By C.E. Howard
Color me impressed. (What color is that, anyway?) I am a space nerd, who loves all things space-oriented. I, like many others, recoiled in fear and mild horror last year when it was revealed that some NASA programs would be cancelled and government-funded human space exploration would be put on “the back burner,” to put it mildly. Yet, today, NASA-related news dominates my desktop.
The Obama Administration came under considerable fire for the decision, but I am tremendously pleased with what has transpired since then. The private human spaceflight/commercial spacecraft industry has taken off (pun intended), with help from some of the world’s best and brightest. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs—including Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson, Robert Bigelow, and others—have invested time, thought, and considerable funds in advancing human space travel in the commercial realm.
NASA officials aren’t resting on their laurels, however. In fact, over the past few months, NASA has been making headlines each week—far more often than it had in the past several years. The organization is increasingly partnering with technology companies in the aerospace industry, as well, announcing contract opportunities and hosting industry events.
Just this month, in fact, NASA personnel have revealed an undersea mission, a next-gen space observatory, student competitions, tweetups (I shudder at the thought of this “word” making it into the dictionary), and the need for expendable launch vehicles, propulsion systems, and much more.