After seeing a recent article in the newspaper about Western Nevada College receiving a thermal tile from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's space shuttle program, Carson City resident, William Ravenelle, Sr. decided to make a special donation of his own. While attending a star party at the Jack C. Davis Observatory at Western Nevada College, Ravenelle presented observatory director Robert Collier with a plaque of a small American Flag and a patch, which traveled on NASA's first shuttle mission, STS1. The piece includes the signatures of astronauts John Young and Bob Crippin.
Ravenelle worked as one of the first analysts and engineers at Lockheed Corporation and was part of the team of researchers that developed thermal protection tiles for use on the space shuttles. The plaque was awarded to Ravenelle in 1981 as a gift for his more than ten years of service.
"I thought it was appropriate to give the plaque to the college so that others would have the opportunity to experience something that traveled around the earth," said Ravenelle.
Collier said, "We are proud to add this historic plaque to our collection of space shuttle memorabilia. Bill contributed to the space program through his work, and we are grateful that he is extending that contribution toward the advancement of science education for our observatory visitors and students."
The plaque can be viewed at the Jack C. Davis Observatory, WNC Carson City.
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