“Splashdown!” If you are of a certain age… I am… you remember those words.
Walter Cronkite would say them when a space capsule landed in the ocean. The hatch would fly off… the astronauts would come out… and they’d be rescued.
It was dramatic. It was beautiful. It was dangerous. It was a long time ago.
“Welcome back to Planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX,” the announcer said. Hahaha! Love it!!!!
We got a new version of a “Splashdown!” when Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley came home this weekend on their SpaceX Dragon capsule.
Just like in the old days, the scene was dramatic and beautiful. This time, though, the hatch didn’t fly off. The capsule was brought on board a ship and opened very carefully. Clearly, a safer way of doing things.
I remember “Bob and Doug’s” launch to the International Space Station. We were in the throes of the Coronavirus pandemic. We desperately needed a distraction.
Here we are. Two months later. Still in the throes. We still desperately need a distraction from things here on Earth. We need to see something work.
NASA and SpaceX gave it to us.
As perfect as the splashdown was, the astronauts’ exit from the capsule was delayed. Possible dangerous fuel fumes. They had to let them dissipate. It took awhile. The anchors on CNN had to tap dance. (That’s how we earn our keep in the news business… by tap dancing.)
I was struck by something Miles O’Brien said. Miles is a veteran reporter at covering the space program… the Walter Cronkite of his generation.
He said this successful launch and return helps us “transcend our worldly worries.”
I think he is right. We needed a distraction. We needed to get away from what is happening on this planet.
Elon Musk, SpaceX and NASA gave it to us. Think of the possibilities. To the Moon. To Mars. To anywhere.
It makes you believe that with enough thought, work and cooperation, we can do anything. Don’t get me wrong. Those three things—thought, work and cooperation—are not in abundance these days. But if they were…
We need to take the lead of what got us to the International Space Station and back again. Bob and Doug and a whole lot of other people. Take it farther.
Splashdown. A beautiful sight. Now, let’s do what President Kennedy talked about. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Let’s do this.