Fly-Around Dine-Around Fundraiser features Apollo astronauts

HUTCHINSON, Kansas — The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center’s annual end-of-summer fundraising event is celebrating its second year on Aug. 24.

The Cosmosphere will welcome Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin (Apollo XI, Gemini XII), Walt Cunningham (Apollo VII), Joe Engle (Backup LM Pilot for Apollo XIV, STS-51I), Richard Gordon (Apollo XII, Gemini XI) and Fred Haise (Apollo XIII); Shuttle astronauts Jeff Ashby (STS-93, STS-100, STS-112), Steven Hawley (STS-41D, STS-61C, STS-31, STS-82 and STS-93) and Bruce McCandless II (STS-41B, STS-31, CAPCOM for Apollo XI, Astronaut support crew for Apollo XIV); and guests Laura Shepard Churchley (daughter of Alan Shepard: Apollo XIV, MR-3) and Paul Mardikian, lead conservator for the Apollo F-1 Conservation Project and co-founder and senior conservator of Terra Mare Conservation.

The group of guests will be participating in various activities throughout the day, including book and model signings, a progressive dinner and the reception that gives the entire event its name, the Fly Around Dine Around.

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Cosmosphere’s Grand Lobby and Rotunda, patrons will sample food selections provided by Anchor Inn, Carlos O’Kelly’s, Carriage Crossing, Dillons Chinese Kitchen, Dillons Marketplace, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Girst’s: Catering For You, Hog Wild, Hutchinson Town Club, Jillian’s Italian Grill, Pizza Ranch, The Raz Smokehouse, Serendipity Cupcakes, Spangles, Starbucks, and Sunflower Supper Club and Catering. Beverages will be provided by City Beverage and Egbert Liquor.

Door prizes will be awarded from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will be held during the reception, offering collectibles, including signed models, photos, prints and more. Two highlighted items included in the auction will be a Navy yearbook from the USS Oriskany, signed by Alan Shepard, and an Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch” Professional 42 MM.

Additionally, a limited number of personalized, signed copies of The All-American Boys, Apollo Moon Missions and The X-15 Rocket Plane with a meet and greet opportunity will be part of the silent auction. A full list of items for auction will be available on 10 days before the event.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., the red carpet will roll out for the arrival of the astronauts and honored guests, who will make their way through the crowd to the Shuttle stage in the Cosmosphere’s lobby. Apollo astronauts will share memories of their missions and guests will hear firsthand stories and accounts of experiences from the early days of the Space Race. Astronauts will mingle, but will not pose for photos or sign items.

Tickets for the Fly Around Dine Around Reception are $40 for Cosmosphere members, $50 for general public. Tickets can be reserved by calling 800-397.0330. A credit card is required to guarantee reservation.


Earlier in the day, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hall of Space Galleries, several astronauts will be participating in book and model signings. Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the Moon, will be signing copies of his new book, Mission to Mars, in the Kennedy Theater, located in the Cold War Gallery. In the Investigate Space: The Astronaut Experience Gallery, Shuttle astronauts Jeff Ashby and Steven Hawley will be meeting and greeting with visitors while signing personalized photos and Shuttle models.

Hall of Space admission ($12) and purchase of designated items for signings are required for all entries. including Cosmosphere members and Reno County residents, as the day is dedicated to fundraising activities. A $20 donation is required for items to be signed by Jeff Ashby or Steve Hawley. Proof of purchase from the Cargo Bay Gift Store for items to be presented for signing is required and must be presented for admission.

Families or groups who wish to attend the signings will need to purchase separate admission for each person, but need only purchase one item for signing per family/group.

Buzz Aldrin will not be signing anything other than copies of Mission to Mars purchased through the Cargo Bay Gift Store, and will not personalize signatures. Jeff Ashby and Steven Hawley will not be signing anything other than designated models and photos purchased through the Cargo Bay Gift Store.

All books, photos and models attendees wish to present for signing must be purchased through the Cosmosphere’s Cargo Bay Gift Store. Advanced purchases are strongly recommended.

Visitors may take photos of the astronauts while their item is being signed.

These guidelines will be strictly enforced.


From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., patrons will join all of the guests for a five-course dinner in the Apollo and Mollett Galleries. A limited number of seats are still available for $200 per person and include admission to the Fly Around Dine Around Reception.

Progressive Dinner patrons also have the option of purchasing a photo with the entire group of honored guests for $100.

Tickets to the Progressive Dinner can be reserved by calling 620-665.9310. A credit card is required to guarantee reservation.

The recommended dress code for all events is Business Casual.

The Hall of Space Museum will close to the public at 12 p.m. Aug. 24, in preparation for the Book and Model Signings. The Cosmosphere will close to the public at 4 p.m. in preparation for the Progressive Dinner and Fly Around Dine Around Reception. The Cosmosphere will open at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, to accommodate out-of-town travelers who stay overnight.

All proceeds from the events will go toward Cosmosphere fundraising initiatives.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Cosmosphere houses the largest collection of U.S. space artifacts outside the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. It also houses the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. The Carey Digital Dome Theater proudly supports education. The Cosmosphere’s education department provides field trips, assemblies, and the Camp KAOS summer space adventures. For more information:

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