The following text was taken, with permission, from an article by Steve Unger, Editor, Topsail Voice, which was published in the May-June 1997 issue of the Southeastern Space Supporter, newsletter of HAL5.
From the Sidelines
While King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella may have financed Christopher Columbus first journey,
it has generally been the free-lancers who have really made the difference. The Henry Hudsons
and the Jim Bridgers are the ones who ought to be remembered, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, Susan
B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr.
Say what you want about British Empire, the 14th Amendment, Five Year Plans and the Great Leap Forward. It is the free-lancers who really make things happen -- Thomas Watson, Bill Gates and even Thomas Crapper.
If we are ever going to make it to the stars, and be willing to assume the risks involved, in the end it wont be NASA that does it for us. It will be folks like those on the HAL5 project who finally make it happen, who will be able to attract corporate cash cows into private space enterprise.
Mission control was in a tent on a big field, and we were glad to help experience the adventure. The computing power of three PCs probably surpassed anything NASA had in the 1950 and satellites were helped use to track the flight, not concrete towers as in 1947. It was the next best thing to being on Topsail Island for Operation Bumblebee a scant 50 years ago.
So this launch didnt make it to outer space -- no matter, Columbus didnt make it to India, either. The process is more important than any single event. And it is well underway.