The Museum of Flight conducts a gala fundraiser every year with different themes that span the gamut of flight and space. This year is a unique combination of the 50th anniversary for J. F. Kennedy setting the stage for a lunatic space race won with one giant leap for mankind on the moon and the (some say premature) retirement of the Space Shuttle. The museum also built a new wing and bid (albeit unsuccessfully) for a space shuttle. The Museum of Flight, a non-profit organization, benefits from being in close geographical proximity to companies and rich people involved or interested in space and flight, from Boeing to Charles Simonyi, veteran Microsoft pioneer and the first space tourist to go twice to the International Space Station.
|At the table - recognize me with a tux?|
The schedule of the event ran longer than planned, not unlike a lot of space programs (both private and governmental). The program alternated between one of 5 courses symbolizing the decades of manned spaceflight, a short video talking about the different programs - X-15, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz, Space Shuttle and beyond, followed by the astronauts, cosmonauts and other people pivotal in the history of human spaceflight, pertaining to the program which was just presented. Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), Gene Cernan (last moon-walker), Gene Kranz (legendary NASA mission controller including Apollo 13), Bill Anders (Apollo 8, took the humbling Earth-rise picture), all the way to Brian Binnie (pilot of SpaceShipOne and soon SpaceShipTwo), all in the same tent, announced and coming on the stage one by one. Also attended - Mark and Rick, Neil Armstrong's sons, who gave us a glimpse to the icon as a father, the widow of Roger Chaffee who died in the Apollo-1 fire, the two Apollo-Soyuz cosmonauts Valery Kubasov and Alexey Leonov, and Space tourism trail blazers Charles Simonyi and Anousheh Ansari. Standing ovation after standing ovation.
|How many space trail-blazers can you fit in one tent? (photo: Corky Trewin, Museum of Flight)|
You can see more pictures from the event taken by photographer Long Bach Nguyen here.