9 November 2009
- General (Good)
SpaceFuture Talks with Douglas Mallette
Author wants to inspire, as he was inspired
by G B Leatherwood
Who better to write a book about space development than Douglas Mallette, a systems engineer working for a Houston, TX company providing technical services to NASA for the Space Shuttle?

His new book, Turning Point, is no technical manual written for experts. As Mallette told SpaceFuture, “My book is a casual conversation intended to explain to non-space people what the realities are, where we can go, and what we can do when we get there. We have been spinning our wheels in low Earth orbit ( LEO) for far too long. I want people to know why we are doing space exploration and development in terms of what matters to them.”

Mallette was infected with the space bug as a young child when his father gave him a video of Star Wars. At first captivated by the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, R2D2 and the rest, he soon recognized a greater interest in astronomy and the actual mathematics and physics of space. He pursued his vision into a degree in Engineering Technology and his current occupation.

“I soon realized that there were greater possibilities and challenges than just building and launching rockets. My book is about the opportunities of employment, economics, education, and international relations in space. I want to show the necessity for space development and describe what it will take, in real terms, to realize the potential,” Mallette said.

Frustrated with the slow pace of government-run space programming, Mallette believes that government is afraid to let go of space. He strongly supports and advocates not only joint government/private industry cooperation but also international cooperation. “It’s just plain silly to expect any single country to finance and conquer the technical and human difficulties of establishing a permanent settlement on the moon.“

In his book, however, he visualizes the moon as a place to develop the knowledge and capabilities needed to live, work, and play in such hostile environments—and not as an ultimate destination. The moon should be a place to prepare for further development and eventually human presence on Mars and beyond.

“But,” he concludes, “I really want to get out there and talk to people, not just write about it—high schools, colleges, anyone who wants to know about the realities and possibilities. I want to show that anything and everything we do now here on Earth can and will be done in space.”

Although the book is mainly a serious and thoughtful work, he did indulge his lifelong fascination with “What if….?” The final chapter is devoted to his visions, influenced no doubt by Star Wars and its successors, of the fun and thrills that await us “out there.”

Mallette's book is available from Amazon.com. Learn more about Mr. Mallette at his personal blog or the web site of his current project, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Forgotten”.
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G B Leatherwood 9 November 2009
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