Continuing their journey of connecting ocean wayfinding with space exploration, Hokulea crewmembers visited Florida’s NASA Kennedy Space Center today and engaged with the center’s staff. Polynesian Voyaging Society president and pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson also took the opportunity to speak to the NASA team on Hawaii-born NASA astronaut Lacy Veach’s contribution to space voyaging, and how Veach inspired the canoe’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
“Coming to NASA for me has been an amazing celebration,” Thompson expressed during his speech today to a crowd of about 160 people that included both Hokulea and NASA crew. “I made a promise to Lacy back in ’95 when we lost him, that we’re going to go. It took us 22 years from the idea to actually leave, to get prepared to do something as dangerous as what we’re doing now. Lacy is our navigator on this voyage, and for that, this is the most important two days for me.”
Yesterday, the crew honored Veach along with Ellison Onizuka, another Hawaii-born astronaut for their extraordinary contributions to space voyaging, in an intimate ceremony onboard the canoe. Hokulea crewmembers conducted a star compass activity with local students, and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld led a navigation presentation for the public visiting the center. Wednesday’s activities also included a tour of the NASA headquarters: Hokulea crewmembers visited the facilities where astronauts would get suited up before their flights, NASA’s vehicle assembly building and the launch control center.
Hokulea is scheduled to depart Titusville on Friday, April 8, and continue her journey up the east coast. For the most up-to-date schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.
To follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, visit http://hokulea.com/track-the-voyage