Suborbital Spaceflight

Short note today; I am at the Suborbital Research conference in snowy Boulder, CO. 

I am surrounded by dreamers who want to fly in space:  everybody from Lori Garver and Alan Stern on down to the grad students who is here wants to fly in space.  They desperately want to fly in space. 

I had the good fortune to be accompanied by a co-worker who was just turned down in her application to NASA”s astronaut office.  It is a hard hard thing to pass through the bar into that small fellowship. 

These dreamers want everybody to be able to fly in space.

There might even be real science that can be accomplished in 3 to 5 minutes of microgravity.

But the thought of opening up the space frontier to the common person is the real motivation here.

Its a good motivation; and some of these companies are making progress toward that goal.

We wish them luck; offer technical advice and assistance, and (if Congress approves) will have $15 million a year to encourage them.

This, then, appears to be the new world order.  Ad astra per dreamers.  (somebody help me with the latin!)

But then, all great accomplishments were once dreams.

5 thoughts on “Suborbital Spaceflight”

  1. Okay, as a beginning Latin student, I’ll take a crack at that, Mr. Hale…

    Per is one of the pronouns that takes the ablative case, and “dream” in Latin is “somnium”, so we want neuter plural- “somniis”.

    “Ad astra per somniis”

  2. Well here it is, the future. Unless there is a commercial motivation (in this case paying passengers), human space flight isn’t going to happen. Well, even Prince Henry didn’t send out ships for exploration without expect ion of making a profit after awhile. It looks like there are some rich people willing to pay big bucks to go on a space trip and so that is where it is at today. Not sure what the President meant by “support human space flight exploration.” Was it this? BTW, until recently, polls show exactly the opposite, by a large margin people had been supporting what NASA had been doing with human space flight. I guess this is why I am concerned that the moon has been put off limits for exploitation by treaty (like Antarctica). There will be no impetus to go there for a commercial motive if one can’t make a profit off what one finds there. And, if human space flight is going to have to pay its way in the future how is that going to happen?

  3. I expect to fly into Space, well sub orbital, within the next 15 years. The price tag and the risk is one I am willing to pay even for just 5 minutes of zero g and seeing the real curvature of the Earth.

    I am beginning to wonder if there will need to be another classification of astronauts. Ones who fly only sub orbital. Maybe Suborbitalnauts.

    Just watched the Ascent Imagery Highlights for STS 130. Spectacular is all I can say. What a Machine.

  4. Suborbital flights or Orbital flights for the common person? There should be room in space for both the common traveler and professional astronaut, just like here on earth where we have professional explorers and researchers and also everyday travelers who are led on expeditions by professionals to many parts of our globe. Human beings seem to have an deep seated desire to explore and learn more of their environment and the boundary of that environment now seems to reach to the big bang! Our national and international space policies need to have room for the expansion of space exploration for both professional explorer and casual traveler, just like we have jumbo jets, cruise ships, etc that allow everyone to travel all over the earth! Our first steps for the ordinary person will be suborbital flights like Alan Shepard’s flight but we should improve our capability and lengthen the flights to include orbital flights and eventually flights beyond low earth orbit to the Moon, Mars and other solar system destinations!

Comments are closed.