There are no “us” in the current US space program | Opinion

It’s all so … pedestrian.

My car, with its four wheels and six cylinder, gas-powered engine, is outside in the parking lot.


  • Where’s my Flash Gordon jetpack, for crying out loud??

  • It’s not supposed to be this way.

You see, I’m still burning with the same “Go Fever” that compelled this nation to enter a race with a super power to see who could first safely land a man on the moon.

Where’s my George Jetson-like hydrogen-powered personalized flying car??

I was nearly a year old when the Soviet Union got out of the starting blocks first in the space race by launching Sputnik.

I don’t remember our first two ventures of manned space flight, made by Alan Shepherd and Gus Grissom in their Mercury capsules.

But, way back in my memory banks is the grainy picture of Walter Cronkite on our black and white Zenith as he explained, with great fascination, John Glenn’s flight on Feb. 20, 1962. The Mercury capsules were so cramped that the astronauts said they felt like “Spam in a can.”

But they gave Americans their first ride to the most spacious frontier of all. Mercury was followed by the two-man Gemini program, which led to experiments with spacewalks, orbital rendezvous and, eventually, Apollo’s journey to the moon.

At the time, my brothers and I reasoned that if they could do it, eventually everyone, including us, would be doing it. We assumed we weren’t much different from kids who watched the Wright Brothers make their first flight.

Back in the early 1960s, I was too young to care or even, in fact, realize that more than just rocket fuel propelled this country in its race to the moon. Politics — the “us versus them, good guys versus Communists” characteristics of the Cold War — kept boosting our space program.

It’s a dream that became a reality. I’m sure youngsters of 120 years ago, the approximate time of when Orville and Wilbur took off at Kitty Hawk, dreamed that someday they, too, would be flying in one of their contraptions.