43 years ago—almost to the day—the crew of Apollo 17 returned to the earth. This was the last of the Apollo missions. It was the last time a human being walked on the surface of another body within our solar system. 43 years ago. Two new generations of humanity have joined the planet in this span of time—two generations comprised of people who have yet to see the technological achievements of Apollo bested.
Tonight, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying (11) communications satellites for OrbComm. All (11) satellites were successfully deployed—a flawless performance by anyone’s measure. Yet what took the show was the subsequent LANDING of the Falcon 9’s primary stage. Although attempted before (but only really by SpaceX), this was the first true success, and represents a leap forward in rocket design, ingenuity, and daring. The economic benefits of such a feat—drastically lowered costs to put objects in orbit—will enable further, greater steps toward that ultimate endeavor, SPACE.
And although the landing of one rocket on a concrete pad in Florida doesn’t quite equal the landing of men on the Moon, it is another beginning. Before Apollo 11 there was Apollo 1 through 10. We glimpsed the future of spaceflight, tonight. That future will be led by companies like SpaceX, and by the visionary people dedicating themselves to the exploration, the private exploration, of space. Well done.
Will Burcher is a former police officer and current author of “The GAIAD,” a story of ancient secrets not quite forgotten and the positive power of global perspective. He lives and works in Colorado, USA.
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