Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NASA Honors Former Florida Today Columnist

A former Florida Today columnist, three other veteran aerospace reporters and a public affairs officer were honored by NASA today for their efforts to chronicle the nation's space program at Kennedy Space Center.

The name of the late Milt Salamon, who worked as a local columnist at Florida Today and its predecessor Today for almost three decades, was permanently inscribed on a Roll Of Honor called the "Chroniclers" at the NASA News Center at the agency's Launch Complex 39 Press Site.

A wall on the east side of the NASA News Center now includes gold plates inscribed with the names of Salamon as well as Sue Butler of the Daytona Beach News Journal and the Associated Press; the late Jerry Hannifin of Time magazine; the late Rudy Abramson of the Los Angeles Times; and the late Frank Colella, the first manager of Public Affairs at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The Chroniclers Wall recognizes the career achievements of the writers, journalists, broadcasters and communicators who covered the agency at KSC for more than 10 years and have retired or are no longer working in aerospace journalism. Famous names on the wall include former CBS News anchor Walter Chronkite, Jules Bergman of ABC News, author Martin Caiden, local radio personality Mercer Livermore, Roy Neal of NBC News and longtime Associated Press Aerospace Writer Howard Benedict.

NASA noted the special role Salamon played in writing about the people who have worked at Kennedy Space Center and lived on the Space Coast. Many ended up as characters in columns written by Salamon, who was known for putting the names of KSC workers and others in the community in bold print in the newspaper.

"He probably wrote more about the ordinary people who worked here than anybody else," said Hugh Harris, former director of public affairs at KSC.

The addition of Salamon and the others brings to 62 the number of names on the Chroniclers Wall.


Mark Lopa said...

Hugh Harris...the best launch commentator there ever was for the shuttle. Nobody has come close to being as informative as he was during a countdown. Let's hope they give him one more crack at it for the last launch. It would be fitting for the person who called the first launch to call the last launch.

Lisa.Live! said...

Mr. Salamon was my first patient, the first day of a new job, Dec. 18th 2001. I remember being very impressed with him, in our brief encounter. He was a fascinating man. He passed away shortly thereafter.

Charles Boyer said...

Two things: I'm glad to see Mr. Salamon's work recognized. Historians of the space program will find his work an invaluable resource when it comes to describing the whole breadth of Project Apollo. Far too many writers focus on the top of the rocket and the astronauts and forget the tens of thousands below. Without them, the astronauts may as well as stayed in Houston. Salamon gave those men and women faces and voices.

Florida Today should archive his entire set of columns and publish them, either through a traditional publisher or at least through Lulu or another micropublisher. That way, families of the folks Mr. Salamon mentioned can revel in the human history that their forebears helped make happen. That's important stuff as we get further and further away from Apollo and those folks pass on with increasing frequency.

Secondly, where is Jack King on the Roll of Honor?

If Frank Colella's name is up there and Jack King's isn't then there is an omission or oversight, take your pick.

Jack King, for all intents and purposes was the voice of Apollo and did far more than that. Hearing his voice on the radio as we waited for a launch is something from my childhood I will never, ever forget, and to this day it's quite easy to find King's voice on umpteen launch films.