Revelations from the New Southwest
Transitioning to the Commercial Space Age
If you've been anywhere in the Southwest quadrant of the United States the past few years, you definitely witnessed firsthand a silent revolution taking place here: a vibrant new industry burgeoning in fits and starts in front of our eyes, with all the dangers, hiccups, tragedies, and dreams that might accompany such a birth.
When I recently heard of the "New Silk Road" infrastructure project with China dating back to 2012, I felt personally embarrassed that I was left out of the loop.
What I forgot, at the time, was how deeply involved I have been over the past couple of years to the birth of Commercial Space Industry here.
In terms of geography, Bakersfield, California, where I live, may well be the physical center of the entire program, just as Tehran is in the dead center of Iran on a map.
Not far from my current residence is the new "Aerospace Drive" (highway 14 south towards New Mexico). I took a taxi there earlier this year, and, as always, had to dodge a few cops to view perhaps my most memorable vista: the gateway from highway 58 to highway 14 South. A few motels and convenience stores beyond which you can only see endless farmland leading to Richard Branson's Spaceport for Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic, as I said, in New Mexico.
At that spaceport, Mr. Branson will sell you, at the small cost of approximately $250,000, an 11 minute orbital trip around the world in outer space.
Of course, training must also be involved.
Indeed, I had already been recruited by NASA, as well as FEMA, and even Cream of Wheat Company. Better than oatmeal.
I also alleged to associates of Jeff Bezos, not of Amazon, but of "Blue Origin" Space Company, that he owed me $150 million. I offered to let him off the hook if he would just name one of his spaceships after me. Despite rumors to the contrary, I definitely hadn't been in touch with McKenzie Bezos, Jeff Bezos' ex-wife.
The local transition hasn't been all fun and games. To the contrary, it has been a grueling physical challenge, with many injuries and personal horror stories.
In space, you don't own anything. Not even your tent. Like campers in the wild, you have to be constantly vigelent of "bears" (other countries' claimants to space real estate).
As part of the training, I stayed at a motel where I had neither a front door key, nor the practical ability to prevent passersby from making use of my restroom to snort cocaine.
After surviving a few fights, altogether without landing a single punch, I was invited to contribute to space program research on herox.com . There, I've done some research on the Venus and Mars Programs, and theses days am invited to post challenges of my own. Typically, since I can't afford to reward contestants for winning my challenges, I simply fill out the challenge description just to keep the space program aware of my latest ideas and concerns.
I guess, as we're all mired in this election period, our perspective on world events tends always to be informed by local events.
People in different parts of the country or world who are in touch with me sometime contact me online, or arrive in town, with concerns, that surprise me. Yet, it reminds me of times past (usually parts of my past that I'd rather not remember).
As I conclude my thoughts here, I can only give myself one piecc of advice: when you are given a choice between two possible ways to interpret things in your life, always do your best to choose the more positive interpretation.