From Mercury 13 to Virgin Galactic in One Night

Last night I had the honor of being the emcee for the 2019 Space Camp Hall of Fame induction ceremony. For the record, it was more than a little surreal sharing the stage with Homer Hickam and NASA

Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jody Singer and Dr. Deborah Barnhart and X Ambassadors keyboardist Casey Harris (and standing, as Jody pointed out, in the spot where Vice President Pence announced the goal of going to the moon in five years back in March).

But possibly the most incredible part was the history captured between two of the inductees in particular.

I was awed just to be in the same room as Wally Funk, one of the “Mercury 13” women who aced the tests given to the Mercury 7 astronauts and helped paved the way for female astronauts in the United States, despite never getting to go into space herself (yet). Getting a giant bear hug from Wally Funk as she takes the stage – yeah, that memory will stay with me.

It was also rather incredible to be sitting at a table having supper with Beth Moses, who made news (and history) just a few months ago as the first passenger of a commercial spaceflight.

As I was watching the presentations, though, I was struck with the realization that in a lifetime, we’ve gone from Wally Funk not getting the opportunity to fly because she was female to Beth Moses being the first human being, period, to open a new era of spaceflight. And if we can go from Wally Funk to Beth Moses in a lifetime, the future is exciting indeed.

Great Moonbuggy Race 2011

This is how it’s supposed to be done:

This is how it’s more often done:

This is what happened to the team from Russia:

They did, eventually, push the buggy out of the obstacle, and pushed on to the next one before giving up.

I was amused by the fact that when they hit the obstacle and got stuck, the guy on the team launched into a flurry of Russian I didn’t understand, punctuated with a couple of words starting with F— and S— that I and the other bystanders did.

I guess English is truly the new Lingua Franca when it’s the language used when we have to pardon your French.

I thought it was really cool that Russia joined the participants this year, but I’ll admit that I still had enough nationalism to find it amusing that they struggled. I’ll admit having a passing thought along the lines of, no wonder we beat them to the moon.

These are some pictures I took: