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Pat Patton Interviews
NASA’S 50TH Anniversary

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I have always been one of NASA’s biggest fans from the first moment of watching Apollo 11’s historic landing on the moon on TV on July 20, 1969, and hearing Neil Armstrong say, "Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed”, to watching the launch of the STS-119 Space Shuttle Discovery from the NASA /JSC’s Mission Control room on March 15, 2009.  So placing my articles on NASA's 50th Year Anniversary and the International Space Station’s 10th anniversary on the Guidry News Service is very special for me.

The Early Years
The first article celebrating NASA's 50th Year Anniversary covers the history of NASA from 1958 to 1969 and NASA’s first heroes including first American astronauts M. Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, and the astronauts of the historic lunar voyage of Apollo 11:  Neil A. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins.  In March, 2004, I was Neil Armstrong’s media contact for the RNASA (Rotary National Award for Space Achievement) Banquet, and I had the opportunity to meet him at the airport and spend 45 minutes talking with him on the way to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Meeting one of America’s greatest heroes was a big thrill for me.

The 70s and 80s
The second article celebrating NASA's 50th Year Anniversary covers the history of NASA from 1970 to 1989, and had one the most dramatic missions in the history of the Apollo program: Apollo 13, with their message to Mission Control "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here”.  The Apollo 13 astronauts were Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert.  In 1993, when I was working for Boeing/ISC, Apollo 13 astronaut, Fred Haise, who was the president of Grumman Technical Services at that time, gave a speech and slide show to JSC’s National Management Association about the Apollo 13 mission.  I was enthralled listening to his story first hand. 

The 1990s
The third article celebrating NASA's 50th Year Anniversary covers the history of NASA from 1990 to 1999.  There were sixty-three missions in the 1990’s, beginning with space shuttle Columbia, STS-32 on January 9, 1990, and ending with space shuttle Discovery, STS-103 on December 19, 1999.  Some of the highlights were:  From February 3-11, 1994, astronauts Charles F. Bolden,
Kenneth S. Reightler Jr., Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, N. Jan Davis, and Ronald M. Sega, flew space shuttle Discovery, STS-60, on a historic mission featuring the first Russian cosmonaut, Sergei K. Krikal, to fly on a U.S. mission in space.   Astronaut Shannon Lucid was first US woman to fly on Russian Space Station Mir, and astronaut Eileen M. Collins became the first woman to command a shuttle mission on space shuttle Columbia.

Into the 21st Century
The final article celebrating NASA's 50th Year Anniversary covers the history of NASA from 2000 to 2008.  Two of the highlights were:  The crew of space shuttle Atlantis, STS-106, successfully prepared the International Space Station (ISS) for the arrival of the first permanent ISS crew from September 8 -20, 2000.  And, for the first time, on October 25, 2007, there were two woman spacecraft commanders in space as Pamela Melroy, the commander of the space shuttle Discovery, STS-120, linked up with the International Space Station and its commander Peggy Whitson. 

These NASA articles were written for the Bay Area Houston Magazine, and are published on with the permission of the Bay Area Houston Magazine. 

I interviewed Mike Coats, the director of the NASA/Johnson Space Center on July, 2, 2008, and along with Jim and Lynda Guidry, I watched the launch of the STS-119 Space Shuttle Discovery at the NASA/JSC Mission Control room on March 15, 2009.

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