Space: Humanity’s Playground

Today something amazing happened. Did you notice? A Canadian, Russian, and European launched on a Russian rocket from the Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia headed 220 miles in the air to dock with an orbiting outpost built by five partner nations representing 15 member countries. Waiting to greet them? An American, Japanese, Russian crew. We listened to Mission Control chatter in Russian with English translation.

Hey! What is exactly going on here?

In the ghost of NASA past, we successfully reached the Moon to compete with the evil Soviet Union. We just unearthed a mountain of documents from the Father of our space program, Wernher Von Braun. Included among his 10-15,000 papers, a letter to President Kennedy outlining the reasons we should go to the Moon. All about those dastardly HammerAndCycle-ites, the Communists!

Fast forward to today, we’re good buddies with the Russians. We overcame our differences to shape something important for humanity—an off-planet habititat where we can learn how to live in a hostile environment with minimum comforts of home. Heck, we even take turns with the Russians to “Command” the International Space Station. Yes, you read this right. Expedition Mission Commanders rotate between an American Astronaut and Russian Cosmonaut each Expedition mission.

What a milestone for us today! With this launch to Station, we increase the population from three to six who live/work/play on orbit traveling at a speed of 17,500 mph around the planet 24/7 in 90-minute orbits. For the first time, all our partner space agencies will be represented on Station: NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

My take-away from this amazing moment: We find ways to get along when we want badly enough to get going! No cultural or ideological barrier can stop us if the need is great enough. 

Any partnership is only an invitation away. Lead the pack. Make the first move.

And let’s face it, we can’t explore the cosmos on the back of the tax-payers from any one nation. Space is humanity’s playground. My prediction: in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be partnering with China, Korea, and Iran. (After all, they like to launch things too.)

Wouldn’t it be SO cool to create the Human Space Agency and wear an Earth Badge? Maybe in a few tomorrows from today we’ll see it come to pass. Today proves we’re on the right path with our Station partners. We’re proving we can work together to do this thing called space. 

Humanity’s destiny is to expand our knowledge of the unknown. Earthlings, UNITE!

5 Comments

Filed under NASA, space

5 responses to “Space: Humanity’s Playground

  1. YES! Wonderful! Timely! RIGHT! I am all for privatization aspects as well.

    • bethbeck

      Thanks Russ. Commercial space is next step for us. We’re getting there. Look how many rocket companies are formed from “pocket change” made in the game industry. Passionate dreamers! That’s what it’s all about. :-D

  2. rgbowman

    I would buy a “Human Space Agency” “Earth Badge”. I actually would. Great article, thank you.

  3. Agreed. But will America take the next step (to the Moon) in hand with all the SpaceFaring nations or continue to “go it alone”? This sort of article:
    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1219/1
    does not bode well.
    IMHO CNSA (the new “commies”) should be invited ASAP to the ISS which is as much as a break with tradition for the Russians as AFAIK no Chinese cosmonaut has been to a Salyut or Mir! An international dialogue started to converge docking systems; communications protocols;… could save lives providing ITAR can be overcome and whilst we are at it the Moon Treaty should be revisited in view of the abundance of NEOs. A new positive “Revised and Evolving Vision for International Space Exploration” from Obama vs current, somewhat negative, Space Policy (GWB 2006):
    “Consistent with this policy, the United States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take those actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests;”

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