Tuesday, May 22, 2012
SpaceX Takes the Fiction out of Sci-Fi
The first science fiction I ever got hooked on was Star Trek because my dad watched endless reruns of the original series and I watched, too. Hours of boldly going had me wanting to join Starfleet and fly into space, but Star Trek is science fiction and the whole fiction part of that posed a bit of a problem. My childhood dreams may not have come to fruition, but the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX last night makes the fiction part of it seem like a little less of an obstacle.
I know, the launch of the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station does not mean that we'll all be lining up to board a flight to the moon for summer vacation. It also doesn't mean I'll ever get any closer to the stars than my next airplane flight. But what it does mean is that the little piece of me that wants to believe space travel can be like air travel is skipping around giddily and throwing confetti into the air.
The first space shuttle launch made me cry. So did the last. When I watched the Falcon 9 take off for the International Space Station, once again tears blurred my vision. Space travel is still so new, who could believe that anyone outside of a government could ever amass the talent, funding and determination to pull off this venture. Me.
I believe that too many of us want this too badly for it not to happen. I believe that, although I have no idea how to launch a rocket, the people who do know will never stop innovating and will continue advancing what we know about space travel. I believe things are only impossible because we don't understand all the pieces of the puzzle. The pieces are there, we just haven't figured out how to put them together. Yet.
When the Dragon capsule that sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket docks with the ISS, there will be plenty of cheers in the control room from the folks at SpaceX and those at NASA working with them on this project. I hope they know that in living rooms around the world, there are everyday people like me who are cheering with them and happily watching as science slowly but surely overtakes fiction.
Here's to boldly going.