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Rocket Man: IU Southeast employee launches model rocket for German exhibit

NEW ALBANY, IN (Dec. 21, 2012) – It turns out IU Southeast has its very own “rocket man” in Lee Staton.

Staton, UITS Manager of Communications and Special Projects, is a lifelong model maker who has recently completed his biggest project yet: a 30-inch replica of the famous “Frau in Mond” rocket full with detailed interior.

The “Frau in Mond” rocket replica built by IU Southeast’s Lee Staton on display at a museum in Bonn, Germany.

“Frau in Mond,” or Woman in the Moon, was a silent science-fiction movie directed by German director Fritz Lang in 1929. It has influenced today’s movies, and was the first movie to depict a realistic rocket trip to the moon and incorporate the very first countdown to liftoff. The rocket was then created in real life by a rocket pioneer Hermann Oberth. The Oberth Museum hired Staton to replicate the rocket as it appeared in the movie, and he soon took off with the project.

“I researched the film on DVD, gathered as much photo reference as possible, drew up plans, and then built the model,” Staton said. “It is primarily made of plastics, with some metal and resin parts. Hundreds of hours went into the replica and it is, by far, the most difficult model I’ve built.”

Staton has been creating museum and trade show models since the 1980s. His work has been highly sought out and toured all over the country, from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. all the way to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle.

The model is featured in an exhibition called “Science Fiction in Deutschland” which runs from Nov. 23 until Mar. 10 at the Foundation Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, Germany. Then it will move to permanent display at the Hermann Oberth Spaceflight Museum in Feucht, Germany.

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