Friday, November 15, 2013

Amazing Astronaut Weekend.

If you have not heard of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation it an amazing organazation started by the Mercury 7 astronauts.  They have an annual event to raise money every Nov there's an autograph show, lectures, dinners and other events where you get to hang out with astronauts.  These guys are my heros and the idea of getting to drink and talk with them is amazing!

I just got back from the latest event and saw the new Space Shuttle Atlantis on display.
You get to be unbelevebly close to it.

The Gemini 9 capsule was the other thing I really wanted to see.  I've always been facinated with the Gemini program and all the things they acomplished to make Apollo possible.

Love the controls!

Later that night at the big fancy dinner we were treated to Eugene Cernan, Richard Gordon and flight nurse Dee O' Hara share their stories about the Gemini program.

Some guy stood up right when I took the picture and blocked Gene Cernan.  I wanted to get autographs  of Cernan and Tom Staford the crew Gemini 9 it turned out Titan rocket models in the middle of the table were signed by both of them and for sale!  SOLD!  I had to get it.

Our table was hosted by Space Shuttle pilot Greg Johnson.

Then I got to meet Gene Cernan Gemini 9 and last man on the moon!

 And Richard Gordon, Gemini 11 and Apollo 12.

Earlier that day we took a tour of the cape and went to the original launch site of the Freedom 7 capsule back in May of 61.  This is the flight that was close to what the Virgin Galactic flight will be.  Wow how far we have come.   There hasn't been any new training or experiences to report I know that NBC announced they will be covering Richard Branson's first flight with his two kids next year.  I can't wait to see that!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth is my latest favorite book. Written by Col Chris Hadfield it his journey from when his was a boy in Canada watching the moon landing to becoming an astronaut and all of the work and dedication in between.

In the book he refers to people like me who are going on paid space tourism flights as "Space flight participants"  as opposed to full fledged astronauts.  The definition of an astronaut used to be a person trained to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member on a spacecraft.  In 2004 a new category was created for the commercial space traveler by the FAI ( Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ) the world governing body who decides what the criteria is for going into space.  The FAI code recognizes any flights that exceed an altitude of 100 Kilometers or 62 Miles the participants are awarded astronaut wings.  So technically I will be an astronaut when I do go, but I could never with a straight face say that when compared to people the go through years of training and a lifetime of dedication to achieve that goal. 

That said just the chance to taste a little bit of what these men got to experience would be amazing.
Last November my friend Don Asher and I participated in the Astronaut Scholar Ship Foundations annual fund raising dinner.  One of the memorable moments was the photo with 10 Apollo Astronauts, 6 of them moon walkers.  Top row L to R: James McDivitt, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke, Edgar Mitchell, Richard Gordon. Bottom row L to R Buzz Aldrin, Tom Stafford, Eugene Cernan, Don Asher,  Me, Alan Bean and Fred Haise.  An amazing group to be standing in the middle of.

I would just feel too self conscience and like a poser to go around saying I'm an astronaut.  So maybe I'll just go with a simpler idea of just experiencing the dream flying into space, just for a moment.