Science and Exploration

Apollo 11: A Small Step for a Man, a Giant Leap for Humankind, a Launchpad for the Space Economy

By Joe Reagan
NewSpace Global
July 20, 2023
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Apollo 11: A Small Step for a Man, a Giant Leap for Humankind, a Launchpad for the Space Economy
Earth Rises Above The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle.

Fifty-four years ago, on July 20, 1969, the world stood still. People across the globe stopped what they were doing and looked to the sky to witness an event that officially redefined humanity as an inter-stellar species — the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The world watched in awe as Armstrong’s “small step” left even veteran reporter Walter Cronkite speechless. It had been 66 years since the Wright brothers took their first flight of just over 100 feet, and now Armstrong stood on the Moon, nearly 240,000 miles away.

Editor’s note: SpaceRef editor keith Cowing was on Bloomberg Radio today to talk about the Apollo 11 anniversary, Artemis, and the future of lunar exploration – and beyond. [Audio]

The significance of this moment cannot be overstated, as it marked the dawn of a new era, a testament to human ingenuity, courage, and our innate desire to explore the unknown. The success of Apollo 11 was not merely a triumph of American space exploration; it was a testament to the resilience and determination of all humanity. People from around the globe stood united, watching in awe as the lunar module touched down. In that shared experience, we discovered that we are not bound by earthly limitations, but rather, we are bound by the limitless possibilities that lie beyond the horizon.

In a 1962 speech, President Kennedy remarked, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Throughout my career, I have often reflected on the weight of President Kennedy’s words – we choose to do these things because they are hard. Think about that for a second. While President Kennedy never saw his vision fulfilled, since he set those bold goals humanity has continued to expand our understanding of space. We have explored other planets, satellites now travel beyond the influence of our sun, other nations have joined in the peaceful exploration of space, and the upcoming Artemis missions promise to usher in yet another push for humans to explore our solar system.

Today, as we reflect on the significance of Apollo 11, I think about the words of Walter Cronkite who, at the conclusion of the lunar landing coverage, said, “Man has landed there, and man has taken his first steps there, I wonder what there is to add to that.” And yet, add we have. Today, we find ourselves at the precipice of another exciting chapter in space exploration: the rise of the space economy. The potential for economic growth and innovation in space is immeasurable, with various sectors poised to benefit. Investing in space technologies, infrastructure, and ventures will not only elevate our understanding of the universe but also stimulate economic growth here on Earth.

In my role supporting the space economy, it isn’t just about financial investments; it’s about investing in human potential. The Apollo 11 mission demonstrated that we are capable of achieving the seemingly impossible when we dare to take risks. It taught us that through collaboration, innovation, and determination, we can overcome any challenge. It taught us that it is right to choose the harder path. Just as Armstrong and his crew embraced the uncertainty of space exploration, we must embrace risks in our own lives and endeavors. Fear of failure often hinders us from reaching our full potential, but the spirit of Apollo 11 reminds us that the rewards of stepping into the unknown can be extraordinary.

The journey to support the space economy and space exploration is not without its challenges. It will be a hard path. However, as history has shown, challenges are the catalysts for progress. By taking calculated risks, we learn, grow, and pave the way for the generations to come. Let us be inspired by the audacity of Apollo 11 and the men and women who dared to dream beyond the sky. Let us rally behind the space economy, supporting technological advancements, sustainable practices, and global cooperation in our quest for a brighter future.

Let us unite, with our eyes on the stars and our hearts full of determination, to build a future where space is not just a distant dream but a boundless frontier that enriches our lives on Earth and beyond. It took just 66 years to push the limits of possibility from the first powered flight of a few hundred yards to putting a man on the Moon. In the 54 years since that flight, we have continued to push the limits of what is possible; imagine where we might push those limits to tomorrow.

Joe Reagan is the President of NewSpace Global (NSG), the global leader in data analysis and coverage of the NewSpace industry. Joe is a business leader, analyst, and strategist with over 20 years of experience working across the Aerospace, Defense, Healthcare, Space, and Technology sectors. His thought-leading work and deep experience collaborating with senior management and functional leaders within government, nonprofit, and Fortune 500 companies have helped drive unique insights and exceptional results. He served eight years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, including two tours to Afghanistan with the Tenth Mountain Division. He is a graduate of Norwich University and the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.

NSG is a global leader in data analysis and coverage of the new space industry. NSG is a part of Multiverse Media, a fast-growing integrated media company that was created to inspire the world. Its integrated media approach and focus on creating, collecting, and distributing high-quality science and technology news, with a specific emphasis on space news and information, fills a gap in the global landscape. We strive for excellence in everything we do, and we exist to inform, educate, and inspire.

joe reagan

Joe Reagan is the President of NewSpace Global, the global leader in data analysis and coverage of the NewSpace industry. NewSpace Global is a Multiverse Media Inc company.