Re: On John Glenn's flight
Oddly enough, while most of the discussions on Glenn are based upon
the value of the science or the evil of political maneuvering, the
true value of the flight has little to do with either.
If I may digress, frontier development is based upon financial
bootstrapping and usually occurs in areas of little previous development.
In the west that was usually seen as a wilderness. However, in order
for financial bootstrapping to occur, a frontier "climate" has to be
generated. This climate contains three main factors that operate much
like a fire triangle's Heat - Fuel - Air analogy. On the frontier, there
may be a spark, but without the proper environment, the frontier will
not burst into flame. The three frontier factor are Technology (T),
Legislation (L) and Charisma (C) or TLC for short.
Glenn's flight is being sold on the basis of Technology, while the
detractors are claiming that it is a shameless abuse of Legislation.
My own view as a frontier historian is that it is one of the better
Charisma pumps since the days of Apollo. Technology and even Legislation
have come a long way in the past few years, but we are missing the
excited broad-based support of the early space program. With the
problems emerging on the Space Station, we are going to need every
ounce of Charisma we can pump up to get over the hurdles.
I realize this is not the predominate view of many of the space
forums, but it is the way the situation fits into the frontier model
I have been working on for the last 3 years.