Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Astronaut Heroes


Raising money for education! November 2010 saw the 8th Annual Astronaut Experiences & Memorabilia Auction, Online and Astronaut Autograph & Memorabilia Show at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida… and what a great turnout this year!

Commander James Lovell
Astronaut Jim Lovell of Gemini 7, Gemini 12,
Apollo 8, and Apollo 13 signing autographs

Each year, this event is sponsored by the non-profit Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which to date has 80 astronaut members who help provide monies to American college students who exhibit exceptional performance in various fields of science, physics, and engineering.

The foundation now awards annually 20 scholarships each worth $10,000, for a total of $200,000. To date, the ASF has awarded $3 million in scholarships to qualifying students all over the nation. This amazing entity raises funds via corporate donations, citizen donations, astronaut-autographed memorabilia (never any shortage of demand for that!) and fund-raising events like the one shown here.

Shuttlenaut Bruce McCandless
Astronaut Bruce McCandless of STS-31 and STS-41-B

Originally the “Mercury Seven Foundation”, what is now the ASF was begun in 1984 by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury Seven astronauts: Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter, Gordo Cooper and Deke Slayton – as well as the widow of the seventh, Mrs. Betty Grissom.

Over the years, more and more astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs have joined to continue to help raise money for education in the USA, hopefully motivating our best and brightest young scientists.

Check out the entire Picasa Gallery, which features Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Charlie Duke, Scott Carpenter, Bruce McCandless, Ed Gibson, Bill Pogue, Frank Culbertson, and Owen Garriott. Wow! Quite a showing this year!

Scott Carpenter, Buzz Aldrin
Original Seven Astronaut Scott Carpenter of Mercury-Atlas 7,
with Apollo Moonwalkers Buzz Aldrin & Charlie Duke

The official AFS site doesn’t have their photo album up yet for this event, but check out the history of all their events… wow, too many moonwalkers to mention! Also keep up with future events here… the next up will be the Apollo 14 40th Anniversary Celebration this coming January!