The ‘Flight of the Spider’
Schweickart’s epiphany had brought home to him the futility of war and the wasted resources and lives spent defending lines marking nations which he wasn’t even aware of from his privileged vantage point. He wrote that he wished he could “take a person in each hand, one from each side in the various conflicts, and say, ‘Look. Look at it from this perspective. Look at that. What’s important?'”
Forty years on, as Schweickart approaches his 74th birthday, we are on the brink of an opportunity for his wish to come true, as commercial teams around the world race to launch the first suborbital tourist flights.
These new aerospace pioneers, striving to bring us space tourism today, were young impressionable children and teenagers during the 1960s – inspired to take up their careers, in part, by the Apollo programme.
If these “children of Apollo” succeed, then they may give us the chance to launch those leaders locked in conflict around the world on their own epiphanal flights above the Earth.
For only then, as Schweickart pointed out, will they truly appreciate that we are one people on one planet – “riders on the Earth together”. “
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