Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tragedy in the Desert

Three pioneers of the new space age gave their lives as the sun was rising on the era of private space travel. We have learned that at least for now there is no such thing as a routine test and those individuals will not be remembered as the first to lose their lives in the quest to make space more accessible, but as the first to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in this new era of private space travel so that man's conquest of the stars can go forward. When the Apollo 1 fire occurred killing Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee the program paused to reflect and assess, but then went on to man's achieve greatest feat - the moon landing. So incredible a feat that here were are 38 years later talking about being able to do it again in another 12 years. That would be 51, yes 51 years after we first landed! It doesn't seem comprehensible, but the spirit of the three who lost their lives along with the Challenger, Columbia and other space pioneers drove those who came after each loss and they didn't let fear, failure or adversity hold them back - they went undeterred to chart a vision for the future. Yes, there were more losses and after each the pieces were picked up and progress marched forward. It is highly likely others will make the ultimate sacrifice for something they believe in, but we must regroup and march forward. Efforts to provide private citizens access to space must go on. This tragedy should give us pause to reflect and learn, but much like the trailblazing efforts before we must now rise to greater heights. Great achievements come with great learnings and with great sacrifice.