The Grissom Boyhood Home is once again hosting The Galactic Gathering for 2018 with special guest speaker, Former Astronaut and Moonwalker Charlie Duke.

This is the second event to be hosted in Mitchell, after last summer’s successful historical gathering of 7 of 9 living Indiana-born Astronauts. 

Duke is an American former astronaut, retired U.S. Air Force officer and test pilot. As Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972, he became the tenth and youngest person to walk on the Moon.

A former test pilot, Duke has logged 4,147 hours flying time, which includes 3,632 hours in jet aircraft; and 265 hours in space, plus 20 hours and 15 minutes of extravehicular activity.

A resident of New Braunfels, Texas, he is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

In April 1966, Duke was one of the 19 selected for NASA’s fifth group of astronauts.

In 1969, he was a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 10. He then served as CAPCOM for Apollo 11, the first landing on the Moon, where his distinctive Southern drawl became familiar to audiences around the world.

As CAPCOM, he became the voice of a Mission Control nervous by a long landing that almost expended all of the Lunar Module Eagle’s fuel.

Duke’s first words to the Apollo 11 crew on the surface of the Moon were flustered, “Roger, Twank… Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!”

Duke was backup Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 13, however shortly before the mission he caught German measles from a friend’s child and inadvertently exposed the prime crew to the disease.

As Ken Mattingly had no natural immunity to the disease, Mattingly was then replaced as Command Module Pilot by Jack Swigert. Mattingly would be reassigned as Command Module Pilot of Duke’s flight, Apollo 16.

Duke served as Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 16 in 1972 where he and John W. Young landed at the Descartes Highlands and conducted three EVAs, making Duke the tenth person to walk upon the surface of the Moon. He also served as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 17. Duke retired from NASA in December 1975.

Various ticketed events will be offered throughout the weekend, as well as “for donation” guided tours and activities at the home.

There will also be various activities to participate in at Spring Mill State Park for free, as this event will once again take place in conjunction with Gus Grissom Days hosted by Spring Mill State Park.

All proceeds for The Galactic Gathering will go toward the Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom Boyhood Home, which is dedicated to restore and preserve the history of the home Grissom was raised in.


Friday, July 20, 8 pm – 10 pm – Launch Party; 1960 Cocktail Party held in the Spring Mill Lakeview Room
*Tickets are required and limited. A cash bar will be available at an additional cost to you that evening.

Saturday, July 21, 11 am – 4 pm – Tours Through The Grissom Boyhood Home
*Tickets are not required. Donations will be accepted and appreciated. Tours will be open house style and will include dessert bar.

Saturday, July 21, 2-4 pm – Photo Opportunity with Charlie Duke at First Baptist Church 
*Purchase individually or bundle with symposium tickets for discount.

Saturday, July 21, 7:00 pm – Symposium held at the Mitchell Opera House
*Special presentation from moonwalker, Charlie Duke. Tickets are required and limited.

If you are planning to purchase tickets and need lodging while in town, limited rooms are set aside in the Spring Mill Inn for this event. Call 812-849-4508 for reservations and reference Galactic Gathering.

*There will be no autograph opportunities during this event.