America has launched its first commercial-NASA rocket and the first American-made manned space vehicle in more than a decade. The lift-off of the SpaceX Falcon Nine rocket and the Dragon Capsule rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) have ushered in a spectacular new era of U.S. achievement in space and commercial-advanced space technology. This accomplishment has demonstrated what a partnership of public and commercial enterprise can achieve, validating the need for a Space Force and vindicating President Trump’s championing of the new military service. This steppingstone to the moon and Mars portends growing opportunities for Americans, against the malevolent backdrop of destructive riots in liberal-led cities across the country.
What a showcase: An exciting vista opens on American ingenuity, juxtaposed with cowardly and incompetent leadership in major municipalities. Our brave, dedicated astronauts took a positive “leap for mankind,” while stores, police vehicles, banks, and post offices burned at the hands of arsonists and looters.
As the SpaceX Falcon Nine and Dragon capsule carrying astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken ascended toward the ISS, President Donald Trump addressed at the Kennedy Space Center the families, friends, technicians, SpaceX executives, and scientists who made the lift-off possible. Trump opened his speech forcefully and clearly, contrasting the remarkable experience he and those assembled were celebrating and the base and evil behavior Americans saw exhibited in cities around the country.
The president decried the despicable behavior of the Minneapolis policemen who snuffed out the life of a man of color for no apparent reason other than they could. As Trump lamented, “The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger, and grief.” The cascading rioting and destruction of property by morally challenged thugs and criminals across our country are abhorrent and not the answer. Yet the local leadership in Minneapolis and other large metropolises allowed the behavior to continue. At the same time, the technological and scientific prowess represented by the SpaceX-NASA venture reflects the unquenchable pioneering spirit of America, worthy of the blueprint Trump laid out for our country’s future in space.
More than 40 years have passed since the Space Shuttle demonstrated that a reusable space vehicle could move astronauts and their equipment from the launch pad to earth orbit. However, this launch was decidedly different from those that have gone before. For the first time, a commercial entrepreneur produced the rocket and the capsule carrying the astronauts, and the initial stage of the rocket was recovered safely, landing under its own power on a platform floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Previously, after the fuel had been depleted, the first stage fell back into the ocean, to be recovered or not.
Furthermore, the president promised that the Falcon Nine venture was the beginning of a rekindled space program left fallow by the previous administration. NASA will be revitalized with commercial partnerships to return to the moon by 2024 and from there take off to Mars. Trump delighted the assembly by saying, “And the first woman on the moon will be an American woman. And the first nation to land on Mars will be the United States of America.” To accomplish this, the president explained, “A new 22,000-pound capsule is already built. The next generation of space suits are already made. Colossal rockets are now being tested. And the contracts for three separate lunar landers have been awarded and signed, and they are magnificent.” And in true Trump fashion, he prodded the audience’s already high state of enthusiasm: “In the years ahead, America will go bigger, bolder, further, faster, and America will go first. America will always be first.”
If Trump’s purpose was to be inspiring, he was successful. The speech was reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy’s words: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Americans did precisely that on July 20, 1969, 51 years ago. It’s time for another visit. It is entirely possible that President Trump will ignite in this generation the same indomitable spirit that took us to the moon half a century ago, and then it’s on to Mars.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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