Space dream

From the 1950s through the end of the 1980s, the U.S. was obsessed with space exploration. The height of this era was the July 20, 1969 moon landing.

This time frame aligned with the height of the Cold War. Certainly, much of NASA’s work was done to ensure the U.S. did not surrender the frontier of space to the Soviet Union.

With the end of our nation’s hostilities with the former Soviet Union, slowly but steadily, the general public’s fascination with space has waned.

There is, perhaps, now a chance to regain some of America’s space dream. Next month will mark the 50th anniversary of the spectacular moon landing. Surely, this will be a celebratory event around which our divided public will be able to to unite … if for at least a few hours.

Also, last week, NASA officials said they will begin offering visits to the International Space Station to private citizens.

Since the NASA space shuttle program ended in 2011, astronauts have traveled to the space station aboard Russian rockets. The agency has contracted with SpaceX and Boeing to fly future crewed missions to the space station.

A round-trip ticket likely will cost an estimated $58 million. And accommodations will run about $35,000 per night, for trips of up to 30 days long, said NASA’s chief financial officer Jeff DeWit.

“If a private astronaut is on station, they will have to pay us while they’re there for the life support, the food, the water, things of that nature,” DeWit told the Associated Press.

The NASA officials said some revenue from commercial activities will help the agency focus its resources on returning to the moon in 2024, a major goal of the Trump administration.

The agency said the private space travel plan will also reduce the cost to U.S. taxpayers for this next lunar mission.

Obviously, very few people will have the financial means to actually come up with $58 million to go to the space station. However, we see anything that helps reinvigorate the public’s interest in space exploration as a plus.

Hopefully, those of us who were not alive on July 20, 1969 will one day get to experience the awesome sense of wonder those who observed the moon landing 50 years ago did.