I’M A FAN OF SPACEX
NASA AND ITS SUPPLIERS HAD BECOME COMPLACENT. IT HAS BEEN CLEAR FOR YEARS THAT THERE HAD TO BE BETTER WAYS—AND SPACEX SEEMS TO BE FINDING THEM
THEY NEARLY MADE IT THIS TIME—SOON THEY WILL SUCCEED. REMARKABLE!
I have written about the distractions of things society thinks you ought to do before (the devil in disguise) to stop you writing, but my weakness has always been either impossible or crazy projects (as I tend to think of them).
The impossible would include trying to change the Irish economy in the Eighties (we succeeded after many years and at great personal cost) and opposing the U.S.’s orientation towards wheeled armored vehicles in the 2000s.
Apart from writing, economics and military matters are my two main intellectual areas of interest.
Where the latter is concerned—again I paid a heavy cost personally—and this time appeared to fail. However, recent evidence suggests otherwise (something I’ll write about some other time). The game was worth the candle.
In my experience, success rarely comes predictably. Just when you think a cause is hopeless, you have a breakthrough. The fates like to tease (and torture). Fortunately, I tend to take the long view. I’m not really a masochist but I’m a reader—and extensive reading has given me a perspective other than expecting instant satisfaction or easy success. In effect, I have been thoroughly converted to the principle than anything worth doing takes a very very great deal of time and effort—with the chances of failure being high. It’s a good principle to believe in if you are a writer.
My crazy project of the 90s—a spinoff from my writing—resulted from researching the supergun which lead to an invitation to Lawrence Livermore to watch their supergun being fired—and then to try and help two of the scientists involved try and raise the necessary money to build a hydrogen powered supergun to fire supplies into space. Stuff can withstand the pressures involved when it is fired from a gun at hypersonic speeds. People tend to come to a sticky end (literally).
We didn’t succeed in this case—although the idea is very far from dead—but it was, and remains, a fascinating project and made me keenly interested in the various efforts to try to find a way of accessing space at lower cost. The traditional figure quoted to transport a pound of anything into space is $10,000 (and it can be a great deal higher). That, as my friend Dr. John Hunter, likes to say, “Is non trivial.” John was the original proponent of the Livermore supergun. You can Google him.
SpaceX seem to be doing just that—achieving lower costs—so I’m an enthusiastic supporter. I’m also a fan of Elon Musk who has a rare talent for succeeding with the impossible.
He is my kind of entrepreneur.
What is my current crazy project? Well I have two—and fortunately both relate directly to my writing. On involves military thinking—and the other relates to movies.
Actually, I have three crazy projects now I think of it. The third relates to the opposite sex.
You know what they say about such things. If I tell you (any more) I’ll have to kill you.
Relax! I would never harm any of my readers. I need every one I can get.
VOR words 481.