[Masthead - Vindicator]

Sunday—September 25, 1983

Planetarium Program Distributed Nationwide

[All Systems Go! Kuzniar artwork] [Reprint - All Systems Go] FARRELL — A planetarium program originally produced for the Farrell Area School District and Youngstown State University to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is now being distributed nationwide.

“All Systems Go!” is a program written and produced by Ted Pedas and Tim Kuzniar for showings at the Farrell and Youngstown State planetariums last year. They revised the program several times before inviting NASA officials to take a look at it.

Pedas said various NASA representatives viewed the program between January and March and liked it so well the agency agreed to help underwrite the cost of production.

Pedas is director of the Farrell Planetarium and lecturer at the Youngstown State facility as well as astronomy writer for The Vindicator. Kusniar one of his former students, is director of operations and artwork at Farrell as well as artist at Youngstown's facility.

They write and produce new shows for the planetariums nearly every year but this program is something special. It opened in more than 100 planetariums across the country this month.

“All Systems go!” tells the story of America in space, from the first satellites launched in the late 1950's to the sophisticated travels aboard the space shuttle.

Pedas and Kuzniar began work on the project about 18 months ago and the first program aired at Youngstown State. They brought it to Farrell a short time later and so far more than 7,500 people have viewed free showings of the commemmorataive story at the two planetariums.

Pedas said NASA was so impressed with the program that it gave them a $5,000 grant to help produce the show in a format that can be used by planetariums and audio-visual theaters around the nation.

The final product of the revised show was aired in Washington, D.C. in August and the program has already been shipped to more than 100 planetariums, Pedas noted.

It cost about $45,000 to produce and distribute the 50-minute program with the cost of distribution being underwritten by private industry. The show is offered free to all who request it.

It was released now to coincide with the official celebration of NASA's 25th anniversary in October, Pedas noted.

The script was written by Pedas and Kuzniar while the original artwork was done by Cosmic Craft, a Farrell company formed by the two men. The original music and sound track were produced by Loch Ness Productions of Boulder, Colo.

The Farrell High School Planetarium has scheduled additional showings of the program during October and November. It will run at 7:30p.m. Oct. 3, 12, 20 and 25 and Nov. 2,7,17 and 22.

Because of limited seating, reservations are required and may be made by contacting the high school office. All planetarium shows are free.

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Youngstown Vindicator
Tuesday, February 1, 1983

Sunday—September 25, 1983

20 NASA Aides Visit Facility

[Reprint - NASA Aides ] FARRELL —More than 20 representatives from the Naional Aeronautics and Space Administration are visiting the planetarium of the Farrell Area School District this week for a special program commemorating this nation's 25 years of space exploration.

The program, entitled “All Systems Go!” is being previewed by NASA media, public affairs and education personnel as a prelude to distribution to planetarums throughout the United States.

“All Systems Go!” was conceived and produced by Tim Kuzniar and Ted Pedas of the Farrell Planetarium and will begin its local run on Feb. 21.

The program will be presented through October of 1983, which is NASA's official 25th anniversary month.

Go to Ted Pedas — Index of News Articles

The Orlando Sentinel

Planetarium show tells NASA story

by Richard Defendorf — Friday, January 13, 1984

Planetariums, once reserved for visualizing dry, astrophysical data, have lately been used for mixing education with entertainment. All Systems Go!, a planetarium program celebrating NASA's 25th anniversary, is a case in point.

Showing through March 11 at the John Young Science Center planetarium in Orlando, All Systems Go! Begins with the Soviets' launch of Sputnik in 1957, traces the development of the NASA space program (and the United States' entry into the “space race”) and ends with a peek at future exploration of outer space.

There is plenty of action, including explosive rocket launches and images of satellites, capsules and shuttles that soar overhead and then disappear into the blackness of space. The 50-minute presentation — which includes slides, film, narration, music and special effects — is something of an audio-visual symphony, designed for presentation in the starlit domes of planetariums.

The show is the brainchild of Tim Kuzniar, Program coordinator at the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University in Ohio, and Ted Pedas, planetarium director at Farrell High School in Farrell, Pa. The two men, who have their own production company called Cosmic Craft, developed a prototype of All Systems Go! in early 1983 to run as part of the regular-season program at the Beecher.

“After we produced and saw the show,” Kuzniar says, “we realized that this might be the type of show that might be good to celebrate the 25th anniversary of NASA, which was coming up in October of '83.”

Kuzniar and Pedas contacted some NASA people they knew at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and asked them to preview the show.

The NASA people liked what they saw. After what Kuzniar described as “long and involved negotiations and many months of work,” NASA headquarters in Washington awarded Cosmic Craft $5,000 so that the partners could turn All Systems Go! into a full, polished production.

“We sent them the original script after they previewed the show and they reviewed it for accuracy,” Kuzniar says, “They had one or two suggestions … but they didn't give us a hard time about what was in the script.”

Kuzniar says, however, that NASA mentioned “a few areas which they thought might be worded better — as sort of beating the drum too much.”

After Kuzniar and Pedas had toned things down a bit and assembled the visual material — largely from NASA file photos and films — they enlisted Mark and Caroline Petersen of Loch Ness Productions in Denver, Colo., to provide sound effects; musical embellishments and narration.

Mark Petersen wrote and performed all of the music and created all of the sound effects on synthesizer, recording them on a “multitrack mix.”

“Even the sound of the shuttle launch was done with the synthesizer,” Mark Petersen says.

The sound effects are, in fact, convincing. The filmed rocket launches are brought to life by powerful rumbles and roars that, synthetic though they may be, sound realistic. Petersen's music is appropriately ethereal, especially well suited for a real-life space odyssey.

Petersen said the sound tract took about two months to complete. Once it was finished, the show was ready for a premiere.

“We premiered it at a planetarium in Richmond, Va., last August,” Kuzniar says, “and it was well-received there. After that, we went into production and produced about 100 copies of the show package.”

Rita Fairman, director of the John Young Science Center planetarium, saw the Richmond premiere and was impressed by it. With the aid of Martin Marietta Corp., which helped sponsor All Systems Go! by buying several copies of it, Fairman arranged for it to be shown at John Young Science Center.

Even though the entire package — which includes the script, film, sound track and 293 slides — was designed to be shown in planetariums with computer-operated slide-prodection systems, Kuzniar says that an “edit-down” feature was built into the package for planetariums that did not have the fancy equipment.

This turned out to be necessary at John Young Science Center, where Fairman and planetarium operators Doug Krumbhaar and Wayne Blankenbeckler deleted some of the slides so the show could be presented manually by one operator. However, during a performance of the revised version, there are more than enough images on the 40-foot-diameter dome to keep the show moving.

If things continue to go well for Kuzniar and company (all 100 copies of All Systems Go! have been sold and more will be produced) there may be a follow-up program — perhaps, he says, “on the next 25 years of man in space.”

Go to Ted Pedas—Index of News Articles

[Masthead - Herald]

Monday, October 3, 1983

A firm local connection to 25 years in space

[Ted Pedas - Editorial - NASA'] Space is still a mystery beyond the concept of many Americans. Yet understanding is as close as the Farrell High School Planetarium thanks to the efforts of a remarkable local space enthusiast and astronomer, Ted Pedas.

Pedas, a teacher at both Farrell High School and Youngstown State University has been an astronomy and space buff since boyhood. Along with his colleagues, he has brought nationwide attention to the Farrell planetarium. Its sky shows, complete with music, narration and programing conceived and arranged by Pedas and other members of the planetarium staff, have brought an understanding of the vast universe to hundreds who only before marveled at the stars.

Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the agency created to challenge Russia following its success in hurling a basketball-sized object beyond the pull of the earth's gravity. In the quarter of a century since, the nation has not only matched but overcome the Russians, putting men on the moon and returning them safely and fashioning reusable space satellites capable of performing tasks that were only dreamed of when the men and women of NASA put the nation's first primitive machine into orbit. From that time on, the nation was called upon to think in terms of millions of miles rather than hundreds and thousands.

All this has been brought together by Pedas and his associates in a remarkable and fascinating sight and sound program entitled “All Systems Go”, showings of which will be presented throughout this month and November at the Farrell Planetarium. Because of limited seating, admittance will be by reservation only. An estimated 7,500 Shenango Valley and Youngstown residents already have viewed the production and come away singing its praises.

Prepared with the financial and consultive assistance of NASA, “All Systems Go” soon will be shown nationwide in university planetariums and elsewhere, including the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

That the production had its origin in the Shenango Valley is an indication of how close the mysteries and the wonders of space have been brought in the quarter century since America began its probe into the unknown. Pedas and his associates and the Farrell School District are commended for making this possible for this area — PWH

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[Masthead - Herald]
The Herald Spectrum
Saturday, October 1, 1983

NASA opens the door to space for explorers

by Ted Pedas

[All Systems Go! Article]

It was 25 years ago today that a unique new entity — with largely undetermined potential — came into being.

Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began operations at a time when it was felt that the United States was falling behind in its technological supremacy.

It was born out of the turmoil and panic generated a year earlier when among the familiar stars that adorn the crisp skies of autumn a stranger appeared.

This was a new star — a moving star — a manmade star. It was Sputnik.

Now the sky had been changed forever. Suddenly the distant and unreachable stars seemed a little closer to all of us.

Several months after the Russian light in the sky, the U.S. rallied to answer the challenge with its own Explorer 1.

The returns in scientific knowldege were immediate for this probe made the first major discovery of the space age — a belt of electromagnetic radiation that engulfs the Earth.

It was on Oct. 1, 1958, that NASA opened for business as a result of the National Aeronautics and Space Act. It was a mandate unlike any other in the nation's history. It was both an answer to the Soviet challenge of our technological superiority and a license for us to explore where no man had gone before. As an official arm of the government, NASA was effectively organized, adequately funded and given high priority.

Within a week, this fledgling new agency announced its first goal — to put a man into space and return him safely to the Earth.

That was Project Mercury and it was only the beginning.

In the meantime the Soviet Union was sending probes to the surface of the moon, photographing the far side of the lunar surface, boosting into orbit experimental colonies of mice, insects, house plants, and even a dog. Ten-ton space capsules were firing up missions to Venus, and Mars was not too far behind.

Meanwhile, NASA selected its first seven “star sailors.” Known as the original seven, each was chosen from among many astronaut candidates because they had the “right stuff” to meet the challenge.

The challenge was not long in coming for in April 1961, Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut, rode his Vostok spacecraft around the Earth to become the first man into space.

In quick response, Mercury dashed into action and Alan Shepherd flew his Freedom Seven spacecraft through a sub-orbital trajectory to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was a time to cheer but NASA realized that we were behind. The Soviets had flown a hundred times further in a craft that was five times more massive.

NASA knew how to catch up. The way to win was to raise the stakes — to shoot for a manned landing on the moon. In this way both the U.S. and Russians would be back at the starting line designing and building whole new families of rockets and spacecraft.

Within weeks President John F. Kennedy set the goal for this nation to take the initiative as a leader in space achievements with these words:

“I believe that this nation should commit itselt — to achieve the goal — before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safaely to Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expansive to accomplish.”

NASA had its work cut out for it. A lunar voyage would require technological advances without precedent in our history.

Along the way there were new worlds to explore and like the old sailing vessels of another age went the planet probes of man — plying through the uncharted sea of space.

The Mariners, Pioneers, Vikings and Voyagers — all complex, automated assemblages of instrument and camera. They are the robots of man and through their electronic senses we have seen the faces of worlds as never revealed to us before.

In early 1962, John Glenn road an Atlas rocket off the pad to fly his Friendship 7 craft three times around the Earth — the first American in orbit.

At the close of the Mercury program NASA began the Gemini project to see if a pair of astronauts could live and work in space for long periods of time.

Gemini showed the way, in 12 flights, that both men and machines could maneuver in the weightless vacumn of space.

A combination of unmanned probes to the moon and the early Apollo missions set the range for what came to be known as the “Big Shot.”

Out into the black sea of space, out to that silvery island in the night, rode three astronauts in the fiery white chariot of Apollo to go down and touch the face of the moon.

It was July 20, 1969. Television screens the world over showed the ghostly images of men on the moon.

We saw Neil Armstrong become the first Earth man to leave his footprints in the ancient lunar dust and proclaim “That's one small step for man — one giant leap for manking.”

Following the Apollo missions to the moon, three crews of men each boarded Skylab for a total of eight months in space.

It has been said that the end of all our travels will be to return home and know that place for the first time. Indeed Skylab showed us that the greatest discovery of the Space Age was the planet Earth.

From space our world has a new perspective. It's a small and beautiful oasis, it's self-contained, but it's also limited. To preserve it means to understand it, to study it, and where better than from the vantage of space.

In 1975 the last Apollo went into orbit to make the first link-up with a Russian Soyuz craft. Astronauts and cosmonauts joined hands over the Earth and the first age of man in space had come to an end.

The curtain now is rising on a new era as space travel is being reshaped, and it is in the shape of wings.

With the advent of the space shuttle, NASA has begun the second age of man in space.

Columbus and her sister ships — Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis — are the space fleet of the next half century.

The shuttles will allow people from all walks of life to spend weeks, months and even years in space.

The shuttles will put satellites in orbit and retrieve them for repair or cleaning, it will be a launching platform for inter-planetary space probes, serve in the national defense and as a transportation system to carry the raw material needed to build orbitaing space stations.

Such a station would mark the beginning of man's permanent presence in space.

“The dreamers of day are powerful… for they act on their dreams with open eyes — to make them possible,” wrote T.E. Lawrence.

The men and women of NASA are such dreamers. They have seen us through our first faltering steps into space — where we have reaped marvelous and unforeseen rewards for the benefit of all mankind.

And now they see a future limited only by the imagination. These include self-contained space cities, manned outposts on the moon and Mars, first-hand exploration of the outer planets and even the beginning of the search outside the solar system. And perhaps the human race isn't all that far from going to the stars.

How long will it take? That depends on our will to do it. But it will be done.

The door to space has been opened and like so many doors in the course of history, it cannot be shut.

It is a one-way trip and we have already crossed over the threshold.

How far we travel is unknown but as H.G. Wells wrote, “For man, there is no rest, and no ending. He must go on, conquest after conquest. And when he has mastered all the depths of space and time — still, he will be beginning.”

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