able to stay for about 24 hours, but did get some photos.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 11-07-2011 02:06 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lesson learned hard way: Bring cash if possible to these events.

Credit cards often get rejected at these events, for good reason, they can look like suspect charges. If you live in New Jersey and a bunch of charges from Florida start showing, the card will often get declined.

Knowing all of this, I called my credit card company days in advance of the show, telling them exactly what to expect.

Result: My first charge was approved, and then hours later I get a call it was declined, and I had no idea which astronaut it was. A nightmare.

An email to Linn LeBlanc to let her know, and as always she's the best. This was my credit card company's fault, nothing to do with the ASF.

I didnt want some astronaut to think I had just scammed them for $1000+!

The credit card snafu meant however, I got about 1/3 to 1/2 of the stuff signed I wanted and had no back up. Imagine being in the middle of all those astronauts and your credit card company is telling you possibly all of today's previous transactions may be declined even though they were approved earlier.

I had a poster for all the shuttle astronauts to sign. Still blank. Ugh.

Dave Clow
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Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-07-2011 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd just like to say how impressed I was again with the whole ASF organization. Linn, Nicole and all the staff manage to combine a level of respect for the astronauts and their achievements with an air of friendliness and accessibility that everyone on both sides of the signing tables seems to enjoy thoroughly. I felt lucky again to be part of this event, and I'm looking forward to the one in 2012.

Dave Clow
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Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-07-2011 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
I was able to manage it through the crowd and thanks to all that were so courteous as I came through.
I saw that model making the rounds--what an amazing item. Congrats.

walkerj6
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From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 11-07-2011 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for walkerj6   Click Here to Email walkerj6     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This was my first event with anything like this. I was amazed how everything worked out. All the people were awesome to deal with. I know I only managed to run into a couple people off the forums, everyone was kind and nice to talk to.

I've never met an astronaut in my life and this event blew my mind how up close and personal you could get with these legends!

The moment of my weekend was when I was at the dinner walking up to get a drink and right in front of me Jim Lovell walked to Fred Haise to shake his hand... I almost stopped breathing as I walked up to them and asked to get a photo... The happily agreed and now I have that moment to cherish forever! As a 90's child, Apollo 13 was my favorite move ever! It was an amazing moment and evening!

Dave Clow
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Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-07-2011 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by walkerj6:
The moment of my weekend was when I was at the dinner walking up to get a drink and right in front of me Jim Lovell walked to Fred Haise to shake his hand... I almost stopped breathing as I walked up to them and asked to get a photo... The happily agreed and now I have that moment to cherish forever!
Great moment — post the photo!

walkerj6
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From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 11-07-2011 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for walkerj6   Click Here to Email walkerj6     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is the proof...

MCroft04
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From: Smithfield, Me, USA
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posted 11-08-2011 01:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm just getting home so will post more later. But imagine this: dinner with Al Bean and Hank Hartsfield, sitting poolside with Owen Garriott and Fred Gregory talking about shuttle toilets (and yes there was alcohol involved), breakfast sitting with Jim Lovell and Alan Bean, pumping Scott Carpenter with questions on the Cape tour, Dave Scott asking me if I really wanted to hear him talk about geology, and purchasing a flown Spacehab locker from Robert!

The ASF folks outdid themselves!

xlsteve
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Posts: 368
From: Holbrook MA, USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 11-08-2011 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm still gathering myself from the trip, and will post later, but I will echo everyone's assessment. To sum up, I said to my wife when I got home: "Remember how last year I said it couldn't have gone better? Apparently it could have, and did this year." It was great meeting a number of collectSPACE folks as well (particularly Mel and Dave).

How did you get that locker home on the plane?

drjeffbang
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From: Virginia
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posted 11-08-2011 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My wife and I took our daughter to the show. This was her second AAMS show and it was a great experience. The astronauts were so kind to her. We got some of her pictures signed and she got some art instruction from Alan Bean.

We also took the VAB tour on Friday. It's simply incredible. Standing 20' in front of Endeavor's nose was an unexpected thrill. My daughter was shocked when I told her what a 325 ton crane could lift...

MCroft04
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From: Smithfield, Me, USA
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posted 11-08-2011 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
How did you get that locker home on the plane?
I mailed the locker home; probably could have boxed it and carried it in checked luggage (would have been a lot cheaper) but not enough time to do all that. Shipping was a lot faster.

Anxious for it to arrive!

And yes it was great to meet you and a make a lot of other friends.

ilbasso
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posted 11-09-2011 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Karsts with their glorious LM model...

xlsteve
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posted 11-10-2011 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rather than give an exhaustive narrative of the weekend, I'll simply summarize some key events.

Cape Canaveral Tour — this was one thing I was looking forward to since last year. I had wanted to see the Cape for a long time, and the opportunity to do it with Scott Carpenter was unreal. As a bonus Dee O'Hara was sitting behind me, and added her memories of what we were seeing as well.

Shuttle Luncheon — I thoroughly enjoyed this. Each astronaut told some great stories. Particularly poignant was Fred Gregory's account of being CAPCOM for STS-51-L

Alan Bean Presentation — I've always appreciated Alan's optimism and the way he quietly inspires. His presentation was amazing on all counts.

Evening reception — I had a really great time, and was able to talk to a lot of astronauts and fellow collectSPACE folks as well.

KSC Up Close Tour — this was amazing. My first time at KSC was last year, and we were not able to go any further than the Saturn V Center due to the scrubbed launch of STS-133. This tour took us to the Causeway, inside the VAB and out and around pads 39A and B. The only downside was the tour guide's use of the past tense throughout.

Autograph show — with all the other activities I didn't get to the autograph room until Saturday afternoon. One of the highlights for me was that I was able to give Alan Bean a photographic print of the Apollo 12 landing site from the LRO's recent low pass. I had done a bit of jiggery-pokery with Paintshop Pro to bring out the craters/footprints. I was able to listen as he reviewed the EVA for me and the young lady assisting him. This was worth way more than a signature to me. The pic below shows Alan pointing to the LM descent stage while he talked about the approach they took to land.

The ASF changed the layout of the autograph room and had additional backdrops which I thought looked great.

Saturday Dinner — As some have already mentioned, Buzz Aldrin was unable to attend due to a medical issue. I was able to sit with Alan Bean and Hank Hartsfield, and had great conversation all around.

Sunday I had to leave early, so I missed the Navy SEALS parachuting into the Rocket Garden.

This was my second year attending this event, and I was extremely pleased at how everything went. Last year Francis French posted here about not focusing so much on meeting that one Apollo astronaut, but to actually spend some time to get to know these men and women as people. I took that advice to heart, and tried to do just that this year. As a result, I was able to chat with quite a number of astronauts on many different topics from Bob Springer's interest in Scotch to the INFINITY Space Center Project with Fred Haise. For me this was one of the great things about the ASF show. Certainly the astronauts are gracious in posing for pictures and answering questions, but like most people if you talk to them about the things that they are passionate about you have a much richer experience. At least that's my opinion. I'm still sorting through my photos, but I'll post a link to them once I've finished.

I'm glad to be able to support the ASF. Now more than ever I think it's important to support students who are studying science and engineering. I feel that I got back way more than I gave. Finally, I'm grateful for the Walmart in Merritt Island that is open 24 hours. When I discovered at midnight that my digital camera was kaput I was able to replace it fairly easily.

MCroft04
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From: Smithfield, Me, USA
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posted 11-10-2011 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll just share a few of the stories from the event.

As we drove along a straight road on the Cape tour, Scott Carpenter was asked if there were any specific roads he liked to race on (during the days). Smiling he quipped "All of them." Then he was asked if there were any beach-house stories he'd like to tell. Quickly he smiled and replied "none of them!"

Al Bean said Pete Conrad always gave him great advice. For example "when you talk to Deke, don't make faces when you disagree with him."

I asked Alan if Pete had become incapacitated while on the lunar surface, could he have gotten him back into the LM (there is a cS post on this). We really talked through it very thoroughly, and Alan said that if he could have gotten him up the ladder that it would have been near impossible to get him through the hatch due to the ballooning of the suit (arms straight out).

Even if he got him through the hatch, it would have been very difficult if not impossible to go further because of the engine bell, which required the astronaut to "bend upward" to get over it. Most likely as Al's oxygen became critical mission control would have instructed Alan to go inside and let them work the problem. He wasn't very confident that it could have been done.

After the Shuttle Lunch, I sat down with a group poolside that included Owen Garriott, Fred Gregory, their wives, and some of my friends. I asked more about the toilet story told earlier at lunch. I also told Fred about a story Hank Hartsfield told me several years ago, looking for confirmation of the story.

For toilet training, NASA uses a camera located in the toilet. The old pooper hole must be perfectly centered or else things can get pretty messy in zero-G, and the camera is used to help them get used to getting centered. Other astronauts are looking at a TV screen and commenting on how well the subject astronaut is doing.

Fred said they had a foreign astronaut in his group (who was very good at astronauting) but obviously did not understand what the word "practice" meant, because when it was his turn he actually let one drop. Made a hell of a mess that took some doing to get the toilet cleaned out.

Later that night at the cocktail party I talked to Kathy Thornton and she said you learn quickly how to approach the toilet when it's your turn. You definitely don't look into the toilet, lest the other astronauts know who you are. So you have to kind of sneak up on it, butt first.

Mike McCulley was on an airplane and saw that the USA Today newspaper ran a front page story on the Galileo mission at a key milestone. He sat next to a nice lady on the plane and asked her what she did. She went into details for half an hour; she was a lawyer on a case in New York City, etc, etc, etc. Eventually she quieted and asked Mike "what do you do?" He thought for a second, pointed at the paper, and said "I did that!"

Nigel Mc
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Posts: 96
From: Sheffield, UK
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-11-2011 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nigel Mc   Click Here to Email Nigel Mc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi everyone just back from America - It's a long way for me.

Had a great time at the show and will post some pics soon. Well worth the 8000 mile round trip!

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-11-2011 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
Last year Francis French posted here about not focusing so much on meeting that one Apollo astronaut, but to actually spend some time to get to know these men and women as people. I took that advice to heart, and tried to do just that this year.
I am so pleased it worked out for you. I had a similar experience this year. Having met a number of notable people over the years (not astronauts in particular) I have learned to not have my expectations too high. Often famous names don't live up to the hype.

So it was with no pre-expectations that I started talking with three people I had never met before - Rick Hauck, John Blaha and Eileen Collins. To my delight, each turned out to be incredibly friendly, eager to listen and share stories - just wonderful. If you ever have the chance to hear John Blaha describe his Mir experiences first-hand, take it. It's just as engaging or dramatic as anything you'll hear about the Mercury-Apollo era.

Skyguy48
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Posts: 78
From: Scotland
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-11-2011 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyguy48   Click Here to Email Skyguy48     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got home couple of hours ago, stayed on a few days after the best few days of my entire life. Nicole booked me in at the show for next year...

Apollo guys were very approachable indeed, it was the most awesome of experiences to be there with all these space explorers. I was like a wee giggly lassie meeting Brad Pitt time and time again. Disappointed Buzz didn't make it, hope he gets well soon.

BIG thanks to Linn, Nicole and the backroom guys for making my dreams come true.

AJ
Member

Posts: 509
From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 11-11-2011 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
I had a similar experience this year. Having met a number of notable people over the years (not astronauts in particular) I have learned to not have my expectations too high. Often famous names don't live up to the hype.

This happened to me this year, both good and bad. One astronaut I met left a pretty bad impression on me (but I won't say who) while another, Charlie Duke, was everything I thought and more. He was incredibly kind, funny and sincere. He even thanked us for coming and supporting the ASF. It's true, you really do have to think of them as people, just like the rest of us. Overall, I had a wonderful time, reunited with friends, met some great new people, and will gladly go again!

alanh_7
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Posts: 889
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-11-2011 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first time I went to the ASF in 2008 I was sort of star struck. I had a great experience with the astronauts, but there was one astronaut (who I won't name) who left a bad impression.

I went to the two 2009 and 2010 shows and that same astronaut was excellent at both shows, in particular the 2010 show.

I guess astronauts have bad days too.

Dave Clow
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Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-12-2011 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's worth remembering that being famous in America in our time is a burden many people wouldn't want to bear.

Coming from Los Angeles as I do, I'm surrounded by people who'd climb over their grandmothers for ten minutes of camera time on a reality show. You can manufacture celebrity here regardless of merit, as this year's Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes will prove once again. Headshots of thousands of wannabes, given by the actors, are on display in every dry cleaner and Kinko's, in hopes that someone will notice.

None of the people behind those signing tables at ASF intended to become celebrities when they joined the military or applied to be astronauts. Given the risks, the odds were better they'd end up dying in the line of duty than that they'd be signing autographs.

For some of them it seems they'd prefer anonymity, and with good reason. They appreciate the admirers who understand their work and achievements, but the fans who just get crazy over "astronauts" have to be a little tough to tolerate. The story Mike Mullane tells in "Riding Rockets" comes to mind--after he and Hoot Gibson had both left NASA, Mullane found himself as one more passenger on a Southwest flight that Gibson was piloting. Gibson got on the PA and in his This-is-Your-Captain-Speaking voice announced that they were honored to have a REAL ASTRONAUT aboard, and then gave Mullane's seat number. Mike spent the trip signing for people who didn't have the faintest idea who he was. That's fame for you.

I admire the enthusiasts among us who can respect the astronauts and ground support people without obsequiousness or overbearing hero-worship.

MikeSpace
unregistered
posted 11-15-2011 05:47 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got a nice email from a gentleman who was late to the Alan Bean lecture, meaning late to the Alan Bean photo op.

I saw him speaking to Al after the talk, of course Al would take his picture, but the only camera around was not the highest quality, I had my Canon DSLR, and got a really great shot of him and Mr. Bean.

We them brainstormed and I got the image on a CF card for him and we gave him directions to the CVS/Walgreens down the street to get the photo developed/enlarged.

The next day I am shown the photo, enlarged, ready to be signed, he was really happy, and that made my trip, which had to be cut short.

I have to make myself slow down, as other have said, and forget about the room of celebs, and just enjoy the astronuats as people.

A rule I found out is pretty much 100% true. If you start talking to *any* astronaut, whether you know then or not, within 10 minutes they will have your jaw on the ground with a story that you never heard and can't believe happened without you knowing about.

Skyguy48
Member

Posts: 78
From: Scotland
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-16-2011 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyguy48   Click Here to Email Skyguy48     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MikeSpace:
Got a nice email from a gentleman who was late to the Alan Bean lecture, meaning late to the Alan Bean photo op.
Yep and that guy was me, and "that Photo" is framed, tamed, and hanging on my room wall. Will be forever grateful to big Mike for making it happen. Hope to see you next year Mike... I owe you lunch.

Skyguy48
Member

Posts: 78
From: Scotland
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 11-17-2011 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyguy48   Click Here to Email Skyguy48     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dave Clow:
I admire the enthusiasts among us who can respect the astronauts and ground support people without obsequiousness or overbearing hero-worship.
Well said Dave.

AJ
Member

Posts: 509
From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 11-17-2011 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I hope you're not implying that those of us who have had issues are obsequious or suffer from extensive hero-worship. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to defend my previous comment.

No one is perfect, whether they're an astronaut, bus driver, or President. I don't expect perfection or to become best friends with an astronaut I meet. All I want is to shake hands, say hello and maybe get a photo to remember a special moment.

The astronaut I was unimpressed with struck me as rude and disinterested in dealing with attendees. Maybe, as Alan H said, he was having a bad day. Maybe he's tired of being at these shows. I don't know. I simply think it's a shame he couldn't muster up a little bit of politeness. Moreover, this isn't an instance of approaching someone on the street or in the airport and invading their privacy.

I think most people around here, if not all, have a very healthy dose of respect for all astronauts, regardless of personal issues. I still admire this astronaut for his achievements and always will.

Dave Clow
Member

Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-18-2011 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AJ:
Well, I hope you're not implying that those of us who have had issues are obsequious or suffer from extensive hero-worship. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to defend my previous comment.
Nothing like that was implied. I mean to say only that fame has to be burdensome at times, and there would be moments for anyone when it's especially heavy. We'd be mistaken to judge then solely on their lesser days, just as we'd be to think they're all gods and supermen because of their great days.

xlsteve
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Posts: 368
From: Holbrook MA, USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 11-18-2011 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to invalidate your experience AJ, because you were there and know what happened. But I think that since these people are heroes to us, we tend to take things more personally or read into things more than we would under ordinary circumstances. But bottom line there are people we 'click' with and people we don't and astronauts are no different.

Also, this thread should win the award for the most occurrences of the word 'obsequious.'

AJ
Member

Posts: 509
From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 11-18-2011 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
But bottom line there are people we 'click' with and people we don't and astronauts are no different.

I TOTALLY agree and that was kind of my point. they're not demi-gods, they're people. A lot of people go into these situations expecting too much. My own experience was that one person, out of a great many, wasn't all that polite. I mentioned it not to complain or denigrate him, but to reinforce the point that they're people too and we need to see them that way. I could meet this person again and he'd be a delight. That's life, right?

In other news, I've been enjoying the photos of the event and it's fun to pick out people I met or know. It looks like the Cape tour was fantastic!

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-20-2011 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
Photos will be coming.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-20-2011 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-20-2011 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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