By Mike Deliman
When I was a child, the Apollos were flying, and the whole world was
all about Mankind taking those first steps on Lunar soil. I remember my
parents had this record, I think it came from a Time magazine. It was a
little flimsy thing, noisy, and all it really was, was a speech.
For whatever reason, that particular speech really impressed me. One
part always comes to mind when I think of that speech, when I think of
words of motivation.
There is no strife, no
prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are
hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and
its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But
why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well
ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the
Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
To me it's this last sentence. "We choose to go to the moon" not because we want to make the history books, not for personal glory, not just to say "we've been there and left our mark", but for the bigger reasons, for knowledge and wisdom, to push the edge of mankind's envelope higher, farther, faster, for the betterment of mankind. It's a mission of the greater good, driven by something more pure than a desire for more profits or a better corporate bottom line. It's of the stuff of nobility. It's like sailing off the edge of the map to prove the world is round. "Here thar be monsters."
It is nearly impossible for me to imagine what it must have been like to be part of those early space projects. We had no clue what we were getting into. The engineers, machinists, and assembly crews knew, though, that every step required their best efforts. The machines they were designing and building had to work, or the result would be pure disaster, the heroes of a nation, of generations, riding the top of a column of flame.
What a tremendous honor, and incredible responsibility, it must have been, then, to be a part of those teams. To be one whose work, as a small part of a huge team, is representing the best of humankind's intentions, and achievements. A single work marking a turning point in Man's journey, the point where he ceased to be a citizen of just a planet, and joined the cosmos, perhaps the greatest turning point up to that time, in history. Forging dreams, wrought into reality, to become the foundry of a new generation of achievement. From these projects were born rockets into space, satellites, and Astronauts.
The Ares program represents a bold step into a new era of exploration and discovery. I am very proud of our engineers, test pilots, and astronauts who will leave the next footprints, and eventually build our first long-term encampments, on the Moon.
It is an honor to be a part of the Ares program.