Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Hosts Apollo 13 Gala
By Cyndi Byars // April 17, 2015
Apollo 13 45th Anniversary Celebration
ABOVE VIDEO: “This 45th Anniversary event is significant because it shows the teamwork and dedication needed to have a vision, and see it through,” said Tammy Knowles, Executive Director of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
IMAGE GALLERY BY CYNDI BYARS
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation presented a gala 45th Anniversary Celebration of Apollo 13 in the Lunar Theatre of the Apollo Saturn V Center of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The unforget- table evening, attended by more than 200 people, took place on Saturday, April 11 and featured Apollo 13 Commander James Lovell, Pilot Fred Haise and Lead Flight Director Gene Kranz.
Also in attendance to honor and celebrate one of the U.S. space program’s most famous missions was Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong’s son Rick Armstrong, Alan Shepard’s daughter Laura Shepard, and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana.
During the festivities, attendees enjoyed a meet and greet with the astronauts, and an auction of rare autographed portraits of Apollo spacecrafts.
Ticket sales and auction revenue from the sold-out event will support the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which awards merit-based scholarships to university students who excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was established by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts and has awarded more than $4 million to the best and brightest university students throughout the nation.
Today, more than 100 astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.
“This 45th Anniversary event is significant because it shows the teamwork and dedication needed to have a vision, and see it through,” said Tammy Knowles, Executive Director of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
“At the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, we want to continue to inspire younger generations and the great minds of tomorrow.”
ABOVE VIDEO: “Houston, We’ve Got a Problem” – Apollo 13 was launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, but when an oxygen tank exploded two days later, plans for a lunar landing were scrapped.
ONE OF HISTORY’S GREATEST ‘FAILURES’
The crew and flight directors from the 1970 mission came together for a reception, dinner and panel discussion hosted by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
Apollo 13 was launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, but when an oxygen tank exploded two days later, plans for a lunar landing were scrapped.
“When I saw through the window that oxygen was escaping, that’s when I first became concerned,” recalled Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell, who shared many fascinating anecdotes during the celebration.
During the lively panel discussion Haise detailed the challenges of the Apollo 13 mission, causing NASA to bring its top people to the Houston control center in Houston to devise a plan to get the crew home safely.
“Seven caution warning lights came on all at once,” said Haise. “Eventually, water collected everywhere on the craft – we even had water on the gauges. All the clocks stopped on the ship.”
Lovell told the rapt audience that for years, he felt deep disappointment that the lunar landing had to be aborted.
“Over the years, that disappointment faded,” said Lovell.
“I came to realize that Apollo 13 was a success – a success in that hundreds of people worked together to prevent certain catastrophe.”
The crew safely returned to earth on April 17, 1970, and the mission is renowned one of history’s best examples of crisis management.
CLICK HERE for more information about the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.