Saturday, June 19, 2004

Monday - SpaceShipOne Makes Journey to Edge Of Space

I am a former NASA brat. I have had the privilege of living in Huntsville, Alabama a few miles from where they tested the Saturn V rocket engines and in Titusville, Florida which is right across the river from the Kennedy Space Center.  I have watched every manned launch of the Apollo program including the Apollo/Soyuz Mission, the first flight of the Space Shuttle, and the first flight of the Space Shuttle after it was reprocessed and flown again. I have watched NASA go from an organization run by engineers and rocket scientist to an organization run by managers and bureaucrats. The NASA logo changed from the Meatball, which to me represented the heyday of NASA where the engineers and rocket scientists ran the program, to the worm.

The worm logo for NASA just represented the worse that NASA had to offer. Non technical managers and bureaucrats making technical decisions against the engineers best advice. I truly believe that if the managers had relied on the engineers advice we would not have lost 2 Space Shuttle crews to tragic accidents.  I wonder where space exploration would be today if the “worm” of bureaucracy had not infected NASA.

Anyway, the “meatball” is back as a symbol of NASA but the bureaucracy remains. The only imagination NASA has is a space ship going round and round the earth for the last 30 years. I am not discounting the unmanned exploration of Mars which I think is great but where is the excitement for manned space travel.

Here comes Burt Rutan with a whole different idea for space travel.

On Monday, June 21, a privately funded spacecraft will place a man into the edge of space.

SpaceShipOne will fly to a height of 100 kilometers, a world record for a privately funded space craft. For the details Space.com has an entire section on their website devoted to the effort.

I love this. Private enterprise is going to step in and make space travel available to whoever wants to pay.  I wonder how soon private enterprise will build a space hotel for the space bound traveler? 

Finally someone has brought some excitement back to space exploration! A new era is about begin. Are you going to get a ticket?

Posted by Stevereno on 06/19 at 01:02 PM
Space Exploration • (0) Comments Permalink