Saturday, January 26, 2008
First mission with a $2 bill aboard? Friendship 7
While down at Kennedy Space Center for the 2009 Astronaut Scholarship Apollo 12 40th Anniversary dinner, I made the treck over to the Space Walk Hall of Fame in Titusville (a wonderful, but often ignored gem of a private museum). I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Beddingfield -- KSC employee #4, who worked at NASA from Mercury through to the Shuttle program, being the Shuttle program's first employee, and retiring as the program's Deputy Director. During Mercury, Sam was responsible for overseeing the weight and balance of the spacecraft. I spoke with him about flown currency -- and the Glenn bill from Joe Tramel. He remembered Joe very clearly, and told me that the $2 bills were the rarer of bills flown on early spacecraft. In fact, he told me, only 3 one dollar bills flew on the first Mercury flight with Alan Shepard. They, too, were autographed. He owns one of the three. No $2 bills flew on that flight. This year, I was at the Kansas Cosmosphere, and was shown the surviving two flown one dollar bills from that flight: no $2 bills survived. So the Glenn $2 bills are the first exemplars of $2 bills ever flown in space aboard a manned US space craft.