I feel cheated about space travel. I got bamboozled!
This blog is for all the dreamers who imagined a future that included regular and frequent space travel — for the dreamers who got bamboozled by the broken promise of a space-age future.
I have always been possessed with the idea of space flight. As a child, I didn’t play with fire trucks, blocks or normal childhood toys. I pretended that I was a NASA Mission Control engineer. Or better still, I pretended that I was an astronaut on a space mission. My eyes were on the sky, not the sandlot.
My obsession was not a phase―it persisted throughout my youth and my adult life. I studied and read everything I could about space and space travel. I paid enormous attention to the NASA missions to the moon and I fully believed it was just the start of a bigger space program to follow. My exuberant beliefs were nourished by Walter Cronkite’s TV reporting of space missions, excitedly telling us how important these events were, and how the future would be changed by the dawning of the “space-age” we were witnessing.
In 1967 through 1970, I watched every episode of Walter Cronkite’s “The 21st Century” on CBS. This program postulated the advances the next century would bring, due to all the rapid technological changes occurring at the time. The space-age future did indeed look bright.
I watched episodes of “Star Trek,” the 1966-1969 NBC series, which further stoked my beliefs in the coming space-age evolution. By1970, after the moon landing, it was obvious for me and many others of my era, that we would have colonies on the moon and be commonly traveling to Mars by the turn of the century.
I didn’t just dream about the future, I worked hard to become part of that hi-tech, space-age future by obtaining three engineering degrees. My first professional engineering job was at NASA in 1975. However, I quickly learned that NASA was no longer the rapid incubator of creative thinking as it was in the early 1960s. Instead, it was a bureaucratic place, undergoing staff reductions, where concern for keeping your job was paramount—not advancing space-age technology.
“The Right Stuff” had left NASA. My ideas about an efficient space launch vehicle were ignored. Although I quickly learned that my dream of working at NASA was a misguided goal, I still remained hopeful that the coming Space Shuttle program would re-ignite my shining dream of the future. It was not to be. The technical failures of the Shuttle lead to declining interest in space, declining budgets, and placed my dreams in a deep freeze.
Now, in the second decade of the new century, I feel cheated that the space-age dreams of my youth are unfulfilled. I got bamboozled! All the dreamers of my era got cheated.
However, the heat from a new light shining on the subject may thaw out my frozen dreams. Now NASA and other satellite users are embracing private industry for launching their payloads into space. Now, my decades-long dream of an efficient, low-cost launch system has a better chance of getting implemented than during the bureaucratic, government operated era.
Perhaps the right people will read the book “What If We Made Space Travel Practical?”
Maybe the dreams of my youth will still come true. Please check out the web site www.StarHorseProject.com in order to understand more about making space travel practical.