Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bolden and Garver (A New Chapter for NASA?)

I am fortunate to work in a place that is directly associated with space. I do it every day. In fact, my assigned shuttle (OV-105), or Endeavour to most people, is currently attached to the ISS and doing some amazing work for the advancement and increased capability of our global space station. For me, space is more than just my career. I strongly believe that it is the foundation for the prosperity of human civilization on this planet. Space = Survival. This is why I embrace the New Space Movement for the commericalization of space, and why I long for a Federal Government that recognizes our national space industry as a leader, and not just a supplemental addition to the budget.

With that level of seriousness, and a strong passion for what the future holds, I have been on pins and needles about the recently appointed NASA Administration and Deputy Administrator, Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver, respectively. Not because of political ideology, which many people try to bolster up as reasons to oppose anyone, but because there is so much riding on the shoulders of NASA that we cannot afford to have anyone in charge that does not understand, revere, appreciate and feel passionate about the future of what space means to America. In this, I will be completely nationalistic, so you have been warned.

The United States is by far the most powerful country in the world for the promotion of liberty, freedom and prosperity in all walks of life. We enjoy a special and amazing standard of living because we have busted our ass to get to that point. We have stared tyranny in the face, and slapped it. We have looked oppression in the eye, and poked it. We have confronted challenge head on, and prevailed over it. There is no doubt in my mind, no matter what political dealings cause temporary disruption within our borders, that the common collective of the American Citizen will do what is right for the future success of the natural existence of this nation, which is to promote freedom, liberty, justice and fair treatment of EVERYONE on the planet, period. We are that shining light on the hill, and I'll be damned if it goes out on my watch.

One of the best contributions we have made to the world has been our desire to use space for peaceful purposes, and eventually bringing in many other nations of the world to enjoy the same. Through space, we have developed technologies at a staggering rate, because the conditions mandated by space automatically cause you to design and build systems that you would not otherwise conceive of. It has been by overcoming the challenges of space travel that we have stumbled upon so many key advances in technology, whether they be medical, communications, materials, etc. I do not see this changing anytime soon, and greater destinations and goal is space will drive future advancements the likes of which we cannot even imagine of right now.

With this in mind, and after hearing Bolden and Garver talk, not just publicly, but at their simple introduction today that was aired on NASA TV, I am quite pleased with the direction our national space program might be headed. I say "might" only because you could always have the best people in the world in the lead chair, but circumstances beyond their control might derail their best intentions. Time will tell.

What I'm referring to is attitude, the way they speak and the way they relate to me as a listener and a member of the space fraternity. I cannot ignore my personal pride that Charlie Bolden is a former Marine. I may have been just a squid (Navy), but I have a significant amount of respect for any person who has honorably served our nation in the military. Additionally, military experience is something that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the civilian world. There is a certain way of doing things, getting things done, and ensuring that everyone is safe that is especially prevalent in the military. This can be brought to bear on NASA and Bolden is the kind of person who can do it.

I instantly felt connected to Lori Garver as well, because of her obvious passion and concern for making NASA a better known institution around the kitchen tables of America. It is vital that people understand how NASA affects them in their daily lives, and this is something she directly touched on today. I was very pleased to hear this right away and early on in their positions.

I cannot predict what the future will be, but as of today, right now, I am in support of and fully behind the new leadership at NASA. Maybe now, after many years of barely treading water, or in some cases sinking, NASA will become the entity that we all know it can be.

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