Growing up in America in the 1960s, the excitement of space exploration was everywhere. As kids, we’d be glued to the TV as launches from Kennedy Space Center and splashdowns happened. My elementary school wheeled a TV into the cafeteria when the big day coincided with school so we wouldn't miss a thing.
But for me, the idea of space travel kicked in a little bit more than normal kids because I share a name with Gemini and Apollo astronaut (and Apollo 15 commander) Dave Scott. At school a little bit of fame rubbed off on me when Scott's missions were preparing to go.
In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, I was busy with high school, then college and later the job world. Because I wasn't interested in the shuttle missions at all, my interest in space kind of went on the back burner for several decades. Then in the late 1990s, I started to feel nostalgia for Apollo and began to read a great deal about the program.
What the nation did seems even more amazing 35 years after the landings. Imagine, with less computing power in the spacecraft than I have in my mobile phone, we sent 12 men to walk on the moon's surface. What and audacious and eccentric concept! The whole enterprise could only have been contemplated in the context of the cold war and "beating the Russians". It’s incredible that during the peak of the program, over 400,000 people worked on Apollo and five percent of US government budget was used to finance the program.
Soon, I craved being closer to Apollo so I trekked to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. I became fascinated with the amazing quality of the hardware manufactured for the program. I decided around that time to read all of the biographies of the Apollo astronauts, and being an author myself, I chose to purchase signed first editions. My collecting had begun.
But the collecting bug didn't really take off until I found the collectSPACE online community and discovered that there are many ways to acquire fascinating and remarkably affordable artifacts from the Apollo program. I enjoy holding and inspecting the intricate, handcrafted spacecraft parts. And because I have in the media business and corporate communications roles in my early career, I have a special interest in items from the Apollo program related to the press and its coverage of the program.
In the past several years, I started to attend events where astronauts are speaking or signing books as well as autograph and space memorabilia shows. At the UACC / Sims & Hankow show in 2006, the highlight was a dinner with 22 astronauts (including five men who walked on the moon, the first man to "walk" in space, the first woman in space, and many other "firsts") plus flight controllers and others associated with the US and Russian space programs. There were only a few hundred people at the dinner, so mere mortals like me could easily roam around and jump into conversations with the astronauts who all seemed to be enjoying things as they renewed friendships with their colleagues.
And I finally got an opportunity to meet my namesake. At my dinner table, Dave Scott told fun stories about such things as getting airborne in the Lunar Rover "all four tires", and working with Tom Hanks and crew on Apollo 13 (where he was the technical advisor). "I spent 9 months on the film and unlike what I've heard about Hollywood, they were real class acts, very professional, paid great attention to detail," he said.
In my "real life"; I am a marketing strategist and author of BusinessWeek bestseller The New Rules of Marketing and PR which is published in 24 languages. I am the author of four other marketing books.
I am a keynote speaker at conferences and corporate events around the world.
One thing I tell people is the need to carve out a niche online. In my case, since there are lots of other David Scotts (including Dave Scott the moonwalker) I chose to use my full name in business for search engine marketing purposes: David Meerman Scott.