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  CCAFS LC-34: Apollo 1 "Ad Astra" plaque

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Author Topic:   CCAFS LC-34: Apollo 1 "Ad Astra" plaque
Rick Boos
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From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
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posted 05-17-2007 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was notified last week that the Apollo 1 memorial plaque that I placed years ago in honor the the Apollo 1 crew on the leg of the launch pedestal at launch complex 34 had been stolen.

Just a note to advise all members on collectSPACE that I have shipped a replica plaque to Florida, and that it will be mounted in the same location on said pad on the 24th of this month.

I think it is pretty sad that collecting space related artifacts resorts to this type of thing! I guess it didn't help matters that that plaque was shown in the movie Armageddon.

randy
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From: West Jordan, Utah USA
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posted 05-17-2007 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sorry to hear that. Some people have no conscience at all. Great work on the plaque!

Ben
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From: Daytona Beach, FL
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posted 05-17-2007 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's terrible. How does that happen? If it was a tourist, he would have to wait until the group is heading back to the bus. It's not easy to hide there. Otherwise I would suspect a base employee.

divemaster
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From: ridgefield, ct
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posted 05-17-2007 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So you're the one who put that there. The last time I was out to Pad 34, the guide said that he thought that Bruce Willis put it there.

What some people stoop to for a souvenir.

Rick Boos
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From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
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posted 05-17-2007 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yea, I'm the one that put it out there. Scott Grissom was present at the time. I believe it was in 1996. For years no one knew who did it per my request. Then Lowell Grissom asked my friend and word got out. By the way, Lowell Grissom (Gus's brother) has one now hanging on his office wall that I had made up for him. At least it will be replaced next week and this one will not be weathered!

dss65
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From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
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posted 05-17-2007 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like uncounted others, I too appreciated this plaque. It's great that it will be replaced, but what scum it would take to steal such a thing.

SpaceCat
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From: Florida, US
Registered: May 2006

posted 05-17-2007 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is triply disheartening – that it was stolen, that someone would steal it, that someone could steal it.

I was a young college kid in 1967, but 30 years later, in 1997, I worked in the Launch Support Operations Building of Complex 34 as a contractor helping to assemble the Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station. Often on dinner breaks around sunset, I would walk up to the pedestal, look at the plaques and spend a few moments alone with the sounds of surf and wind. I was very aware that I was walking in the footprints of giants, the same feelings I experienced as a youngster strolling the battlefields of Gettysburg.

Thanks to Rick, and thanks to all of us who remember the men who worked there, and the three who perished on "34."

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
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posted 05-18-2007 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick, as a volunteer with the Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation I'd like to thank you for your generosity - again.

It's a sad state of affairs when someone stoops so low as to steal a plaque off of a pedestal that we all hold so dear.

Sooner or later the thief is going to try to sell it on eBay or will tell someone that they have it. I hope that the word eventually reaches us so we can introduce them to the justice system.

I'll email Kate this weekend so she is aware of this and maybe something can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 05-18-2007 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tim, I remember security bars being fitted at a place I worked years ago. They used small expansion bolts that had an epoxy resin squirted into the holes before inserting the bolts.

I was told the resin would "set like concrete" and that "you will never get those out again".

You might want to use this method on the new plaque... Just an idea!

mjanovec
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posted 05-18-2007 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't imagine what joy this stolen plaque would give to any collector. The irony is that such a person dishonors the fallen astronauts by stealing a plaque that was meant to honor them. As this was the place they they died, I think of the theft as being no better than grave robbery.

If the thief is reading this, I hope you enjoy your loot knowing that you'll never have the honor and dignity that these astronauts had. Let the plaque be a daily reminder of that to you.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 05-18-2007 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This reminds me of something Charlie Duke once said. When asked if he had kept a moon rock he stated he hadn't and drew an analogy with stealing the Mona Lisa. "Who can you show it to?"

Rob Joyner
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From: GA, USA
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posted 05-18-2007 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is just appalling. I agree with Mark in that this is akin to robbing a tombstone from a grave.

I took the Cape Canaveral tour back in January of '03. If it's the same today then there is only one tour per day. My tour had only about 20 people.

I'm wondering if the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex might have a record of who went on the tour the day they think the plaque was stolen through credit card receipts, assuming it was a tourist and not an employee who stole it. Since most transactions are done with credit cards these days, especially at tourist attractions, they may be able to narrow down the field a bit as to who was there that particular day.

If nothing else, these people could maybe be contacted somehow and asked if they saw anything out of the ordinary going on while at the pad. Who knows? If the culprit actually got a phone call from the Visitor Complex or other authorities the plaque might mysteriously be sent back to Kennedy Space Center.

tegwilym
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From: Renton, WA USA
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posted 05-18-2007 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think I would put the thief in the same category and call him/her a "collector".

That's just sad.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 05-18-2007 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by tegwilym:
I don't think I would put the thief in the same category and call him/her a "collector".

Well, thieves are just collectors of things that don't belong to them. (I would never suggest they are honorable collectors, however.)

lowspeedlowdrag
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posted 05-13-2008 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lowspeedlowdrag   Click Here to Email lowspeedlowdrag     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is my first post here, though I've been a reader for quite some time. A couple of weeks ago I got married, and my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Cocoa Beach (the La Quinta) with four consecutive days at Kennedy Space CEnter and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. The fact that she was totally on board with the idea makes me think I have pretty good taste in women. So thanks to everyone here whose posts made planning and logistics a piece of cake.

My question is: Does anyone know what happened to the "Ad Astra per Aspera" plaque at LC 34? I remember reading somewhere that it had been stolen, then replaced. Was this not the case?

At any rate, what an amazing experience, I'd recommend a several-day visit to anyone.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Rick Boos
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From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
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posted 05-13-2008 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The plaque was stolen but has since been replaced by myself.

lowspeedlowdrag
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posted 05-14-2008 01:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lowspeedlowdrag   Click Here to Email lowspeedlowdrag     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the redirect to this thread admin, I missed it, as I must have missed the plaque. I guess I was under the impression that it is on the same leg as the other plaque. Looks like I need to make another trip.

blacklion1
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posted 05-14-2008 07:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blacklion1   Click Here to Email blacklion1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Their are actually two plaques at the Apollo 1 site. The one placed there by our esteemed member and the one placed there by Bruce Willis after the filming of the movie.

robsouth
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From: West Midlands, UK
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posted 05-14-2008 07:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who would do such a thing? What would you do with it?

I hope that whoever has it is reminded just what a terrible person they are every time they look at it.

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

posted 05-14-2008 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, there are two plaques on Pad 34. Mark Pinchell (not sure of spelling of his last name) placed the large bronze one there in the 80's, and I placed the small black and silver Ad Astra Per Astra plaque there in the mid 90's (See above photo). To my knowledge Bruce Willis never placed a plaque on the pad. If he did there would be three of them out there. My original plaque was stolen and was replaced by myself last year, see above post.

Joe Holloway
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posted 05-15-2008 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As someone who grew up regarding L/C-34 as hallowed ground, I am in utter disbelief at this development.

I hope either the USAF, FBI or Florida law enforcement get some leads and "put it to" the low-life thief.

thracer
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posted 11-20-2011 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thracer   Click Here to Email thracer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am resurrecting this topic because at the recent Astronaut Autograph and Memorabilia Show show, we did the Cape Then and Now tour. We went to Pad 34, and our guide told us that the plaque originally appeared a number of years ago, and no one knew where it came from.

However, because of the "Abandon In Place" policy, which he said meant that the pad was not supposed to be altered in any way, that Kennedy Space Center management actually removed it. He said that subsequently they were told that Bruce Willis put it there originally, so they allowed it to be replaced.

Obviously this doesn't agree with the prior posts here, but maybe it explains the original disappearance - that it was not stolen, but intentionally removed by Kennedy Space Center, and then when the replacement was made, it was allowed to remain. I think it's pretty interesting!

alanh_7
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posted 11-20-2011 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is another plaque there as well. It reads:
Launch Complex 34
Friday 27 January 1967 1837 Hours
Dedicated to the Living Memory of the Apollo 1 Crew
And then lists the crew names and has a benediction to their memory.

p51
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posted 11-20-2011 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Bruce Willis put it there," makes for a far better story than a fan doing so, sadly. I too never knew who put that there, I'd always assumed it was someone at NASA who placed it there.

I couldn't get to the tour that goes to that pad when I was at KSC last time (or on any of the other times I was there), but I always thought it was great there was a plaque.

I too would hate to think that a NASA employee took it, though...

Greggy_D
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posted 11-20-2011 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
"Bruce Willis put it there,"

I heard the exact same from our guide when I took the tour on November 4th.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-20-2011 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my knowledge there are two plaques there. The plaque you guys are talking about – Ad Astra per Aspera – I have heard various stories about it being placed there by Bruce Willis, amongst others.

The plaque I was talking about in an earlier email was placed at Pad 34 has been there for some time. It is bronze and dedicated to the crew.

NASA employees have taken it upon themselves to go out to Pad 34 every week without fail and clean the bronze plaque. Above the plaque, three American Flags are placed with an Apollo 1 Beta cloth mission patch.

The job of cleaning the plaque is unofficial, and the NASA employees hand the job down from senior person to senior person, and as one would expect, is considered a great honor to be selected to go out there.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-20-2011 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo of the bronze plaque, but on none of my visits to LC-34 have I seen American flags or a Beta cloth patch (Beta cloth was introduced after the Apollo 1 fire, so there were never any Apollo 1 Beta cloth patches produced).

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-20-2011 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't wish to embarrass the person who advised me of this Robert, he recently left Kennedy Space Center and handed the honor of cleaning plaque over to someone else. I am not sure if the flags are always placed there or done so from time to time. I have a photo he sent me, but as the photo is not mine to post I would not presume to do so.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 11-20-2011 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Honestly, I don't know where alot of this information is coming from...a "cleaning plaque patrol of senior NASA officials," flags and an Apollo 1 Beta patch (never was produced) placed at the site every week, and so on! During my Cape-side visits, if time permits, I often try to get over to Pad 34 in remembering the lost first manned Apollo crew that gave their all. Rarely do I see American flags or any Apollo 1 related patches underneath the launch vehicle support pedestal.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-20-2011 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What else can I say? I have a recent photo sent to me by a friend who has worked for many years at the Kennedy Space Center. The photo shows the bronze plaque with three small American flags placed above it with a Beta cloth showing the Apollo 1 mission patch.

The person who took the photo worked at KSC for many years and advised me that about a year or so ago with the layoffs, he was asked by another person who had been cleaning the plaque but was leaving, if he could clean the Apollo 1 plaque every week.

It is not done in any official capacity. The person is not a senior official. He has worked at KSC for many years. It is a group NASA employees taking it upon themselves to look after the plaque.

This person in turn has also left Florida for another position within the program and has since handed the duty over to someone else.

This was related to me directly not secondhand and is not something I would make up.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-21-2011 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just wanted to clarify something I said in previous posts. The photo I have shows an Apollo 1 mission patch with three small flags above the plaque. The person that told me about cleaning the plaque did not say it was a beta cloth. I know nothing about beta cloth patches and assumed it was a beta cloth as it looked like such to me. Robert and I discussed this off line and as Robert knows much more than I on beta cloth patches I accept his word on that.

My point was that NASA employees have taken it upon themselves to look after the Apollo 1 plaque at Pad 34. If I made errors in conveying the story my apologies. NASA employees are a dedicated group and have taken it upon them selves to make sure this shrine is looked after. That was my point.

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
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posted 11-21-2011 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Point well taken, however, while many space workers pay their respects in different ways at Pad 34 to the original first Apollo crew, your wording was a bit misleading to me.

For instance, not all the workers are NASA, and a remark such as, "NASA employees hand the job down from senior person to senior person..." isn't authorized by the space agency at all.

Perhaps I was jumping the gun a bit, but honestly, no harm was meant and certainly not at you, personally. But I must say, though, I have heard some crazy stories throughout the decades about the memorial plaques, their origins, visitors there, and so on.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
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posted 11-21-2011 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No worries. I guess my wording was misleading. When I said NASA employees I meant it was the employees themselves who care enough to have taken it upon themselves to ensure the plaque placed there did not fall into disrepair.

xlsteve
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From: Holbrook MA, USA
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posted 11-21-2011 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Below is a picture from the ASF tour showing some flags. It was taken on 11/4/11.

Ironman One
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posted 12-08-2011 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ironman One   Click Here to Email Ironman One     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just discovered this post. The flags were originally placed there by me. They were in a potted plant and I made a color copy of the Apollo 1 patch on my printer and affixed it to the side of the flower pot. I did this on Memorial Day weekend of this year 2011.

At some point later someone took the flags and patch and attached them to the plaque. I'm sure the plant died quickly in the hot sun.

All times are CT (US)

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