Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., will donate a historic photo of Dr. Wernher Von Braun to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala., during a special ceremony in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Skylab.
Von Braun, credited as the Father of the American Space Program visited Boulder in 1968 when he was center director for the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). At Ball he met with engineers who were designing four Skylab science instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet spectrograph; Extreme Ultraviolet Spectroheliograph; White Light Coronagraph; and the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer-Spectroheliometer.
Skylab, a predecessor to the International Space Station, launched on May 14, 1973 and was the nation's first foray into significant scientific research in microgravity. For nine months, the three Skylab crews participated in missions of 28, 59 and 84 days, and proved humans could live and work effectively for long durations in space.
Ball worked with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the High Altitude Observatory (now NCAR) and the Harvard College Observatory to develop the instruments. The Ball instruments were praised by NASA officials as being remarkable in that they pushed the state of the art of solar studies.
Astronaut Rusty Schweickart was the backup commander of the first Skylab mission, responsible for developing extra-vehicular activities procedures and techniques used to successfully retrieve and replace the solar film for MSFC s Apollo Telescope Mount that hosted Ball s four observational Skylab instruments. Thanks to Ball (and a few others) we got great pics of the Sun and its shenanigans, said Schweickart.
Von Braun proposed the idea for a Huntsville Space and Rocket Center in 1960. The center s archives include a wide assortment of historically-significant personal, technical and administrative documents, including the vast Von Braun collection of papers used by researchers and scholars. The Space & Rocket Center is home to Space Camp and Aviation Challenge and recognized as one of the most comprehensive U.S. manned space flight hardware museums in the world.
Ball s donation ceremony at the Space & Rocket Center will begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by the 25th Annual Dr. Wernher von Braun Memorial Dinner at the Center s Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.