The Amarillo Airport Advisory Board’s permanent tribute to Commander Rick Husband, the Amarillo native NASA astronaut who perished aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, will be unveiled later this month.
Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport Director of Aviation Mike Conner, who referenced the unveiling is slated Aug. 29 at 10:30 a.m., said the effort stems from the desire to lend more insight into Husband’s life and why he is a fixture within the framework of West Texas history.
“We’re really excited about this particular event,” said Conner, who noted the Board wished to expound upon the portrait and statue of Husband that visitors see at the airport. “We have two astronauts coming, one of which attended school with Rick Husband. They’ll speak for 10 minutes each and then we’ll have a question and answer session with 200 Amarillo students who will also be in attendance.”
Conner said the tribute will enhance the effort to share more about the airport’s namesake while also noting his contributions to the aerospace industry.
“What we’ll be unveiling will have some artifacts related to the Space Shuttle and Husband himself,” he said. “There will be some pictures and other things that lend insight into his life. Part of the reason we wanted to do this is because we didn’t have anything at the airport that explains in detail who he is. Folks know the name of the airport, but there’s little information here about why it’s named in his honor.”
Affording students an opportunity to be a part of the tribute unveiling ceremony is yet another rewarding element, per Conner.
“Just having students involved is a great learning opportunity for them,” he said. “And getting the community involved is important to us, because it has long term impact. There’s has been a lot of interest in the project and we’ll also have a recorded message from the International Space Station. We’re looking forward to everything that’s been planned.”