September 26, 2006

Launch

BBC reports SpaceLoft XL lifted off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, on Monday. Moments later it veered off course and crashed. (Hopefully, this is not prophetic for this blog’s first posting.)

According to the Aero-News Network, however, there is good news. Launch Logistics coordinator Tracey Larsen said it’s possible at least some of the payload survived intact. She is quoted in the article as observing, “…If it was easy, everyone would be doing it….”

The next scheduled launch is for October 21, according to Aero-News. Part of the payload scheduled for that flight will include the ashes of several celebrities (Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper and James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek.)

The October flight is called the Legacy Flight by Celestis, a company of Space Services Inc., or SSI. The company says that remains will be returned to family or loved ones as a keepsake commemorating a final voyage to outer space.

Time Magazine featured SSI’s first successful flight – Conestoga I, almost 24 years ago. In an article posted September 20, 1982 another Mercury astronaut, Donald (“Deke”) Slayton, who was Conestoga’s flight director said “…We didn’t have a single anomaly in flight.”

Less than six months after Conestoga’s flight, Slayton chaired the first “Private Enterprise in Space” panel at the 25th Space Congress in Cocoa Beach, FL. Seven of the first companies involved in that infant industry presented research. One of those research papers (Orbital Economics: Engineering Growth) was presented by this blog’s author. Legacy is an important theme for this blog.

Obviously, another important theme for a blog named So Much for Small Talk will be Exploration – as well as Growth. The conclusion of that paper, over 20 years ago, was (and is) that “…there is a future for growth.”