Apollo 11 Anniversary and the End of the Shuttle
On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first individuals to walk on the Moon. This and the subsequent missions to the lunar surface will always and rightly be celebrated among the greatest human achievements. They remain brilliant examples of the power of the mind.
On July 21, 2011 the NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis will land, probably for the last time, after some 135 flights for the entire fleet of vehicles since 1981. The Shuttles were engineering achievements but financial failures. Their goal had been to bring down the cost of access to space; the actual costs went up for cargo on this government freight-hauling system. A vehicle was supposed to launch almost every week; on average there were less than five flights per year.
Now that there is a lull in federal government manned launches, the private sector—held back in the past by government regulations and policies—is emerging to commercialize space, that is, to offer human suborbital and orbital flights, and private space stations, too, for lower costs than for government systems. They offer the promise of progress toward a day when thousands can travel to space and humanity truly begins to roam the stars.
So today let’s celebrate the spirit of Apollo and as well as the prospects of entrepreneurs in a free market making us a true spacefaring civilization!
For further reading:
Edward Hudgins, “When We Walked on the Moon .” July 17, 2009
Edward Hudgins, “Individualism in Orbit: Morality for the High Frontier .” June/July 2007.
Edward Hudgins, “Apollo 11 on Human Achievement Day  “. July 20, 2005.
Edward Hudgins, “Signals from SpaceShipOne .” October 5, 2004.
Edward Hudgins, “Celebrating Apollo 11’s Sense of Life. .“ July 20, 2004.
Edward Hudgins, “Return to the Moon? Not with This NASA .” January 24, 2004.