Its been a year full of tumultuous events so far in 2020, and only six months have passed. Two weeks ago, Elon Musk, a real-life Tony Stark, offered the world a break from the chaos. On May 30, SpaceX inspired new hope for the future, with its first successful manned-launch.
My family and I, like millions of others, were very excited to witness the dawn of a new era…commercial passenger spaceflight. This event was dubbed “Launch America,” and it was history in the making. The good kind for a change.
As we watched the final preparations leading up to the countdown, I recalled the very first space shuttle launch. I also remembered Ellison Onizuka and the 1986 Challenger disaster. Both of those memories were significant moments for obviously very different reasons.
Our son is still too young to understand the importance of this event. I told him that a new chapter in American space flight is beginning. Perhaps someday he’ll have the opportunity to fly into space, and I’ll have the chance to live that dream through him.
The last time NASA sent anyone to outer space from U.S. soil was in 2011. So this mission (Demo-2) was years in the making with countless hours of planning and development. That day, the Falcon 9 rocket (named after the Millenium Falcon), launched astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Their destination was the International Space Station.
Where to Next?
Demo-2 is a big step towards NASA’s Artemis Program, which is something straight out of science fiction. The goal of the program is for man to return to the moon by the year 2024. In the short-term, it’s a chance for us to further explore the lunar surface and look for valuable resources, like water. But in the bigger picture, the moon will serve as a staging area, bringing us another step closer to our ultimate journey to Mars.
To Infinity and Beyond
It’s exciting to think about all the opportunities in space awaiting today’s younger generation. The phrase, “to infinity and beyond” has never felt more appropriate than right now. The idea that man is on the cusp of becoming an interplanetary species is almost unbelievable.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that humanity still has a long way to go here on Earth. On one hand there seems to be an awakening happening. On the other hand, there is still a deep chasm that divides our people.
SpaceX gave us a brief distraction from our current woes like the pandemic, mass unemployment, an economy in trouble, political crisis, and deep-seated civil rights issues. We are not a perfect species. We never have been, and we never will be.
But for a moment, we were able to unite and dream together. Let’s hope we can savor more positive accomplishment such as this in the second half of this year. Let’s hope we can continue to strive to become a better society.
Bravo to Elon Musk, SpaceX and NASA for inspiring us with new hope for the future.
Congratulations to Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley! We wish them both a safe return, God speed and aloha!