Friday, February 23, 2024

Thank you, NASA.

I grew up after the greatest glories of the American space program were mere memories. My youth was marked not by new accomplishments, but by the de-orbiting of Skylab, the Challenger tragedy and a national space program seemingly bereft of purpose. Yet meaningful work still went on.

Yesterday, February 22, 2024, the United States returned to the moon for the first time in fifty years. Only this time it was courtesy of Intuitive Machines, the first private company to ever successfully land a spacecraft on the moon.

We live in an age of information overload where truth often seems subjective and many dismiss private space companies as the whimsical toys of over-privileged billionaires. Yet science has finally caught up with science fiction and we now stand on the cusp of a new era. This isn’t hyperbole. It’s fact.

Near, middle and geosynchronous earth orbit are critical domains for many of the tools that the modern world depends upon. The impact that private space enterprise will have upon the furtherance of existing tools, and the creation of new ones, remains to be seen. Yet the fact is that these private space entrepreneurs are predominantly American companies leveraging decades of hard-won knowledge and leaning heavily into public-private partnerships.

This isn’t the abject commercialization of space. It’s the beginning of a new era of exploration and possibility that will benefit us all. Thank you to Intuitive Machines, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and so very many others. And, thank you, NASA.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be strong. Lead well.