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Luke's Lightsaber Goes To NASA - 8/28/07

 
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JedHead (Matt Tolosa)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:44 pm    Post subject: Luke's Lightsaber Goes To NASA - 8/28/07 Reply with quote

Thought I'd post this, even though it's old news, but high profile nonetheless!


RL Members In Attendance:

Chris Richards (Jedi)
Kathy S. (ANH Leia)
Dale Tolosa (X-Wing Pilot)
Matt Tolosa (ROTJ Luke)


501st members in attendance:

Jun Arbues (Stormtrooper)
Ron Drinkard (Boba Fett)
Brad Simonds (Jango Fett)
Harry Yung (Stormtrooper)

Annie Drinkard (handler/photographer)
Tonie Simonds (handler/photographer)



It was a couple of days before the event when I received an e-mail from LFL stating it was to be a confidential, limited exclusive event. I was contacted personally (referred by Mary Franklin) and requested very specific characters. I quickly posted the info on our local 501st forums and contacted some local RL members who I was sure could make it on such short notice (and on a weekday morning too).

Well, Dale and I arrived at the Oakland Airport Hilton at 6:50 am, and Ron, Annie, Brad and Tonie were already there in the lobby. Shortly after Harry arrived, then Jun. Shortly, the Lucasfilm people showed up and we all went to our changing area on the 3rd Floor - the Presidential Suite.

Although we had until 9 am to get ready, some of us began changing, while others watched TV or ate the light breakfast snacks that were provided. We also got introduced to our contact, Tracy Cannobio (yes, that's her real name), as well as Bonnie Burton and Mark, LFL's Chewbacca. Then Kathy showed up all dressed up, with just a bit of touching up to do.

During suit up, we also got to see (and hold) the actual Luke lightsaber prop from ROTJ that would eventually be on board the space shuttle. As per my request, Tracy provided us with Lucasfilm stationary for us to write a note to the astronauts which read, "To the crew of STS-120, May the Force be with you!" We all signed our names, along with our character names. This was all put in a large envelope with 4 Endor Base patches and 4 GGG patches to be given together to the astronauts by Lucasfilm.

Around 9 am, we were ready. It was nice to see a good mix of Rebs and Imps heading down to the waiting limos: an Escalade and a Hummer. While going over some brief details of the event, we were asked to pose for pictures for people (and staff) that happened to be there, as well as sign some autographs. Then the "bucket heads" went in the Hummer, while the Rebels and Chewie rode in the Escalade.

The ride in the limo was quite an experience (some of us hadn't been in one before). Dale brought a CD of Star Wars "jams" that impressed Tracy and Bonnie, and which got us more into character, I think. When we arrived at the airport curbside, there were already press and people waiting for us. As we exited, there was cheering and applause, and we made our way into the baggage claim area. Chewie, who was carrying the lightsaber with him, led the rest of us inside where we were met with more cheers and photos. Finally, we got to the podium area with balloons, signs, and Star Wars music blaring away!

We stood by the podium as representatives from NASA and Southwest said a few words, and then it was off to the tarmac (but not before taking more photos and signing more autographs). Dale and I even met someone from the Cinemax event there!

Taken to a private entrance, we found ourselves with two vans waiting for us. Since there wasn't enough clearance for Ron and Brad to sit, they sat in the back with the doors open, which was quite a sight! Arriving by the plane which would take the saber, we took more photos and went to a break area for about 15 minutes. Being in an cool room made us realize how hot it was outside. We chatted a bit with the pilots there, which gave us a chance to talk about what we do a bit more. After taking a group photo with them, we went back to the tarmac to meet the press for a photo op by the plane, where everyone from the pilots, to crew, and some kids on the plane were waving from the plane.

Along with press, there were many Southwest employees and representatives there. Some of us were interviewed and then Chewie was given headphones to help "push" the plane off, as we waved goodbye. Then we got back in the van, and went back to the hotel.

After taking more pics outside the hotel, we suited down, cooled off, and not 10 minutes later, we already saw a news clip of the event on KGO! Tracy gave us goodies from Southwest and Lucasfilm (which were awesome!). She said that she would include a group photo of us along with the note and patches to give to astronauts after framing it. We said our goodbyes, and some of us had lunch nearby at Carrow's (thanks, Annie ).

It was a great day and I think we really showed how professional (and fun) we can be at a historic event such as this, as the LFL people expressed their appreciation and gratitude. I'd like to thank everyone who participated, including Karen Louie for making this something we won't soon forget!


REMINDER:

The launch will be next week, Oct. 23!

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Last edited by JedHead (Matt Tolosa) on Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:57 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Kay_Dee (Kathy)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the write-up Matt!

I think we should add this event took place on 8-28-2007


I'd like to add links to photos and news coverage of the event:

SFFF Photo Album
Video News Coverage
StarWars.com Video Coverage
Official Star Wars Blog
Bonnie Burton's Photos

I felt it was an extreme honor to have LFL and NASA request members of the Rebel Legion to appear at this event! Together, the "Rebels" "Imperials" and "Bounty Hunters" were able to represent a nice cross section of the Star Wars universe!
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JedHead (Matt Tolosa)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An update about the launch (courtesty of sw.com):


Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber, the famous movie prop from the Star Wars saga is now aboard space shuttle Discovery as it waits for its scheduled October 23rd launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The Jedi lightsaber has been carefully stowed away and will travel into space with the seven STS-120 astronauts to the International Space Station before returning to Earth 14 days (and six million miles) later to mark the legendary film's 30th anniversary.

During the two-week mission, Star Wars fans will be able to leave their best wishes to the space shuttle astronauts. Be sure to check http://www.starwars.com over the next few days for more information on how you can get a message to the shuttle crew and what the plans are for the lightsaber upon its return to Earth.

In the meantime, you can watch how the lightsaber's journey began as it left Lucasfilm's headquarters on its way to NASA in this video:

http://www.starwars.com/video/view/000545.html
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Schph Gochi (Phyllis Schulte)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

now...that must have been one event you will always remember....
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JedHead (Matt Tolosa)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope the astronauts got our Endor Base patches. dunno
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Princess Leia Organa (Lori)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schph Gochi wrote:
now...that must have been one event you will always remember....

I have to agree with you Phyllis there! Great job Endor Base! What an awesome event!

I wish I could see Discovery go off on the 23rd, but I live a little over 3 hours away Neutral
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know if this would be broadcast anywhere? I'd like to get a DVD copy if someone could record it.
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hofmann (Matt Hofmann)
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CNN is always good about showing the launches, Matt.

Oh, and for people who don't know, she lifts off at 11:38 Eastern Tuesday.
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JedHead (Matt Tolosa)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hofmann wrote:


Oh, and for people who don't know, she lifts off at 11:38 Eastern Tuesday.



Interesting launch time. Coincidence?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From sw.com:

http://www.starwars.com/community/news/media/news20071018.html


To send a message to the astronauts during their two-week mission, go here:

http://spacecenter.org/message.asp


Don't forget to mention the Rebel Legion! Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The astronauts' wake-up call:

http://www.starwars.com/community/news/media/news20071105b.html
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Ewok78 (Mange Caroline)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that in the French magazine it seems to have been very fun ! Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got an email from NASA - they got back safely earlier today and all said they had a great trip!



(Yes I know I'm a major geek being on thier regular mailing list, but I like getting details of their flights to share with my class - gotta convince the little buggers that science is worth thier time somehow!)
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