I got bamboozled! – The Author’s Introduction
I have always been possessed with the idea of space flight. As a child in kindergarten, I set up cardboard boxes and colored them with crayons to look like NASA’s Mission Control panels I saw on TV. I played with my cardboard mission control during Alan Shepard’s 1961 flight in the Mercury Friendship 7 space capsule. I didn’t play with fire trucks, blocks or normal childhood toys. I pretended that I was a NASA Mission Control engineer. Or better still, I pretended that I was an astronaut on a space mission. My eyes were on the sky, not the sandlot.
My obsession was not a phase―it persisted throughout my youth and my adult life. I studied and read everything I could about space and space travel. I paid enormous attention to the NASA missions to the moon and I fully believed it was just the start of a bigger space program to follow. My exuberant beliefs were nourished by Walter Cronkite’s TV reporting of space missions, excitedly telling us how important these events were, and how the future would be changed by the dawning of the “space-age” we were witnessing.
In 1967 through 1970, I watched every episode of Walter Cronkite’s “The 21st Century” on CBS. This program postulated the advances the next century would bring, due to all the rapid technological changes occurring at the time. The space-age future did indeed look bright. I watched episodes of “Star Trek,” the 1966-1969 NBC series, which further stoked my beliefs in the coming space-age evolution. By 1970, after the moon landing, it was obvious for me and many others of my era, that we would have colonies on the moon and be commonly traveling to Mars by the turn of the century.
It was about this time that my mother started telling people that my head was full of “space.” I objected to the possible misinterpretation of this remark. I had to remind her to refine her comments by saying my head was “full of space-age dreams” and not just an empty void.
I didn’t just dream about the future, I worked hard to become part of that hi-tech, space-age future by obtaining three engineering degrees. My first professional engineering job was at NASA in 1975. However, I quickly learned that NASA was no longer the rapid incubator of creative thinking as it was in the early 1960s. Instead it was a bureaucratic place, undergoing staff reductions, where concern for keeping your job was paramount―not advancing space-age technology. “The Right Stuff” had left NASA. My ideas about an efficient space launch vehicle were ignored. Although I quickly learned that my dream of working at NASA was a misguided goal, I still remained hopeful that the coming Space Shuttle program would re-ignite my shining dream of the future. But the technical failures of the Shuttle lead to declining interest in space, declining budgets, and placed my dreams in a deep freeze.
Now, in the second decade of the new century, I feel cheated that the space-age dreams of my youth are unfulfilled. I got bamboozled! All the dreamers of my era got cheated.
However, the heat from a new light shining on the subject may thaw out my frozen dreams. Now NASA and other satellite users are embracing private industry for launching their payloads into space. Now my decades-long dream of an efficient, low-cost launch system has a better chance of getting implemented than during the bureaucratic, government operated era. Perhaps the right people will read “What If” We Made Space Travel Practical?―they are out there―and take serious notice of the concepts presented within. Maybe the dreams of my youth will still come true.
The book “What If We Made Space Travel Practical” takes a critical look at what caused space program stagnation and why we all got bamboozled! Further it proposes detail techniques that could lead us out of this malaise. To order the book click here.
To learn more about the Star Horse concept and how we can reduce the cost of space travel by 95 percent, please visit www.StarHorseSpacecraft.com