Rita Cosby spent much of the last half of her show “Foxwire” on the space program tonight.
First up she had Jim Lovell, who’s Apollo XIII anniversary is today, on April 13, the day it launched. I’m not superstitious, but I’m still amazed at the fact that Apollo XIII (13) launched on April 13, at 13:13 (1:13 PM in the afternoon).
But she didn’t spend much time on history–she wanted to talk about air safety, for which he’s been responsible to some degree since September 11. Unfortunately, he put out the same pablum that we’ve been getting from officials since then–it’s safe to fly because we’ve upped the (idiotic) security procedures.
More interesting was her next guest, Lori Garver. She was portrayed as just an ordinary mom who is going to go into space. Now, I actually know Lori pretty well, and like her, but I thought this was a little misleading and disingenuous.
Lori is a former NASA Associate Administrator for Plans and Policy. When the new administration came in, she was shown the door (presumably being perceived as part of the Clinton team). Now she’s a VP at DFI, a “beltway bandit”–a consultant that makes a lot of money off of government contracts. She probably wouldn’t have that job if she didn’t bring a lot of connections to the table from her former government experience. In addition, she used to be the Executive Director of the National Space Society, a pro-space advocacy group (though, unfortunately, pro-space to NSS generally meant “pro-NASA”).
Now I’m cheering for her to go, and if she does, she’ll probably be a good spokesman for ordinary citizens to go into space (though she’s hardly an ordinary citizen herself, as the brief curriculum vitae described above shows). But they really should give a little more background, rather than raising false hopes that anyone can go right now, which unfortunately is still not the case, though if she goes, it may bring the day closer to making this true.
The main point of the story was that she is competing with Lance Bass, but it’s not clear that it’s competition as much as simply additional customers for the service. She also mentioned yet another candidate coming out of the woodwork, of whom I hadn’t previously heard, and whose name and affiliation I either don’t remember, or she didn’t say.
She gave a pretty good interview, as I would have expected, but I was disappointed at one point, when she was asked how her trip, and that of other space travelers, would advance the cause. She said that it would raise public awareness of it, which is true, and vague.
The correct answer (assuming that it really is a result) is that it will demonstrate that there really is a market for this, and this may spur much-needed private investment into low-cost space transportation, finally breaking us out of the government-funded rut in which we’ve been stuck for over four decades.