My suborbital life, part 7: Of risk and reward
by Alan Stern
|It’s always a little sobering to take deliberate risks. But I’ll do that today, as I have in the past, because the risks of this flight are so well worth the rewards.|
The risks of spaceflight are well established to be low, and Virgin Galactic’s space vehicles are much more highly regulated and are much safer than the Titanic dive I was involved in. I would not participate if they were not. But the risks are still non-zero, and higher than other activities I’ve undertaken in my career, including years of flying of nighttime F-18 Hornet missions aboard ejection seats, and a month-long research mission done at South Pole station in Antarctica.
As least for me, it’s always a little sobering to take deliberate risks. But I’ll do that today, as I have in the past, because the risks of this flight are so well worth the rewards. On this mission, I expect to contribute to the commercial opening of space, to the new and powerful future for human suborbital research missions, for science, to bring back experiences to share, and to be able afterwards to inspire others to greater accomplishments than my own.
If today goes poorly, you will read about it in the news. If that actually materializes, know that it was worth it to me to take those risks, as so many before me who took very much greater risks for other rewards in the exploration of our planet and space, in service to their country during war, and in countless other endeavors that have contributed to the ascending trajectory of our species and our society.
Now, to get some rest, before I drink in every moment of the special opportunity to contribute in new ways to space flight, up close and personal!
Ever onward, ad astra!
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