A Playground of Many Million Dollar Toys: Virgin Galactic and a resiliant Chuck Yeager

Governments seldom do anything right and when they do it is off the backs of individual effort. NASA is an example of this paradox, at least in the beginning. In many ways the government created Chuck Yeager by putting him into an airplane as an 18-year-old kid and letting him become a fighter pilot at their expense. Now as a 90-year-old man who still flies and has defied the odds of living in almost every circumstance it was because of his individual effort that so many doors to the future have opened. In Yeager’s case, government gave him the tools to become great and out of thousands of potential pilots, one or two here and there did—and because of it, the world is about to unlock an entirely new dimension of discovery. This has never been truer than Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic endeavors which I’ve reported on before.   2015 will bring many exciting things to the societies of the world, but nothing more than what Branson is about to unload. I suggest that the videos of this article be watched completely dear reader for the proper depths and context to seep in correctly.

I am the type of person who always jumps into cold swimming pools. I do not dip my feet in the water—I just jump in. Much of the work at this site is to help people jump into the rapidly occurring events of the 21st century—to drop the restrictions of the 20th century behind and acclimate themselves to the future. Sometimes it requires a bit of harshness while dealing with the chill and shock of such a cold reality, and that is the task of creativity to douse minds with the cold hard facts for their own good. While watching Star Wars: Rebels this past week the beginnings of that acclimation were in full swing. As a kid I had a toy, which I still have called a “troop transporter.” It never appeared in the original Star Wars films, but Kenner designed it to fill a market need for their action figures in the early 1980s. Well, the guys making the new Star Wars cartoons and films are about my age, and they played with the same toys as children, and they finally put the toy into a Star Wars show, the third episode of Rebels during the first season. It was a bit of rather profound evidence in how small things from a childhood can have a major impact on the mind of an adult. When I was a kid, just as it was for the kids who are now involved in Star Wars projects science fiction and video games were very primitive—nowhere close to how they are in the present condition. So mathematically, it becomes very easy to see that the impact of these mythologies will compound dramatically in the coming years driving actual science quickly as the public consciousness has been prepared for these breakthroughs.

In 2015 the new Christopher Nolan film Interstellar will break box office records and win many accolades from the Academy Awards. It will become available for home theater systems and will become an instant treasure and topic of many dinner conversations. That is how the year will begin. The year will end with a new Star Wars film which Disney will market to every corner of the earth in a positive way. The mind of mankind will be opened in many more profound ways because of these two entertainment events alone. But in addition to that some of the minds sparked by these events in the past, the original Star Wars movies, and the science opened up by Chuck Yeager, and the unequivocal playfulness of Richard Branson’s entrepreneurship, civilians will for the first time climb into space. The mind of mankind will be prepared to behold a bit of this explosive reality by art, Star Wars, Interstellar and other similar features, but those playful thoughts from childhood which inspired the creation of a “troop transporter” inserted into Rebels will jump several steps forward—and stay there forever. It is a very exciting time to be alive.

Once the celebrities of society are routinely ferried into space by Virgin Galactic starting next year the way we view the world will change forever. Competition is on the heels of Richard Branson and even more methods of space travel will emerge in the few short years thereafter. Not long after that will be hotels and manufacturing facilities in space because that is the next step for mankind and the generations brought up on Star Wars and all the byproducts of fantasy and science fiction will be there to recreate the dreams of their childhoods with a sudden infusion of such science made into a reality.

Two forces are emerging in tandem, the old world and its ways are so closely tied to the false belief that government expansion and influence will preserve the traditions of the past and all the philosophies created by those minds—where Karl Marx still has a place at the table. There is no place for Karl Marx in space, so the philosophies introduced by George Lucas and lived out by real people like Chuck Yeager—the bravado of adventure and discovery upon scratching the face of an unknown wilderness will bring out the best of the human race leaving behind those still clinging to the terrestrial remnants of the German radical stuck to regional concerns of economic fairness. That voice will quickly become eclipsed as the untouched potential of space becomes a reality for average people instead of the very few—in much the way that Chuck Yeager was the fastest man alive in 1947, but just a few years later, flying supersonic was a common occurrence. Travel into space for civilians by a civilian company will move at a speed that governments could never fathom, and an explosive growth period will follow by minds already thrown into the deep end of the cold water by entertainment endeavors like Interstellar and Star Wars.

It was a pleasure to watch the documentary of the creation of Virgin Galactic. Seeing their engineers do basic layup of their fuselage sections in a giant open room without EMA controls, or lab coats with all the ambition of children playing with Lego’s, then rolling the large tooling into a giant oven was a privilege. My first thought was that they’d be busted by a government auditor for such work practices, but then I had to remind myself that Virgin Galactic is not beholden to such things as they are the end-user of their product and do not need government to stick its nose into their business. While in the air they have FFA requirements and the like to deal with, but they can avoid many of the insane government red tape and bureaucratic nightmares that are often involved in large aerospace companies forced into compliance with government authority because they are still a small company with ambition filling their sails of innovation. What is going on at Virgin Galactic is very similar to the early days of Chuck Yeager’s flight tests in the X-1, when he broke his ribs and his friend and engineer Ridely cut off the tip of a broom handle to allow him to lock the door to the first supersonic jet ever flown. The government back then had no idea what to do about flight, or if it would even become a viable option, so they had not yet stuck their regulatory tentacles into the endeavor allowing Chuck Yeager to be the cowboy of the desert, a hell-raising test pilot given millions of dollars worth of tools to prove that he could become the fastest man alive.

Virgin Galactic for the small fee of $250,000 will take people into space traveling faster than anybody has ever traveled before if they have the money to pay it. At first it will only be people like Labron James, and movie producers like Steven Spielberg who will touch that virgin face of space in a way nobody has before—for 6 minutes of weightlessness. But shortly thereafter, the cost will decrease dramatically because of competition and once there is something to do in space, such as a resort to fly to and vacation at, space travel will become a daily occurrence.

It is easy to become depressed about the state of the world, especially for those trying to help fix it, no matter what side of the political aisle they reside. But if you know how to read what’s coming and can see it clearly, you can take refuge in the knowledge that everything is changing right before our eyes for the better. The water might feel cold to the touch, but it is just right for a refreshing plunge into the depths of adventure. Those growing up with the entertainment influences of the past will have a better time adapting—others will struggle to keep up, and many more will be left behind fearful of the giant leap mankind is about to make. But the correct way to approach this new age is with the gusto that 91-year-old Charlie Yeager displayed after climbing out of his F-15 after a supersonic flight over Las Vegas in October recently paying homage to his ground breaking supersonic flight in 1947. Arms crossed across his body, feet square with his shoulders his usual no-nonsense approach to life was in evidence to the type of individuals who must have the “Right Stuff” for this exciting period being delivered by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. When a reporter asked Yeager when he was going to stop flying he remarked with his typical West Virginian, candor—“when I get too old.”

Yeager even as a very ripe old man still has in his mind the heart of a lighthearted child who just wants to play with toys—which I’d say is the secret to his longevity. Richard Branson beholds the same curiosity and playfulness. And today’s entertainment will breed more of those types through their endeavors creating in many millions of young people a deep yearning for life-long play and love of life that extends beyond the physical limitations of governments or previous philosophy. Virgin Galactic is on the precipice of a world-wide rejuvenation to an upcoming age of adventure that will go down in history as one of the most dramatic steps forward ever conducted by human minds. But, behind that glorious endeavor is a person I greatly respect not for his years of service in the Air Force, but because of his playfulness in life that ushered in the age of aviation to planet earth and all the wonderful inventions and discoveries that only comes from playing with expensive toys for the benefit of further creation—General Chuck Yeager. At 92 years of age, I can only hope that he can be one of the few first who gets to go into space on Virgin Galactic. I love that guy.

Rich Hoffman


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