Blake Dowling: With SpaceX, America looks back to The Final Frontier
Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the moon. Image via SpaceX/NASA.

Now, all these years later, it feels like we are back in the game.

Last week’s successful rocket launch was a nice reminder of what we can accomplish together as a nation.

Founded in 2002, the goal of SpaceX is to get our country back among the stars; specifically, to get Americans in space via domestic means.

The public/private partnership of NASA and SpaceX found its way May 30, accomplishing this mission by sending two astronauts to the International Space Station who are now floating around drinking Tang. (Do they still have Tang?)

Just mentioning the product reminds me of taking that big cap off the bottle (I can still smell it to this day) at my dad’s girlfriend’s house (Mary Anne Duffy); stirring up that Orange goodness while Space Shuttles launched on TV and “Space Camp” was the film to see.

In 1986, some say Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun” was the film to see, but I’m sticking with Space Camp (clarification below). I also seem to remember an insane number of Smurfs and GI Joes lying about; such were the times.

It was also a year of greatness at your local arena: Rap legends Run-DMC took rap upstarts Beastie Boys on tour — it was one of the greatest parings in concert history.

Run-DMC set a high bar in everything they did and this video (with a nice Penn and Teller cameo) allowed them to tell a fun story, behind a great song. They dominated the music scene (and MTV) during that time.

Space, rap and metal music was constantly on my brain that year; I also had a crush on the girl in Space Camp.

NASA and the Space Shuttle was everywhere — and then poof. It seemed to go on sleep mode.

Now, all these years later, it feels like we are back in the game.

Next up for SpaceX, potentially 100 days in space for Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley while SpaceX readies another Crew Dragon launch for August, getting four more astronauts to the stars.

One of the great tours of my lifetime.

After the International Space Station’s success, Elon Musk and the team at SpaceX have always said one of their main goals was getting to Mars. Earlier this year, a successful key test of the SpaceX Starship happened and is the first time this pressure test passed, as earlier attempts have failed.

The Starship is being developed to take humans on the six-month journey to Mars (as well as other missions) in an attempt to establish a colony.

The homepage will give you chills as it states, Starship service to Earth orbit, moon, Mars and beyond. Wow. And there is a ride-share program section for as low as $1 million.

While SpaceX has had great success with the Crew Dragon launch and the successful test I mentioned they also had another large setback with an explosion this week at their facility in Texas where they were testing the engine of the Starship.

Hopefully, they can overcome this setback quickly and get back to business ASAP.

I spoke to Kathryn Hambelton at NASA this week and she was able to point me toward these amazing images of NASA and SpaceX as well as some details on the agency’s trips to the moon planned for 2024 including one mission led by Blue Origin.

Artist concept of the Blue Origin National Team crewed lander on the surface of the moon. Image via Blue Origin.

Wouldn’t you know, just like in 1986, Cruise is in the conversation in 2020. However, it is not Top Gun. Actually it is as the sequel is coming out this year, but for today’s purpose, it is about his deal with NASA. According to CNN, Cruise has signed a deal to make a movie from the ISS (International Space Station) and actually fly up and stay on the station.

That’s pretty awesome and it won’t be cheap.

CNN lists daily life support and toilet fees at over $11,000 a day, and food and air coming in at $20,000+ per day.

My podcast guest this week is Samantha Sexton.

Who knows what the future of space travel holds?

After the long sleep, we are back in the game. While this year feels like the complete bizarro twin of 1986, I am hopeful — as we turn our view back toward the stars — that we can have optimism that things will start looking up for our nation and our world.

Speaking with this week’s podcast guest, Samantha Sexton, she talked about growing up on the Space Coast. Her eyes lit up and we talked space for a while.

Check out that episode here:

As we sign off, I pray for a safe journey for our nation’s astronauts, for justice and equality for every American. I also pray for the end of this year’s health crisis.

May God bless us all in 2020.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, the host of the Biz & Tech podcast and a writer for several organizations. You can reach him at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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