Waiting for the Next Giant Leap for Mankind

The Rise

On December 14th, 1972, I was a wee lad, watching the final moments of the last Apollo mission playing on a grainy black & white television.

I wasn't quite old enough to understand the kind of gargantuan effort and countless sacrifices that were needed to pull off something like that, but I was 100% sure that when I grow up, there has been enough time to scale this technology so that space travel, at least to LEO, is possible for everyone who just has a good reason to go.

We had travelled to another world. It was the beginning of a new era. Techno-Optimism was all around.

The Fall

Apollo was succeeded by the Space Shuttle. Despite of all the delays and feature downscaling, I wrote an upbeat article of the program for a local newspaper, and still had high hopes of my possibilities in casual space travel.

Unfortunately, with a billion dollar price tag per launch, the only true Shuttle legacy is the International Space Station, and access to space is still only for the selected few.

...and then the Shuttle got scrapped and suddenly the only way up was by the Russian Soyuz, with basic design emanating from 1960's. The decade I was born in.

Even though there were many robotic planetary probe successes, it felt like we were back to square one.

The Hope

Meanwhile, the computer revolution happened, giving me an opportunity to do cool stuff and get paid for it. It was not quite space travel, but great fun anyway.

With computers came the Internet, and the Internet billionaires soon followed. Although some of them chose to burn their money on overpriced sports teams, others shared the dreams of space and started a new revolution.

And finally, some good progress is being made.

Watch "One Giant Leap" - a tribute to the Apollo Program»