What’s it like to see a Rocket Launch? CICK >
For the outsider it’s Awesome!
But for the crew perfection and expectation bring loads of stress before the launch. The excitement and anxiety balance each other and create a high energy buzz you can feel on your skin. The love of space and awe of the power in front of us is apparent in the eyes of everyone working and reporting on the launch. No one wants their job to be the failure of this majestic experience. Any minor mistake will make the launch scrub, (or stop.) If the weather or orbit window closes, then it’s over for now. With any imperfection a team of approximately 2000 people slump their shoulders and ache with disappointment. I’m told every person feels the immense weight of the rocket on their shoulders, and they really seem to love it anyway.
Imagine a team of 2000 where everyone has different conditioning/training regimen yet mutual commitment to not greatness, but perfection.
To leave the atmosphere requires a velocity of 6 kilometers per second, it costs about $10,000 per pound of payload, and employs over 5000 people for 36 months. (The numbers depend on the payload or what the rocket’s carrying.)
Today the United States launches military and commercial rockets for weather and communications. That investment keeps our GPS’s alive and well, that’s pretty much it for now. This generation offers no good looking astronauts, no missions to the moon or mars, no sexy new frontiers. On the other hand, Wi Fi from the Airplane is incredibly useful, and with in one day of this launch I was using GPS to find my son’s basketball game. A nod of gratefulness seems appropriate.
That leads me to ponder, what is the government’s roll? Besides funding our Wi-Fi from the military budget, I believe it’s to keep us civilized and to protect us from danger. Government protects us from our narcissistic habits by spending our earnings to provide schools, to develop and repair roads, to offer tax breaks on food and on giving to the poor and tax penalties on tobacco. It also protects us from harm, ensures our liberty and all the tenants of our bill of rights are safe.
Whatever size or scope of government you endorse, a donkey or an elephant doesn’t matter here. Consider that civilization and protection from harm is their goal and it’s easy to connect the dots up into the sky.
A civilized country keeps hope and national pride alive. It supports education for what’s possible. So, without a final frontier we have a brain drain, our best and brightest in math and mechanics are making video games and developing shopping apps for our smart phones. Those are individual activities not unifying or creating national pride. They don’t inspire collaboration or connection that improve our civilization.
The Aerospace companies, NASA and the Defense Agencies have a merchandising challenge for sure. Rockets are big, dangerous, expensive and they have to be secure. They can’t run tour busses over from Disney World to touch the rocket. Yet, Aerospace needs to come to the public and show off their sizzle. Obama shut down Space Shuttles in part because I dream of Jeanne didn’t have a modern daughter swooning for an Astronaut. Let’s face it, a GPS Satellite just isn’t as handsome as Major Nelson. The public isn’t attached because they don’t see the eyes of the believers.
The industry needs sexy marketing. Time Life isn’t knocking because no one is offering a story. But there is a rich story here, the awesome magic of nature and science, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen contained by the collaboration of geniuses safely in a structure and then brought together to make space accessible – that story needs to be told in modern terms.
Yes, launches have thrilled us before, and so have roller coasters, race cars and multiple orgasms and yet those still flip our switches. The difference is with rockets most people aren’t allowed to feel them, the others we can. Aerospace needs to let us close enough feel the magic. When more people feel the force of chemistry, overtake the law of gravity the aerospace world will expand again. Then we’ll have hope, pride, civilization and protection all flying high.
launch movie – Click here to see Delta IV, BLAST OFF!