I was traveling through Nevada when I stopped to eat at Windmill Ridge - a motel / resturaunt combo thing. I noticed this plaque on the wall:

enter image description here

"In recognition of your contributions to the success of the Boeing Commercial Crew Transportation System program to develop a U.S. capability to carry crews to LEO destinations and return them to earth" Thank you.

What 'contributions' could the private company have make?

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    $\begingroup$ Discount rooms for ground crew during some flight test? $\endgroup$ – DJohnM Dec 31 '13 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ Also why is one section of it painted over? $\endgroup$ – Canageek Jan 4 '14 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Canageek At first I figured I would keep the location secret for my privacy and all, then thought it might be important to tell people where it was from. $\endgroup$ – Undo Jan 5 '14 at 0:56

As posted in a comment, the most likely contribution of a motel/restaurant to a manned space program is a discount on rooms or food. To be more specific, this specific plaque is almost certainly a reference to food/lodging related to the April 3/May 2, 2012 drop tests of Boeing's CST-100 crew capsule.


  • The picture in the background of the plaque is the same as this picture (found attached to this NASA post, image credit: Boeing) with the ground cropped off: May 2 Parachute test of Boeing's CST-100 crew capsule

  • The article and original caption of that image referenced Delamar Dry Lake, which is only about 20 miles from Windmill Ridge by road.

  • Parachute tests happened on April 3 and May 2 of 2012 (both at Delamar Dry Lake Bed) and the plaque is dated July 2012.


It's not even a discount. Sometimes it's just moral support.

Every NASA space center that involves dangerous activities has a select few restaurants and bars that everyone knows by name. The same goes for Navy and Air Force bases that involve dangerous activities. For example, there is no Building Zero on the JSC campus (building numbers start at one, which is the main administrative building). Nonetheless, if you tell people "we're getting together at Building Zero after work", nobody needs directions.

Before this bar, astronauts and engineers hung out at the now closed Outpost Tavern, formerly known as The Ultimate Joint. It's the astronaut bar in Apollo 13. Edwards AFB had its Happy Bottom Riding Club (watch The Right Stuff). The only centers that don't are the ones that don't do dangerous stuff.

It's a bit difficult to give a bar a "Certificate of Appreciation". A restaurant? That's not a problem. I've been to multiple NASA centers and multiple Air Force and Navy bases. Each one has restaurants that have pictures on the wall. Here's one in the JSC area: restaurant wall with pictures of astronauts

There are multiple restaurants in the neighborhood of NASA JSC, NASA KSC, NASA ARC, JPL, Edwards AFB, Fort George Meade, and China Lake that have certificates exactly like this; I've been to many of them. I've never been to the Delamar Dry Lake area.

For a place such as that (aka "the middle of nowhere"), it's not that hard to get such a certificate. All you have to do is serve food that is better than cafeteria food. Note well: From the online reviews of the Windmill Ridge, the food there is downright good, much better than cafeteria food.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, agreed. The sadly missed Outpost (not just closed, but burnt down) was also in the bad movie Space Cowboys, and some of my former co-workers can be seen as bar patrons. The current Building Zero....meh. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jan 13 '19 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble Not just burnt down. Bulldozed for the expansion of FM 270 and Nasa Road 1. I've ventured to the new so-called Building Zero. As you said, meh. The bathrooms are too clean, the floor is too clean, the the beer is no better, and the atmosphere is nonexistent (but not in the friends in high spaces sense of atmosphere-free). Meh. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Jan 13 '19 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ Frenchies, on the other hand: If I had three hands I'd give three thumbs up. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Jan 13 '19 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely. So glad they are hanging in there. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jan 13 '19 at 15:17

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