Contrary to popular belief, people in the news business do like reporting good news. Sadly, it doesn’t sell that well. It’s just the way it is.
And lately, there hasn’t been a lot of it either.
That’s why I’m sitting at my house seeing actual good news happen. As I write this, the SpaceX Dragon is on its way to the International Space Station. From my perspective, it looks pretty perfect, too.
I am a child of the 60’s and the 70’s. I remember all the Apollo launches. I remember Walter Cronkite saying, “Go, Baby, Go,” when Apollo 11 was launched to the moon.
I remember sitting for hours in front of my TV in Paris, Texas, waiting for Neil Armstrong to step on to the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” still gives me chills.
I was that kid that had posters of astronauts in my bedroom. I really did.
When I moved to Florida twenty-six years ago, I was always looking for an excuse to go over to “The Cape” and cover a launch from Cape Canaveral. I made it for a few—John Glenn’s return to space in 1998, and the last shuttle mission in 2011 (A terrible mistake to end the program, but don’t get me started).
Now, it’s May 30, 2020, we are back in the Human Space business. It is beautiful. It is needed.
The news this week has been awful. Coronavirus. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The outrage that has followed. It’s been hard to watch. It’s been hard to report.
We needed something to celebrate. NASA and Elon Musk gave it to us.
Today, we saw astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley leave the planet aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted them into space. The stage one of the rocket successfully landed on a barge in the Atlantic. It’s a drone ship named “Of course I Still Love You.” Not a misprint. That’s what it is named. Elon Musk’s tribute to science fiction writer Ian M. Banks.
It was a hot afternoon in Florida today. The weather could have delayed the launch today just like it did on Wednesday (it’s pretty much summer here now, and storms develop quickly—not today).
Folks lined the roadways and parks around the Kennedy Space Center hoping it would happen. Coronavirus concerns had officials warning people to keep away. But they couldn’t be kept away. I envy them. I wish I had been there, too.
What we saw today made history. America is back in the Human Space business. In a Tesla-looking space ship. Astronauts dressed in space suits designed by a Hollywood costume designer. It’s all just great.
I needed a little good news today. We all did. Thank you, NASA. Thank you, Elon Musk.