Texas Conservative Lobbyist Report: Texas Celebrates 3 Decades of Private Space Exploration
This story is a digest of a report originally published by the office of Governor Rick Perry. This digest is being posted by the Texas Lobby Group as a public service for Texas lobbyists, Texas political consultants, government advisors, and other interested political parties.
On September 9th 1982, the first privately funded rocket was launched into space. Developed during the US-Soviet Space Race, Conestoga 1 drew a great deal of praise from then President Ronald Reagan and a great deal of the world. “Some 200 reporters were dispatched to Matagorda Island, Texas, to cover what would either be a historic launch or routine disaster. The New York Times sent not-yet-veteran science correspondent Robert Reinhold. The former copy boy — a job you survive only by understanding that you must be willing to do anything to meet deadline — saw the event for both its remarkable achievement and quaint trappings.”
The Conestoga was named for the covered wagons that carried Americans west throughout the 19th century. It was launched from a cattle ranch here in Texas, a true icon of ingenuity and tenaciousness that Texas is known for. It was created and sent off with an intrinsic purpose, as well as to demonstrate that billions of dollars and NASA are not needed to send us to the stars.
Space Services, INC. was in charge of this rocket launch, and financing came from fifty seven different sources, together pooling six million dollars. Space Services is a combination of two organizations, Space Services of America is perhaps best known as the company that lets you name stars, and Celestis as the company that launches the ashes of loved ones into space. Together, they merged and formed Space Services, INC. At thirty six feet high, the rocket was a little on the small side. It’s simplicity does not correlate to it’s small size, this endeavor was quite a feat. Conestoga 1 was at the time called the first of it’s kind, the first commercial fuel space vehicle.
NASA was always friendly and good natured towards Space Services, giving them parts and encouraging it’s research and work. Throughout the years, Houston continues to be host to America’s space exploration. However, as Space Services succeeded, eventually they faltered as any serious competition against NASA. Their major corporate investor left them, and resources rapidly began to decrease following this. They lost it all, almost as quickly as they had gotten it.