Friday, October 28, 2005

Without a Clue

From Space Politics

Last night the National Air and Space Museum hosted a screening of the upcoming PBS documentary "Race to the Moon" about the Apollo 8 mission. In attendance at the event were the three astronauts from that mission: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. During a Q session after the screening, someone asked the three astronauts what they felt about the recent addition of SpaceShipOne to the museum and the role of commercial spaceflight. Borman's response:

Well, I think Spacecraft One [sic] was a nice stunt. You spend twenty-five million dollars to win ten. I'm not taking anything away from it because the people who flew it were very brave and courageous, but I don't think it leads to much, and I think it's inappropriately displayed up there next to Lindbergh's and Yeager's airplanes.

Borman's comments were met with a smattering of applause from the audience that filled the museum's IMAX theater.

Why mention this here? Borman's comments, and the fact that at least some fraction of the audience agreed with him, suggest that proponents of commercial human spaceflight—especially those who want to sell such services to the government—have not convinced everyone yet of the utility of such efforts.

Frank Borman, it should not be forgotten, it the guy who was at the controls when Eastern plowed into the ground - he may not be the first guy to ask when it comes to how to make money - or run a commercial enterprise. Paul Allen is no slouch in those departments after all and thought the X-Prize investment worthwhile

Whatever. Jeff is right - it's not the public we need to convince about the utility of commercial space flight. Gobless 'em they already know. It's the guys who think they know what they're talking about that are dangerous.

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