With the start of autumn coming up on Sept. 22, the leaves are beginning to turn colors, exposing beautiful bright foliage for leaf peepers to enjoy over the next several weeks. Alan Middleton is professor and chair of physics and…
Apollo Anniversary and the Future of Space Exploration
The upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is July 20. The moon landing marked the culmination of America’s Cold War human spaceflight program and positioned itself as a global leader in science and technology. Apollo 11, the mission Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin flew with colleague Michael Collins, represented the U.S. accomplishing a seemingly impossible goal on a seemingly impossible timeline.
Sean O’Keefe is a University Professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and former Administrator of NASA. Concurrently, he is a Distinguished Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a partner institution with the Syracuse Maxwell School in Washington, D.C. Previously, O’Keefe was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Group Inc., the U.S.-based corporate division of the global aerospace corporation.
Professor O’Keefe says:
“On July 20, fifty years ago, a human aspiration was accomplished that could only be dimly imagined over centuries. The Apollo 11 lunar landing reset the course of history by proving to humankind what could be done, accelerating the pace of technology development and equalizing the balance of superpower ambitions here on Earth. Like so many ventures of exploration over the course of human history, a new door was opened to reveal alternative futures that, over time, have materialized. This signature event of the 20th Century was eloquently captured by Neil Armstrong when he first stepped on the Moon and said – ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’
“Now, fifty years later, we are witnessing vigorous plans to return to the moon to establish a staging infrastructure to launch to destinations around our tiny solar system that will require a fraction of the energy and capacity than what is required to escape the gravitation bonds of our planet. Concurrently, the birth of a range of commercial space exploration ventures are developing capabilities to access near-Earth space at a frequency comparable to the early days of commercial flight around the globe. That’s only possible consequent to the technology applications that were realized since those daring days at the height of the Apollo era. We’re at the opening of yet another exciting chapter of exploration.”
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