Yesterday, I spent time with Jim Horn, the man who was hired to maintain the Zeiss VI planetarium star projector you see above. (This is a photo I took in 1994 in the Morehead Planetarium star theater.) Jim shared with me dozens of slides, pictures, and artifacts he’d been given or that were trash-bound but that he rescued during his 1969 to 2001 tenure at Morehead. As I look over the images of the star projector, the building, employees, and astronauts, I’m blown away by the fact that Chapel Hill was every bit a NASA training hub as existed in the sixties and seventies.
Today, I’ll have lunch with Richard McColman, the head of the GSK Fulldome Theater (as the star theater is now called since its 2010 modernization). Richard’s tenure of 1992 to present has involved upgrading the theater from mechanical to digital. Morehead continues to be a world class facility in part due to Richard’s efforts, those dovetailing perfectly in with Jim Horn’s perpetual upgrades and improvements of the past.
Tomorrow, I’ll get a chance to work with Todd Boyette, the Director of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, to further map out the two Morehead book projects I am pursuing with his blessing.
As my research deepens, I’ll put tidbits here for those who are hungry to know about astronaut training at Morehead and stories, like those of under-the-stars marriage proposals or astronauts coming to dinner.