Posted by BC on August 25th, 2009
The anniversary of the maiden voyage of Shuttle Discovery was celebrated on Aug 22 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Museum. The celebration started off on the evening of the 21st with an observing session at a ball park. Over 800 people turned out for observing, music, games, and food. Over 20 telescopes of all sizes were set up around the outfield of the ball diamond through which people observed objects in the night sky.
The next morning Kansas Ad Astra Initiative hosted Galaxy Forum, to discuss space exploration on a galactic scale. Several speakers presented materials on research and education. A panel discussion followed.
In the afternoon, a special treat for everyone there topped it all. Three of the original crew from the maiden voyage of the Space Shuttle Discovery made an appearance in a large classroom. The room was filled with an excited audience to see and hear Commander Henry Hartsfield, Jr., Payload Specialist Charles Walker, and Scientist Steve Hawley. The three gave anecdotes about their voyage. They also answered questions from people in the audience and shared some of their favorite times on their voyages, especially some of the more humorous times.
Following the astronaut discussion, an autograph signing finished up the celebration. The three astronauts met people in the lobby area of the Cosmosphere and signed photographs and other items that people bought in the Cosmosphere gift shop.
The celebration was an excellent experience brought about by three of the astronauts who flew the maiden voyage of Shuttle Discovery. Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to lift off again in the early hours of Aug 25 of this year. Harstfield, Wakefield, and Hawley will not be on board in physical form, but I am sure that they will be on board in spirit.