Astronauts Embrace New Wave of 'Star Sailors' as Final Frontier Opens Up – Davidson News

The pencils started floating in the air,” Tito told CNN this summer, “and I could see the blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth.”

Whether debate or conversation, Marshburn said, ticketed astronauts stir interest in spaceflight and in the science, technology, engineering and math fields that help make it happen. 

 “It seems to me that college graduates are just as interested in working for SpaceX as for NASA,” he said. “I’ve talked to several Davidson students who were interested in getting involved in spaceflight.”

Uber With Rockets?

Flights by nontraditional astronauts invite questions of what is required, from a physics standpoint, to get into space. It’s easier to get there than to stay in orbit, Marshburn said. What is NASA doing that is different than Bezos? Among others, they’re traveling at 17,500 mph around the Earth while providing life support, energy and a heat shield for reentry. 

“You can look at [Bezos’s flight] as maybe a stunt,” former Space Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins told Fox News as cameras showed the crew climbing aboard that day. “I don’t think that’s what it is. The more we fly, the safer it will get, the more we’re going to learn, the more data we collect, the more information. This is something the United States will be using to help us learn more, to go farther and do exploration better.”  


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