|By Carmelo Turdo|
|McDonnell Douglas Retiree Luncheon|
"I always think, what if McDonnell made that Apollo spacecraft? How would things have been different? My dad always said, 'Things would have been tremendously different if McDonnell built that Apollo spacecraft.' There were a lot of things wrong with that spacecraft...It was supposed to be insulated so you couldn't have a spark or an arc, and yet it happened. Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were gone in an instant. So it keeps reminding me, what if..."
During the luncheon, I met Mr. Grissom and mentioned to him that his brother Gus Grissom was one of my heroes. He answered, "Mine, too."
|Apollo 1 Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee|
Ironically, a team of McDonnell Aircraft engineers assisted in the redesign of the new Apollo spacecraft that performed admirably in future missions, taking 12 astronauts to the moon.
Dan Terrell, former Mayor of Mitchell Indiana, the Grissoms' home town, spoke of the trip that some of those present made to Mitchell in July of 2011 for the 50th anniversary of Gus Grissom's Mercury flight in Liberty Bell 7. Another trip may be taken this year as well. A patch like the one pictured below was given to all attendees of the luncheon.
|Former Mayor of Mitchell, IN Dan Terrell|
Earl Mullins, President of the Space Museum in Bonne Terre, MO spoke of the challenges of bringing a space museum and education center to smaller towns like Bonne Terre. It takes dedication and vision to become successful, and this museum is well on its way to making its mark in the community and across the nation. Working with other museums, like the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, and groups like the McDonnell Douglas retirees, is key to preserving the aerospace heritage of the region.