Astronauts Memorial

Tribute to the Star Voyagers

Stone Business - July, 2003

Space Mirror Memorial, at the Kennedy Space Center

The site of the Space Mirror Memorial, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is visited by three million people annually. (Photos courtesy Creative Edge Mastershop Inc.)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida

And, now, there are seven more names.

The Space Mirror Memorial, located on the visitors’ center for the space center, is a continuing tribute to those lost in the line of duty with the U.S. space program. The list ran to 17 names before this year ... and, after the breakup of the Columbia space shuttle on Feb. 1, there are seven more: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Kalpana Chalwa, David M. Brown, Laurel P. Clark and Ilan Ramon.

The Space Mirror, built in 1991, is actually a unique stone memorial; the 42.5' X 50' face is comprised of 90 mirror-polished, 1.5"-thick black-granite slabs - with a total stone weight of 21.5 tons - attached to a 125-ton steel frame­work. The names are cut out of the granite and inlayed with acrylic letters with minutely grooved faces to diffuse light.

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, a non-profit association that also operates the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space Center, maintains the memorial. The foun­dation receives its main funding from sales of the Challenger memorial license plate issued by the state of Florida, receiving roughly half of the rev­enues.

To do the cutting and inlay work for the addition of the Columbia astronauts to the memorial, the AMF turned to Creative Edge Mastershop Inc. of Fairfield, Iowa.■