Charles A. Carr
1956 - 1999
In the relatively modern fields of space education
and space entertainment, few people have contributed more to bringing
the vastness of space home to the public than Charles A. Carr.
was born on January 3, 1956, in Effingham, Illinois. His family
moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was a child, and he
continued to live and work on the West Coast.
Charlie was always a supporter of the world's space
programs beginning with the Apollo 11 moon landing he watched
as a child. In college he majored in astronomy at the University
of Southern California. There he helped to develop the space education
program at the California Museum of Science & Industry (CMSI)
at Exposition Park.
At CMSI Charlie developed the traveling Flying
Museum that was housed in a DC-3 aircraft. He also oversaw the
design and construction of the new CMSI IMAX theater that opened
in 1984, and presided over numerous statewide science fairs.
Always the educator and space activist, Charlie
was involved with many grassroots organizations that supported
making space travel accessible to everyone. Some of these groups
included The World Space Foundation, The Orange County Space Society,
the Aerospace Legacy Foundation, and The Space Tourism Society.
Since the mid-1980s, Charlie was deeply involved
in the conceptual design of space-related projects, including
programs that blended the concept of space education, entertainment,
and space tourism. His "edutainment" projects toured
the country and were features at popular locations such as Knotts
Berry Farm, Six Flags Theme Parks, and the Queen Mary. Several
of these projects included a full-scale space shuttle model, the
first ever in a touring exhibit.
Charlie's daughter Christa, named for the teacher
lost on the space shuttle Challenger, was often his companion
on stargazing and meteor shower adventures. She adored her father
for his ready smile and hugs, his instant spinning of a fanciful
bedtime story, and his sense of wonder and adventure.
When Christa packed some of his ashes for transport
aboard the Celestis mission, she said she hoped that some of the
ashes were from her daddy's heart because his heart loved space
so much. Now she will gaze at the skies after dark, as they used
to do together. Perhaps she'll see a shooting star that could
be her daddy soaring free through the night, lighting up the sky
the way he illuminated her life, and so many others.
Charlie departed this life too soon and too young
on August 20, 1999. He was a gifted, highly intelligent, articulate
man who was a loving son, husband, and father. He was often called
"a gentle giant" by his many friends and associates.
As we draw closer to the day when space travel is available to
everyone, we will surely be riding on the shoulders of that gentle
Ad Astra, Charlie. You are loved and you are missed.
Someday we hope to catch up with you in space.