Issue #4(26) 2020 Lounge

The Space Monuments Men

The ‘Eagle has Landed’ monument in the Moon Tree Garden at KSC Visitor Center in Florida, USA.
The ‘Eagle has Landed’ monument in the Moon Tree Garden at KSC Visitor Center in Florida, USA.
Steven Barber Vanilla Fire Productions, Los Angeles CA, USA

Stirred by a childhood memory of meeting Apollo 15 lunar module pilot, Colonel James Irwin, film maker Steven Barber was moved to build a monument to memorialise and celebrate the astronauts of the Apollo programme for the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Here, he recalls how, with determination and audacity, he was able to secure the artistic expertise and the funding for the project and how the team worked together to see it through to completion.

For me the phrase, “failure is not an option” never applied more than it did during the incredible journey that I embarked upon in early 2018. And as with a lot of stories, it began with complete, gut-wrenching, demoralising rejection.

I’ve always been a huge space fan, growing up in the 1960s, watching Mercury, Gemini and Apollo take us all the way to the Moon. In December 2001 I was able to meet my boyhood hero, Apollo astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Serendipity or divine intervention played a hand, and Buzz and I would become friends over the next several years.

In 2007, I set up a documentary film business called Vanilla Fire Productions. After a long career working for other companies in TV and film this was my opportunity to build something of real value, and for the next several years I travelled the world, shooting seven major documentaries on World War II and other military related projects. It was incredibly fulfilling, and some very noble work was produced.

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