Out of This World Again!

NASA astronauts and Hollywood actor/guitarist headline Space Center Houston's $1 million "Galaxy Gala"

Space Center Houston's $1 million "Galaxy Gala" salutes astronauts

Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Gary Sinise and Lt Dan Band
Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band on stage at the Galaxy Gala at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
News, Shelby, Galaxy Gala,May 2015, Keith and Alice Mosing, Gene and Chuck Norris
Gala chairs Keith and Alice Mosing with Gena and Chuck Norris. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Mark Kelly, Ellen Ochoa, Miles OBrien, Gene Cernan
Mark Kelly, from left, Ellen Ochoa, Miles OBrien and Gene Cernan. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Veronika Liskova, John Poindexter, Kim Tutcher
Veronika Liskova, from left, John Poindexter and Kim Tutcher. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Kim and Dan Tutcher
Kim and Dan Tutcher. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Dan and Kim Moody, Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout
Dan and Kim Moody, left, with Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, John and Bobbie Nau
John and Bobbie Nau. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Gena and Chuck Norris, Susie and Pat Cunningham
Chuck and Gena Norris, left, with Susie and Pat Cunningham. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, James Madget, Martha Adger
James Madget and Martha Adger. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, James Gorrie and Linda Singleton
James Gorrie and Linda Singleton. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Katherine Vilutis, Barbara Vilutis, Hallie Vanderhider
Katherine Vilutis, from left, Barbara Vilutis and Hallie Vanderhider. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Paula Prior, John and Debbie Daugherty, Jay Prior
Paula Prior, from left, John and Debbie Daugherty and Jay Prior. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Thurmon and Lilly Andress, Dr Thomas Pace
Thurmon and Lilly Andress, from left, and Dr. Thomas Pace. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Thomas Roberts, Winell Herron
Cyndy Garza Roberts, from left, Thomas Roberts and Winell Herron. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Richard and Jeanne Filip
Richard and Jeanne Filip. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Trini Mendenhall
Trini Mendenhall on the dance floor wotj Gary Sinise and Lt. Dan Band on stage. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Fred Griffin, Richard Allen
Fred Griffin, left, and Richard Allen. Photo by Kim Coffman
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Ballroom
The Hilton Americas-Houston enjoyed an outer space vibe. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Gary Sinise and Lt Dan Band
News, Shelby, Galaxy Gala,May 2015, Keith and Alice Mosing, Gene and Chuck Norris
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Mark Kelly, Ellen Ochoa, Miles OBrien, Gene Cernan
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Veronika Liskova, John Poindexter, Kim Tutcher
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Kim and Dan Tutcher
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Dan and Kim Moody, Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, John and Bobbie Nau
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Gena and Chuck Norris, Susie and Pat Cunningham
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, James Madget, Martha Adger
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, James Gorrie and Linda Singleton
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Katherine Vilutis, Barbara Vilutis, Hallie Vanderhider
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Paula Prior, John and Debbie Daugherty, Jay Prior
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Thurmon and Lilly Andress, Dr Thomas Pace
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Thomas Roberts, Winell Herron
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Richard and Jeanne Filip
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Trini Mendenhall
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Fred Griffin, Richard Allen
Houston, Galaxy Gala Space Center, May 2015, Ballroom

With real life NASA astronauts, a Hollywood astronaut and a load of dazzling outer-space decor setting the stage, one would have expected Space Center Houston's inaugural gala to be a success. But only "Galaxy Gala" insiders knew that the bottom line for this first-time event would surpass $1 million.

Applause, applause for chairs Alice and Keith Mosing, who got down in the fundraising trenches, wrote a big check themselves and worked a near-miracle in this era of slumping oil prices. Applause also to their brethren in Order of St. Hubertus, who ponied up generously as did the engineering firm Jacobs, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The out-of-this-world experience began during the reception when the 700 guests at the Hilton Americas-Houston explored exhibits from the non-profit space museum including authentic space suits and items brought back from space missions. The ballroom itself was transformed by a Memorable Event into a galaxy setting with outer space videos and shimmering decor.

There were lots of entertaining elements to this evening including the star power of Gena and Chuck Walker, Texas Ranger Norris, who introduced the chairs, and the literal star power of astronaut Terry Virts Jr., who greeted the crowd from aboard the International Space Station. 

The space age theme continued with the evening's entertainment — Lt. Dan Band featuring guitarist and actor Gary Sinise (Apollo 13). Yes, he was good and the dance floor was quickly packed. 

Former CNN correspondent Miles O'Brien served as emcee and conducted a Q&A with astronauts Gene Cernan, Mark Kelly and Ellen Ochoa, who compared notes on their missions and today's space program. Discussing the importance of the space program and the space museum, Cernan noted, "Today's dreamers are the doers of tomorrow and god knows we need more doers." No worry there as Ochoa told the gathering that 6,300 had applied for the latest opening for only eight astronauts.

Discussing the future of the program, Kelly said, "I really believe that the first person to walk on Mars is alive today."

The space age theme continued with the evening's entertainment — Lt. Dan Band featuring guitarist and actor Gary Sinise (Apollo 13). Yes, he was good and the dance floor was quickly packed. (The band is named after the character Lieutenant Dan Taylor, whom Sinise portrayed in the film Forrest Gump.) 

The party crowd included Space Center Houston president and CEO Richard Allen Jr., Susie and Pat Cunningham, Bobbie and John Nau, John Poindexter, Kim and Dan Tutcher, Betsy and Fred Griffin, Debbie and John Daugherty, Trini Mendenhall, Winell Herron, Martha Adger and James Madget, Cyndy Garza-Roberts and Thomas Roberts and the duo responsible for pulling the party together — event producers Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.

ADVERTISEMENT