A thousand years from now when our species has begun to conquer other star systems (after colonizing our own of course), who will be some of the individuals who will go down in solar history?
While most of history has yet to be written, our future descendants may find themselves whining about memorizing the names from the “Early Space Renaissance” of the 21st century.
Although this is not a complete list, here are some of the figures who may find themselves recorded in the solar history books (not to mention having a million space kids being named after them).
NASA’s previous vision of infinitely circling our globe and forever observing the stars (from afar) will probably be an embarrassment for our current generation, although hopefully the President’s VSE will give NASA the courage to conquer the final frontier.
Space Adventures helped launch the very first space tourist into orbit, kicking off a whole new industry that is destined to thrive in the next three to four years. Both Peter and Eric took the discussion from “talk to action,” proving that space was more than a privilege of governmental elites.
With future plans to launch Earthen citizens around their lunar neighbor, Space Adventures may give governmental programs a run for their money.
In 2006, Bigelow Aerospace launched the world’s first (of hopefully many) inflatable space station, displaying that the private sector could not only design a better, cheaper home amongst the heavens, but also generate a profit on the side.
Although constructing inflatable space stations is in itself incredible, Bigelow’s entry into space may be over shadowed by the companies attempt to help humanity colonize the moon.
Sir Richard Branson: Some people consider Sir Richard Branson to be ingenious. Other consider him to be closer to a mad scientist. Whatever your take, Branson may have the last laugh as his company Virgin Galactic is destined to bring space safely to the (moderately wealthy) masses.
Branson’s goal of making space apart of Earth culture may be paying off, as several other space firms have announced plans to launch customers into sub-orbital flights. But what sets Virgin Galactic apart from the competition is the companies emphasis on safety, which should easily put it in the lead if (God forbid) a crash occurs in the industry.
Branson also seems focused on not merely sending people into orbit, but having them check into space hotels by renting one of Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable space station.
Elon Musk: After making a billion plus fortune by selling off PayPal to Ebay, Elon Musk decided to spend his riches on helping humanity become a space faring civilization. Thus SpaceX was born.
Although SpaceX has yet to put up a satellite successfully into orbit (along with a host of other companies), what makes SpaceX unique is their desire to drop the price of launching objects into space from around $10,000 /lbs to $1,000/ lbs.
Dr. Bradley C. Edwards: If a building a modern day space elevator is ever feasible, this man will be credited towards coming up with the design plans.
After spending years in the realm of science fiction (or perhaps even fantasy itself), Dr. Edwards helped d
emonstrate the feasibility of this project, which (if successful) will revolutionize the way our species interacts with the solar system.
Edwards has recently started a company called Black Line Ascension whose end goal is to construct a space elevator, although only time will tell whether his research (and vision) will result in this object being built towards the heavens.
Have previously worked with Edwards, Michael Laine founded LiftPort, this company seeks to construct a space elevator within the next 25-30 years. What makes LiftPort unique in its field is the fact that this company is seeking to chart its course within the private sector, refusing to rely completely on NASA for funding or guidance.
Only time will tell whether or not Michael’s vision of a planet where space is “open for everyone” will materialize. Either way, this man’s passion and determination to persevere despite the circumstances have inspired many to look towards the heavens as their future homes.
You: Our quest to conquer off world soils has just begun, and there may still be many spots open for ordinary citizens to say their lines and partake on the solar stage of history.
Note: Due to lack of time, images will be added later on to this post.
Update (6/21): Added images and corrected some wording.