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New Space Frontiers: Venturing Into Earth Orbit and Beyond
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THE BOOK Piers Bizony provides a comprehensive, prolifically illustrated look at some of the vehicles, missions, and plans for the international exploration and development of space. We are on the verge of a new era in space exploration. For the first time in history, private access to space is becoming almost routine.
WHY THE AUTHOR DECIDED TO WRITE IT
“I looked around at bookstores, and there was a lot of space history and a lot of general books about space and the cosmos, but there didn’t seem to be anything very specific about the immediate future prospects. I thought it was worth addressing that.”
A CHAT WITH PIERS BIZONY
Why did you decide to tell this story visually as much as through text?
As a space enthusiast—someone who believes in its importance to our culture—i’m aware of the need to put these books in front of audiences who don’t necessarily know much about space and s surprise them. Let them flick through aba book. Let them look at the cool p pictures and be reminded that space is a fantastic adventure.
W Why should we continue to se send humans into space? It’s amazing to see what robots can do. But it’s also frustrating because it can take them weeks to scrabble around and get a thimbleful of soil. A human being could do an enormous amount of science in a single afternoon if only we could get them in place.
What do you see as the proper role of government versus private spaceflight in the future?
Government agencies are essential to get the ball rolling, but there has to come a point where the broader culture takes more of a role. It should be possible for us to leverage the knowledge we’ve gained over the last half-century of spaceflight and make it more economical—make it more like a conventional transportation business model. That’s beginning to happen.
What will be the impact of the Spaceshiptwo accident on the enthusiasm for manned commercial spaceflight?
I am reminded of the aftermath of the Apollo 1 fire in January 1967. There was a sense that the entire Apollo project might be put on hold or even cancelled because the Apollo 1 fire had been so discouraging. We forget how close this grand enterprise came to cancellation. NASA’S chief at the time, Jim Webb, discussed with his senior staff how best to recover from the fire and regain momentum. In the final analysis, Webb said: “The only way we can recover is to fly something.” So that’s where we are. Someone has to fly something—and make it work.
MICHAEL BELFIORE IS THE AUTHOR OF
AND PILOTS IS BOLDLY PRIVATIZING SPACE.
HOW A VISIONARY BAND OF BUSINESS LEADERS, ENGINEERS,