Hutchinson Chris Orwoll calls himself "a child of the Apollo era."
Now, Orwoll, chief executive and president of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, will be a big part of the national and worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of space exploration.
The Cosmosphere in central Kansas will host a series of events and speakers through the rest of year, including men who walked on the moon, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, shuttle astronauts, the pad leader for four space flight programs and the curator of the National Air and Space museum.
"The series of events and speakers planned for this fall should rekindle the excitement of space travel and exploring the heavens, similar to what we saw back in October of 1957, when Sputnik launched and ignited" the space race, Orwoll said.
Daniel Bateman, who heads the Cosmosphere camp programs, ranks the development of satellite coverage that enables global communication as the top benefit of space exploration. Other payoffs include the development of computers and a miniature technology that has flooded into the commercial world, along with "hundreds and hundreds more," he said.
"We've lived through an incredible time with the moon race," Bateman said. "We've learned how small we really are."
Some of the guests include Brian Duffy, retired NASA astronaut who flew four shuttle missions, and Tim Terry, a flight simulation supervisor responsible for training astronauts in the shuttle program, on Friday; Ed Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, on Saturday; Scott Carpenter, one of the original 7 Mercury astronauts, and Guenter Wendt, pad leader for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, on Tuesday; and Martin Collins, curator of the Space History Division at the National Air and Space Museum, on Nov. 10.