Thank you, Elon Musk, for the spectacleIt was a bit like the Roman idea of the circus. Give the plebs a spectacular show of blood and death and they'll forget about how shit their own lives are, and how they are being controlled by a small elite of unelected twats. And, in these shit times, the Falcon Heavy test launch on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, did indeed distract so many of us.
Falcon Heavy launch highlightsHistoric Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center and the ghost of Saturn V. The power of the three rocket boosters. Kerosene and oxygen and thunder and lightning. The side boosters coming back to land simultaneously. Starman in his Tesla Roadster, driving through space, the gorgeous planet that we call home, David Bowie rocking the soundtrack. Don't panic on the dashboard and a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide in the glovebox. It was a non-stop, multi-sensory, space-tech, popular culture emotional orgasm. The Earth moved.
The buzz lasted for days, but the begrudgers were quick to appear. Musk was denounced for spending $90 million to send a $100,000 car into space, when there are so many other good uses for money down here. This is wrong. For starters, SpaceX is a private venture. It gets government assistance, certainly, but Musk has invested his own fortune in the venture, a fortune he earned himself through innovation and perseverance. Better to look at something like military expenditure, and the global arms industry, which is heavily government-run or subsidised.
"Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that 2012 military expenditures were roughly $1.8 trillion. The combined arms sales of the top 100 largest arms-producing companies amounted to an estimated $395 billion in 2012 according to SIPRI. In 2004 over $30 billion was spent in the international arms trade (a figure that excludes domestic sales of arms). The five biggest exporters in 2010–2014 were the United States, Russia, China, Germany and France, and the five biggest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan." - Wikipedia
So the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, who are entrusted with keeping the peace, sell shitloads of armaments to oil and gas and iPhone producers, as well as the two countries that have been essentially at war since Britain's shambolic imperial retreat and partition. This is a much bigger issue, an elephant in the room. If we stopped spending money on guns and missiles, we could solve global poverty, hunger and inequality permanently, in a year. Peace has never been given a chance, because the US, UK, France, Russia and China are making too much money from war and death.
It's all about the story
But back to the event itself. As a marketing storyteller (and novelist), I take my hat off to Mr Musk and the SpaceX team for making a great story and telling it with style. The story's the thing, to paraphrase Shakespeare, and this was a complete story, with depth, layers, twists and a climax. In these marketing times, there is a realisation that true, compelling stories are the holy grail. This was a true story, a real story and a story that will be told around campfires for generations to come.
Stay tuned to StarmanWatch the continuing saga that is Starman in space here: http://www.spacex.com/webcast
Explore my books here: www.garyjbyrnes.com