Space Pioneers of Albuquerque

Cover of Space Pioneers: In Their Own WordsOn Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm, enjoy a tour through time as author Loretta Hall describes crucial contributions to space travel made by scientists, engineers, and assorted adventurers from Albuquerque. This presentation will be based on oral history interview excerpts included in her book “Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words“.

In her book, ninety space pioneers describe their experiences while working on space research and exploration from the 1940s through the space shuttle program. Some of these men and women were well known as astronauts or members of Mission Control for Apollo flights to the Moon, and some were minor players in the programs-people like lab technicians, weather forecasters, welders, and helicopter pilots who supported rocket tests. Their stories disclose events and behind-the-scenes details available nowhere else. They reveal the human experiences of an era that extended from the launch of this planet’s first “artificial moon” to routine shuttle missions carrying people and supplies between Earth and the International Space Station. Drawn from the archives of the oral history program supported by the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation, the excerpts describe funny, frightening, and fascinating episodes. They paint the hues of human experience on the canvas of technological achievements. In this book, for the first time, extensive portions of the New Mexico Museum of Space History and International Space Hall of Fame’s oral history collection are available to the general public. Supplemented with photographs and annotated for historical context, this presentation offers a unique glimpse into humanity’s struggles to become a spacefaring race. That perspective forms an important foundation for the new era of commercial spaceflight and interplanetary exploration.

The program will be held at the Albuquerque Museum at 2000 Mountain Rd. NW in Old Town. Parking is free in the lot south of the Museum. Admission to the Museum and the AHS program is also free.

Photo of Loretta HallLoretta Hall has been interested in space travel since her teenage years. She followed closely the early NASA programs: selection of the first astronauts (the Mercury Seven), the suborbital and orbital missions of Mercury and Gemini, the Apollo steps toward a moon landing. She was entranced and thrilled to watch a live telecast of man’s first steps on the moon.
In 1977, Loretta moved to New Mexico and became enamored with the state’s rich cultural diversity and long history of indigenous people, European colonizers, and American settlers.
Thirty years later, when plans for Spaceport America, the country’s only purpose-built commercial spaceflight facility, began moving forward, she was fascinated to discover the important role New Mexico has played in the development of space travel. She decided to herald that unheralded history by writing the only book to document the historic events in the state and the personal stories of the people who accomplished them. Out of this World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel, which was published in 2011, was selected as the Best New Mexico Book in the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards. Her book Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words won the Science category of the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and was also named “Best Book” of the contest.
Loretta is a Space Ambassador for the National Space Society, a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Speakers Bureau and the Albuquerque Historical Society Speakers Bureau..