Category Archives: Space

Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW PARTON, President of the Cradle of Aviation Museum is standing at lectern and introducing, at right, ANDREW CHAIKIN, best-selling author of "A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts" in the museum’s JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium. Event was part of CAM's celebration of 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

Andrew Chaikin: Over the Moon about Space

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
May 30, 2019

VIDEO 1 [00:21] Chaikin’s favorite quote:

An Evening with Andrew Chaikin, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Thursday, May 23, began with refreshments near the “LEM” room, home of the actual Apollo LM-13 lunar excursion module built for the cancelled Apollo 18 mission.

What a great setting for photos of the bestselling author of “A Man on the Moon: Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts”!

And when asked if I wanted him to go on the surface of the (simulated) moon – the first time anyone offered that in all the years I captured photos there – I was so surprised I blurted out, “Are you sure it’s okay?” He smiled and good-naturedly assured me he had permission. 

Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, author ANDREW CHAIKIN takes a selfie with ALAN CONTESSA, who worked on the real Apollo 11 lunar module, as they stand in front of the genuine Lunar Module LM-13, built for cancelled Apollo 18 mission.

Garden City, New York, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW CHAIKIN takes a selfie with ALAN CONTESSA, who worked on the Apollo 11 lunar module, as they stand in front of the genuine Lunar Module LM-13, built for cancelled Apollo 18 mission. (© 2019 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

After capturing photos of Chaikin at LM-13, I saw a few guests come in, including Alan Contessa, who, as a 22-year-old Grumman employee in 1969, was responsible for making and installing the gold silver thermal foil covering the lower part of Apollo 11’s lunar excursion module LM-5, the “Eagle” of “The Eagle has landed” fame.

My favorite LM area photo of the evening shows Chaikin taking a selfie with Contessa as they’re standing in front of the LM-13 thermal foil, which Contessa, as a volunteer, worked on for the Cradle of Aviation display.

Soon it was time to go to the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, for Chaikin’s talk about growing up on Long Island and interviewing Apollo astronauts.

VIDEO 2 [44:10] Chaikin’s talk:

Chaikin became obsessed with space when he was five, and he was 12 when he met his first NASA astronaut, Alan Bean, who later became his dear friend and mentor.  

Young Chaikin literally dreamed of meeting Neil Armstrong and getting his autograph. During a trip with his parents to Washington DC in 1971, he found out Armstrong was working at NASA Headquarters. The second time Chaikin went to HQ, he ran into Armstrong in the hallway, where the astronaut signed an autograph for him, and then took a selfie of the two of them.

As adults, they got to know each other as friends, and in 2002 Chaikin’s wife Victoria Kohl took a picture of Armstrong and Chaikin, who was holding that 1971 selfie.

Chaikin, an animated, knowledgable, and fascinating speaker – and I’m not saying that just because we have the same birthday – talked about the Apollo 11 mission in great detail, with photos and videos projected on the huge screen behind him. NOTE: Video 2 above includes most of Chaiken’s talk.

During the Q&A, the first guest called on asked if Chaikin thought the [2018 biographical drama] movie “First Man” portrayed astronaut Neil Armstrong accurately. The audience laughed when Chaikin quickly answered, “Not at all….”

The evening ended with the CNN Films documentary “APOLLO 11,” but I had to leave before it ran on the giant curved screen, so I returned to the IMAX theater with a friend to see the film that Sunday afternoon.

Walking up and up and up the theater stairs, we turned into the second row from the top, sat down, and enjoyed the awe-inspiring, newly unearthed views of the Apollo 11 astronauts, support teams, and the mission itself.


Feature Photo at top of post: Garden City, NY, USA. May 23, 2019. At left, ANDREW PARTON, Pres. of the Cradle of Aviation Museum introduces, at right, author ANDREW CHAIKIN in the museum’s JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.


Andrew Chaikin at Cradle of Aviation:  MY GALLERY

Video 1 – Chaikin’s Favorite Quote: vimeo.com/annparry/chaikinquote
Video 2 – Chaikin’s Talk: vimeo.com/annparry/chaikintalk

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Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Astronaut Mike Massimino: From Long Island to Space

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
June 24, 2018

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, JOSHUA STOFF, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut MICHAEL MASSIMINO; ANDREW PARTON, Executive Director of CAM; and GREG SANTI, Human Resources Manager at Curtiss Wright, pose at 10th Annual Luncheon. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Josh Stoff, Curator of Cradle of Aviation Museum; astronaut Mike Massimino; Andy Parton, Exec. Director of CAM; and Greg Santi, HR Manager at Curtiss-Wright, pose with illustration of Massimino. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

NASA space shuttle astronaut MICHAEL J. MASSIMINO – Franklin Square’s inspiring and fun space ambassador – captivated three audiences this Wednesday, June 21, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum: during its 10th Annual Luncheon, a small group Meet & Greet, and a free lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium.

  • VIDEO of Massimino’s 8-minute acceptance speech:

Air & Space Hall of Fame Induction for Class of 2018

Mike Massimino, aviation pioneers LOUIS and CONNIE MANCUSO, and aviator and Newsday founder ALICIA PATTERSON were the inductees for the Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 honored during the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Annual Luncheon, presented by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. L-R, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Deborah Henley, and Louis Mancuso Jr. pose at Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

A highlight of Massimino’s acceptance speech was when he poetically described his reaction to seeing the curve of our planet fill his field of vision during his second space walk: 

“The beauty of our planet was kinda overwhelming…. This must be the view from heaven…. That’s not quite right…. This is what heaven must look like….

“What made that possible, those memories possible…. all come back here to Long Island….  the mentors I met along the way, this museum being here at the right time in my life to set me on that journey that ended up 350 miles above our planet to work on Hubble.”

The other inductees were honored posthumously: LOUIS MANCUSO JR. accepted on behalf of his parents, and DEBORAH HENLEY, Vice President and Executive Editor of Newsday, accepted on behalf of Alicia Patterson.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is holding GIOVANNI, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut's space suit costume, after the museum's Members Meet & Greet. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino holds Giovanni, 3 1/2 years old, from Manhasset, wearing an astronaut spacesuit costume. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Meet & Greet

During the Meet & Greet, a few dozen lucky museum members and STEM students (Science Technology Engineering Math) sat around a conference table and asked Massimino questions.

When asked about space food, Massimino said it was good, and then explained how everything gets recycled, including urine, so, “Yesterday’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee,” as Expedition 39 commander Koichi Wakata memorably observed in 2014 about recycling on the ISS (International Space Station).

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino, a Long Island native, gives free lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. In the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino displays photo of him sending email to Johnson Space Center for his twitter feed. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Evening with Mike Massimino Lecture

Massimino’s lecture at the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium was part of the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Countdown to Apollo at 50, a multiyear celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Astronaut Mike Massimino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

When a young audience member asked Massimino how he became an astronaut, he went into great detail, including how the Cradle of Aviation Museum played a key role when he was growing up.

FYI from FLI: In the late 1980’s, my daughter Sue went to Space Camp at the Cradle of Aviation, then in an unrestored hangar. I’m still searching for the name of the CAM photographer who captured this photo of 10-yr-old Sue wearing a genuine spacesuit that summer.

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum. Volunteer puppy raiser FLORENCE SCARINCI is seated next to dog she's training from Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford non-profit. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Space Shuttle Astronaut Mike Massmino gives lecture in JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum. Volunteer puppy raiser Florence Scarinci is seated next to dog she’s training from Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford non-profit. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

NASA rejected Massimino when he applied to be an astronaut – the first, second and third times. Persevering, he applied a fourth time – and the rest is Hubble Space Telescope repairs and recurring role of playing himself on The Big Bang Theory history.  

In one of the photos Massimino displayed on the dome, he was in the space shuttle writing the first tweet ever from space. Here’s that message he sent to Johnson Space Center, so they could post it on his @Astro_Mike twitter feed:

“From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”

Laughing, he said his tweet didn’t compare well to Neil Armstrong’s 1969 historic first spoken words ever coming from the moon:

“The Eagle has landed. That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. Former NASA astronaut MIKE MASSIMINO is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Garden City, NY, USA. June 21, 2018. NASA astronaut Mike Massimino is inducted into Long Island Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at Cradle of Aviation Museum. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Astronauts

I first saw Mike Massimino in 2010, during Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Legends in Air & Space Lecture series. Seeing him in action throughout Thursday reinforced how he’s an upbeat, self-reflective, cool-nerd sort of guy “everyone would like to be or have as a friend.”  

In fact, many astronauts I’ve crossed orbits with also exuded a personable, centered quality – not surprisingly, since it’s an essential quality for working well in space. 

“Spaceman”

At the museum’s gift shop, I bought two signed copies of Massimino’s 2016 book, “Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe” – one for myself and one for my brother Lou (“Luigi”), a physics teacher at Durham Academy, NC, and fellow aerospace and astronomy buff.


Mike Massimino Lecture: PHOTO GALLERY

Air & Space Hall of Fame 2018:  PHOTO GALLERY

Site:  MikeMassimino.com | twitter:  @Astro_Mike

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