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STS-1 Tenth
Soviet Space

STS-1 Tenth Anniversary Celebration at JSC

Celebrating 10 Years
Photo Credits Mine
Admission ticket for Tenth Anniversary of STS-1 Party
Admission Ticket for the STS-1 10th Anniversary Crew Return Party
The tenth anniversary of the first space shuttle mission was commemorated at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on April 15, 1991I attended this event and this my recollection of that celebration.

My girlfriend took her 9 year old son out of school so that he could attend the event with us.  Also attending were two space enthusiast friends of mine Andy Sheppard and Mark Shelton.  We drove down to Houston, Texas together.

A panel discussion was held in the Teague Auditorium in Building 2 at JSC.  Astronauts John Young and Joe Engle participated in the panel discussion.  Also there was Christopher Kraft of mission control fame during the early phases of space exploration.  After the discussion, I was able to meet Mr. Kraft and get him to sign a book Apollo Race For The Moon.
  Mark tried to get Astronaut Young to sign his lunar globe, but Young declined.

The venue of the celebration then moved to the Gilruth Recreation Center at JSC.  There were buses running to transport people from Building 2 over to the Gilruth Center.

A stage was set up outside of the building and people gathered around to listen people say a few words about the space shuttle and STS-1.  One notable person that spoke at this time was STS-1 Commander John Young.

At one point we saw our friend Mark Shelton moving very fast past and going away from the stage.  Following closely behind him and moving just as fast were two NASA security personal.  Our initial thought was my goodness what has Mark done now?  Later we found out that someone had collapsed and needed medical assistance. Mark was leading the NASA security people to the place where the person in need was.

While we were listening to the presentations, I noticed that Astronaut Dave Walker was just ahead of us.   After the speeches were over my friend Andy and I approached Mr. Walker for his autograph.  He was very nice and signed for us.

He pointed to a woman about 6 feet in front of us and said, “What you really want to do is get her autograph.”  I looked in the direction that he was pointing but I did not recognize the woman.  I told Mr. Walker, “I'm sorry, but I don't recognize her.”  He said, “That is Linda Godwin and she just got back from space.”  Astronaut Godwin flew on STS-37 and it landed just 4 days before on April 11th, 1991.

I went over to Ms. Godwin and introduced myself.  I congratulated her on her recent flight.  Then I asked if she would mind signing my copy of “Home Planet”.  She looked in the book and saw the signatures of Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, and Gordon Cooper among others.  She said, “You want my signature???  But all of these are famous people!”  I assured her that she too was now famous.

She signed the book and I thanked her.  I then went off in search of other astronauts.  Mary happened to stay behind and struck up a conversation with Ms. Godwin.  That conversation would later lead to a very neat experience and a wonderful friendship with Linda Godwin, but that is another story.

Mary told Astronaut Godwin that we had taken Toby out of school just so that he could attend the event.  Ms. Godwin was intrigued.  She said, “What school does he go to, maybe I have spoken there.”  Mary explained that she thought it was unlikely because we were not from the Houston area.  We had traveled nearly 5 hours just to be there.  Ms. Godwin was impressed that anyone would travel that far just to be at the anniversary celebration.

While Mary was talking with Astronaut Godwin, I spotted Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar.  She was impeccably dressed.  In fact ever time that I have ever seen her, she was always one of the best dressed astronauts.  I introduced myself to Ms. Dunbar and added her signature to my “Home Planet” book.

The afternoon was going very well.  A group of four of the newest astronaut candidates was spotted in casual conversation with each other.  The four were Ken Cockrell, Nancy Sherlock, Bill Gregory, and Dave Wolf.  My friend Andy got an envelope signed by the four of them and they added their nicknames after there signatures.  I had the four of them sign my “Home Planet” book.  In my book Dave Wolf was the only one to add his nickname and it was “Bluto”.

My next encounter with an astronaut at this reception was with Story Musgrave.  He is one of those kinds of men that seem larger than life.  His list of accomplishments is staggering.

I approached Astronaut Musgrave with my “Home Planet” book and he signed it.  He then noticed that his signature was upside down in my book and apologized.  I told him that it was no big deal since there is no up or down in space.

At some point Mary rejoined me. We ended up talking to a friend of Dave Wolf.  The friend grew up with Wolf and he was amazed at the attention that Wolf now commanded.  He joked with us, that “as a kid, you would have to tie a stick to Dave just to get a dog to play with him.  I thought that was an amazing insight. 

We boarded a bus to return back to the parking lot where we had left our car.  It was interesting to see that Nancy Sherlock  was on the same bus.


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UPDATED : February 23, 2007
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