Tuesday, May 30, 2017

International Space Development Conference Convenes at Birthplace of U.S. Manned Spacecraft 

By Carmelo Turdo
The National Space Society (NSS) wrapped up its 36th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) Monday in St. Louis, the birthplace of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft that propelled the U.S. into manned space exploration.  The ISDC was hosted by the local NSS chapter, St. Louis Space Frontier, and held in the historic St. Louis Union Station hotel and convention center.  A full agenda of presentations attracted attendees and exhibitors from around the world, and St. Louis aerospace education organizations were there to support the weekend's activities.

Mayuko Ishii, Astrax Studio,
with The Rocket Prince book
The Aero Experience joined with other local co-sponsors, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, Missouri Aviation Historical Society, The Space Museum Bonne Terre Missouri, and Mac's Old Team, among others, to support the conference and contribute to its success.  Exhibits were available daily during the conference days Friday-Sunday, and lunch sessions included keynote speakers NASA Space Shuttle Astronaut Dr. Linda Godwin, Gemini and Apollo Astronaut and retired USAF General Thomas Stafford and World View Enterprises CEO Jane Poynter.  Of special interest was the Saturday Panel Presentation and Luncheon with members of Mac's Old Team, a group of St. Louis-based McDonnell Aircraft engineers who helped design, build and launch the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft at the dawn of the U.S. manned space program.  More from Saturday's Mac's Old Team program will be featured in an upcoming story. 

Some of the exhibitors on Saturday included:

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum President Mark Nankivil visits with Michael 
Mackowski from Phoenix, AZ 

Space Museum, Bonne Terre, Missouri President Earl Mullins with some
of the museum's displays

Martin Harris with Missouri Aviation Historical Society aviation and space
program display

Beautiful paintings from Janice Schoultz Mudd

Missouri University of Science and Technology Mars Rover Design

Tesla Model 90D S-Series All-Electric car

Saturday's Panel Presentation featured a two-hour session with Mac's Old Team and Astronaut Thomas Stafford.  During the luncheon that followed, Mac's Old Team and General Stafford received the NSS Space Pioneer Award.

ISDC Chair Christine Nobbe welcomes us to the morning session

Moderator Amy Shira Teitel checks on the panelists

The Panel Presentation gets underway

Bob Schepp

Earl Robb

Dean Purdy

Norm Beckel

Jerry Roberts

Astronaut Thomas Stafford

A brief time to visit after the session

Mac's Old Team with Thomas Stafford and Amy Shira Teitel
The luncheon featured the Keynote Speaker, Astronaut and Retired USAF General Thomas Stafford, and the presentation of the Space Pioneer Awards.  Accepting the awards from Mr. Philip Newell are Thomas Stafford and Norm Beckel representing Mac's Old Team.

The Aero Experience was honored to participate and record the day's activities with Mac's Old Team and General Stafford.  In the next story on the ISDC in St. Louis, we will include selected excerpts from the Panel Presentation that will take us back to the pioneering days of manned space flight!  We thank all who produced this conference and for the access needed to present this story.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Airshow Honors Veterans With Top-Flight Aerial Entertainment

By Carmelo Turdo
The 29th Annual Memorial Day Salute to Veterans Airshow  took to the skies this weekend at Columbia Regional Airport in central Missouri.  This Midwest Aviation event is more than an airshow, it is a community's way of honoring America's veterans from all conflicts and branches of service. As in previous years on the Friday preceding Memorial Day, local veterans were treated to a private airshow featuring U.S. and Canadian military forces along with civilian performers from around the country.  The Aero Experience was there to capture this preview of the weekend's top-flight aerial performances.


U.S. Army Special Operations "Black Daggers"


Greg Colyer Flying T-33 Ace Maker II

Static displays were getting into position