The New Space Race – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Marie Gail Stratford

The New Space Race

Senator Hayworth adjusted his tie and gazed across the field.

Standing beside him, and wearing mere jeans and tee-shirt, Evan Lusk said, “It’s a former ICBM site. Perfect for a space tourism installation.” He pointed to the West. “Over there we’ll build hotels, and a space museum.”

Hayworth grimaced. “I’m not sure I can approve this. Large projects like sending rockets into space is really the bailiwick of the government, don’t you think?”

“I believe keeping the economy running smoothly was also the government’s bailiwick, correct?”

Hayworth’s mouth worked. He turned back to the field. “How many jobs would this create?”
_______________________________
Author’s notes:

Government has finally bowed out of it’s throne as the only American operator in space. Challenges to encourage space tourism in the private sector are already producing results. In 2004, Burt Rutan won the $10 Million dollar “X-Prize” as the first private operator in space with SpaceShipOne. Now, there’s the “Google Lunar X Prize” and that will be won by any private group landing on the moon and exploring with a rover. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Lunar_X_Prize

Lastly, Elon Musk’s company, Space-X is demonstrating some amazing things with their new rockets: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX

Each week, the Friday Fictioneers meet in a secret space station orbiting on the dark side of the moon. Well, not really but maybe one day… For now, we’re writing flash fiction from photo prompts. Look here to see what other folks wrote based upon the photo above: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/15-may-2015/

Advertisements

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
This entry was posted in Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The New Space Race – Friday Fictioneers

  1. ansumani says:

    No government owns the skies or development of technology. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story and really a view of things to come, in terms of the new space race. It will be interesting to see how far space exploration will be democratized, as it moves from governments to corporations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yep. I think it is. At one time we needed a NASA. In the long run, the private sector will be better at doing something efficiently and profitably. We we’re never going to see “space tourism” at the rate NASA was going. Now, it looks like I’ll see it within my lifetime. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. storydivamg says:

    Interesting place to go with this, Eric. When I read your title, I wondered if you knew that Kansas (my hometown of Hutchinson, in fact), happens to be the home of one of the largest space museums in the country. The photograph, although taken in Kansas, was taken quite a long ways from Hutchinson, but this type of scenery is common near there as well. At the moment, there is still quite a bit of government funding in Hutchinson for the Cosmosphere, but more and more private funding is coming along for sure.

    So, I have to ask, did you realize how literally you had taken the photo prompt this week?

    All my best,
    MG

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Holy smokes! I honestly did not not know any of that. This story is pure coincidence. My train of thought went like this: That’s a grain silo. What if it was a missile silo? What if sanity broke out and the missiles weren’t used any more. You could use that to launch space rockets! Space tourism is something I’d like to see in my lifetime. The story simply emerged from that.

      How funny! I guess this is a case of synchronicity, or perhaps I’ve gained psychic powers and didn’t realize it. In an case that’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing all that info about Kansas. I’ll have to look that up now, and see what’s going on. Thanks so much. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. micklively says:

    We love to forget it’s our money they’re spending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      It “used” to be like that when space operations were run by NASA, a government body. But another advantage of private companies is that they are largely spending their “own” money. Like any other private venture, they risk their own money and not tax money. Pretty cool eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave says:

    Get out of my head. Damn brainwave-spies!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice piece although I disagree with your position. I fear for us with the skies open to unscrupulous corporations caring only about bottom lines and not about safety. I am minimizing my arguments for the sake of brevity – but I think we are much better off with government running it – or at least governmental regulation and oversight (although I understand the arguments that governments, too, often are deficient themselves. Balance. balance. balance.)

    interesting slant and piece. Randy

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! We might have to agree to disagree on this. Then again, I think you make some excellent points. Generally, government bureaucracy is too too big and to inefficient to produce viable products. On the other hand, unfettered Capitalism has produced disasters of it’s own because it commonly lacks a moral compass. We saw that in 2008 and 2010 where unregulated housing and banking industries created worldwide economic crashes. Regulation to keep industries from getting out of control is where I think government can be most helpful. In fact, much as I support space tourism, I also expect government to keep a very, very close eye on it. The potential for disaster is high until new technologies mature. So I wholeheartedly agree that government oversight is important here.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts. I enjoyed reading them. Cheers! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. IB Arora says:

    your comment on government is most appropriate, i like it

    Liked by 1 person

  8. livingonchi says:

    This sounds like a conversation from House of Cards πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Like Randy above, I might not completely agree with the narrative viewpoint of this story–I believe there’s room for both NASA-type entities (JPL, and so on), not-for-profit universities, and private corporations–but as a fiction piece, I enjoyed it nonetheless, Eric. Elon Musk zinged to me immediately as I read the Lusk character’s name (and figured it was intentional), but here’s a funny thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet in the comments. My mind did a reverso: I figured the site would be for space tourists. That is, tourists visiting Earth from . . . who knows where?! Go figure! Anyway, a great FF piece (I mean, how often does one get to read bailiwick anyway)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Well, I’m not suggesting eliminating research facilities like NASA and JPL, no way! You see, private companies were not “permitted” to operate in space in the past, and that was a mistake. That has changed and now we see Virgin Galactic and Space-X, popping up immediately. NASA and other facilities like JPL should most definitely continue. We just needn’t lean on NASA to be the entirety of the American space program. That will not get us into space quickly enough. However, as research facilities developing new technologies, I think such entities can do critical, journeyman work. Look up the “EM Drive,” that NASA is playing with right now. Could be something momentous there.

      I’m glad you noticed my little game with names. Yes, Evan Lusk is a not-so-veiled reference to Elon Musk. It’s good to know folks are paying attention.

      And, I debated using the word “bailiwick” at all. It’s so little used anymore, I thought it might confuse more than enlighten. Glad to know people still know it. Thanks so much Leigh! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. afairymind says:

    To think that space tourism could actually be occurring within our lifetimes is an incredible, if rather scary, thought. A great story showing a fascinating glimpse of the future. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      It is. It’s Science Fiction becoming reality. I doubt I’ll be able to afford it, but it’s good to know we’re advancing. With all Humanity on Earth, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket. We need to expand and find a way to support ourselves on other planets, even if they don’t have everything we need. Hopefully soon, a Mars colony will begin. Thanks so much. I’ll try to continue providing future looks. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The bottom line. It’s always about the bottom line. Even space tourism.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Cool tale, with neat jag at government incompetence, which, AnElephant hastens to add, is not confined to the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! AnEagle is pleased you enjoyed it. It is true about governments around the world. Bureaucracy just isn’t any good at getting things done.

      Like

  13. gahlearner says:

    An enjoyable story, and I’m somewhat undecided. I would love to see space tourism, but that would be something for rich people only. What use is it, where does it get us as a species? Does it help explore and understand the universe, help with research? If I look at other huge companies and the way they ‘benefit’ humankind (Monsanto, cough, Nestle, cough… and so on…), it’s all about the money, with fake justifications for the insanity they create, and people’s (and other species’) lives are expendable. But then, I’ve read the amazingly open NASA report of the Columbia accident, and NASA didn’t exactly shine with compassion and altruism there, either. Payload always goes over lives, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! I think within my lifetime, space tourism would only be available to the rich, but over time that would change. In the early days of aviation only the rich flew on airplanes. Now most people in the US have flown on an airplane at least once. This would happen with space as well as the industry grows. A LOT of other industries would grow from it as well. Think about Las Vegas. Ostensibly, you go there for gambling, but there’s many other things there: restaurants, attractions, shows, golf, boxing, hotels to house everyone. The same would happen in space. This would trigger the Industrialization of Space as all of this stuff would need to be built. Many other industrial operations would grow from this, and in particular I would be thinking about spaceships. It makes little sense to build a spaceship on Earth. Getting out of the Earth gravity-well would be a major challenge, but in space it would be perfect. From there we can explore the planets, build orbiting habitats, start colonies on Mars and other locations, and mine the asteroid belt. No longer would we need to destroy Earth’s garden with manufacturing and mining We’d do it in space! If we move into space, we’d be doing humanity a huge favor and a great leap forward, and give Earth a break from humanity’s incessant scarring of the planet. I’ll never see any of this, but I still like to dream about it and hope future generations get to live it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gahlearner says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree then. πŸ™‚ I find this a rather scary scenario. Except for the space docks, I totally agree, unless we discover anti grav, there’s no way a large spaceship can be built on earth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • EagleAye says:

        There’s a lot of things about the future that would be scary for us. When I was kid, there were ATM machines and we still used a rotary phone. For me, to travel into space, I think I’d be terrified. I don’t know how well I’d like zero-gee either. But for future generations this stuff may be as common as dirt. It’s ultimately good for humanity and the Earth as well. There’s too many of us down here. If the human population grows too much, we’ll just wreck Earth’s environment. So it makes sense to expand into space. We’re not going to overwhelm space even with trillions of us, so we’re less likely to harm it. Anyway, these crazy futures won’t happen to me, they’ll exist for those who grew up with it and are accustomed to it.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. phylor says:

    What stuck with me, strangely is the last comment, “how many jobs would this create?” Would these be Mcjobs or real jobs?
    If technology takes off as you suggest, I hope there is still a human element. Now what little manufacturing we do (we sent it elsewhere) is mostly robotic, I’m not sure we’re developing humans capable of taking care of themselves. That worries me.
    What also worries me is that since destruction of the environment seems to be humans’ ultimate goal, why would we suddenly “learn” not to trash other planets? Wouldn’t we miss use their resources too? Just getting people off earth, unless they have learned from history — and who does? (I know, I taught it πŸ™‚ ) will mean space trash, already a problem believe it or not, will just expand, the way we use the ocean as a dumping ground.
    Sorry to sound cynical — I really enjoyed your story, and the commentary that developed! I don’t have much faith in humans to ever figure it out that the earth is a non-renewable resource enough to not leave a trail of plastic bottles, burger boxes, rotting something, or whatever space-age trash we have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed. I’m also pleased with the discussion this has sparked.

      The jobs that would be created would be real enough. It all depends on what you do. If you’re an asteroid miner, you could probably earn a king’s ransom in a few years. If you’re a steward on an orbiting cruise-liner, you’d also make much more money than a steward on earth. What if you work in a restaurant in a hotel on earth that supports people visiting launch facilities? Well, it’s not fabulous pay, but it’s still a job. It’s better than no job.

      I think a good reason to get off the Earth is because we’re trashing it so much. So the question becomes “Will we do any better in space?” I think we’ll have no choice. When industrialization began around 1900 nobody worried about resources too much (not at all). No one could imagine that Mother Earth is limited or finite. Well it is. The coming global warming is proof enough of that. China and India both have 1 billion+ people in their country. Most are either dirt poor or living a spartan, agrarian life. Those countries are trying to change that, and they’d like to live like 300 Million Americans who’re using 20% of the entire world’s energy output. 2 billion+ and we’ll run out of resources quick. In space, there will never ever be a time when people aren’t constantly aware of resources. Space has no air and no water. It doesn’t just flow in through the window. So you have to be constantly aware of air, water, and food because you can’t just step outside the airlock and get some more. Generations in space will have an extremely different worldview than we do. Now will this mean we’ll never have another amoral company like Monsanto? Can’t say for sure. Thing is, whether we realize it now or later, Earth cannot support us all like gluttons. Maybe we’ll start venturing into space now, while things or relatively okay, or we can wait until most of Earth’s people are all starving or dying from lack of clean, fresh water. I vote we start now. Either way, we’ll have to go into space. I think it’s inevitable.

      Like

      • phylor says:

        I do hope you are right that humans will value resources such as clean water and clean air when it isn’t a matter of turning of the tap or taking a breath.
        The earth was never meant for the life it’s living now — I definitely agree! Too much waste, too much gluttony, too many having to hard scrabble.
        I hope that the things that separate us on earth can bridged.
        Evil is everywhere. There is no barrier that will stop it from shooting with us to the moon and beyond. Corrupt corporations, politicians, local officials, protection services can exist in space. I don’t think it will have the leveling of classes, increased tolerance, understanding across ethnicity, race, and religion that would be nice to see in our new worlds.
        This has been a very interesting story and one of the most lively discussions I’ve read. Thank you for the “think” piece of flash fiction.
        I think I will watch the Saturday night showing of an original Star Trek episode.

        Like

  15. Margaret says:

    What a thought-provoking story. I’ve loved reading the comment exchanges as well. I don’t know enough science to offer an opinion on the specifics, but we’re going to need some very wise and incorruptible politicians to keep watch over such ventures as you are describing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you kindly. πŸ™‚ I’m really pleased with the comments this story has triggered. To be honest any venture of significance needs wise and incorruptible politicians. Somehow, we’ve plowed along without them anyway. If only our energy and food production had honest politicians guiding these industries, we’d have no Monsanto robbing farmers blind and no Exxon and other oil cartels wiping whole environments and telling us it’s okay. Honest politicians appear about as often as the Easter Bunny and yet humanity has survived that pack of self-serving criminals. Venturing out into space will be fraught with the same dangers humanity knows here on Earth. I wouldn’t presume otherwise, but the potential to improve humanity’s lot is worth the danger, I believe, as is any other great march forward for the human race.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Eric,

    Having skimmed through the comments I stand neutral. At any rate I enjoyed your story and an interesting viewpoint. I agree, though, that the government is involved in way too many things. Well done as always.

    L’chaim and shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. It certainly has turned into an interesting discussion. I think there are some things the government should run and other things it should not. Being the sole proprietor in space is one of those “nots.” πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much, Rochelle! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Indira says:

    Interesting story and much more interesting is views of readers and your replies.

    Liked by 1 person

Don't be shy. Say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s