Re: NY Times Slams Walt Anderson, NASA, space activists

From "Kathleen G." <kvg@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date Tue, 25 Jul 2000 12:50:34 -0400

Sam Coniglio wrote:

> What does this all mean?
> 1.  Do we have to stop taking ourselves so seriously?
> 2.  Is the outside world is laughing at us?
> 3.  If Walt Anderson needs to grow up, does that mean so do we?
> 4.  Is space travel a lost cause, or is NASA and Walt Anderson just making
> it look that way?
> I was hurt by what I read because a lot of it is true.  Yet on the other
> hand, it was funny to see how we look from an outsider's perspective. Ms.
> Weil was given full access to the space activist world, and this was part
> of her travelogue.  I wonder what her book on Rotary Rocket will be like.

Given the sarcastic, cynical tone of the piece, I have a hard time putting too much
weight on this writer's depiction.  That Mr. Anderson and his "sidekick" (Mr.
Kathuria) are excentric, okay.  But far beyond, Ms. Weil seems to feel threatened by
what wealth can buy:

"this is a transition not simply from one generation to the next or
          from one political philosophy to another, but from a world order
          based on governments to one based on wealth, from an old-school
          Soviet comrade to an anarchic supercitizen, a man who feels
          himself alienated from his family, his peers, his country, his
          planet; a man who, because of a certain facility for making money,
          has the power to effect relations on a geopolitical scale."

She seems to imply that this man wields too much power.  And both he and Kathuria
are losers to boot:

"Despite, or perhaps because of, their business successes, neither Anderson nor
 Kathuria seems to have much lasting luck with women."

What is the point of this comment other than to mock, to ridicule?
"Kathuria will ingest his second cheeseburger of the day, this one with Anderson at
Burger King, over which the two men will commit to invest in Mir another 10 million
bucks"... perhaps she is miffed that she was not treated to finer dining in the
company of two of the wealthiest men in the world.

"the dreaminess required to attempt space travel without military-industrial
backing, and the discipline required to pull it off, appear to be intrinsically at
odds"  Is she thinking that the military-industrial complex has some interest in
backing space tourism?  Why would they?

Is it fair to say that the space travel start-ups lack discipline?

What does this all mean?  Ms. Weil simply does not share the vision.  Many do not.
Many others do.

Do you think, based on this article, that Mr. Anderson is making space travel look
like a lost cause?  I find the article to be more indicative of Ms. Weil status-quo,
cynical outlook rather than having any reflection on space tourism.

In fact, Anderson may just generate the revenues needed to get things rolling on a
grand scale.  Then again, maybe not.  Either way, I'd rather be in his shoes than in