The Oval: The Space Jump

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Earlier this week, we were all captivated by an incredible sight.

One man, wearing a space suit, dropped out of a capsule 24 miles off the face of the planet.

With a few words… he stepped out into space and hurtled towards earth…

In a free-fall, he moved faster than the speed of sound.

At one point, he was spinning out of control…

If he had continued spinning, he would have surely died.

But with all of us watching, he was able to stabilize himself…

And with slightly more than 4 minutes into his fall… he pulled the chute… and gently drifted to the earth.

It was an amazing sight. A world record free fall.

Who was this great discoverer of the heavens? An astronaut from NASA?

No. He was a skydiver… a basic stuntman. He wasn’t even an American.

Who sponsored this test of the human capacity for endurance? The US military?

No. It was the maker of a high-caffeine energy drink.

Makes you wonder. If a drink company can come up with this kind of mind-bending achievement, what can NASA do with all its scientists and resources?

Turns out, all they know how to do is turn out the lights.

Earlier this summer, NASA sent the space shuttle Endeavour on a cross-country trip to California.

They flew it over the entire country…

And gave us all a beautiful and awesome and mighty demonstration of mankind’s power of discovery.

Swooping low over the Golden Gate.

My son spoke about it just this weekend when he saw a 747 at the airport.

He said that’s like the plane that flies the space shuttle.

But the space shuttle wasn’t on its way to new adventures.

It was on its way to its grave.

We were watching the funeral parade for America’s manned spaceflight program.

And instead of holding our hands over our hearts… a tear in our eye… we acted like it was a great show.

I’m not sure what scientific purpose was served by Felix Baumgartner’s 24 mile drop from space. I’m not sure what we learned… or whether we learned anything…

But at least someone is trying.

At least someone is doing audacious things.

Scaling the walls of the heavens… firing through new barriers… “breaking the surly bonds of earth.”

The shuttle used to be our vehicle of discovery. It used to be the best example of America’s leadership in space.

It was American run.

American owned.

Now, We’ll need to hitch a ride with the Russians.

Or the Chinese.

If they’ll let us on.

We were the pioneers.

And now, we’re putting our spacecraft

In mothballs.

And giving up the role of leadership to others.

Because, we’re told, we can’t afford it any longer.

This is an abdication of leadership.

And it’s a lie. If a small beverage company can get a man 24 miles up from the surface of the earth… and have him drop to the earth like a stone safely…

We can be part of mankind’s ongoing exploration of the heavens.

Surely we can do more and do better than we do today.

John Kennedy once worked at this desk and challenged the nation’s top scientists to put a man on the moon… and return him home safely… in one decade’s time.

The genius of Kennedy’s charge was that it wasn’t just big… it wasn’t just bold…

It represented a choice. We could have chosen to do less… be less… and settle for lesser things. But Kennedy understood that Americans don’t settle.

We set big goals precisely because we believe we should achieve them.

True, we don’t always succeed.

But the men who have sat at this desk… worked in this room… they didn’t get elected to play small ball…

They were trusted to put America on a path of greatness… a path of exploration… a path of discovery.

And when a president limits our ambition… actually puts an end to the single greatest act of discovery we can undertake… it is not just a violation of the mission of this office…

It’s a violation of the principles that have made America great.

It speaks volumes that children around the country were captivated by the man who fell from space.

They wanted to learn more about this man… and how he did it.

Children are still dreaming… are still curious… are still hoping that life will be filled with new horizons.

Let’s not disappoint them any more. Let’s bring back our own sense of the possible.

Thanks for watching. May God bless you, and may God bless the Republic.

  • Anonymous

    AWESOME! “Oval” tonight Mr. Beck! Made me tear a bit to think of the boundaries mankind has broken simply by being willing to push the envelope, and push themselves beyond the barriers of what people say is possible or acceptable. Is there ANYTHING more American than that?? Great speech tonight! Thank You! :)

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Great story Mr Beck. Americans are capable of doing anything worth achieving we can dream of when the government is off of our collective backs.

    Obama destroyed NASA due to his ideology of ‘you cannot lead, you must not lead ever.’

    He did this to punish America success; and thus killed a dream for good. Now when we fire him this November, its time to fulfill a new dream, for the people to take us to the stars again on our own effort.

  • Draxx

    Like my TagLine says, “Dreams only come true if you get out of bed…”, Americans have been sleeping way too long!  If we give up on Innovation & Inventions then we lose the Gifts Others Have Given Us, we are leaving behind Broken Legacies and Half Truths.  Instead of turning into the wind and fighting for stability with a future, we are tumbling adrift like tumbleweeds accepting whatever path that is given to us.  I don’t know about you but I feel that I need roots that are solid…

    My Business is Providing Innovations & Inventions for Ourselves and Other Startup Businesses.  People think I am crazy because I have turned away from Big Corporations to help the Little Guy for Less Money (But it will be worth it in the long run, you never know I might be helping the next Bill Gates.  One thing is for sure it will never happen if I don’t help it happen.)

    And No I Do Not Think Big Corporations Are Evil, they started small somewhere.  Plus, they don’t provide nearly as many jobs as do Small Business Owners!!!  So Us Little Guys Need To Remember That We Outnumber Those That Might Work Against Us.  But, even standing alone we can be a formidable foe, if we keep our wits and look for options outside the box.  Invent, Create, Design, and Free Yourself from Imaginary Boundaries!

    Quote Me, “There are People with Problems, and there are People with Solutions… We All Have Problems So Which Side Are You On?”

  • MarsBarsTru7

    This is one of those times when I have no qualms being the stick in the mud.

    Let me start right off: I hate NASA. More than that, I abhor NASA. NASA “achievements” are the modern equivalent of the pyramids. And yes, I look at the pyramids in disgust as well. How do you look at them? The same way people looked at the tower of Babel? Do you revel in the glory of humankind? To what end? What might be achieved otherwise if we weren’t building pyramids? How do you justify the forceful redistribution of our wealth, labors, and resources to an elite few scientists to perform “feats” of scientific “discovery” with ambiguous intent when your neighbors struggle to survive? When your own liberties are necessarily culled to enable it? How do you reconcile voting to make others comply, just because you’re willing to comply?

    Who among you claims to be “small government”, “minimal government”, or “Constitutional government” advocates? Then how do you reconcile cheering the “achievements” of NASA while advocating the concept of individual liberty and sovereign property rights? Who among you is religious? Christian? Mormon? Other? Do you revel in the glory of monuments to what can be done if people have their resources pooled against their will and handed to a small group of “intellectuals” to achieve ambiguous ends?

    Tell me, what could have been accomplished by these “great minds” at NASA had they been applied to other endeavors? How many innovators, inventors, and hard working people in this country have been suppressed and oppressed by a system that regulates and taxes their work at the behest of the elite few, only to be redistributed to bureaucracy, systems of perpetual impoverishment, and an exclusive group of “intellectuals” whose qualifications have more to do with what they’re willing to agree with than their intellect?

    I guarantee that no amount of money, no number of my countrymen being coerced into laboring for the benefit of others will be enough for the likes of NASA to improve the lives of anyone. “Do not ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – Kennedy. I utterly reject this. Should we all sell ourselves into bondage so another Moon Landing can take place? Should we all ignore our own ambitions, our own problems, the welfare of our families for the sake of a group of scientists and bureaucrats that can’t otherwise justify their endeavors?

    If the selfsame people involved in NASA and the funding of NASA had anything worthwhile to do with their pursuits, then why can’t they seek voluntary investment? If their vision is worth investing in, then let them sell it in the free market of ideas. Do not allow yourselves to be enslaved by people who tell you that they know better.

    God led the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt. God allowed His Son to be sacrificed on the cross for our redemption. The founders of this country saw that God’s Will was for humankind to be free, and they risked everything for liberty. The Civil War was fought and established that the liberty we have can not be revoked or limited. Do we give this up for the likes of NASA? Explain to me how you come to this reconciliation when I see diametrically opposed concepts.

    I will not voluntarily lift one brick for Pharaoh. Not after what my forebears have sacrificed. Not after recognizing what God blessed me with. Liberty is my privilege, granted to me by a force beyond the right of any human institution to revoke. Give me liberty or give me death!

    • Anonymous

      obviously you are not aware of just how many benefits we have enjoyed from the science that came out of the NASA program.

      • MarsBarsTru7

        Nice to meet you (in the Internet sense).

        Your assumption that I lack the necessary knowledge to form a valid opinion on the topic is wrong.

        But, since you feel there is merit to NASA’s existence and benefits we’ve reaped from it, feel free to name the benefits we all now receive from NASA. Then, feel free to explain how any benefit we may receive from NASA outweighs the tax burden imposed on us. Explain how those benefits couldn’t have been achieved without NASA (in which case you’d be advocating that only the government could achieve those things). Then explain how material benefits from government projects that have virtually zero input from the taxpayers that fund them outweigh the value of the essential liberties necessarily sacrificed in order to create and maintain those projects.

        Know that I’m sincerely interested in your response. God bless.

  • Sam Fisher

    It one thing we need to get back to once we pay off our debt. It is sad that big government destroyed the space program. How can we keep pushing the out if we never explore, invent, and discover. We have to get back to space and show the world we can still reach out.

    • Sunshine Kid

       At the rate the GOP and DNC are going, paying off the national debt will never happen.

      • Sam Fisher

        I think we can we just need the man or woman with the right stuff.

        • Sunshine Kid

          *One person can’t do it. The Constitution says Congress must pass the budget; the lower house the formation of it, and the upper house the approval of it. The President is only supposed to have veto power on the budget. This is why I think we are lost as a nation: We have too many idiots who think they are “elite” but are no more qualified to run the country than to pass bills without reading them (thanks, ms. Pelosi for that gem of truth).

  • mark l

    Most of the spice in our gene pool has been leached out through defeatist education, excessive legislation, and over medication of the people! God bless the exceptions to the rule.

  • Anonymous
  • linlili
  • Porphyry

    Yeah, Obi-Wrong Baracki’s been bad news for NASA, but he didn’t invent our space decline. The shuttle never lived up to its billing–& in fact the system we got was apparently a compromise which wasn’t so good as could’ve been made. Perhaps the best news is that a new breed of space business is beginning to fill in the gaps. Meanwhile the robot-probe front is still bringing a string of successes.

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