I was fortunate to have a few encounters with Weitz (who was known to many of his friends as “PJ”) because of my involvement with Spacefest, and I was honored to moderate last year’s Skylab panel, and this year’s Skylab/Apollo-Soyuz Test Project panel. While I would like to emphasize my dealings with him were all-too-brief, I did find him to be a humble, thoughtful man who exhibited a quiet pride over saving Skylab, and ushering in a new era of space exploration with the maiden voyage of Challenger. One of the most unforgettable moments of last year’s Spacefest VII, for me, was when Weitz stood up and explained his Skylab 2 standup EVA in detail, using a great Ed Hengeveld painting to illustrate one of the most iconic spacewalks of all time. I was nervous he wouldn’t want to share much because of his natural humility, but he absolutely lit up when he saw that painting, one of his favorites.
|NASA photo, 1973: "Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, pilot for the Skylab 2 first manned mission, is suited up for Skylab training activity in the mission simulation and training facility at the Manned Spacecraft Center."|