NASA Space Center Houston Foundation’s Inaugural Galaxy Gala
By Jennifer Roosth
Photography by Kim Coffman and Catch Light Group
THE SCENE: A sensation of floating in zero gravity overcame guests as they entered the Galaxy Gala, with huge screens from corner to corner providing a visual feeling of weightlessness. A theatrical countdown kicked off the evening with the roar of the blast off from a rocket launch. Once they were seated, the crowd received a message from astronaut Terry Virts Jr., currently aboard the International Space Station, who greeted the 700 guests, before Gena and Chuck Norris’ introduction of the event’s leaders. The evening also included a top-flight panel of astronauts including Ellen Ochoa, Gene Cernan, and Mark Kelly led by CNN correspondent Miles O’Brian; all the distinguished speakers received a standing ovation. After dinner, guests filled the dance floor and grooved under the stars to the sounds of the Lt. Dan Band led by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, who starred in the film Apollo 13.
THE VIBE: There was a very nostalgic vibe to the event as many remembered various successes of the NASA Space Program. The pre-gala area showed historic films about the space program and displayed artifacts from Space Center Houston, including space suits, items brought back from several space missions and the presidential podium from which John Kennedy made his historic speech announcing the goal of landing a man on the moon.
THE CAUSE: The Galaxy Gala was led by chairs Alice and Keith Mosing. NASA Space Center Houston’s hugely successful inaugural event raised more than $1 million for the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. Richard Allen Jr., President and CEO of Space Center Houston, applauded the leadership for the evening and the impact the funds will have on the nonprofit’s largest and most ambitious exhibit ever built, “Independence Plaza,” which will open later this year, featuring a high-fidelity space shuttle replica, the Independence, mounted on the historic NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft.