Photo courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

I’ve been excited about today’s schedule launch of the SpaceX Dragon since they announced today was going to be the day. Not only did this mark the first time astronauts would be sent to the International Space Station via equipment designed and manufactured by SpaceX, it would also be the first time American astronauts would head to the ISS via U.S. soil instead of hitching a ride with the Russians.

Not that cooperative international efforts are bad.

It’s been too long since the Space Shuttle was decommissioned in 2011 and quite frankly I was almost convinced that would be the end of the manned American space program. Luckily I was just being a cynic and through amazing technology and the efforts of thousands of people smarter than me, astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken were aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on countdown ready to head to the ISS. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to get in on the act and the countdown was stopped at -16 minutes and 54 seconds due to weather.

I had cleared my schedule at work and was watching the proceedings all afternoon when two things happened: a meeting popped up on my calendar scheduled for launch time and then the weather call was made and the launch was rescheduled for Saturday.

I will be on the ground ready to watch the proceedings during Saturday’s launch. I’m giddy like a young boy with the thought of these two men going into space from American soil.

Space exploration is a major reason why we have all this amazing technology at our fingertips. It’s our quest to get to the stars that has compelled us to push forward on technological advancements. Today’s crew will be using touchscreens, I believe a first, to navigate a commercially developed and built rocket to orbit. The open source operating system Linux has played a key component both with SpaceX and with the International Space Station.

I always enjoyed the math teacher that wrote in my yearbook way back in 1982, “Reach for the stars!”.

Though many will disagree, our country needs to get its people back in space under our own power. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era of discovery, wonder, and exploration.