What is going on with space exploration?
As a kid, following the shuttle missions was a passion of mine.
It was a driving force of patriotism, and also traumatic as we all felt devastated on Jan. 28, 1986, after the tenth mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger ended in disaster before our eyes.
I remember the headmaster at Houston Academy making the announcement over the intercom while we were in the gym.
On a lighter note — do you remember the James Bond film Moonraker?
I freaked out over that one. Well done 007.
Moving on …
From kids to Hollywood, the country was all-go for launching the space program from the 60s to the 90s.
Then something changed.
The government throttled back getting into the space game. There can be endless debates on what sectors the government should or should not be in, but space? That is all NASA, in my humble opinion.
I think leaving a big chunk of the space race to the private sector was a bad call.
I am not going to get into the latest … the Space Force here, although among by football tailgating crew, it is a bit of a battle-cry at ballgames.
Why? Who knows?
It’s funny for the left and the right in our group and we can all get behind it, it’s catchy. Who wants another beer? SPACE FORCE, etc.!
Throughout the history of space exploration, Florida has played a huge role.
Kennedy Space Center has been our nation’s spaceport for all federal government space flights since the 1960s. From Apollo to Atlantis and so much more.
What do you think of when you think of space?
If you remember in the Strategic Defensive Initiative — also called “Star Wars” from the Reagan era — and President Ronald Reagan’s quote after the Challenger tragedy, space was a big deal.
That quote was:” The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”
During the Clinton era, the International Space Station was launched. Talk about a big deal, not just for our nation, but our world rallying around the space game.
Some have called the effort the “blueprint” for international cooperation.
Clinton had the following to say about our national space policy: “The United States’ chief space goals going forward were to “enhance knowledge of the Earth, the solar system and the universe through human and robotic exploration” and to “strengthen and maintain the national security of the United States.”
So, what is NASA up to these days?
How about sending a drone to one of Saturn’s moons? This particular moon, Titan, is one of the only other worlds in our solar system that has standing liquid on its surface.
The drone they are sending is nuclear powered and this is exciting. What’s the mission? Looking for signs of life. Will this impact jobs in Florida? Who knows, the launch is not scheduled for 2026.
Did you know the Apollo 11 50th anniversary is this year?
How does Florida/NASA plan to celebrate? With a Duran Duran show at Kennedy Space Center.
Tickets are $300 and the show is next week.
“Rio and Rockets?” “New Moon on Monday?” (Never mind, no Duran/Space puns, please).
While not making money putting on shows, the Kennedy Space Center has found itself some serious revenue as a spaceport, leasing unused facilities to Boeing, Space X, Lockheed Martin and Space Florida.
The place is over 140,000 acres and they also house NASA’s Commercial Crew program, as well as the Orion program. Both have the goal of bringing humans back out into space.
Did I mention that the Center also provides approximately 8,000 jobs to our state?
Meanwhile, nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will be home to a couple of Space X missions soon. Launching some telescopes under a $50 million NASA contract.
Maybe I was mistaken to think that the private and public sector cannot partner to get us back in the lead in the space game. Maybe we are about to begin a new golden era of space exploration and discovery.
Either way, I will be rooting for NASA and these two impressive Florida facilities that I mentioned.
See you out there.
Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected].
This column is dedicated to the gentlemen of Otis International Incorporated.