The climax of Cradle of Aviation Museum’s family friendly Apollo 11 50th anniversary Moon Fest was the countdown to the landing of a scale model of the Eagle lunar module timed with a video of the actual landing.
But there was so much more during the day. Some 2500 people
turned out to take part in events and activities.
They delighted in meeting three Space Shuttle astronauts,
who gave talks and signed autographed photos: Bill Shepherd (a former Babylon
resident, who was in the first crew and literally turned on the lights in the International
Space Station and lived in space for140 days) & Charlie Camarda (of Ozone
American engineer and a NASA astronaut who flew his first mission into space on
board the Space Shuttle mission STS-114 and served as Senior Advisor for
Engineering Development at NASA Langley Research Center) and
Bob Cenker, a payload specialist and crew member on the seventh flight of Space
Among the docents and guides are many former Grumman workers who helped build the machines and communications that put astronauts on the moon and the International Space Station, as well as space enthusiasts, like Matt Arnold, who, after giving a guided tour of the Space exhibit, shows us the model of the International Space Station that he built for the museum. Richard Kalen, of Hicksville, who had helped assemble the wings on the Shuttle, explained what went wrong to cause the Challenger and Columbia tragedies.
There were moon buggy races, where kids got to traverse a “lunar
obstacle course” driving electric lunar rovers; launched water-bottle rockets
they built and decorated; looked through solar telescopes; saw student-built robotics
demonstrations from the First Lego League; posed for photos with the superhero
characters from the not-for-profit NY Avengers Cosplayers.
There were also screenings of the Apollo 11 First Steps
Edition documentary in Cradle’s immerse Dome Theater and a virtual reality
experience where you explore the inside and outside of the Apollo 11 with
Microsoft’s Mixed Reality and HoloLens technology.
Then, at 4 pm, they crammed into the atrium to watch a video
of the actual Apollo 11 landing, as a scale model of the Lunar Module descended
in concert with the actual events.
The celebration continued into the evening with a dinner
menu matching the same beef-and-salmon menu served to the astronauts at the
White House and dancing to the music of the 1960s.
Cradle of Aviation Museum, home of the Lunar Module, is currently exhibiting
the largest collection of Lunar Modules, Lunar Module parts, artifacts, photos,
and documentation in the world.
There is still time to
visit the Apollo Space Exhibit. Here are 11 “must sees”:
1. Grumman Lunar Module LM-13 – the crowned jewel of
the museum. The LM-13 was intended for the Apollo 19 mission to Copernicus
Crater in 1973, which was ultimately cancelled. It is one of three Lunar
Modules left on earth. The other two are at Kennedy Space Center and
Smithsonian’s Air & Space. It is presented in a re-created lunar surface
scene with a mannequin wearing an actual Apollo spacesuit.
Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is home to over 75 planes and
spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s
only Giant Screen Dome Theater. Currently, the museum is celebrating
“Countdown to Apollo at 50” sponsored by the Robert D.L.
Gardiner Foundation, showcasing Long Island and Grumman’s significant role in
the Apollo program. The Museum was recently recognized and listed on New York
State’s National Register of Historic Places as a significant part of American
history. The museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in East
Garden City. For more information call (516) 572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org.
County Executive Laura Curran, who donned a replica space suit, and NASA astronaut
Babylon resident Bill
on hand at the Cradle of Aviation Museum to officially begin the countdown to
the 50th Anniversary celebration of the first lunar landing, July
20, 1969. They were joined by Grumman
Engineer Ross Brocco, Museum President Andy Parton and Museum Curator Josh Stoff.
will shine a light on one of the greatest
human and technological achievements in history,” Parton said.
events that start at 9:30 am reach a climax with a Community Countdown at 4:17
pm to collectively watch, re-experience, and honor as a community, the historic
“The Eagle has Landed” Lunar Module landing on the moon. A model of the Lunar
Module will descend from the ceiling, precisely on time.
Shepherd, who was in the first crew on the International Space Station (“We
turned on the lights”) and lived in space for 140 days, sees the importance of
Cradle of Aviation Museum, with its active STEM education programs and the
ability for people, young and old, to interact with exhibits – like climb into
a Gemini capsule, land a Space Shuttle, and in the current exhibit, enter a
space habitation on Mars, and the largest collection of Apollo artifacts in the
world, including an actual lunar module which was built by Grumman in Bethpage
for Apollo 19, a moon mission that was scrubbed.
lunar landing was one of humankind’s epic achievements,” said Shepherd, who
will be on hand during the day to interact with museum goers. “Beyond Apollo,
it ignited a process that is still going on. NASA is on course to go back to
the moon, a steppingstone to planetary expedition to Mars. Children today may
critically vital, he said, for children to have the opportunity to be exposed
to “first-hand” science, as opposed to watching documentaries on television. “Education
is turning to project-based and experiential learning, versus textbooks. Here,
kids get to see for themselves. The tangible makes learning enjoyable.”
pointed to the Cradle of Aviation as one of the best museums – even attractions
– on Long Island. “It is such an asset in the heart of our county..
July 20, in addition to the Apollo events, there will be former Grumman
engineers and employees who helped build the lunar module and the equipment
that made the space program possible, among them Ross Bracco, a structural
engineer at Grumman who is now a volunteer at Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Shepherd will lead two “episodes” allowing kids to design their own lunar
noted that the moon, itself, remains a mystery – how it was created more than 4
billion years ago – was it knocked off from earth or form separately? “We don’t
know but maybe some kids here will research.” He said the moon has been static
for 4 billion years, unlike the earth which is “dynamic” and changing, so is a
time piece that can shed light on what the solar system was like 4 billion
years ago. “We are learning about the moon’s relationship to the earth.”
you can even get a whiff of what the moon smells like in one of the exhibit.
On Saturday, July 20, 2019,
thousands of people will be joining together at the Cradle of Aviation Museum
to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission. The Cradle
of Aviation, home of the Lunar Module, is celebrating all day and night with
two festive events to give the community an opportunity to learn, reflect,
remember, & jointly celebrate, all the wonder, achievement, and pride that
will be events throughout the day:
COMMUNITY COUNTDOWN TO LUNAR
LANDING – Join in a Community Countdown at 4:17 pm to collectively
watch, re-experience, and honor as a community, the historic “The Eagle
has Landed” Lunar Module landing on the moon.
ASTRONAUT ENCOUNTERS with Space
Shuttle Astronauts Bill Shepherd (Babylon) & Charlie Camarda (Ozone
Park), both from Long Island, and Bob Cenker.
MOON BUGGY RACES – Traverse a
lunar obstacle course driving an electric lunar rover. (kids)
VIRTUAL REALITY – Explore the
inside and outside of the Apollo 11 up close and personal with Microsoft’s
Mixed Reality and the Microsoft HoloLens technology.
APOLLO 11 FIRST STEPS in IMAX –
Experience a free showing of the new highly-acclaimed documentary, Apollo
11 First Steps Edition in our immersive Dome Theater.
SOLAR TELESCOPES- Explore the
sun with a special purpose solar telescope.
LAUNCH ROCKETS – Build,
decorate, then launch a water bottle rocket.
ROBOTICS DEMONSTRATIONS – View
and interact with student-built robotics from the First Lego
VISITS FROM THE UNIVERSE – The
not-for profit, NY Avengers Cosplayers are assembling at the Cradle to
celebrate the American heroes who contributed to the successful lunar
Museum opens at
9:30am. Family activities are 12:00 – 4:00pm. Countdown begins at 4:00pm.
Then, from 7-11 pm, is
the Apollo at Countdown Celebration, a lively dinner and champagne toast with
music and dancing, as the community comes together to watch and re-experience
the unforgettable first steps on the moon at 10:56 pm with a special moon
landing viewing and countdown.
Astronauts Bill Shepherd (Babylon) & Charlie Camarda (Ozone Park), both
from Long Island, and Bob Cenker, will be in attendance.
Tickets to either
event can be purchased at www.cradleofaviation.org/apollo or
by calling Reservations 516-572-4066 (M-F) 10:00am-4:00pm) Grumman Retirees and
Museum Members, may call Reservations for discounted tickets. Proceeds to
Benefit Museum Education and Preservation Programs.
Cradle of Aviation
the reason there is such a world-class space and aviation museum here on
Charles Lindbergh Avenue, named for the famous aviator, is that this is indeed
the cradle of aviation – it is located on what was Mitchel Air Force Base
Field, which, together with
nearby Roosevelt Field and other airfields on the Hempstead Plains, was the
site of many historic flights , most significantly, where Lindbergh set off for
his historic transatlantic solo flight to Paris and it was on Long Island that
so much of the aviation industry and innovations happened. In fact, so many seminal flights occurred in
the area, that by the mid-1920s the cluster of airfields was already dubbed the
“Cradle of Aviation”, the origin of the museum’s name.
events and exhibits also pay homage to Grumman engineers who designed and built
the lunar exploration module (LEM), and there is an actual LEM on exhibit – the
only actual LEM of the three modules on exhibit (the three that went to the
moon remained there). This one was built by Grumman for Apollo 19 but that
mission was scrubbed.
can also see mock-ups of Grumman engineers in a “clean room” building a LEM.
of Aviation museum has the largest collection of Apollo artifacts anywhere –
the space exhibits are phenomenal and include simulators and a real moon rock.
so it was fitting at one of the Apollo 50th events held in recent
weeks, the Gold Coast International Film Festival screening of “First Man,” as
part of its Science on Screen series, three former Grumman engineers who worked
on Apollo project related their experience.
who was a co-op engineering intern running technical tests on the Lunar
Excursion Module landing gear and in the Cold Flow area for final ascent &
descent stage system tests before delivery to NASA, reflected, “Had we never had the Apollo1 tragedy, where three astronauts were
lost, the likelihood of doing a successful lunar landing was low…The post-fire evaluation of the design of command
module found so many things inadequately or improperly or stupidly designed-
not the least was the hatch which opened in instead of out so that in a
pressurized environment, it couldn’t open. NASA’s oversight over all the contractors
doubled or tripled. So the prevailing theory is that if that fire hadn’t
happened, design defects could have caused a situation where Apollo 11 couldn’t
Richard Dunne, who was
the chief spokesman for the Grumman Corporation, which
designed and built the Apollo Lunar Module: “The fire
forced a redesign of everything
in the command module and lunar module.” He also reflected on how close it was
that the United States might not have won the space race at all “Two weeks
before Apollo 11 launched, the Russians attempted moon shot, but it exploded.
The way the United States knew about it was because our spy satellites detected
Mike Lisa, who worked
as an engineer on the Lunar Excursion Module in 1963 until the program ended
and spent 36 years at Northrop Grumman, said, “The most important thing was to bring the astronauts
back healthy. A device called a tumbler would grab the LEM on both sides and
flip it around – tumble and turn – to shake anything that might have been loose
inside. On this particular day, I was working in a semi-clean room – we wore white
jackets and different hats to show what we working on – and tumbling, there was
a clink and a nut fell on the floor. The NASA inspector was there and shut the
room down for a whole week, but we all had to be on station, 24/7, waiting for
permission to reopen.”
Inspiring Future Generations Through Learning
Cradle of Aviation Museum
originally opened with just a handful of aircraft in the un-restored hangars in
1980. A major renovation and expansion program in the late 1990s allowed the
museum to re-open in a state-of-the-art facility in 2002. Additional expansion
plans are currently under development. The museum is an educational center
preserving Long Island’s contribution to aerospace, science and technology by
inspiring future generations through learning.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center today is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater. The museum has been celebrating “Countdown to Apollo at 50” sponsored by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation, through much of the year, showcasing Long Island and Grumman’s significant role in the Apollo program. The Museum was recently recognized and listed on New York State’s National Register of Historic Places as a significant part of American history. The museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in East Garden City. For more information call (516) 572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org.