If you go to space entrepreneur.com, you’ll see that it redirects back to that hive of villainy, used carsalesman.com. Yes, it’s true, I’ve kind of been in to new ideas when it comes to outer space and aerospace and I am eager to support those people, rich and poor, who are looking to make advances in that arena.
Story has it that when I was but a wee lad of only 1 and a half years old, my folks took me to see the launch of the Apollo 17 Saturn V rocket in the early hours of a Florida morning. This was the last of the Apollo Moon launches, so obviously it was very important that I stay awake and watch the giant rocket take off. Naturally, I stayed awake right until the last minute or so before launch and then, “…snore ZZZZZZ.” So, as an adult, I obviously have an unmet subconscious need to be especially “awake” regarding new human developments in space. Or, maybe I just dig freeze-dried ice cream.
Anyway, so where does the current commercial space industry, the industry that’s supposed to put non-NASA-trained persons in space, stand? Sure you have SpaceAdventures, which has done the important and highly novel work of brokering trips aboard Russian Spacecraft to the International Space Station. And, you have the new and ambitiously-classified Mojave “Spaceport,” only 100 miles or so from Los Angeles; there you’ll find long-established companies such as Scaled Composites (of SpaceShipOne fame) amongst other younger, space-related start-ups. You also have Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Virgin’s joint venture with Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company.
All of these commercial enterprises make for quite interesting news. They have the green-light from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and its Office of Commercial Space Transportation . So, why am I still feeling like this all seems like small potatoes? I mean, the new aerospace companies are certainly the stuff of great news, that’s for sure; and, all efforts mentioned should be applauded with great fervor. But, something is still missing to stimulate growth: perhaps a war or a foreign government creating a highly permissive space-launch regulatory environment that puts the U.S. on the defensive and essentially forces a channeling of capital to new domestic space enterprise. So, maybe that’s it: U.S. space commerce is stuck in some kind of “Sputnik Syndrome.” As with 1957′s Soviet Sputnik launch and the correspondingly large U.S. political reaction, only once some other nation or alliance and their respective aerospace enterprises has shown evidence of being ahead of the U.S and its aerospace enterprises will shifts (big capital flow to new aerospace ventures) occurr.