Thursday, April 19, 2012

The future of American space travel starts in 5...4...3...

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

(Publicity shot from the SpaceX website)

I've been invited by NASA and SpaceX (yes, they actually do talk to each other) to attend the biggy launch a little over a week from now. I want to thank the crew at NASA Social for selecting me for this honor.

But this one comes with some controversy, because my excitement isn't entirely shared with the rest of the country.

While so many uppity folks see the "demise" of the Space Shuttle program as a black eye for American awesomeness, I see it as something that came way too late. The purpose of the shuttle program wasn't to make America look cool (tho it sure did for a while). It was to make payload delivery cheap.

And it failed. It failed big time. And they knew by 1976 that it was going to fail, when the program was only seven years into the planning phase. But they did it anyway. And sure enough, it cost us twenty-eight arms and twenty-eight legs. (And a lot of money, too.)

Enter SpaceX, a private company that thinks they can do better. And the government's letting them. Yeah, with a liberal executive branch, we're cutting budget and letting the private sector take over.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. My take is that SpaceX isn't ruining our awesomeness. They're reclaiming it. I'm gonna go watch history unfold. And yes, I'll be posting on here so the rest of you can tune in, too.

Be proud. Not just America. But be proud humanity. We're still reaching. And we're getting better at it.

If you're on Twitter, follow me (see the link to the left). And also search for the hashtag #NASASocial.