Artist’s concept of an operational Spaceport America. – Spaceport America

Commentary

Platforms for Progress

by dr. patricia hynes

This quote from John Pierce, the man who supervised the development of the transistor at Bell Labs, provides a relevant perspective worth sharing, regarding the risk/reward equation New Mexico has embarked on with Spaceport America.

“Regrettably, the language that describes innovations often fails to distinguish between an innovative consumer product and an innovation that represents a leap in human knowledge and a new foundation (or “platform,” as it is often described) for industry. Things should be done only when there is the possibility of a substantial gain, and this must be weighed against risk.”

This week I was at the New Mexico state capitol when Senate Bill 240 passed the Informed Consent legislation. It allows for continuation of not only Spaceport America as a “platform” for commercial space transportation of humans into space, but also Virgin Galactic’s “platforms”, WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. All three will provide leaps in human knowledge and a new foundation for human space transportation. Mankind has created 5 transportation industries; ground, sea, rail, air and space transportation. We use all of these industries to transport goods and people across the globe, and to space.

Read more: Platforms for Progress | Moonandback.

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