Apollopalooza set to blast off


Wings Over the Rockies museum is picking up more than just STEAM this month.

The popular and growing air and space museum in Denver will be the local nexus for an international celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

On July 13 through July 20, Wings will be host to a week of events at one of the largest space festivals in the region.

In addition to the third-annual STEAM For All Festival, ApolloPalooza will offer dozens of  activities, exhibits, seminars and more all dedicated to celebrating the first Apollo moon landing and showcasing the latest in space exploration and technology, Wings official said.

The event features an Apollo Astronaut, industry-leading companies, educational STEM activities, world-class speakers and exclusive industry access.

“Apollopalooza will be out of this world,” said Wings spokesman Ben Theune.

Daily and weekly passes are available for the event, but some lectures and other events are not included with the pass, officials said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Apollo astronauts, Gene Kranz, Be The Astronaut traveling exhibit, and more than 50 other activities, presentations and thought leaders dedicated to exciting audiences about the history and future of space exploration,” Theune said.

Passes start at $12.95 for some single events, about $23-$28 for day passes and between $100-$185 for a full-week pass. Some VIP events and speakers are extra.

For information and tickets, go to https://wingsmuseum.org/events/apollo/.

Highlights of Events

• July 13 – 6:30 PM – Moonwalker & Apollo astronaut Sen. Harrison Schmitt

• July 14 – Noon – 4 p.m. STEAM For All Festival – $5 for adults & free for youth

• July 16 – 6 AM – Launch Day Breakfast with Gene Kranz

• July 16 – 6:30 PM – Gene Kranz Presentation

• July 17 – 6 PM – “Apollo 11” documentary film screening

• July 18 – 6 PM – “A Brush with the Future” film screening

• July 20 – 6 PM – 1969-themed Viewing Party

Gene Kranz

Hear from Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz about his distinguished career, his experience putting the first men on the moon and about his famous white vests.

Eugene Kranz

Eugene Kranz played a critical role in many milestones in America’s space program, serving as flight director for Apollo missions 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17.

After receiving his bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Parks College of St. Louis University in 1954, Kranz was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force, and flew high performance jet fighter aircraft, including the F-80, F-86, and F-100. In 1958, he worked as a flight-test engineer for McDonnell Aircraft, developing the Quail Decoy Missile for B-52 and B-47 aircraft. Kranz joined the NASA Space Task Group at Langley, Virginia, in 1960, and was assigned the position of assistant flight director for Project Mercury. He assumed flight director duties for all Project Gemini Missions, and was branch chief for Flight Control Operations. He was selected as division chief for Flight Control in 1968, and continued his duties as a flight director for the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing before taking over the leadership of the Apollo 13 “Tiger Team.”

He was discharged from the Air Force Reserve as a Captain in 1972.

He contributed his expertise to a number of other NASA missions during his career, including the Skylab Program. After the Skylab Program concluded, he was named deputy director of Flight Operations for NASA, which gave him the responsibility for space flight planning, training and mission operations, aircraft operations, and flight crew operations.

In 1983, he was assigned the post of director of Mission Operations, and given the responsibility for all aspects of mission design, development, maintenance, and operations of all related mission facilities, as well as the preparation of the Space Shuttle flight software.

— Wings and NASA staff

Sen. Harrison H. Schmitt

Apollopalooza will feature a presentation by moonwalker and Apollo 17 astronaut Sen. Harrison H. Schmitt.

Harrison H. Schmitt

Schmitt will share his experience as an Apollo 17 Astronaut and insights on the entire Apollo program. Schmitt is also a planetary geologist, aerospace and earth science consultant, and former United States Senator from New Mexico. This event will take place on the main hangar floor.

Schmitt is one of the last remaining men to have set foot on the moon.

NASA’s Apollo 17 Moon mission, he explored the Valley of Taurus-Littrow as both astronaut and geologist. After leaving Earth’s orbit, on the way to the Moon, Schmitt photographed the most requested image of Earth from space—the full Earth picture often referred to as “The Blue Marble.”

Schmitt graduated from the California Institute of Technology, became a Fulbright Scholar in Norway, and obtained his Doctorate in Geology from Harvard University. Dr. Schmitt was elected to the United States Senate in 1976 and represented New Mexico from 1977 to 1983. As the only natural scientist in the Senate since Thomas Jefferson, Schmitt chaired the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education. Subsequent activities include Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Chair of the NASA Advisory Council, and member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Senator Schmitt consults on aerospace issues, serves as Director of several New Mexico and national corporations, and publishes extensively on space, science, technology, and the U. S. Constitution.

— Wings and NASA staff

Joe Engle

Hear from astronaut and X-15 Rocket Plane pilot Maj Gen Joe Engle on his experiences earning his astronaut wings in the X-15 program, becoming America’s youngest astronaut and eventually commanding the space shuttle’s second flight on STS-2.

Joe Engle

As a youngster in Abilene, Kansas, a burning desire for all things airborne seized Engle. When he wasn’t building model airplanes or sketching them, he would daydream about flying. Indeed, some of his best “flights of fancy” took place as he quietly gazed upward in the old Methodist Church he attended with his family. But what looked like youthful piety was actually an imaginary dogfight, taking place with dramatic dives, loops and twists between the crossbeams of the sprawling building.

In 1963 became one of the test pilots for the X-15 program.

Earned astronaut wings as X-15 pilot, becoming America’s youngest astronaut at age 32.

In 1966, formally selected by NASA for the fifth group of astronaut candidates.

Commanded the second flight of the space shuttle and was the first person to ever manually fly the spacecraft from its re-entry speed of Mach 25 to a landing.

Commanded the five-man crew of STS-511, which performed the first successful in-orbit rendezvous with, and repair of, a SYSCOM IV-3 satellite.

— Wings and NASA staff

Guest Speakers

Daniel Hicks of Spaceport America CEO. Hicks boasts a 34-year career with the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range

• Wayne Ottinger, Founder of Aerospace Legacy Engineering & Technology Recovery Organization (ALETRO) and consultant on the NASA Study for Lunar Landing Training Vehicle

• Vance Brand, American former naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut.

• Richard Palin, Assistant Professor of Metamorphic Geology at the Colorado School of Mines

• Chuck Stout, Model-maker, former interactive exhibit designer and current Wings Over the Rockies employee.

• Thomas Thayer, Aeronautical engineer of 42 years with experience working for Lockheed Space System as well as TRW Systems during the build-up for the Apollo Program.

• Walter E. Allen, former principal staff engineer and Space Department Group Supervisor for Space Power Systems at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Recipient of the NASA Group Achievement Award

• Amanda Hendrix, Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

• Ed Grace, Principal Engineer, Apollo Program, MIT Instrumentation/Draper Laboratory

• Stephen Bailey, President and CEO, Deep Space Systems

• Darren Raspa, Chief Historian and Director of the History Center and Archives at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Phillips Research Site at Kirtland Air Force Base

• Tom Chambers, Research Analyst, Lunar Receiving Laboratory, Apollo Program

• Karen Lynne-Daniels Ivy, Associate Dean – Innovation & Enterprise, Forbes School of Business & Technology at Ashford University

• Ryan Parker, Chairman of the International Dark Sky Association – Colorado Chapter, founder of the Castle Pines Astronomy Club, member of the Nature Conservancy

• Jack Burns, Researcher on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology at the University of Colorado

• Fred Peters, Previously a CSM Project Engineer for the Apollo Program and Project Engineer for the Skylab Orbital Workshop, NASA/JSC representative to the California Space Institute

• Major General John L. Barry, President & CEO of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Former Air Force combat veteran and fighter pilot of 30 years, USAF “Top Gun” graduate and Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense

• Dr. Nick Schneider, Astrophysics and Planetary Science faculty at the University of Colorado.

• Coye M. Jones, Aerospace Technologist (ret.), NASA Manned Spacecraft Center/Johnson Space Center

• Michelle Bailey, CFO, Deep Space Systems

• Myrna James Yoo, Owner of Apogeo Spatial magazine and Blueline Publishing, whose imprint is on nine books, as well as a consultant in the space and satellite industry

• Wilfredo ‘Wil’ Santiago,  Mechanical Engineer, Commercial Civil Space: Deep Space Exploration, Lockheed Martin Space

• Brittany Stinson, Mission manager at United Launch Alliance (ULA)

• Richard Blake, Founder & Flunky, STEMpunkED

• Tim Cichan, Space Exploration Architect at Lockheed Martin

ApolloPalooza 2019

• Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, 7711 E Academy Blvd.


JULY 13: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 14: NOON – 4 PM

JULY 15: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 16: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 17: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 18: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 19: 10 AM – 5 PM

JULY 20: 10 AM – 4 PM


Adult Daily Pass: $27.95 per person/$22.95 per member

Child Daily Pass: $22.95 per child/17.95 per member

Adult Full Week Pass: $185.00 per person/$150.00 per member

Child Full Week Pass: $100.00 per child/$75.00 per member

VIP Lectures (Sen. Harrison Schmitt & Gene Kranz): $45.00 per person/$40.00 per member

Film Screenings (Apollo 11 & A Brush With the Future): $12.95 per person/$9.95 per member

Viewing Party: $65.00 per person/$55.00 per member

For tickets and information, go to https://wingsmuseum.org