July 22, 2021

Apollo 11 and the Democratization of Space

July 20 will always be remembered for the historic landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon in 1969. This year, the anniversary shares the date with the opening of commercial space ventures. Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, achieved its first passenger flight to space, following by just days Richard Branson's flight to space on Virgin Galactic.

This is huge, and ushers in the era of the democratization of space travel, that in coming years and decades will eventually bring suborbital and orbital flights at prices affordable to millions. 

You can see the parallels in your life. The first flat panel TVs cost a fortune, but now huge TVs are available everywhere for a few hundred dollars. Early computers filled buildings and cost millions until Apple and IBM invented personal computers--and today you carry a phone far more powerful than the Apollo spacecraft computers. Likewise, air travel was initially so costly that only the wealthy could fly coast to coast, but for many decades now, domestic and international flights have been affordable for the millions. See, it took the efforts of the creative and determined relative few to bring these ideas to market and through mass production in our free enterprise system, make them affordable and plentiful.

The next step will be orbital flights by SpaceX, Blue Origin and others, where you will be able to travel anywhere on earth within an hour or travel to orbit--and in less than 20 years, these may cost little more than a luxury cruise.

Oddly, some are criticizing Branson and Bezos for their incredible achievements. Envy? Perhaps they would have similarly criticized Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Steve Jobs, Neil Armstrong and all the other 'right stuff' doers, inventors, developers, and creators that built the most prosperous and healthy society in the history of mankind.  

The future of humanity will include hundreds, then thousands, then millions living and working in space, with cities in orbit and on the Moon and Mars. Children will point with awe at the lights on the Moon. The question is will it be a future of freedom in space as developed and protected by the U.S., or a dystopian future of tyranny on and off earth, all owned and controlled by China's dictators? 

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins pioneered the way, NASA is on the path to returning Americans to the Moon--hopefully by 2024, and now private entrepreneurs will bring space travel to the thousands and eventually the millions. 

Humanity advances and during this lunar landing week, we should all applaud not only the Apollo pioneers but the new generation of spacefarers who may indeed sell you a ticket to space.

(Photo credit Blue Origin)

July 16, 2021

52 Years Past Apollo 11--When Will We Return to the Moon?

Fifty-two years ago, the entire world united for a week. Everyone forgot their differences and together as one tuned in on radio and TV to watch the greatest feat in the history of humanity.

The first step on another world transformed us in so many ways. Just months before on Apollo 8, we saw for the first time Earth from afar, and then the famous "Earthrise" photo, of the Earth rising above the Moon. 

Imagine this: It is July 16, 1969, and hundreds of thousands of people camped out near the Kennedy Space Center overnight waiting for the launch of Apollo 11. Millions more around the world are glued to their TVs and radios, awaiting the magical moment. It's a bright sunny morning and Apollo 11 is gleaming on the launch pad as technicians check the million-plus systems that all must work perfectly.

The astronauts wave to the cameras as they depart for the pad, and ascend 365 feet to the top of the Saturn V rocket. The hatch is closed and the world awaits...

All systems are GO! The time is 9:32 AM. The world holds its breath!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0! Smoke and fire billow from the mighty engines and slowly the rocket rises, then faster and faster. Humanity cheers on the launch of Apollo 11 on its historic mission to land Americans on the moon.

Apollo 11 is now in orbit. Two hours and 44 minutes later, the engines fired to take the spacecraft out of earth orbit and towards the moon, still a quarter of a million miles distant.

The adventure begins.

Now it's time to return. we CAN make 2024 with the support of the White House, Congress and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. We MUST return before China beats us back and claims the water-ice bearing craters at the south pole as theirs, just as they do in the South China Sea. 

You can help: Call your Members of Congress in support of the 2024 return to the Moon. 202-224-3121.