Glass HomeAwardsNational Aviation Hall of Fame ⋙ James A. Lovell, Jr.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame
Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award
· • On The Mains •·
James A. Lovell, Jr.
Commander - Apollo 13
Hover Above To Pause

The National Aviation Hall of Fame 2015 Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award honoring James A. Lovell, Jr. as its inaugural recipient captures the moment when the crew of Apollo 13 and Mission Control knew that they had done it! The course trim burn was a success, the CM was carefully powered up, Aquarius had served faithfully and was bid farewell, the SM successfully jettisoned, the RCS performed, the ablative heat shield was indeed intact, entry angle was within limits, drogue chute mortars fired, pilot chute mortars fired deploying the Ringsails—all three main chutes opening nominally and splashdown is imminent.

Odyssey and her crew were home.

This is the moment just before everyone could take a deep breath and exhale a sigh of relief. A glorious sight of the CM slowly, calmly descending to the sea.

Apollo Command Module On The Mains
Apollo 13 Command Module Odyssey On Deck
Apollo 13 Command Module Odyssey On Dolly

In approaching this commission, because of the overall intent of the award, we felt it paramount that it be unique and specific to the person and their singular achievement. Outstanding doesn't happen every day. It is only fitting that this award should be outstanding as well; far and above anything prior. We searched for a defining moment that encompasses the aggregate events that made up this odyssey; an interesting turn of events, considering the CM's name that journeyed upon it. We read through the TAG voice trancription to refamiliarize ourselves with the mission as it unfolded. As the days passed, a defining image manifested with a thunderclap that spoke volumes.

Bringing a concept out of our imaginations and into reality is what we do. We want others to see what we see and share some portion of what we feel. Realizing that image in glass became the challenge; our own Odyssey unfolding before us. As with any new idea, a string of first configurations one by one fell by the wayside. They ranged from uninteresting to unshippable. Distilling the complex down to an elegant solution is always the most difficult. Often that which can be built loses the essence of the original concept. This isn't one of those times. The design that we developed enhances and increases it in unexpected ways. Sometimes, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Blown Glass Command Module Window Detail

The sculpture stands 15 inches tall on an 11 by 8 inch oval cast glass base. The standing diorama is one quarter inch thick molded iridescent glass supporting the 3.5 inch diameter blown glass Command Module; with the Ringsails above etched into the diorama surface in forced perspective. Blown Glass Command Module Scorched Ablative Heat Shield DetailThe Ringsails are colored using glass powders which are fused in. The 1.5 inch thick deep blue cast glass base has a roiling ocean waves surface, complete with foam whitecaps. The CM is in its reentry trim, with the Mylar scorched and partially to completely burned away. The five windows are real. You can shine a flashlight through any one of them and see the beam playing around inside through the others.

The sculpture's title: On The Mains echoes CAPCOM reporting that they show the main chutes have deployed nominally, signalling the final hurdle. All after this should go according to flight plan.

It is cosmically apt that we have been given the opportunity to create this award. We are both Artist-Engineers working primarily in the aerospace sector. My being a second generation pilot and having been in and around America's Space Program for decades, it gives me great pleasure to apply my energies, talents and heart to this task. Joy feels the same way. We both blow glass, but she is the person behind the molding, casting and etching aspects of the sculpture; an art unto itself.

It has been and continues to be a decidedly interesting journey in many ways. During the development phase, we would be discussing methods to obtain a desired result and noticed that, more often than normal it seems, one composition or another from James Horner's Apollo 13 film score or tracks from Brian Eno's Apollo would come streaming through our studio surround sound. Some things are just meant to be.

This is our second award for Jim. We are honored to be part of his legacy and members of your effort to honor aviators and developments in aspects of flight.

We both thank you for this opportunity to honor Jim and to create this award for you.

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