Donald Trump’s Tomorrowland: Making “Failure’s Not An Option” great again!

I kept looking for it but have yet to see any news really covering what Donald Trump’s administration has been doing in regard to American space exploration.  It was only just before July 4th 2017 that Trump signed an executive order reactivating the National Space Council at NASA and  making Mike Pence the is the chairman of the board.  Then just a few days after that great American Holiday Mike Pence was giving a speech at the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center announcing that the first meeting of the new council would before summer ended.  It was a big speech with grand national appeal but it was eclipsed behind Trump’s G20 visit and the first face to face meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  The news media was completely consumed with the news of this oversea visit and the antics of Trump’s combat with the various news organizations—so they missed the announcements about America’s new role in space that sounded much more spectacular than when Kennedy gave in his famous challenge ahead of the Apollo program in the 60s.  Trump was thinking bigger—much bigger and Mike Pence is about to make his mark as a very strong VP in the vastness of space.

As Trump and Pence were unleashing space once again the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article which was quite familiar to me, that “smart medicine” was in fact the wave of the future and ultimate cure to illness on earth.  And to what effect?  We don’t need to get sick as humans and die of old age—we can fix all that now and until very, very recently–publications like the Wall Street Journal were not covering those regenerative technologies.   I bring it up here because space exploration takes time and the best way to embark on such an adventure is to live the amount of time that Noah did from the Bible, to see many years of development to and from the vastness of space and to colonize the once unthinkable.  We’ll want every human being and more available today for such adventures. There were so many magnificent quotes given in Trump’s speech then Pence’s speech at the Kennedy Space Center to be played back to history for many years.  I thought many of those quotes were better than when Kennedy made his famous challenge to the American people when he announced that he intended to put man on the moon within a decade.   In case you haven’t heard, Trump wants to do that by 2020.  Trump then wants to be on Mars by 2024.  Those are ambitious goals for a space agency that has literally been turned off to study climate science and Islamic contributions to science.  Trump’s commitment to space is actually astonishing and will carry with it a new era in adventure, science, philosophy and politics.

I haven’t been down to our family retreat at Cape Canaveral for a few years now.  I have often spoken glowingly about my visits there to my favorite beach in the world, Cocoa Beach and the many famous landmarks that evolved in the wake of the space program at NASA.  From our condo we can see the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.  My kids are especially in love with the place and have watched several launches from that four story balcony.  They were there to see the last Space Shuttle mission return home under the Obama administration and they have recently seen the Space X rocket tests and have been enthusiastic about it still.  But they don’t know it like I do—where Space Shuttles seemed to take off every month and we were on a fast track to life outside of earth.  I love the optimism of space, the promise not only of adventure but of new discoveries and opportunities, such as mining Helium-3 off the moon for real nuclear power.   There is great talk now of going to Mars in weeks not just months which of course would allow us to mine the moons of Jupiter and even Saturn realistically and carry our civilization toward a Type 1 classification—where we master our solar system for resources to advance our technology.  Having that promise ripped away by the Obama administration and other previous presidents has been extremely disheartening.

It was my fault; back when my kids were getting more home school from my wife and I than anything they learned in ten years of school I took my children on a very special trip to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center then directly to Disney’s Epcot center.  The entire trip was focused on science and technology showing them the possibilities that were in front of their lives.  That was in 2003, George W. Bush was in the White House and I really thought he was serious about returning America back to the moon.   So I took my kids to the family condo at Cape Canaveral and let them meet astronauts at the Space Center and literally turned their imaginations loose.   Since then there really hasn’t been any ambition for space by virtually anybody.  This has been reflected in a few very forward-looking movies, like Tomorrowland based on the Disney attraction at Magic Kingdom and the very good Christopher Nolan movie, Intersteller.   I was very surprised to learn from my oldest daughter that her favorite movie so far in her life is Intersteller.  It made me a little sad because it was I who planted those seeds so long ago and in her life nothing had so far came from it.  So many kids in her generation have had their minds turned off and now they look at the world inwardly instead of outwardly.  Their vision is small because they have their faces pressed into the feces of their own existence and that folly is literally destroying mankind with remarkable swiftness.  And bright thinkers like my daughters—ignited by an overly optimistic dad have seen little to match that zeal from their generation.  When Trump said that in the vastness of space many of our problems would seem small—he’s right.  The solution to much that sickens us as a species will be solved in space and in the journey of mastering it.

It was during that trip that I bought a t-shirt from the NASA shop stating “Failure is not an option” which was the classic line from the Apollo 13 mission that was made into a movie by the great movie director, Ron Howard.  I wore it everywhere because it matched my optimism for everything.  Anyone who deals with me knows that this is my basic philosophy.  Failure is never an option for me—and never has been.  It is kind of an innate instinct that I have always had, but the space program in America framed the spirit in a way I have always fed from.   It was quite remarkable to wear that shirt to Epcot Center the next day with my kids asking questions and taking them to Tomorrowland to see all the optimism contained there for our future.   Even though my kids were impressed, I was frustrated because I felt we could be doing so much more as a country—but from the very top—in the White House we lacked vision and the great dreamers had been grounded, seemingly on purpose.

If you’ve ever been through a NADCAP audit dear reader you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  For many decades now government has imposed so many rules and regulations onto the aerospace industry that we’ve stifled creativity and brave innovations with so much bureaucratic red tape that the love for adventure that used to be present even in engineers has been stuffed into a bottle and sealed up tight.  The days where World War II fighter pilots were the test pilots and advisors for NASA are over—they have been replaced by pin headed politicians and paper pushers whose only adventure in life is to decide who will make the coffee run to Starbucks.  The industry bureaucrats have replaced the type of horse sense innovation that actually invented space travel with static manufacturing plans designed to take the thinking away from production leaving us all with a cold—dead work environment of people disconnected from the passion that can be garnered from being a part of the industry.   Aerospace today from the top to the bottom look for reasons not to do things than in how to do them because the regulatory zeal placed upon it by government has crushed the desire to achieve things.  The good news of Trump’s commitment to space means so much more than just going back to the moon—it means uncovering that American spirit that put us there in the first place and going back to what worked—and allowing young people to dream of a work culture that stated “Failure is Not an Option” and spent every last breath of their lives articulating that type of thinking.

It was as if there were a cloud of negativity that has taken over the world and until Trump unleashed his big ideas that cloud has been in full rebellion.  It doesn’t want Trump to succeed in these quests and it has been so thick that even the magnanimity of the two speeches done after the 4th of July 2017 by first the President then the Vice President down at Kennedy Space Center that nobody heard about these events.  They were probably the most important news stories of the week, yet nobody covered them—not even Fox News.  Even supporters of Trump’s administration like Jessie Watters and Eric Boiling didn’t make a mention of these bold speeches on their coverage that I could see watching them through the following weekend—the news was all about CNN’s fake news coverage and the G20 Summit.  Nothing about America’s new commitment to space or the wonderful science that will come from it—we are talking about a new dawn for the human race while the attention is on keeping our heads in the waste of our lives by cowardly bureaucrats who want to keep our feet firmly in concrete sealed to the shallow history of European stagnation.

Everyone should have seen this coming, after all Trump is all about thinking big, and by the time he is done our previous visits to space will seem like distant history—not to be forgotten, but certainly not the focus of future visits of people to the Kennedy Space Center. Based on what Mike Pence said, Cape Canaveral is poised to be a true space port where private sector and government truly work properly toward the goal of expanding mankind into the vast cosmos above our heads. Instead of saying “remember that” we will be making t-shirts of what was just said in a board room off in the corner of the Vehicle Assembly Building as some engineering problem revealed major headaches for everyone.   It is in the thrill of overcoming those obstacles that the adventure of space happens—not from the losers who throw their hands up in because the word “the” is placed in the wrong place in a manufacturing plan.

But that those plans will be written once more as discovery happens and innovation dictates light feet and an indomitable spirit.  Yes, Trump’s commitment to space is the best thing to happen in America over many years and I am proud once again of our space program.  It won’t take long to see the results even though at this point very few people are talking about it.  Soon however, that won’t be the case.  It will prove to be one of the biggest things to have ever happened to the human race and its happening right now. And not a moment too soon!  We’ve needed this, and now Donald Trump is starting that train of successes in science moving again and the results will be positive for every single human being on planet earth—and that’s not an understatement.

Rich Hoffman

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