Beginning with an update from the growing commercial space economy, NASA and Axiom Space have just signed an order for the first private astronaut mission to the ISS.
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA Headquarters, had this to say: “We are excited to see more people have access to spaceflight through this first private astronaut mission to the space station… One of our original goals with the Commercial Crew Program, and again with our Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development Program, is that our providers have customers other than NASA to grow a commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.”
Officially designated as Axiom Mission 1, or Ax-1, this historic mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft as early as January 2022.
Axiom has proposed Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe as the 4 crewmembers aboard Ax-1. These private astronauts will undergo a NASA review process and medical qualification before they are approved for their scheduled 8-day stay on the ISS.
This is the beginning of NASA’s goal of a low-Earth orbit marketplace and a continuous US human presence in low-Earth orbit. NASA hopes to be one of the many customers in that marketplace as commercial organizations lead the way, providing many services the government needs at a lower cost. This will hopefully allow NASA to focus more energy and resources to the deep space Artemis missions to the Moon and on to Mars.
As humans continue to travel further and further from Earth, the question remains: Are we the only ones out there?
We’ve covered this topic a lot before, but as time draws near to the Pentagon’s upcoming report on UFO’s this June, there is great anticipation and uncertainty about what that report will contain.
Some experts maintain that UFO’s have been documented since biblical times, but it’s generally agreed that the modern UFO era began on June 24th, 1947, when a private aviator named kenneth Arnold saw a formation of nine boomerang-shaped objects flying near Mt. Rainier moving at two to 3 times the speed of sound. A newspaper article about the incident coined the now-famous phrase: “flying saucers.” By the end of that year, an estimated 850 similar domestic sightings were reported.
The next year, two American commercial pilots saw a large cigar-shaped light fly towards them at an immense speed and abruptly turn in an impossible maneuver, vanishing into the open sky. Then in 1952, a fleet of UFO’s were reported over the White House in restricted airspace. A New York Times article read, “flying objects near Washington spotted by both pilots and radar: air force reveals reports of something, perhaps ‘saucers,’ traveling slowly but jumping up and down.”
As the government continued to receive numerous UFO sightings and Cold War tensions began to mount, the CIA decided that whether or not we were being visited by UFO’s, we were being inundated with too many UFO reports in a time where it was crucial for the US government to have full control over US airspace.
In an effort to solve the torrent of sightings, a CIA panel known as the “Robertson panel” recommended that “the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired.” UFO groups began to be infiltrated, sightings were explained away by government officials, and the media, including the beloved Walter Kronkite, was enlisted in the debunking effort. In a 1966 TV special, Krokite dispatched UFO’s as a “fantasy.”
Over the next several decades, mystery shrouded many UFO incidents all over the world. From an object crashing southeast of Pittsburgh in 1965 where NASA claims the relevant records regarding the incident went missing in 21 years later in 1987, to “Britain’s Roswell” in 1980 where US Air Force officers claimed to have seen a hieroglyphic-covered UFO at close range in the Rendlesham Forest, many stories and sightings continued to go unexplained.
We live in a world where just about every smartphone can record in 4k, and we can watch movies on our 8k TVs, so it’s curious why it’s so hard to capture these crafts in photos and videos.
What is encouraging, however, is that wherever the government stands on the UFO topic, the willingness to disclose that some things don’t have an explanation shows the relaxation and transparency of what was once considered too taboo to mention.
As high level government officials around the world continue to speak out on this topic, we’re left to wonder: Are these ships ours? Are they someone else’s? Or are they someTHING else’s? I guess time will tell.
Upon the release of the Pentagon’s upcoming report, our entire newsroom will download and digest the report, and let you know what we find.
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