A couple of high-flying space figures – former NASA chief of staff Courtney Stadd and MirCorp founder Walt Anderson – have fallen on decidedly hard times after running afoul of the law. They now find themselves doing work normally done by working class stiffs.
“Orphans of Apollo” to Screen @ ThrillSpy International Film Festival Goethe Theater Washington D.C. Friday October 9th, 3 p.m. http://www.thrillspy.org/
The Space Show Dr. David Livingston’s taped interviews with MirCorpÂ CEO Walt Anderson from inside the Fairton Correctional Facility in New Jersey. Sunday, October 11, 12-1:30 PM PDT http://www.thespaceshow.com/
Alan Boyle has reviewed Michael Potter’s film, “Orphans of Apollo,” for his Comic Log website. He reviews the lessons that the failed effort to commercialize the Mir space station taught people:
The biggest lesson is that you want to have the government as your customer, not your enemy. “I think the slightly more commercial and realistic and politically savvy entrepreneurs who are now investing in private space understood where Walt went wrong,” David Chambers, who was MirCorp’s vice president of strategic planning, says in the movie. “And they’re prepared to play nice with the various governments that they need to play nice with.”
There are two especially dangerous types of people in the world: those with nothing to lose, and those with everything to lose. The former is desperate and, having little at stake, is often willing to do almost anything to survive. The latter often feels like he can do anything. This attitude can propel them to great heights – and to spectacular falls.
The themes of desperation and hubris run through Michael Potter’s film, Orphans of Apollo. The fascinating documentary recounts the briefly successful – but ultimately failed – effort to privatize the Russian space station Mir at the turn of the century. The film – which is now available on DVD and will screen at the Sacramento International Film Festival on March 30 – also chronicles the fall of early space entrepreneur Walt Anderson.
As I watch companies lay off tens of thousands of employees every week (and sometimes every day), I’m beginning to wonder if we’re watching another space bubble burst. If so, it is second such deflation in the last decade.