News

Grand Rapids Public Museum Celebrates Space Exploration and the Life of Roger B. Chaffee During “Roger That!”

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today that Roger That! is returning this February for the third year. Roger That! celebrates space exploration and the life of Grand Rapids native, Roger B. Chaffee, with a multi-day experience, featuring a public celebration at the GRPM and an academic and public conference at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).

Public Celebration at the GRPM

Join the GRPM for educational exhibitions and activities taking place throughout the day on Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16. Learn more about Roger B. Chaffee and space exploration with hands-on activities including jet propulsion, making planispheres, underwater ROVs, space artifacts, and much more!

Visitors will find activities throughout the Museum. Activities are included with general admission. Planetarium shows take place on the hour throughout the day and are $4 per person and free for Museum members.

For planetarium show schedules and to purchase tickets, visit grpm.org/planetarium.

On Saturday, February 16, Astronaut Nicole Stott will give a presentation titled, “Space for Everyone” in the Meijer Theater at the GRPM. Tickets are $2 each with purchased general admission or $5 for lecture only tickets. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at grpm.org/planetarium or by calling 616.929.1700.

Nicole Stott is “the Artistic Astronaut” who creatively combines the awe and wonder of her spaceflight experience with her artwork to inspire everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on spaceship Earth. She has dedicated her life to sharing the beauty of Earth from space with others and believes that these perspectives have the power to increase appreciation and obligation to care for our home planet and each other.

Nicole’s experience as a NASA Astronaut includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. A personal highlight of her spaceflight was painting the first watercolor in space. She is also an Aquanaut, and along with her NEEMO9 crew, she lived and worked during an 18-day mission on the Aquarius undersea habitat.

Now retired from NASA, Nicole creatively combines the awe and wonder of her spaceflight experience and artwork to spark inspiration and raise awareness of the surprising interplay between science and art. She is the founder of the Space For Art Foundation, and co-founder of Constellation.

STEM Education Days for school groups in conjunction with Roger That! will be held on Wednesday, February 13 and Thursday, February 14. To reserve your school for these programs, please visitgrpm.org/schools or call 616.929.1734.

Academic and Public Conference

Join Grand Valley State University on Friday, February 15 at the Pew Campus for their Academic and Public Conference. See presentations on space and science, space and society, and a student design challenge where local students get to show off their innovative solutions to a number of challenges involving space exploration.

The conference will kick off with presenter J Brett Grill, who is well known in West Michigan for his bronze statues of J. William Seidman, Jay Van Andel, Gerald and Betty Ford and Roger B. Chaffee. Brett will speak at 11 a.m. giving his keynote address, “Remembering the Future.”

The evening speaker will be Astronaut/Aquanaut/Artist Nicole Stott. Nicole’s keynote, “eARTh from space,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. in addition to her presentation at the GRPM on Saturday, February 16, “Space for Everyone.”

The conference is free and open to the public. Register at www.gvsu.edu/rogerthat.

Apollo Tragedy

On January 27, 1967, tragedy struck NASA’s Apollo program when a flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle being prepared for the first piloted flight, the AS-204 mission. Three astronauts, Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, a veteran of Mercury and Gemini missions; Lt. Col. Edward H. White, the astronaut who had performed the first United States extravehicular activity during the Gemini program; and Grand Rapids Native Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut preparing for his first spaceflight, died in this tragic accident. The Grand Rapids Public Museum renamed its planetarium to the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium the same year.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting The Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees, and exhibit/event listings, please visit www.grpm.org.