May 27, 2020.
“We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own.” — President George H.W. Bush
Wednesday’s planned NASA/SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch of astronauts to the International Space Station is making news, and there’s a lot to be excited about. Although the last such launch from American soil happened nearly a decade ago, some still might find any act of space exploration commonplace since humanity has been doing it for nearly 60 years. Nothing could be further from the truth!
We are now converging on a complete reimagining of the business of space that could hold limitless options for where we will go, how we will get there, and “who will that be” as famously said by astronaut Jim Lovell at the end of Apollo 13. NASA’s most recent overarching strategic plan defines a robust partnership and commercialization approach that leverages private sector innovation to implement new, efficient, and effective missions and ultimately bolster national capabilities and competitiveness. We are seeing results from the agency’s Commercial Crew Program that embody this vision.
After numerous milestones seized and barriers broken along the way, industry partner SpaceX has marched toward its finest hour with a tenacity reminiscent of early days in our pursuit of the stars. And many have joined the journey – some directly and others as observers, competitors, and fans alike. As with the incredible Apollo missions before, the giant leaps made today will touch every person in the world. Together we all will marvel at the profound meaning of each triumph as individuals, communities and nations.
Moments like this pave the way to the future – for those steadily working on other aspects of the integrated exploration enterprise, for entrepreneurial innovators seeking the next wave of opportunity in the space economy, for the next generation of scientists and engineers, and for countless girls around the globe waiting to see a woman set foot on the surface of the Moon.
This mission reminds us of what is possible working from the ground up, and what it takes to perform feats of technology that transcend requirements and expectations. The commercial world views these efforts with hope, like Olympians cheering teammates to gold and from those victories drawing the final inspiration for their own contests to come. Because excellence in action firms our belief in ourselves—as said by Robert H. Goddard, transforming the dream of yesterday and the hope of today to the reality of tomorrow.
At Stellar Solutions, we celebrate this launch as both a turning point for the next era of humans in space and a compelling validation of NASA’s refocused approach to R&D and public-private cooperation in spaceflight. The process being demonstrated so vividly right now is providing other benefits too–stirring the aspirations of the public and the resolve of those tasked to deliver the critical technologies and capabilities that will take humans back to the Moon and more. This achievement will crack open the door to the cosmos for the entire aerospace industry. Our company continues working diligently to help our civil and defense customers meet critical needs on Earth and in space, and soon it will be our turn, our responsibility and our privilege to push that door even wider.
It has truly been an honor to witness and contribute to one of society’s greatest challenges. Bush 41 said that we would build new ships–and how! This week, far more than the station crew will know in their hearts that the Crew Dragon, carrying precious cargo, promise, and future possibilities, has arrived.
About the Author: Michael S. Lencioni is the Chief Executive Officer of Stellar Solutions, Inc.