Blind Houston veteran among group learns about NASA’s Artemis launch

Cape Canaveral, Florida, was a busy destination this weekend for spectators awaiting NASA’s first Artemis test mission to the Moon.

The Orion Spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center Monday morning between 7:33 a.m. and 9:33 a.m. CST, if all goes well with weather and technology.

The Artemis 1 test flight is uncrewed and should help NASA better explore the lunar surface before sending humans back in 2024.

Houstonians Eddie and Diana Tardy will have the chance to experience the launch in person, courtesy of the nonprofit organization Wisdom 4 The Blind.

Eddie Tardy, a veteran who entered the service in 1963 and spent three years on active duty, has glaucoma in one eye.

He said he could see better during the day but his vision was blurry. The veteran said he mostly sees reflections at night.

“They tell me I’m going to go blind eventually,” said Eddie, who is a member of the Blind Veterans Association. “When it happens, it happens. Until then, I’m going to enjoy what I can enjoy.

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Eddie said he plans to use his other senses to experience the rocket launch.

“I learned to use my other senses. Smell and touch, and all that. And I’m waiting to document that,” he said.

Diana, his wife, said she will also be able to experience the historic launch. “He said I’m very thorough. I’m going to give him an overview of what’s going on and what we’re seeing,” Diana added.

She said the nonprofit covers the cost of the trip, minus airfare.

Benjamin Keeley is the Executive Director of Wisdom 4 The Blind. His organization sends 30 blind veterans, including World War II veterans, their caregivers and family members from across the country to Florida for the “Feel 2 See” experience.

The group will experience the confidence sounds and vibrations of the world’s most powerful rocket.

“We come together and get a chance to step out and feel the rocket lift off as NASA returns to the moon,” Keeley said. Keeley is blind himself. He said Monday’s trip to Kennedy Space Center was complete for him in many ways.

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“I remember as a kid the Apollo missions,” Keeley said. “We could see that and experience it. So I know that I seek to be able to feel and see that and share that with other veterans.

The group will also be able to visit the NASA Visitor Center after the launch.

SEE ALSO: Inside the Artemis 1 mission – KPRC 2 takes a closer look at the work being done here in Space City

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