Creation of New Space Shuttle Monument About To Lift Off
By Space Coast Daily // January 24, 2013
Tribute To Inspiration
BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – Despite the space program’s current trajectory, former NASA project manager Charlie Mars still has the mission mindset.
As president of the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Foundation for the last 12 years and retired from the Kennedy Space Center, Mars retains that certain flair.
He helped approve the design concepts for a Space Walk of Fame Foundation installation honoring the Space Shuttle.
When completed this spring, the monument will be placed in the U.S. Space Walk of Fame in Titusville.
Mars shares a working image of the monument over the internet in this way: “’All right, set to go for PDF in 5, 4, 3, 2…on hold…resuming 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Aaaand…launched.”
Obviously, his enthusiasm remains.
It’s no wonder former Kennedy Space Center employees started Space Walk of Fame in 2001.
Along with the Walk of Fame, the foundation also supports an ever-expanding, namesake museum housed in Titusville’s Miracle City Mall, as a vessel for space memorabilia from the early days of flight through the International Space Station program.
The non-profit organization is run by volunteers drawn from the men and women who worked behind the scenes to cement the United States’ position as world leader in space exploration.
Just across the Indian River from NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building, the Space Walk of Fame exhibit is free and part of Titusville’s Space View Park, long considered one of the best spots for viewing lift-offs, because of its proximity to launch pads and live audio feed from NASA control.
The park is on U.S. 1, about five miles north of State Road 50 and State Road 406.
A work-in-progress, the Shuttle monument is set to take its place among existing monuments honoring astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, as well as the “In the Line of Duty” monument, dedicated to lives lost during the space race era, including workers from Patrick Air Force Base and Kennedy Space Center.
“We have 42 names on that one,” Mars said, such as those of workers who died when a static electric charge ignited the fuel of a fully loaded vehicle during ground processing.
“Nobody memorializes the people who died doing their jobs,” said Mars, “But it’s part of the passion. There was good times and there were bad times, and we have to remember all of them.
“We’re preserving our history and trying to honor all the men and women out there in the 50 years we have been doing the missile programs. That’s the whole purpose of the park and what we’re doing in the museum as well,” Mars said. ‘It brings back the memories and the pride that we all shared.”
Workers share the spotlight on the proposed monument as well. The design features a six-sided base of black granite etched with vignettes of shuttle workers performing various tasks associated with the vehicles.
A shuttle outlined in stainless steel fretwork tops the straight-sided main base, in keeping with the style of the Mercury and Gemini monuments already in place. (Although the Apollo monument has substantial cast bronze elements).
“Jeff Kiel is responsible for the design concept,” Mars said, “It’s based on the patch worn on the left shoulder of the astronauts when they had blue suits.”
Like prior monuments, the foundation keeps the work in house, employing Brevard County residents for the production.
Stone work for this monument was done by the father and son team of Warren and Paul Lackie of Melbourne.
An additional series of monoliths with space workers names etched into black granite panels compliment the installation.
Three are in place, with 144 memorial plaques etched with shuttle program worker names so far.
Sale of memorial plaques provides funding for the monuments, along with occasional grants from both Brevard County and the city of Titusville.
To purchase U.S. Space Walk of Fame memorial plaque purchases, visit http://www.spacewalkoffame.com/monuments/engravings/