21 July 2011 – STS-135. The last American Space Shuttle mission.
30 May 2020 – The first manned flight of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.
About a month and a half short of nine years. NINE years. It is time to move out!
Nine years in which Americans were dependent on our former enemies (yes, not just of the FedGov, but of most Americans) for travel outside Earth’s atmosphere. Nine years of “pause” in anything directly involving humans in Space except endless circling the planet of our birth in a great “cooperative” venture that involved little exploration, very little exploitation, NO settlement, and a lot of playing games.
It is a “pause” that surely must boggle the mind of the greats of space exploration AND of science fiction, assuming they have any attention to spare for mundane, physical (“earthly” doesn’t quite fit) affairs in whatever location of afterlife that they now inhabit. Certainly it must be incredibly frustrating to the greats like Goddard, Von Braun, Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein.
But they are not alone.
I am a child of the Space Age. I do not remember Sputnik 1 nor Explorer 1. I was just too little, (Just over two at the time.) But I DO recall Gagarin, Shepard, and Glenn. Vostok, Mercury, Gemini. And most especially I recall Christmas of 1968 and Apollo 8 orbiting Luna, and July of 1969, with Armstrong and Aldrin in Eagle. And of course, July of 1969, newly relocated to the tiny rural town of Jennings, Kansas, and having a single television station, KOMC (Oberlin-McCook) broadcasting those primitive video images. And I recall the excitement – and the failures – of the next three years. Just THREE years, and then Nixon canceled anything more.
Yeah, we got a “space truck” to haul stuff and people up – a wonderful example of 1960s technology that killed a lot of people and was economically unsustainable, while good ideas and private enterprise were denied time and time again.
Since 1972, NO ONE has gone beyond low Earth orbit. Oh, we’ve sent “robots” far beyond, and even back to Luna. And to Mars. But no PEOPLE. And for nearly a decade, all the Americans have hitched rides with Russians. And 95% of what we’ve DONE in space relates directly to activities here on Earth. I’m not knocking GPS and orbital telecommunications and earth observations. But that is, at best, looking BACK and NOT looking OUT.
May God forgive our lack of vision, our lack of courage – and our insanity of government control and government spending, and wasted money (and materials and especially lives) on stupid wars and worse, while denying our birthright of liberty and the universe that God gave us – humans – to have and use.
I honestly think that more money has been spent on Science Fiction MOVIES and TELEVISION shows than on actually getting people into space in these last ten years. Possibly by every country on Earth. It is sickening.
But can we hope that it is changing? Even though they are still (so sadly) locked to government? (This “private” launch was really a NASA-dominated public-private partnership.) It is private business – not the bureaucrats and politician-scientists and engineers of a big government agency. One, which like ALL government agencies, is first and foremost dedicated to its own survival.
It is time for people – real people, not military or bureaucrats or government employees OR contractors – to move out and up. To start DOING things other than just “exploring” and “experimenting.” It is not just time to move out and up into space, it is time to move to space. To live there, to live free in this universe – or at least this star system – that God has given us. Governments won’t – and can’t – do this. But free men and women can!