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  Astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra (1923-2007) (Page 6)

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Author Topic:   Astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra (1923-2007)
747flyer
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posted 05-07-2007 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 747flyer   Click Here to Email 747flyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

RichGodwin
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posted 05-07-2007 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichGodwin   Click Here to Email RichGodwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't want this moment to pass without acknowledging Wally's contribution to my company and the livelihood of myself and my family. When I was starting up Apogee Books the idea of starting a "space book" company was a pretty tough proposition. I was an outsider with absolutely no contacts whatsoever within the space community, history or otherwise. I thought that I might be able to bring something moderately different to the table, and from the position of a layman, perhaps I might be able to parse some of the complexities of space flight to the general public. This decision was precipitated by a direct request to me from Buzz Aldrin to "do a book" to honor his Apollo 8 buddies. Buzz made that request to me at a dinner in Los Angeles to honor the crew of Apollo 7. As it turned out, Wally couldn't get there that night. So all the attention was showered on Walt Cunningham.

Once Apogee had managed to get two or three space books under our belts, some of the history and space community started to notice (and even appreciate) what we were doing, but it would not be until seven months after our first space book that I found myself running into Wally at the Cape. I asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview for a book on Sigma 7 to which he immediately replied, "How much did Buzz charge you?" I replied, "nothing." With a smirk right across his face he said, "Then I guess I'd better do it for free too." Those were his first words to me -- a total stranger -- leaning over the ropes to shake hands with him. A joke...

He was as good as his word, and then some. We spent the day together later that year at Wallyworld (San Diego Air & Space Museum) and from that day on Wally worked freely and tirelessly to help us. He went on to do books on Gemini 6 and Apollo 7 with us, before he joined forces with Ed Buckbee just over a year ago to co-author "The Real Space Cowboys". Wally spent much of the last two years of his life running around the country with Ed, signing books and putting smiles on faces. We spent a hilarious day on the Apogee booth last year with Wally and Ed in New Jersey that I will never forget. The conversation revolved around whether all in attendance were "turtles" and at least one person lost a bottle of wine to Wally for not responding correctly.

I'm not a qualified historian, scientist or engineer, just a book publisher. But Wally Schirra made me feel welcome to the space community in a way that gave me the courage to continue with Apogee. He was a hero, a comedian, and a gentleman and I will always be eternally grateful that I crossed paths with him. We at Apogee will miss him enormously.

divemaster
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posted 05-07-2007 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walt has just put up a few words on his web site regarding the loss of Wally.

SpaceHillbilly
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posted 05-07-2007 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceHillbilly   Click Here to Email SpaceHillbilly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm really really sad that Wally has passed. I'm lucky that I once had the opportunity to thank him for being my hero and being instrumental in getting me from where I came from to where I am today. He shook my hand and said "Thank you for telling me that." Wally Schirra: The greatest spacecraft pilot that ever lived!!!!

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posted 05-07-2007 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacetim   Click Here to Email Spacetim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the opportunity to go helicopter flying with Wally a few years back. A friend who owned a Bell Longranger and was friends with Wally offered to let me go with them. He flew Wally down to Newport Jet at John Wayne airport (SNA) in Orange County Ca to pick me up and Wally was standing next to the helicopter with a hat on, I noticed Wally had a long grey ponytail I thought thats kind of odd ! when we got in the helicopter he took off his hat to which the ponytail was attached! what a riot. I had of course read about how he loved Gotcha's and he GOT me. Well after our flight my friend Wally & myself went to have lunch with Wally at Hustons in Irvine and I was able to buy Wally Schirra lunch. What a great time I had with a wonderful man who was a space pioneer. Godspeed Wally say I am sure your going faster & higher now!

mdmyer
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posted 05-07-2007 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Miranda seemed unusually quite Saturday afternoon. We had a busy day delivering a telescope that I was loaning a local club member to take to the Texas Star Party. Then we went out for lunch and shopping. I could tell something was bothering her and she started tearing up and she said she missed Wally. Sunday afternoon we found a turtle in our yard. That is not real rare but it has been years seen we found one. Before we took it to a near-by pond she had named it Wally. Later that day she asked if we could buy a stuffed turtle and take it with us to the show at the Cape. She did some internet shopping and found a sea turtle she wanted. I think a sea turtle is OK because Wally was in the Navy. We have one on order and she is thinking about making a Hawaiian shirt for this stuffed turtle. Don't be too suprised if you see stuffed sea turtle wearing a Hawaiian shirt at the Cape show.

Wally touched people young and old.

Mark Zimmer
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posted 05-07-2007 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Zimmer   Click Here to Email Mark Zimmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wha---I don't come to collectSPACE for a week and suddenly I find out Wally Schirra died? I'm really glad I got to meet him in San Antonio last year.

Philip
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posted 05-08-2007 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just read in Dwayne Day's article on 'The Blue Gemini Blues' about USAF involvement in manned spaceflight, that W Schirra was left-handed...

mjanovec
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posted 05-08-2007 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also didn't realize he was left-handed until I recently saw a photo of him signing something.

I have found this thread which discusses some of the lefty astronauts.

divemaster
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posted 05-08-2007 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I said, I did an interview with Mark Larson of KOGO in San Diego on May 4th. The interview is now linked near the bottom of this page.

I even gave us cS'rs a plug.

My 7 minutes of fame. I'm glad it was discussing Wally.

dss65
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posted 05-09-2007 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry for a second posting in this thread, but I had a few more things to say...

I'm glad I got a chance to meet Wally and to talk with him, and for those of you who are on the fence about attending one of the events where these guys are attending--don't wait!

I'm glad I got my Turtle card that was signed by him--not because of any added dollar value (which I couldn't care less about)--but because it will be treasured for the rest of my life.

I sent around a little email tribute to Wally at work today, with a photo of him and me at the Burbank show and a few comments. The passing of these guys is a huge loss to the world that is not being recognized as much as it should (except in forums like this one). I think we should strive to make it as personal as possible.

I'm glad I have this forum to share these thoughts. Thanks for being there, everybody.

Ad Astra!

divemaster
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posted 05-12-2007 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An inadvertent Gotcha from the Air Force.

Page 9 of this PDF.

Notice the name of Wally's Mercury flight.

He'd roar over this one!

Scott
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posted 05-12-2007 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by divemaster:
Notice the name of Wally's Mercury flight.
Too funny!

TrueNorth
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posted 05-12-2007 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Godspeed, lefty.

Meeting Wally Schirra is one of the great moments of my life. He was great with my son Mark and me. A great loss.

Anyone remember the WKRP episode where Carlson's maid thinks her mind is being controlled by Wally Schirra? I always meant to ask him about that. Leave it to Wally.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 05-12-2007 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stigma? Isn't that an eye injury?

Plus you gotta love the fact that they published the obit with an article on all you need to know of bankruptcy.

divemaster
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posted 05-12-2007 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eye disease and bankruptcy would be considered as filing Stygma 7

tncmaxq
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posted 05-13-2007 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tncmaxq   Click Here to Email tncmaxq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That error reminded me of the article about the Columbia accident in the campus newspaper at the university where I work. It said something like three tragedies have occurred in the US space program, all with anniversaries in late January or early February. The student writing the article got some Apollo flights mixed up. The article said the Apollo 1 crew, consisting of Walter Schirra, Walter Cunningham, and Don Eisele were killed in 1967. I called the paper to tell them Schirra and Cunningham were very much alive at that time, and the next week they printed a correction.

I wish I had thought to bring a copy of that article to the autograph show the following May when I met Wally for the first time. Maybe he would have gotten a laugh out of it.

Scott
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posted 05-13-2007 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tncmaxq:
The article said the Apollo 1 crew, consisting of Walter Schirra, Walter Cunningham, and Don Eisele were killed in 1967. I called the paper to tell them Schirra and Cunningham were very much alive at that time, and the next week they printed a correction.

I wish I had thought to bring a copy of that article to the autograph show the following May when I met Wally for the first time. Maybe he would have gotten a laugh out of it.


I bet he would indeed have loved that - if an incident I witnessed involving Alan Bean is any indication. Several years ago, there was an eBay ad for an Alan Bean signed WSS litho photo which mistakenly referred to Bean as "deceased astronaut Alan Bean". A friend of mine had the presence of mind to print it out and take the page to Bean at a show the following week. Bean thought it was hilarious and when he signed it, he paraphrased Hamlet, writing, "Alas, poor Alan, I knew him well. He was a super guy..." or words to that effect. As this was happening, Bean and Gordon were laughing and Bean's wife Leslie was humorously shaking her head slowly and pointing at Alan as if to say, "This guy..." My friend next gave it to Richard Gordon, who wrote (underneath Bean's writing), "Pete and I knew better. Dick Gordon."

Glint
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posted 05-13-2007 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tncmaxq:
Have any funeral or memorial arrangements been announced? I wondered if perhaps he was to be buried at Arlington Cemetery. I would consider going, if there were a public ceremony.

Has there been any announcements made regarding Wally's final resting place?

On edit, I found the following link after posting the question above.

divemaster
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posted 05-13-2007 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Has there been any announcements made regarding Wally's final resting place?

On edit, I found the following link after posting the question above.


Please make special note of the words PRIVATE and NO MEDIA in that article. I know the family would be mighty ticked if uninvited people show up and those uninvited people are armed with sharpie's and cameras.

It's a funeral. Autograph seeking would be mighty tacky and disrespectful.

And, to answer the question, Wally's ashes will be scattered at sea.

TRS
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posted 05-14-2007 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to do something to mark Wally's passing.

Knowing now that there will be a private family service on the 21st, I'm going to take a minute at 12.15 UTC that day to do that. I'd invite cS members who want to to join me to take that minute as well. I think there is something special about knowing that you are sharing the same moment in time with others who are sharing similar feelings regardless of where you may be in the world.

KSCartist
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posted 05-14-2007 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's the least we can do. I'm with you.

Whizzospace
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posted 05-14-2007 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It has really been wonderful in the week since we lost Wally, to read all these memories and tributes. I can't believe those of us who were fortunate to finally meet him only last summer, had to say goodbye so soon.

I thought I was the only one who remembered the WKRP reference. The guys at work figured I was merging my 60s and 70s TV flashbacks!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-14-2007 08:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Donations can be made in Wally's name to:

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation
6225 Vectorspace Blvd
Titusville, Fl 32780
(321) 269-6119

San Diego Air & Space Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 234-8291

The Society of Experimental Test Pilots' Scholarship Foundation
P. O. Box 986
Lancaster, CA 93584-0986
(661) 942-9574

MCroft04
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posted 05-15-2007 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A favorite story that I shared will Wally at the San Antonio UACC. A high school physics teacher friend of mine used to dress up as famous people in period to better teach the subject at hand. On one occasion when teaching propulsion, he donned a flight suit and dubbed himself Major Captain Wally Hurrah, took his clsss to the gym where he proceeded to propel himslef across the floor sitting on a dolly fuelled by fire extinguishers. The students loved the show; I have a newspaper clipping if anyone is interested. Wally appreciated the story. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that just about everyone knew who Wally was. I am honored to have met the man!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-16-2007 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wally Schirra was one of those Americans who helped move our species forward by cheating death -- in jets, in capsules sitting atop the controlled explosions called rockets, in spacecraft sailing across the void of space. He will always be remembered, but now that death has collected that bet, let's celebrate him one more time and wish God's Speed to Wally Schirra.

Tom Hanks
via the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

divemaster
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posted 05-16-2007 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took the liberty of putting links on his home page to the three charities listed above at wallyschirra.com so you can make your donation online, too, as well as reading about all three charities.

divemaster
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posted 05-17-2007 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walt Cunningham has put up a very nice eulogy to Wally on his web site.

Glint
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posted 05-17-2007 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by divemaster:
Walt Cunningham has put up a very nice eulogy to Wally on his web site.

At last night's NASM lecture Bill Anders mentioned that he would be speaking at Wally's memorial service, referenced above in this thread.

IvanSafronov
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posted 05-21-2007 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for IvanSafronov   Click Here to Email IvanSafronov     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

divemaster
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posted 05-21-2007 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's also available on Wally's web site under "Skyray - The Movie" in flash format

I'm assuming that you have reprint permission.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-21-2007 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press: Family and fellow astronauts gather to remember Wally Schirra
Three former astronauts remembered colleague Walter "Wally" Schirra as a top-notch aviator, national hero and inveterate prankster Monday at a memorial service at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

"Wally, I thank you for what you have done for me," said former Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. "And I thank you for what you have done for the nation and the science of space flight."

Schirra, who died May 3 in San Diego at 84, was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and the fifth American in space. More than 200 friends, family members and former colleagues attended the private service, held overlooking San Diego harbor under overcast skies.

FFrench
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posted 05-22-2007 12:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While there were some (uninvited) media at one of the two services today, I think it would still be inappropriate to report on today's very moving and special, private memorials. But after the second event had finished, we decided to take one special photo to share here, and show also that today, while deeply sad, was also a joyful celebration of life.

So - please join Dee O'Hara and Scott Carpenter in raising a glass in tribute to Wally Schirra...

divemaster
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posted 05-22-2007 12:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was one of the privileged few who was invited to the private ceremony. I will say only this - it was an honor to be there and be part of something that one rarely sees in person. It was spectacular. Echo taps and a flyover just brings tears to my eyes.

The reception was a celebration of Wally's life. While sad, it was also happy with gotcha stories and lots of love being expressed. It was a very touching day.

Back to the east coast in the morning. This will be a day that I'll never forget.

MarylandSpace
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posted 05-22-2007 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of my senior high school students brought in a small painted turtle for me last week. I tried him in my aquarium at school. Too frisky. So, I brought him home for my cascading pond (the kind you see at Lowe's or Home Depot).

My Wally is happy landing in the larger ocean.

Y.B.Y.S.A.I.A.

Glint
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posted 05-22-2007 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
So - please join Dee O'Hara and Scott Carpenter in raising a glass in tribute to Wally Schirra...
Nice image. Is there anything symbolic in that the glasses both seem to be empty?

divemaster
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posted 05-22-2007 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, we all know what a boozer Dee can be. She probably knocked off both glasses.

divemaster
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posted 05-24-2007 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even though the media wasn't supposed to be there, here's a clip from San Diego TV news.

After viewing the video, multiply your emotions by 1000, and you'll know how it actually all felt.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 05-24-2007 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sending for all of you what may be one of the last pictures taken of Wally.


It was taken two weeks before his passing by Boeing engineer Stan Barauskas at the 'Bald Eagles' reunion luncheon held by and for the North American retirees, at the Proud Bird restraunt near Los Angeles Airport, a couple of hundred feet from where the old headquarters of N.A.A. was in the 1960's.

This was where the P-51's, F-86 and the F-100's were built and where the astronauts flew in with their T-38's before going to Downey to work with their spacecraft. Wally 'crashed' the luncheon to say hello to all his old friends that built his Spacecraft 101/ Apollo 7.

Stan took the photo, and 20 minutes later presented Wally with the large print for him to sign- Wally was amazed!

Stan and the Aerospace Legacy Foundation wanted to share this with all of you.

FFrench
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posted 05-26-2007 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doing some research on another project today, I came across an interview with Wally by Nancy Conrad in "One Giant Leap For Mankind," the magazine published to celebrate Apollo 11's 25th anniversary. Asked to provide his own epitaph, Schirra replied:

"He has left three times and found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth."


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