Sunday, December 30, 2007

The View From Down Here

Spider here, using Jeanne's laptop to blog. They just left the ground--Jeanne, Kathleen and Jim--bubbling with excitement and happy as pigs in Parliament. I've got a couple of hours to kill now while I wait for them to come back down. As I type this, I can't stop thinking of Anousheh Ansari, who, to the best of my knowledge, was the first woman ever to blog from space--an achievement for which I once nominated her for the annual Heinlein Award for fiction and nonfiction promoting spaceflight. We all owe her a great deal; the Stardance Team salutes her.

The preflight briefing was most impressive: thorough, careful, thoughtful. The video they showed of people experiencing parabolas featured Dr. Peter Diamandis himself, front and center, clearly and unmistakably having the time of his life. No question, he GETS space. I think of him as the closest living equivalent to Robert Heinlein's immortal character Delos D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon. Dr. Diamandis makes him look like a piker, really, because he's The Man Who Sold Space itself.

By the way, has everyone heard by now the story about where he originally got the money for the famous ten million dollar X Prize? Talk about a Delos D. Harriman: when he first announced the X Prize.......Dr. Diamandis was BLUFFING. Up there on stage with astronauts and politicians, announcing the ten megabuck prize, he didn't have ten million CENTS. "Nobody ever asked me," he told me with a grin when I met him this summer in Kansas City at Robert Heinlein's 100th birthday party. Fortunately, one day he was reading an article in FORBES about the Ansari family and their fabulous achievements, and it mentioned peripherally that one of the Ansaris, Anousheh, had always cherished a deep interest in space and space travel. Peter was on the phone to her five minutes later....and the rest, as they say, is social studies. And seriously, I recommend you hunt down her blogs on the net: they're well worth reading even if you've spent your life imagining this stuff. She observes well, and she writes well.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that the jumpsuit Zero-G Corporation uses was designed specifically to make my wife even more beautiful than Nature did--a formidable accomplishment. Kathleen too looks stunning in the outfit. Jim doesn't look bad either, for that matter. Me, while nobody was looking I snaffled a pair of gold Zero-G socks, so I have at least some of a "spacesuit" I can wear when I get home.

I'm totally impressed by the whole Zero-G Corp package, start to finish. These folks are really really good at what they do. I have absolute confidence in Jeanne's safety--but more than that, everyone here rates at least 11 on a scale of 10 for friendliness and kindness. They're all the kind of people you instantly wish you knew socially. And they have more than gone out of their way to accommodate us and our special needs. Jeanne and Kathleen and Jim are sharing their section of the plane with 7 or 8 other people, but I have the feeling some good video will come out of it.

Perhaps someone else in this blog has been correcting the impression being given by some newspaper copy-rewriters....difficult for me to tell on this flaky wi-fi interface......but just in case The Three have all been too busy, I'd like to make it clear that, contrary to what one or two newspapers have said, no Imax footage is even being attempted here. For one thing, we don't have that kind of gear to play with yet. And as I say, we're sharing a space with 8 strangers this time, and our basic purposes are to familiarize Jeanne and Kathleen with zero gee, to check out at least some of the choreography Jeanne has been creating in her mind for the last 31 years and see how well it works in practice, to get some footage that will hopeably help us in fundraising efforts for the movie......and to have fun.

By my calculations their plane, G-Force One, should have just about reached their dedicated flying area by now, which means any minute they'll start their evolution. So I'm going to sign off now and try to join my wife telepathically as she and Kathleen slip the surly bonds. (Oh, and one last thing to mention: last night when we got back to our hotel room I put on the TV....and the very first image to appear was, incredibly, Jeanne's sister Kathy, conducting and playing piano for Dionne Warwick! Talk about good omens....)

Join me now as I wander the spaceways with my beloved and her buddies......

(Thank you all so much for the help, support and encouragement that got us this far! All the way back to those of you who voted us the 1977 Best Novella Hugo for "Stardance"...)


YourFireAnt said...

Wow! Here's to you....!


James Sposto said...

Kelly said - T

his is so exciting! I hope all goes well and the footage is good enough to be able to inspire many large donations. Best of luck to all!!

But I accidentally rejected it from my I Phone. My apologies Kelly.


Steph said...

Many weightless but not massless thoughts sent from home base this weekend...