Why is the field of history so important? A short answer is that history can provide perspectives to past events that help understand and analyze the present. This year we have discussed how we are living in the dawn of space tourism. Yes, the ability for anyone with $200,000 to experience weightlessness for several minutes is imminent given last week’s success of the passenger space plane’s rocket engine. Sir Richard Branson, the brainchild behind Virgin Galactic said this past Monday, “Today’s supersonic success opens the way for rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end.” Lets attempt to place these recent developments into perspective using more primary sources that describe earlier advancements in air and space transportation.
Out text focuses on the growth of the airline industry in the 1920s between pages 598-600. After you read those pages, listen to this audio recording of Charles Lindbergh’s return trip to Washington, DC, after his successful transatlantic flight landed in France May 21, 1927. As you listen to the recording, list ways he was celebrated upon his arrival at the airport. Click on the this link for a 1927 Milwaukee Sentinel article that discusses the future of airlines and note the date of the newspaper article and how it relates to Lindbergh’s accomplishment. Explain what insight this article on air travel could provide us about space travel as it relates to Branson’s quote above. Predict the type of ceremony/event to which the first space tourists will return. Explain why it will or will not it be similar to Lindbergh’s return or the Apollo 11 Astronaut’s parade (Right photo) after their moon landing. Is space tourism a big deal?
Where is all of this potentially heading? Check out this news article posted today where a NASA scientist states “human destiny” is on Mars.