Aug 112013
 

The boys and I spent a few hours at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center after church today.  I rode Space Shot for the first time (very cool), and we spent some extended time with the Saturn V and associated exhibits inside the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

I have lived in the Huntsville area since 1986, so I’ve been around the Saturn V and its F-1 engines a fair amount.  I can still never quite keep an accurate image in my head of how massive it, and they, are.  Consequently they take my breath every time I get reacquainted.

saturnvrearI come out of this place practically tasting the drive, ambition, and patriotism of that era.  It was just a few years ago, really.

Undermining that glorious feeling, though, is my fury at what seems to be the prevalent attitude in the country now.  It is one of blame, malaise, and dull resignation to the way things are, and what are you gonna do?  When does the new season of Breaking Bad start?  Who ate the last Oatmeal Cream Pie?

Today, could we even come close to something like getting from Explorer 1 to Apollo 11 in 139 months?  That’s all it took, you know.

It should be easy to sell pride in and love of country right now, because practically no one is and many of us still hunger for it.  A return to proud and unashamed presentation of American ideas would be most welcome.

It might help to foster some genuine inspiration.

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     Posted by at 6:03 pm

      4 Responses to “The bittersweetness of the Saturn V”

    1. My Dad’s first job out of college was writing software (on punched cards, of course) for a specific function during the first two minutes of the Saturn V launch. Mom loves to tell the story of how his coworkers would knock on their door in the middle of the night because there was a “problem”. (Mom & Dad had just gotten married & moved to an apartment in Huntsville & didn’t have a phone). Dad would put on his suit & tie (!!!) and go to the office and debug the problem. That was dedication to a task of national importance, and it makes me proud that he was part of it.

    2. Go private enterprise instead. Think Space X, etc… Also, keep an eye out for something called the Free Frontier Project. A brainchild of one of my personal heroes, Bill Whittle, it’s a subscription-based service designed to get America back to the front of the space race.

      The basic idea is that you subscribe to the FFP for $9.99/month. If 100,000 people subscribe that’s almost a million dollars a month, which is almost $12 million a year. Or, why not a million subscribers, which brings in $120 million a year? That money goes into R&D, construction, etc. Eventually it results in a full-blown privately owned, funded, and operated space program. If you subscribe, the $9.99/month also acts as a lottery ticket. If you win, you get to fly into outer space on one of the FFP’s vehicles!

    3. Jenny, how awesome. Thanks for sharing. Heroes all around us! :-)

      Falcon, I agree that privatization is a good thing. I was more lamenting the loss of national spirit.

    4. Bo ….Perhaps we need to be reminded of these words :

      “Let’s work the problem….”
      Ed Harris (Apollo 13)

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