I GREW UP WITH THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM. Tomorrow morning, at 5:56 AM, that program comes to an end. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, as I posted previously, it is time to move on to the next thing. On the other, there are a lot of people, both at NASA and at contractors, who have been losing their jobs, and that is going to significantly accelerate tomorrow morning at wheel stop.
SOMETHING ABOUT SMART PEOPLE INSPIRES INNVOATION AROUND THEM. Since I’ve started spending more time in the space community online, and among some really creative and intelligent people, I find that I’m coming up with more ideas for “stuff to do” than ever before. Or maybe it’s just that I’m more motivated to do something about those ideas because of the energy of the people around me. Either way, I’m suffering from an overload of creative ideas right now with not enough space to track them or execute on them. So what’s the logical solution? Another idea!
BIG IDEAS MAKE THE WORLD GO AROUND. Everything in this world starts with a little thought, even the grandest ideas. But the problem with a grand idea is that at some point it needs to be reduced to a practical reality if it’s to be anything but a thought in someone’s head. And therein lies the difficulty. How do you take the idea and make it real without losing the grand part in the process?
GALILEO WAS AN AMAZING SPACECRAFT. Launched in 1989, it arrived at Jupiter just under 6 years later and orbited for 7 years. Over 20 years after sending Galileo, we are about to launch his younger sister, Juno, on her way to Jupiter on August 5, and I get to be at Kennedy Space Center to send her on her way.
THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM HAS ENDED. Some say this represents an end: an end to US human spaceflight, an end to a 30 year legacy. I prefer to see it as a beginning: the start of low earth orbit as commonplace, the start of the commercial era of space. For over 50 years now, space has been the provenance of governments. Now it’s time for private entities to show us that it is easy, and for NASA to move into the next era.