The topic of aerospace is something that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Although I was not alive to see the Apollo moon landing missions firsthand, seeing the artifacts from those missions at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. at a young age allowed my interest to take flight. Although the Air and Space Museum was my earliest introduction to aerospace, growing up in the shadow of Florida’s Space Coast and Kennedy Space Center, and being fortunate to watch launches and hear the sonic booms of landings from my house further cemented my love of spaceflight and aerospace.
Being a third-generation aerospace worker I am able to turn my love of spaceflight and conversations around the dinner table into a vocation. While I have yet to achieve my goal of being a launch site breaking news reporter, for over 15 years I worked in various human spaceflight programs. There I captured the day to day decisions which led to many milestones from the Space Shuttle to Commercial Crew Programs, with a little International Space Station and Orion Program related writings thrown in as well.
Sadly, those writings are restricted due to export control and various non-disclosure agreements I signed through the years and are unavailable. Instead, below you will find samples of articles I’ve written about topics in aerospace which are not archived behind a firewall of national security and commercial interest.
In addition to these writings, I am also embarking on a new adventure of aerospace writing with my latest website TheAerospaceHistorian.com. This new site will tell the stories of the men and women who made what many thought to be impossible. Bringing Aerospace to life.
Officials Hope Path to Final Frontier Winds Through Area
The issue of Spaceport construction was a topic I covered extensively when I worked for the Pearland Journal. It was a time that Brazoria County wanted to be on the cutting edge of ushering in a new era of space infrastructure.
With commercial launch sites for SpaceX and Virgin Galactic now dotting the landscape in New Mexico and Texas, as well as a Spaceport under construction a few miles away from Houston’s Johnson Space Center, it can be hard to imagine that 20 years ago the groundwork was laid to inform the public about just what a spaceport was, and why it would be a good idea to build one.
State Lawmaker Questions the Feasibility of Spaceport Project
In this 2001 article, the age old debate of vision versus fiscal responsibility came to the forefront. Visionaries seeking to build a Spaceport faced the uphill battle of trying to convince state lawmakers that a Spaceport was the wave of the future.
In the years that followed this 2001 space odyssey, Texas would ultimately become the home to two Spaceports, but the effort to build a Spaceport in Brazoria County never took off. The program was ultimately scrapped in 2007.
SpaceX Makes History as the United States Enters a New Era in Human Spaceflight
For this article about the SpaceX Crew Demonstration Flight, I had a vested interest. I also felt a sense of pride. For six years, I worked on ensuring the successful launching of the first Americans to the International Space Station in a private launch vehicle.
Years earlier, before my direct involvement began, I was given the opportunity to hear SpaceX founder Elon Musk explain his vision for his company to an audience of mostly skeptical NASA civil servants and contractors. To see the mission succeed, and witness that vision brought to life, knowing I played a small role in that accomplishment was truly something I will always treasure.
Local Students Plan for Martian Invasion
Before Elon Musk made “Occupy Mars” a mission statement, the Johnson Space Center Mars Settlement and Design Competition sought to encourage high school students to picture what life on Mars would be like and to create a working proposal for how to make it so.
In the years since I wrote this article, I have often wondered whether any of the students featured actually joined the space workforce after their academic careers were completed.
Paging Mr. Willis: Latest NASA Budget Calls For Asteroid Lassoing Mission
This was an article I wrote a few months after starting my website ballparksbeaches andbeyond.com. The article addresses the “seems like I saw this in a Hollywood movie approach” of NASA’s plan to lasso and redirect an asteroid.
In the years since the article was written, the plan for how NASA plans to handle asteroids has changed. The article is included here to show there was a time where fiction and fact almost collided like a spacecraft hitting an asteroid
Houston Handed Lemons and Hoping Tourists Like Resulting Lemonade
For this article, I explored the supply and demand aspect of retired Space Shuttles and the fact Houston truly had a problem in terms of not getting one.
Years later, I continue to stand by my opinion that, based on the available inventory, the flown space shuttles went to the right homes. Of course, there are still people in Houston who will never agree.
Fest to Feature Two of Aviation’s Golden Gems
To be fair, this article about two of the stars of a static airplane display at Houston’s Hobby Airport is not technically an aerospace article. However, it could be argued that without first taming the skies with airplanes, humankind would not have soared to outer space.
The article also serves as a sad reminder that in the world post September 11, 2001, the type of access given to attendees at airshows at active airports was greatly changed.
Clover Field Set to Embark on Age of Change
Although Brazoria County showed that they did not have an appetite to be on the cutting edge of space tourism, this article shows that they did support infrastructure that dealt with things that flew inside the atmosphere.
This was a fun interview to conduct. It allowed me to listen to the communication between the tower and the planes, while also trying to stay on task with the questions I wanted to ask. Sadly, no one buzzed the tower Top Gun style while I was there. I guess the pattern was full.