Washington DC June 1, 2008
In the Air and Space Museum, this is one of the best photo spots. The Spirit of St. Louis, X-1 and Spaceship One appear to converge toward a common point. While the media blasts us with false Idols, out of the spotlight people of differing backgrounds are quietly working toward a better future. Decisions are being made that will affect the course of humanity in Space for decades. Many possibilities converge on a single future.
5 years after Columbia, a Vision for the Moon and Beyond continues. The International Space Station is the first permanent human presence outside Earth's atmosphere. The longtime dream of Space Solar Power will finally be demonstrated. Vehicles are being designed for extending human settlement to the Moon. In their wake, many private companies are competing to take passengers into Space.
Out of the spotlight, a new industry is being born. Space News reports that industry revenue has increased 50 percent in a year. We may see a boom like we once saw in the Web or biotech industries. Like the Pan Am shuttle waltzing toward a Space Station, we are approaching the 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY dream of commercial flights to orbit.
Much will depend on the next occupants of the White House. One candidate has talked about "delaying" the Vision 5 years, effectively killing it. There is room for added initiatives, like the DIRECT architecture or an asteroid mission. If the US cedes leadership, another nation will take the high ground. If the right moves are made, all humanity will converge on a future in Space.