I can’t help but be excited about the Spaceport America runway inaugural which occurred on October 22, 2010.
As I previously wrote, the government sponsored American space program has been dying at a slow IV drip rate. The last space shuttle was retired this year and with it goes the means to easily transport American Astronauts between earth and the International Space Station. This task is left to the Soviet space program as they still use the same basic rocket from the late 1950’s.
The technical feasibility of launching personnel and satellite communication equipment has evolved over the lat 50 years toward civilian expertise and facilities. This latest venture launched in 2006 by Sir Richard Branson with planned near space tourist travel portends the immediate future of near space flight.
As exciting as this is it demonstrates the vast differences between the fictional ideas of Gene Roddenberry whereby the earth community evolved into a fully cooperative economic and military presence destined to intergalactic travel under at least the guise of peace and the advancement of science and where we are today.
I wrote about the differences in technological and cooperation necessary to advance a civilization as outlined by Dr. Michio Kaku. We are still very primitive in our ability to protect and project ourselves in our present evolution. I will briefly recap what this article explained.
Types of Civilizations
Type 0 – defines a civilization which derives it’s energy primarily from dead fossils of plants and animals. This is where we are now as we begin to understand and unravel the differences between matter and energy and harness the power of the atom. Exploratory space travel is yet to become a significant aspect as power resources and materials are just beginning to evolve.
Type 2 – is stellar; this group of sentient beings have the ability to harness the energy of their nearest star. Not the simple solar cell momentary power grab but sustainable energy absorption from their nearest star. After this no longer is sufficient to power their large machinery, they move into the next phase of civilization development.
Although much of this may seem a far fetched idea, the fictional writing of Jules Verne hinted at the way things might be by the end of the 20th century. In broad strokes he was essentially correct. Perhaps the ideas of Roddenberry and the very real world writing of Dr. Michio Kaku may come to pass as we see the beginnings at Americas first Spaceport.
Meanwhile NASA had already agreed to pay the Soviets as much as $51 million a seat for flights in 2011 and 2012, before the latest increase. Flights will now cost $55.8 million per astronaut times 6 when they fly to the ISS. Maybe in the near future we will see Virgin on the side of a space shuttle?
- Spaceport’s Construction Heralds Era of Commercial Space Travel (space.com)
- Third ATV on its way to European Spaceport. (spacetrails.wordpress.com)