Dateline Houston, Texas. Today Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider had the distinct privilege of a personal tour of the NASA – Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. My host was Mike Michoula (Forgive me Mike….I know I slaughtered the spelling). He is a Rocket Scientist Engineer who has in his career designed, trouble shot, and worked on America’s space program, and who has actually manned one of those positions in Mission Control that the rest of us can only hope to see in the movies.
Mike took me to the back hallways of NASA, where I saw mock ups of the various space craft used for training, learned that of the hundreds of Mission plaques, only one…Apollo 11, does not bear the names of the astronauts (more later), and heard the inside scoop about how an Osoyus space return capsule darn near burned up in the atmosphere, became lost upon re-entry, and we here in the US discreetly called the Russians, told them where to find it landed, and then quickly hung up the red phone because we’re not supposed to admit to watching them!
“Mr. President, We have a Problem.”
The Apollo 11 plaque does not bear the names of the astronauts because they were the first and only ones to tell NASA that the mission was bigger than them, that it should just be about space exploration. Those astronauts were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The first astronauts to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. to also in this Hall Of Honor were a mirror that was presented to Apollo Mission Control, having been taken to the moon and back. It has a plaque that says it “reflects the people who got us back”. And there was a flag flying that had been flown on the moon. Mind you, the general public never gets close to these artifacts.
I also went to a little town just South of Houston called Kenah. It was a funky little place with a carnival, shops, restaurants, a boardwalk, and one very special person in the form of John Allison. He worked at one of the refreshment stands, where I paused to get something cold to drink. We talked about Cancer Ride America and without hesitation he opened his wallet and handed me cash. John, I ride for your mother in law and so many others. It was my privilege to meet you.
And there you have it my friends. A “tourist” day for Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider turns into yet another meet with people affected by this dreadful disease.