I have lived to see the day that private commercial space has become a reality and will become a force. Networking three years ago at the National Space Symposium with ISPCS chair Dr. Pat Hynes, it was hard to get people to even give us a few minutes of their attention and many times you got the feeling they were just humoring us because Pat can be tenacious and it was the only way to get rid of her.
My how things have changed…Billions of dollars in NASA funding are now at stake, with the long-term potential of lucrative markets in not only ferrying NASA astronauts but also space tourists and other commercial customers to the International Space Station and other facilities, like those planned by Bigelow Aerospace. Weekly there are advancements in theses private sector companies in making this a reality.
What is amazing is that a NASA Space Grant director knew it decades ago. Pat Hynes had a vision that
this paradigm shift would take place and that she could use it to make an impact on of all places, New Mexico.
New Mexico, with its Spaceport, is pretty unique, building on the scientific heritage of Los Alamos and Whitesands which are in the state. The visionary idea for a spaceport dates back to Kennedy’s time when the Governor wrote to the President suggesting the establishment of a spaceport.
Working behind the scenes with a handful of believers like Lou Gomez and Len Sugerman, Pat has had a major impact on making New Mexico a player in this ever growing industry. Most important, she made a believer out of me.