“Sleeping Duty” Presentation to Apollo 17 Crew

By SpaceRef Editor
December 19, 2002
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A special edition of the “Sleeping Duty” poster, part of the “NASA People At Work” photo essay, will be presented to the Apollo 17 crew and honored guests at Space Center Houston during the special event on 19 December 2002 celebrating the splashdown of the last mission to the Moon. This event has been organized by the JSC Chapter of the NASA Alumni League under the direction of Norman Chaffee.


NASA Johnson Space Center. Rocket Park. February 2001
Larger view: [JPEG] [Acrobat]

One of the giant, unused, and actual Saturn V rockets, workhorse of the Apollo program, is fighting within the mist of our memories three decades after nine of its sister ships sent safely 24 men to the Moon between 1968 and 1972. More than being a glorious past icon, it is and should be a powerful reminder of NASA People’s amazing teamwork and unique capacity to turn daring dreams into rewarding reality on demand, today as well as 40 years ago. The long-lasting benefits on Earth of the Space program are endless, and are largely and still unfairly unknown. “Sleeping Duty” – because in the real world, the Home of the Free has no choice but to be built in the Space of the Brave.

Guy-Christophe Coppel. Houston, Texas. May 12th 2002


When I am asked, “What is NASA People At Work?” I usually answer, “It is a long- term
photo- essay with captions and stories.”
The reason is that I am probably not a good enough photographer not to need the help
of the words to say what I believe is important, nor I am a good enough writer to be able
to express myself without pictures!

But, nevertheless there is something I think I am really good at. This is to feel the emotion
we have when we are in front of people who are doing their very best and who are entirely
committed to what they are involved with – individually or collectively.
As a photographer in residency at NASA Johnson Space Center, this overwhelming
sensation I have here gives me the powerful lifting and enthusiastic feeling of being
with the right people, at the right moment, doing the right thing and so, being the luckiest
man in the world.

NASA People At Work is telling a simple story that is light- years away from being a sensational
hot news-type subject. It is the everyday story of some of the people who are simply
changing this world and shaping what will be tomorrow. It is a true honor to be accepted
among them and to be a privileged witness of history in the making on a daily basis.
I believe that rising from our cradle and reaching into space, which the space program and
especially the human space flight program represent, is a major step toward a wiser, more
federated humanity since space is not only a progress and science provider but is also a
powerful universal inspiration and now a peace builder with the International Space Station.
It is also, despite what could be said here and there, surely the best way to solve all sorts
of problems on Earth.

The people you will see on these NASA People At Work exhibits are truly amazing and
collectively constitute probably nothing less than the best organization on Earth. They did
send human beings to the Moon in less than 10 years starting from scratch, 30 years ago.
No doubt the next generation will do even better in going beyond Earth orbit if we “keep
the spirit alive,” if we maintain the critical mass of skills available and if, most of all, they
finally are asked to do so.

In the meantime, they are doing every day amazing things: building with international
partners; overcoming historical, political and cultural difficulties under considerable
constraints; and all this on top of incredible technical and human challenges – an amazing,
hopeful collaboration in low- Earth orbit as well as on the ground.

After two years spent at NASA sharing the life of the many people involved in various
aspects of the human space flight program particularly, I am even more convinced day
after day that something is happening here that deserves to be told and shared, and is
worth time, effort and sacrifices -something that maybe deserves both words and pictures, pictures and words.

These pictures are my tribute to these people for whom I have the deepest respect. This photo- essay is a small contribution to what they are achieving.
They are the truly silent, unassuming,peaceful heroes of our future.
May NASA People At Work inspire you
as much as they are inspiring me.

Guy-Christophe Coppel

Presentation of NASA People At Work at the World Space Congress:

By capturing the human dimension of the space program, NASA People At Work is a
very versatile work in terms of possible uses because of the richness and quality of its subject.

NASA People At Work, which is both a documentary and a
photo- essay with an artistic approach, is aimed at expressing
the subtle and unique dimension of the human endeavor that is
involved in space exploration.

It also constitutes a variety of valuable possible
tools for internal and external communication,
promotion, education, advertising, management
and business… all with a very consistent and strong positive message.

With its imaged ideas, living concepts and
incarnated values, NASA People At Work
offers a new approach. More than ever the
space community must make its vision, values,
quality of work and dedication visible and
available to a larger audience under a renewed,
more sensitive approach that gives the term
human resources its true, deep meaning.

In a time of increasing need for
human spaceflight to be truly
understood for its potential and
its invaluably unique contribution
through the achievement of its
workforce, NASA People At Work
proposes a journey into what is
the beating heart of NASA and its
partners as well as NASA’s best
asset and ambassadors – its
people at work.

A work in progress, NASA People At Work
has the ambition to constitute a resource
for NASA and the space community through
an elaborate Web site in the near future along
with exhibits, as well as other possible tools.
But, the NASA People At Work project should
be able to also become a meeting place,
– a link among technical,
industrial, cultural, management and
educational communities that might discover
or rediscover space activities and, more
precisely, human space flight activities but certainly not exclusively
as a major source of inspiration through this work.

There is a lot that NASA People At Work
can help with in saying, showing,
answering, demonstrating, suggesting,
educating and inspiring…

If a picture is worth a thousand words, let the
NASA People At Work talk to you!


Guy-Christophe Coppel is a free-lance photographer and communications consultant from
Rennes, Brittany.

A third- generation photographer, he is in residency at NASA Johnson
Space Center for 5 years under a NASA special agreement.
As a behind-the-scenes privileged witness of a new era symbolized by
the International Space Station, his photographic work, which
focuses on the people, is a tribute to the
dedication and commitment of space workers of JSC,KSC and Russia and hopefully other centers at NASA.

Through pictures from, NASA People At Work seeks a better understanding
of the importance of space activities in general and human
space flight in particular.

Only a personal sensitivity in approaching people at work, with both
respect and enthusiasm, is able to capture the spirit of the people
working for space.

Only pictures can give an emotional dimension to space, which is too
often described through its technical aspect only.
As Saint Exupery’s Little Prince said, “. It is only with the heart that
one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.”


Questions regarding “NASA People At Work,” please contact:

Guy-Christopher Coppel

Communication Consultant & Photographer

  • JSC 281-483-9151
  • Cell 281-687-7477
  • Fax 281-483 -9192

Guy-Christopher Coppel

Mail code AH6. Bldg 12 Room # 187A

NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Houston 77058 Texas. USA




SpaceRef staff editor.