A Boy’s Dreams Die Hard
Today was the first manned space flight launch to the International Space Station (ISS) since the end of NASA’s space shuttle program.
In a much-delayed flight a Russian spacecraft is ferrying a new crew, including an American, to the ISS.
Today’s news reminds me of one of President Obama’s many inspired speeches.
That speech was on 4/15/2010 at Cape Canaveral. It called for a visionary public-private partnership for NASA, ultimately culminating in a manned landing on Mars in the mid-2030s.
In his speech President Obama said, “And I expect to be around to see it”.
The President used inspiring phrases like “leap into the future” and “a transformative agenda for NASA” describing his far-thinking plan.
The President then boldly proclaimed:
Nobody is more committed to manned space exploration, to human exploration of space, than I am
On the White House web site you’ll find that speech in a video titled, “A Bold New Course for NASA“.
The Audacity of False Hope
That is the speech President Obama made right after cancelling NASA’s Constellation program to return men to the moon and stopping development on the Orion spacecraft to get them there.
I was bitterly reminded of that speech in today’s story about the delayed Russian launch in London’s Financial Times when I read this quote at the end describing the U.S. manned space program:
This year the United States turned over all crewed flight responsibilities to Russia until commercial firms can offer space-taxi rides.
NASA is seeking $850 million to help U.S.-based private companies develop human orbital transport capabilities with the goal of breaking Russia’s monopoly on ferrying astronauts to the space station before the end of 2016.
2016! That is FIVE years from now. NASA doesn’t even have approved major funding yet to seriously develop a manned spacecraft… even within the public-private partnership.
Since President Obama’s speech somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 U.S. space workers have lost their jobs.
A Boy’s Dreams Die Hard
Every kid in my generation grew up dreaming of being the first man to walk on the moon. I really believed it would be me. I was crushed when I learned it would not be me.
I can still quote from President Kennedy’s famous 09/12/1962 space speech calling for funding the Apollo moon landing program. I memorized it.
President Kennedy concluded that great speech with these immortal words:
… the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.”
Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.
How low the mighty has fallen.
It broke my heart reading today’s story.