Monday, July 27, 2009

Astronaut Scott Altman talks space travel at Lakeview Museum

I've often said that anyone who complains there is not enough to do in the Peoria vicinity just isn't looking hard enough. Case in point - this evening at Lakeview Museum, Scott Altman, Pekin native and space traveler, shared his adventures with a large gathering on the front lawn of the Lakeview Museum.

For about 45 minutes prior to his talk, he signed autographs and posed for photo-ops with the crowd.

It was entertaining listening to the crowd share their impressions of him with him. OK I admit I was eaves-dropping.

Here is a bit of trivia. In the movie "Top Gun" there is a scene where Tom Cruises' character buzzes "the tower". Scott was the real pilot that flew the plane during that scene. He said it took 11 takes. How cool is that!

Scott used an overhead projector and shared some of his private video footage with the crowd. He explained the complicated nature of their latest mission in May, where they upgraded and repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. Scott was the Commanding Officer of that mission and he said his greatest thrill was landing the shuttle. Here is NASA's description of Scott's last mission:

STS-125 Atlantis (May 11-24, 2009) was the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission. The 19 year old telescope spent seven days in the Shuttle’s cargo bay undergoing an overhaul conducted over five back to back spacewalks. The crew overcame frozen bolts, stripped screws, and stuck handrails to complete all mission objectives. The refurbished Hubble Telescope now has four new or rejuvenated scientific instruments, new batteries, new gyroscopes, and a new Command and Data Handling computer. The STS-125 mission traveled over 5.3 million miles in 197 Earth orbits, and ended with a day landing at Edwards AFB following two days of wave offs due to poor weather in Florida.

He also shared the daily activities of the crew and the Q&A session with the crowd made for some hilarious fodder.

It was a really cool event and I'd like to thank Lakeview Museum for their cahuna's in getting him here. My understanding is that he spent almost the entire day with kids from the summer camp. What a great event! What a hero! What an experience!

1 comment:

PeoriaIllinoisan said...

You look absolutely giddy in that picture!

Speaking of people complaining about nothing to do in Peoria, my 11 year old daughter told me that exact same thing yesterday. It was all I could do to keep from slapping her upside the head.