Welcome to another new month of the year everyone. 2020 has held a lot of unpredictable moments and countless things that most of us really couldn’t plan for. I know that for each of us, there are only so many things within our lives that we actually have under our control and these past few months have largely been proof of that. Even so, I’ve been finding myself caught up in a whole lot of media and news to try to keep track of the world around me, and lately, it has been hard to keep up with.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything I am seeing is bad either.
While we get through the work week and try to keep up with our daily lives, it’s pretty easy to forget to stop for long enough to take a step back from the business to acknowledge the cool things in the world. One thing I think a lot of us can forget to do at that time is catch up with the positive things happening around us. This week though, just in case you missed it, we were given a nice reminder that maybe there are bigger things going on in the world around us that offer a little room for hope and a chance to dream a bit bigger than just the future right in front of us.
I remember being told as a child to shoot for the stars—well, some people actually still are.
64 days since their launch, astronauts and best friends Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are finally home on the Space X’s Crew Dragon. Since 1975, this was the first splashdown of an American crew spacecraft—that’s 45 years. They left on August 2nd and in the amount of time they were gone, they orbited the earth a total of 1,024 times… Can you imagine that?
This is something so outside of my realm that even though I don’t know a whole lot about it, it’s still pretty exciting and maybe you’re asking yourself why. Well, it’s because this was the final test flight of the final crew Dragon, and not only was this a major opportunity to watch history happen, but it was largely emblematic of where we’re all at in our lives. I mean, just look at one of the people who was in that launch.
Space shuttles were retired back in 2011 and not only was Doug Hurley a part of the final launch of shuttle Atlantis, but he also piloted that one. When getting ready for this August’s launch, someone asked Hurley about how he prepared to head to open space again and in full candor, he answered with this: “I certainly didn’t expect to fly again.”
Straight forward enough, right?
When faced with something he wasn’t at all expecting to do, he and his best friend took the challenge in stride because, in the end of it all, his work was what he enjoyed doing. They both also knew what this test launch could mean for the future of SpaceX—as the Crew Dragon’s final test flight, this is the final foundation for the regular missions to come. After finding himself facing space all over again, there seemed to be no other choice.
From the words of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, this mission was “a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible.” With Hurley as the pilot of a 2011 shuttle believing that he may never fly again only to be onboard another craft and flying into space 9 years later, I would say he’s gone through a bit more than just unexpected growth and development.
That’s something like shooting for the stars, all puns intended. Even though 2020 itself may not be seeing something like a switch between shuttle technology and something completely new, we are going through some major growing pains. I think this is a lot of what Hurley represents; as someone who was a part of both the 2011 launch and what we just witnessed this past week, he is a manifestation of the crossroads between something we once knew and a new era full of unknowns that maybe we can’t quite see coming.
That’s exactly how 2020 has felt like to me and maybe a lot of you too.
The best thing we can do is lean into it, find some support and adapt as best you can while trusting that this will be figured out as we keep moving. As long you keep moving with it, considering Hurley didn’t just spend those in-between years doing nothing, then I would say you’re doing the best you can and maybe you’ll end up exactly where you need to be soon enough. Just keep going.
As for SpaceX, now that Behnken and Hurley are back home, what’s next for them? They’re preparing for the first operational flight for the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket once they earn their certifications. The team for the next mission is astronaut Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi; this will be the second time Crew Dragon will be taking people to the space station, but the first for a set of missions planned out by the company.
Just like they’ve been planning their next steps, I hope you’ve got your own plans too. And if you’re looking to follow what they’re up to, take a look at they’re Twitter page or keep up with NASA website. As the space program keeps moving forward, I hope you all figure out how to adjust with 2020 and keep an eye out for any out of the world newsworthy items while you’re at it.
Let me know what shooting for the stars looks like to you this week, I’d love to hear it. See you Tuesday.