Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

LEE’S SUMMIT, DECEMBER 6, 2014 – “There is your new spacecraft America!” Rob Navias said as the Orion Capsule neared the water only one and a half miles from its designate splashdown point off of Baja California.

Those words may not go down in history the way Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for man; one giant leap for Mankind”; however, I believe they will lead to new accomplishments and new great adventures of humanity.

If you look at NASA of the 1960’s and the technological advances that have kept going for the last fifty plus years, imagine what a reinvigorated and global space exploration can bring to all of us.

Mining Asteroids will bring new advancements in technology as well as reduce the consumption of resources on Earth.

In the 1960’s there were only two spacefaring nations; the US and the USSR. Now we have the United States with both Government and Private sector space exploration, Russia still making the international space station a viable concern, the European Community’s space exploration efforts both for science and for commerce, China has reached the moon with an unmanned space craft, India has space ambitions.

In addition to the previous list, you’d be surprise to find that Japan, Israel, Ukraine, Iran, North and South Korea have all launched unscrewed spacecraft into orbit on their own. Additionally, Italy, France, the UK, and Australia have launched with the help of others.

This is no longer a space race between two nations at opposite ends of the spectrum politically; this is now an economic race to space. Satellites provided the first economic boon for the space launches. The next effort will be the large haulers that move humans to the Asteroid belt, and then even larger vehicles – most likely route runners – that will bring material back to earth in shipload quantities.

Orion represents the first step. A four man crew does not seem like such an improvement over Apollo, but it is a 33% increase in human capacity. The addition of an 8 month journey instead of a 14 day journey puts burdens on the systems that make them significantly more complex than Apollo. Having the room to put 6 people in the capsule for short trips makes this a giant leap over Apollo.

Image of Orion Spacecraft Launching from Cape Canaveral

Image: NASA Bill Ingalls

Let us find the bounty put around us, let us enjoy the benefits of having materials that do not deplete the earth’s resources, and let us use this as a challenge to go further, to explore and to move forward together and not at the expense of the other.

Space is not a zero sum game; it can be and should be a boon for all on earth.

image of Orion Splashdown Recovery

Image Courtesy of NASA

Respectfully submitted
The Lee’s Summit Conservative