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Brian Binnie - the story of the first honored guest 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
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Post Brian Binnie - the story of the first honored guest
2004. It was time to populate the honored guest roster. We deliberately never referred to anyone as a "Guest of Honor" because by fiat, there were only two of those: Robert and Viriginia Heinlein, in absentia. We were painfully aware that in order to advertise our event well in advance, we had to secure a playbill well in advance. But where to start? We weren't just new, we were unknown.

In October, Brian Binnie had piloted SpaceShipOne to win the Ansari X Prize by making a second flight to space within two weeks. In December, he gave a talk about his adventure at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Caltech Management Association. We had decided from the beginning that this convention would be a hybrid science fiction/aerospace gathering, because Heinlein was so pivotal to the private space movement that was just beginning to blossom. The rocket jockeys of the Mojave Desert revered Heinlein as their prophet. I asked a friend to approach Binnie after his speech and present him with our flyer and ask whether he would be interested in attending. The response was positive, and I began an email exchange with Brian that shortly concluded with his historic "... therefore, I accept your invitation."

For an inordinately long time to follow, the name of Brian Binnie was the only one that we could trumpet on our advertising. Through more than two years until the convention, Brian remained faithful to our cause, giving an interview, asking for only modest accommodation, being in short a model guest.

Those of you who saw his keynote know how spectacularly he filled out that prime spot on our playbill. An astronaut must be brave, strong, talented, but the job description does not specify public speaking or presentation skills and yet Brian carried his night off with the expertise of a consummate professional. We are all profoundly grateful to him.

And that is how we acquired our first honored guest.

Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:16 pm
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Heinlein Nexus

Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:28 am
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Post Re: Brian Binnie - the story of the first honored guest
I'm at work and I shouldn't be doing this. I've just now been reading the various Heinlein Centennial "rememberance" posts.

So, here's how we got our SECOND Honored Guest.

Um, I emailed Mike Griffin. At his home email address, not the NASA one.

It was a shot in the dark, actually. I *thought* he was a RAH fan, but I wasn't sure.

It took only 15 freaking minutes for him to answer! This guy must have all his stuff from whateever email addys he had at the time forwarded to his CrackBerry, and I can assure you, after having worked at NASA for his last six months there, that he *lived* on his CrackBerry.

Anyway, that was that. Not much of a story, but instead a tribute to Heinlein and the power of his persuasion, continuing now into the 21st Century.

Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:13 am
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