In 2003 we participated in a school programme called Signatures in Space. As a participating school we were sent a giant poster for our students to sign on Space Day (held each May), along with supporting educational materials and programme memorabilia. All our students and staff signed the poster. We also asked the Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Helen Clark to sign when she visited the school to open our new Technology Centre. Once the signing was completed, we returned the poster to Lockheed Martin in the United States, who then photographed it. NASA packaged all the negatives from the participating schools and was to include them on the manifest of the next U.S. Space Shuttle mission. After the mission, NASA intended to return the posters, along with an official NASA certification verifying that the signatures flew in space, as well as a photo of the crew that took the signatures up.
The flight of the next shuttle Columbia ended in tragedy when it exploded shortly after leaving the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. On hearing the news we extended our condolences to the family and friends of the brave crew of STS-107. Due to the tragic loss of the shuttle our signatures have had to wait until the programme is reinstated.
Our signatures have flown in space. They went up on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis – Mission STS-117. Atlantis was launched on Friday 9 June 2007. It flew to the International Space Station with our signatures. The crew installed a new truss segment, unfurled new solar arrays and fold up an old one – all tricky stuff.
Signatures on Display
The signatures have been framed and are on display in our Technology Centre. If you are one of the people who signed and you would like to see the signatures, crew photo and mission patch, please call in at our office and we will take you up to the Technology Centre.