In the summer of 1994 I was a featured speaker at an international conference in Orlando Florida and a friend, a senior member of the Lockheed Corporation's staff, casually asked if we (my wife and daughter, and I) would like to see Cape Canaveral. It was at the time when the woodpeckers were attacking the foam on the shuttle and Lockheed provided the staff to scare them off using air horns. (think what their resumes must have said for that job!).
We actually got the Cape Director's Tour, a private van with senior driver, who said, "where do you want to go?" Our then teenage daughter asked to visit the employee store, which we did. My wife, who abhors heights, wanted to see the shuttle Discovery on the launch pad, so we drove to the pad, took the astronaut elevator, went to the top, saw the woodpecker watchers. I am sure the guide still has memories of her grabbing his shoulders tightly as we stepped onto the open gantry We also went in the STS cargo bay (but not the cockpit), a clean room that needed to be cleaned after we left, and even pulled in front of the Creepy Crawler, the huge, slow moving tractor, so that the guide could scoop up some "little rocks" the substance on which it lumbered along.
A great day and I finally found these non-digital snaps.
Notice the round balloons near the top of the shuttle in two of these photos? Those were the scary faces that the woodpeckers were supposed to be frightened off by but instead drew them like magnets to the Shuttle's lovely foamy coating.
I am at the FF in Titusville this week-end and will have an up to date report soon on KSC. The Lockheed PR Director Dr. John Williams (Wife Amelia) are friends of mine, did you recall meeting him? He is a great Georgia fan and a funny guy. The President of Lockheed, Jerry O. might have been someone else who you may have met. Great group of people at Lockheed. Here is a picture of Dr. Williams, Public Relations Director for Lockheed, Dr. Truman Henard, Astronuat Candidate, me, and Sue Munsey, US Congressional candidate. We are waiting for the shuttle to lift off at dawn, it did and was a wonderful shot!
Great shot Jerry, I was honored to know Kelly Johnson, Ben Rich, Norm Augustine, and John McMann who led Lockheed's exemplary work at first the Skunk Works in Burbank and now in Palmdale CA. Kelly and Ben changed the world as we know it, and remained largely in the shadows, in what are called "black programs." The honor was mine as was that tour--have a great time!
No, never been to Vandenburg!
Seems to be on the right track to launch rockets, one just went off a few days ago.
Love the space program.
Can't go, but there is a great event here, right now, at KSC, "Astronaut Autograph & Memorabilia Show", www.AstronautScholarship.org
These are great times, I just hope it is not all behind us!
I am not sure, my brother, who I was with today, fueled the shuttle. He is still fueling rockets and know all the details of what's going on here.
As I leave this FF to go to Cocoa Village to have a great dinner at Cafe Margaux, where my longtime friend and owner, Alex Litras, has provided special dinners.
Will get some updated information and pictures of KSC shortly.
I hope I can get some of my night launch shots posted. Each space shot was unique. The dawn shot previously posted actually made a "Curtain" at dawn. The sun could be seen on each side of the curtain, but the "Created" by the shuttle blocked the Sun in the middle of the area. Really different.
Again hope I can get the pictures to post.
Attended the 25th anniversary of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Few from the public were actually there. Met John Glenn, whose character was great in "The Right Stuff". He was much more modest than portrayed in the movie. I think the Astronauts get together they have a special respect for each other and what they have done.
All of these people really have or had "The Right Stuff".
Most of these "Heroes" go about public life without anyone knowing who they are. They like it that way. The most private is Neil Armstrong, who even the other Astronauts respect his privacy. He is a very quiet guy and he did attend the 25th Anniversary of The Apollo Program at Astronaut Hall of Fame. I was there and that was the same night OJ was chased by the police. What a night!
My brother worked for Fred Haise (Apollo 13), had lunch with him at a Burger King, no one new who he was. When the movie was being made, the actors came to watch a launch, and it all went well. Fred commented he wanted Tom Cruise to play his part in Apollo 13. It was in jest, but the movie was great. Note, on the first picture, John Denver, with Alan Shepherd, and the painting done by Astronaut Bean, and all of the Apollo Astronauts signed. The sold prints and I was to dumb to buy one, what a mistake, to have a print signed by these Astronuats!
Jerry, my wife played golf with a friend at what was then the military and guests only Navy Golf Course here in Monterey years ago. The starter warned her not to hit into the twosome in front of her on the second hole. She asked why since she never had done that before. That's Alan Shepard, the guy who used the golf club on the moon, he told her. Needless to say she did not hit into him, and gave him plenty of room to play.
A great man and one of the many with the right stuff for sure.
I met AS, and he was a difficult man to approach, it was the RI in Cocoa Beach, actually next door. I did not realize he was an Admiral in the Navy, but he was very special. I got his autograph, and he was a very calm and quiet type of person. He was much like Clint Eastwood, who you can relate to. Many of these "Celeb's" are really very nice people who realize they are just very lucky talented people.
In 1968 I was in the local paper for witnessing a UFO (Along with 100's of others) that was flying from South to North over KSC! It was pointe out to by a Florida Highway Patrolman. KSC has always been a "No Fly Zone", I know of a number of Astronauts have witnessed UFO's. There is something up there!
By the way, the FF in Titusville is one of the nicest FF's I have ever stayed at and is very well run. That is my 4th stay there and each one has been better than the last.