Welcome to the Real Space Age

Despite fears that NASA and the United States have given up on space exploration, the focus has simply shifted to private companies like Virgin and SpaceX, which are preparing for commercial space travel:

“This was the International Symposium for Personal and Commerical Spaceflight. It had been co-founded eight years earlier by a New Mexico State professor named Pat Hynes, who had been studying and advocating for the commercial potential of space for twenty years. She has watched the conference grow in size and influence alongside the industry. Now, the facility buzzed with engineers and scientists and entrepreneurs and astronauts. Sponsors included Lockheed Martin and Boeing, a European company touting its ability to ‘launch any payload to any orbit at anytime,’ and another company claiming the authority to sell plots of land on the moon. Hynes, ecstatic, inaugurated the conference by shouting a ‘Let’s rock this house!’ welcome, before introducing Michael Lopez-Alegria, a recently retired space-shuttle astronaut who spoke of his conversion from ‘skeptic with outright disdain for the idea of commercial space” to a “Kool-Aid-pouring believer’ in the private space industry.”

Author: Dan P. Lee
Published: May 20, 2013
Length: 32 minutes (8,219 words)
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