Monday, September 07, 2009

Space Auction Opens with a “Big Bang”

More than three hundred space fans have already secured a virtual paddle number in order to bid today in an online charity SPACE auction at

While no remnants of the Big Bang (that we know of!) are available, astronauts John Glenn, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin and 30 more legends have their space artifacts and signature on the auction block for this event which benefits the nonprofit Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Bids are already rolling in on the 30 lots of space artifacts and memorabilia. Up for grabs are such rare items as a couch segment from the famous Apollo 13 Command Module, an American flag carried to the moon onboard Apollo 14, a Skylab astronaut jacket worn in space and a John Glenn autographed issue of LIFE magazine.

“The auction is a great way for the astronauts to show our support for such a worthy cause,” said Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise. “The proceeds from the artifacts we donate help pave the way for the future innovators of science and technology in America by the college scholarships the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation provides.”

The auction promises a bang for anyone who has ever gazed up at the sky. The launch window for bidding closes on September 12, 2009 at 5 PM EDT.

All auction proceeds go directly to support the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s mission of offering scholarships to top science and technology college students. To date the Foundation has dispersed more than $2.8 million to students nationwide.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury astronauts. Its mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in these fields. Today, more than 80 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station Programs have joined in this educational endeavor. For more information, call 321-455-7015 or log on to

About the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

More than 70 astronauts are helping the United States retain its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was established originally in 1984 as the Mercury Seven Foundation by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury Seven astronauts, Mrs. Betty Grissom (widow of the seventh, Virgil "Gus" Grissom), William Douglas, M.D. (the Project Mercury flight surgeon), and Henri Landwirth, an Orlando businessman and friend of the astronauts. The founding astronauts were Malcolm Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., John H. Glenn Jr., Walter M. Schirra, Alan B. Shepard Jr., and Donald K. (Deke) Slayton. Currently, Apollo astronaut Al Worden is Chairman of the foundation's Board of Directors and five-time shuttle astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson serves as Vice Chairman.

The original Mercury Seven Foundation began on a shoestring budget, and the first seven scholarships, at $1,000 each, were awarded in 1986. As more money was raised the amount and number of scholarships increased gradually. The foundation now awards annually 19 scholarships each worth $10,000, for a total of $190,000. To date, the foundation has awarded $2.8 million in scholarships to deserving students nationwide.

Scholarship money is raised through astronaut appearances, fund-raising events, corporate and individual donations, and astronaut autographs. In 1995, with the realization that the five remaining Mercury astronauts would not be able to raise scholarship funds forever, the Board of Directors voted to broaden the membership and to change the name to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs have now joined in this worthwhile endeavor.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
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