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AIR & SPACE DAY 2003



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC
Permission granted by Eagle-Tribune-Lawrence, Mass.


ROCKETS, SPEAKERS, SKYDIVERS ELEVATE AIR & SPACE DAY
By Shawn Boburg, Eagle-Tribune Staff Writer

   TEWKSBURY,Mass.  With so much flying up above, all eyes were cast
skyward.
   Model  rockets  shot  up into the air with a hiss every minute or so.
An
18-story,  space  shuttle-shaped,  hot-air  balloon,  said  to  be
world's
largest,   towered   above   gawkers.   Skydivers   free-fell   holding
a
150-square-foot  American  flag, as observers sang the national anthem.
And
helicopters took children and parents for 10-minute rides and a view of
the
thousands gathered at the Livingston Recreational Field.
   For  those  avoiding cricks in their necks, there was also plenty to
see
and  listen  to  on the ground at Air & Space Day 2003 yesterday.
Speakers,
vendors,   displays   and   picnicking   families   blanketed  the
22-acre
aeronautics-fest, which organizers estimate drew around 6,000 people.
   Apollo  12  astronaut  Richard  F.  Gordon, Jr. told an audience how
the
country's  interest  in  space  blossomed  in the 1960s. Engineer Donald
W.
Rethke  |  known  as  "Dr.  Flush"  because  he developed space toilets
for
shuttles  | answered questions about the inner-workings of space suits.
And
flight  enthusiasts  showed  off their hang gliders, ultralights, and
model
airplanes,  in  celebration  of  the  100-year  anniversary  of  the
Wright
brother's airborne invention.
   Many  kids  brought  model rockets to have them launched by
technicians,
who stayed busy all day. Leading up to every launch, children joined in
the
countdown, as a speaker system blared "Three, two, one | blast-off."
   The rockets would rise hundreds of feet into the air, let off a pop
like
a firecracker, then float back down by parachute, drawing a throng of
young
kids to predict its landing spot and try to catch it.
   Jack  Cappello,  a taller-than-average 9-year-old from Cape Cod, was
the
lucky one to snatch a rocket filled with chocolates.
   "These  rockets  are  just  cool," said Cappello, adding that the
rocket
send-off had convinced him to become a collector.
   Later,  as  the  18-story "Patriot" space shuttle air-balloon was
filled
with cool air just past noon, a few of the smaller onlookers' awe turned
to
fear.
   "It's  really big and scary," said Derek Nasser, a 5-year-old from
South
Hampton, N.H. His friends agreed.
   But  Derek  still wants to be an astronaut "so I can drive to the
moon,"
he said.
   That's exactly what Richard Gordon, who spoke at the event, did in
1969.
   Nine-year-old  Reid  Warnock  of  North Reading knew listening to
Gordon
talk about his experience was a rare opportunity.
   "He  walked on the moon," Reid said, as Gordon began his talk. "How
many
people get to ever do that?"
   The  answer  to  that  is 12, putting Gordon in an exclusive group.
More
exclusive  still, said event organizer Paul Manning, considering only a
few
of those 12 are still alive and on speaking tours.
   The  event,  which  lasted  from  10  a.m.  to 5 p.m., included 11
guest
speakers, 70 displays, and five aerial shows, Manning said.
   Manning, who works at Raytheon, conceived the idea for Air and Space
Day
in  2000,  and  it has attracted more visitors and exhibits each of the
two
times it has been held since, he said.
   All   donations  and  concession  proceeds  will  be  used  to  pay
for
construction  of  a  free,  public  observatory  | with a 12-foot
diameter,
fiberglass  dome  and  a  14  inch  telescope  | for the Town of
Tewksbury,
Manning  said.  He  said he hoped the event would raise $14,000, about
what
the observatory would cost.
   Raytheon,  Wal-Mart,  Constellation  New  Energy,  Lockheed  Martin
and
Hanscom   Air   Force  Base  sponsored  the  event,  and  some  200
people
volunteered.


 

 

 

 

 






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