This memorial stained glass window, Ad Astra per Aspera, became a
labor of love and inspiration for all involved in the project. Every detail of
the 8' x 11' window was designed, perfected, created, and assembled by a team
of talented artists from Kansas.
After the tragic accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia on
February 1, 2003, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center approached Randall
Rayer, owner of Rayer's Bearden Stained Glass, Wichita, about creating a
powerful and lasting memorial to the crew of Columbia, as well
as the fallen astronauts from Apollo 1 and Challenger.
Randall, and his wife Pamela, recognized the importance of such a memorial and
committed to donating the work of art to the museum.
Working in collaboration with a team from the Cosmosphere, the conceptual
design was developed with every detail discussed and symbolism explored in an
effort to convey the wonder of spaceflight and the spirit of exploration.
Physical reminders of each of the memorialized missions were included in the
window. From Pad 34, where the crew of Apollo 1 was lost in a fire, a section
of electrical equipment was placed within the glass. From earlier flights of
Challenger and Columbia, thermal tiles
removed from the underside of the Space Shuttles were also embedded in the
artwork. Crew names, mission patches, and symbols of spaceflight tragedies and
triumphs all found their way into the final concept. Then the hard work began.
Rayer assembled a volunteer team of 19 to bring the design to life. Working
during every available free moment, the artists used nearly every technique,
type of glass, and visual effect in their desire to make the memorial perfect.
All told, the 19 artists devoted nearly three years and over 4,000 hours
towards the creation of Ad Astra per Aspera. The finished result
became not only a tribute to the fallen astronauts, but to the talented hands
that created this work of art.
Ad Astra per Aspera
Dedicated March 1, 2006
|Randall Rayer and Pamela Rayer
|J. Douglas Bozeman, Jr.
||Tom and Pam Voth
||Installed by Scott Hoefer
||Mahlon Riell Parks
||Hoefer's Custom Stained Glass