Frank and Carol Hennessey, owners of Hennessey Arabians LLC,introduced the residents of Marion County to a spectacular event which was hosted by the Ocala Marion County Chamber of Commerce. ‘The Overview Experience’, featuring Story Musgrave, a six time shuttle astronaut veteran with six graduate degrees was held at the Marion Theatre. Wednesday, July 20th, 2011.
Throughout “The Overview Experience” Story produced a sensational slide show of the earth and the galaxy as photographed by him while in space by a 600 mm camera he had devised. He could point out each continent, its major cities as well as its geographical and agricultural attributes. You may view some of the picturesque views from space via the internet under “A Space Story” with Story Musgrave and refer to www.spacestory.com for additional information on this world renown inspirational speaker.
The Photographs from Outer Space were breathtaking and phenomenal with hues and picturesque designs not seen from earth. His photographs and text of the T-38 may be found in “The NASA Northrop T-38”, by Story Musgrave with production and design by Lance and Anne Lenehan.
Although Story Musgrave came from humble, difficult and narrow beginnings as a Massachusetts farm boy, he was always a visionary with imagination. It was his imagination in which he could play the film that he could see unfolding. In his’ own wards “I was driving bulldozers on some kind of paradise. I was constructing runways and buildings, but I was driving heavy machinery in some erotic, romantic, foreign land. And so that kind of vision was absolutely too compelling, I did have a push – in terms of escaping the two environments of my childhood – the push to go beyond them, to get ahead of them, to get them behind me – and I had the pull of the Marines itself. I did know I had to get out there and get a worldly experience. But I also did have the fantastic image of myself running big machinery. I had machinery on the farm but I was after bigger stuff, bigger machinery and exotic land.”
With his love with machinery and teaching himself how things worked, he soloed an airplane at 16 years of age. To Story “Airplanes became a major part of his life placing him in a vantage point to see nature in a different way and the beauty there as well”. After being issued a student pilot rating in a twelve month period he flew 310.5 hours in a Cessna Skyhawk C172 of which 249 hours were solo. This led him to acquire further certificates and ratings.
In Story’s biography “Story, The way of Water’’ Anne E. Lenehan wrote, “Story has communicated his own personal relationship with the cosmos through his poetry, his performances and numerous interviews. It is an intimate relationship, even a primitive one, in which the most complete experience is only to be found in total surrender. He stated ‘Immersing oneself in nature – increasing the elasticity of one’s mind’.”
Story surrendered to the experience, the earth, nature, space and the universe and immersed himself. He believes that we will not fully experience the universe unless we immerse ourselves in it rather than imposing ourselves upon it.
Story Musgrave joined the Marine Corps and because of his love for machinery wished to work with cranes, shovels and bulldozers. Yet due to his aptitude, he was assigned to Aviation Engineering Electronics, a school offering an education including but not limited to guided missiles, radar, navigation equipment and rocket launches where he took physics math and use his abilities pertaining to his love of hand tools After preparatory school he attended the Naval Air School, Florida known for its aviation, electricity and instruments where he was responsible for all the electricity. Story also took to the seas and became an aviation electrician on prop-driven fighters called ADs.
Story spoke of death and the fact that it is not the fault of a plane but rather the deviation from focus, checklists and systemization.
Story studied business administration which included sciences, algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, physics, civics biology and chemistry. He said “I liked playing with numbers so majored in math, multi-variant statistics and probability theory. What really appealed to me in those disciplines was the sense of mystery and the uncertainties inherent in both the problems and the solutions despite the medium of mathematics.”
Operations research and his fascination for computers in graduate school at UCLA led him to the fields of artificial intelligence, neurophysiology and the mind. He was working on his medical internship in Lexington Kentucky when NASA announced it would fly scientists in space. That was exactly what Story wished, a chance to continue everything he loved – mechanics, medicine, flying and computing and because of his career paths he was a perfect fit.
As an MD Story was able to use his knowledge to assist with various medical projects within NASA’s developmental programs helping develop the medical support system on the Space Shuttle and design the Skylab sub-atmospheric pressure. He was also the designated doctor on each of his missions should any of the crew require medical assistance.
The preliminary testing for Astronaut selection was done by the National Academy of science and out of thousands of scientists, only seventy were sent to NASA.
Thereafter those selected where they were placed in T-38’s (used for astronaut proficiency training) to show the scientists the type of world they were getting into. It was brutal for those who were non-pilots even if they had great qualifications for the job. Flying the T-38s was also about testing one’s limits, taking one’s own life in life in their hands. In accordance with Kandy Warren who scheduled the T38 flights for NASA at Ellington field “The man, I think has jet fuel running through his veins! Story would rather fly than anything. He had more time in the T-38 aircraft than any9one in the world at one point that included the military”.
In a dramatic conclusion to this spectacular event, Story ‘s slides included photographs of the first Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission where his abilities and visions led to repairs of the telescope in space by instituting various mirrors so that we are able to receive clear images from outer space.
Story Musgrave has had a 30 year career spanning the Apollo era of the 1960s right through the Space shuttle program of the 1990’s. It is with this drive to go out into the world to do something and expand his horizons that he now is a world-renowned inspirational speaker providing at least 100 audiences yearly with the inspiration that there are no restrictions to what one may do. One just need a vision and to act upon those visions. For Story his passion was nature and he connected to nature which he felt was a bond. And initially Story had not completed high school and later received his GED through the Military by testing out with amazing results due to his high aptitude.
I recommend “Story, the Way of Water by Anne E Lenehan” for everyone whether you were able to attend this spectacular event or whether you may require inspiration in your life. Throughout the book you will find his quotations, his poetry, his insights and his visions, It may be that you may be able to rekindle the curiosity, the delights and desires you saw and dreamed of as a child. It may renew those visions you may have lost but still wish to achieve. It is a heartwarming venture of a farm boy who went beyond his humble, difficult and narrow beginnings to become one of the most brilliant inspirational individuals of the time.
RPEG Chamber Member