Originally published on Medium.
Everyone has a dream. Dreams light the fires in our lives — fires that give us purpose, passion, and drive. These passions shape our lives and our outlooks on life.
We view the world through the lens of our dreams. However, we also filter that lens with our hopes, fears, goals, and actions. Sometimes that lens gets too filtered and many lose sight of something they once saw with clarity.
For many, doubt clouds the lens. We are often told, “You can be whatever you want, do whatever you want to do — dream big,” but when we do, those words prove empty with all of the sighs and shock which are often followed by, “That’s impossible,” or, “Well, no not that.”
Many are often conditioned to believe that they will fail. This leads to the dimming of their light. And that light dies. Sometimes that light is reignited, whether by events or by another’s light reflecting upon their lives.
In stark contrast, we have those rare gems — the Jeremejevites of the human race, who, despite all odds, push their way through the “you cannots” or the “it’s impossibles.”
They do this with the sheer focus and determination to withstand the intense pressure that would crush many —and become the gems that dazzle brilliantly for all to see and remind us that dreams can come true.
Elon Musk is the gem of the space industry. His dream is to make humans a multi-planetary species and get us to the first step: Mars. Well, we’ve already taken a step in that direction — we’ve been to the moon. But that was almost 51 years ago. We should have gone from there, but instead, we stopped.
The Moon Landing
I remember being in school learning about this. As the teachers would speak in awe of their memories of watching the NASA astronauts walk on the moon, I often wondered why they didn’t go further. Why didn’t we make it to Mars already? I remember my mother talking about it briefly.
She had this far-off, dreamy look in her eyes — as if she were talking about a bygone era, the good ole days — a time that phased out into our current existence. She spoke about it as if it were the past and the idea of future space explorations was not even present.
The ISS & The Last NASA Space Shuttle Mission
In 1998, NASA teamed up with Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA to take part in creating the International Space Station. It seemed that we were taking another small step after the previous one that resulted in a leap for mankind.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
— Neil Armstrong
In 2011, NASA announced the ending of the Space Shuttle program. Shuttle Atlantis flew four astronauts to the ISS and it was the last time that America flew NASA astronauts to the ISS. It seemed as if NASA was giving up on its dream by ending the program.
Enter Elon Musk & SpaceX
In that epic 60 Minutes interview that moved me to write an open letter to Elon Musk back in 2018 titled, “Thank You For Not Giving Up” — the one he shared that literally changed my life — Elon Musk gave a moving speech on not giving up.
His own heroes — Apollo astronauts who have walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan — dismissed his dream. Imagine having the people you admire the most dismiss your dream and vocally criticize your efforts at making them come true.
With emotion filling his voice, Elon expressed his sadness. “I was very sad to see that. Those guys are heroes of mine, so it’s really tough. I wish they would come and visit … see the hard work that we’re doing here, and I think that it would change their mind.”
Back then, the idea of commercialized space industry seemed as if it was a betrayal. NASA was the one that was supposed to be in the lead, and now suddenly we have private companies trying to make money off of space?
This was the idea that many had at the time. Many thought that Elon Musk was just some billionaire trying to make more money. But he wasn’t. He was breathing life into a dying space-aged dream.
Elon Musk’s dream held such conviction that he embarked on a journey that many have made in the quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — Elon Musk came to America and became a citizen. He emigrated from South Africa with only $2,000 to his name, his mentality, and his dream. SpaceX had many hurdles and almost didn’t make it.
“I think we are at the dawn of a new era. I think it’s going to be very exciting”
— Elon Musk
SpaceX almost went bankrupt. In the beginning, it was just a few people who had no clue what they were doing. Elon Musk recalls in this article, “and the reason I ended up being the chief engineer or chief designer was not that I wanted to, it was because I couldn’t hire anyone. Nobody good would join. So I ended up being that by default.”
Elon Musk literally had to teach himself rocket science to make this happen.
Elon shared how he messed up the first three launches. They failed, and with the last money he had, he managed to set up a fourth launch — which succeeded.
“No, I don’t give up, I’d have to dead or completely incapacitated.”
— Elon Musk
The Dawn Of A New Era
SpaceX underwent many transformations to become what it is today. It was a dream, then a challenging idea beat down by failures and criticism from heroes, yet this sparkling gem held true to its strengths. SpaceX, like a small piece of carbon under pressure, became something strong, unique, and durable.
Every challenge, critical statement, failure, emotion, tear, and sweat were the blades of the diamond saw carving itself this diamond. Diamonds are one of the toughest gemstones to cut — and a diamond saw is needed to do so. In order to dazzle brilliantly, one must endure despite all odds against them.
SpaceX did just that, moving from a struggling company to a leader landing many successes, NASA contracts, and inspiring dreamers.
Falcon Heavy Launch
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy had its maiden voyage. The rocket carried a Tesla Roadster as a dummy payload. The Falcon Heavy has the highest payload capacity of any rocket. Inside the Tesla Roadster was a dummy in a SpaceX spacesuit that was nicknamed Starman.
The goal was to send a Tesla to Mars. Not only did this amazing feat of engineering happen — but it was launched from a historic site. Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A — the same site where two of Elon’s own heroes who shut down his idea were launched to the moon.
It was a moment to be proud of — a doing of the impossible despite the harshness of the critics. Sometimes when your own heroes fail to believe in you, you need to believe in yourself.
Inspiring Dreamers To Dream Again
Elon Musk looks at things from a different perspective — that of an engineer filled with love for humanity and kindness of the heart. He is, as his girlfriend Grimes in a Rolling Stone interview back in March described him, a “force for good.”
This is what makes him a hero to many dreamers. He reminds us that not only is it okay to fail as long as you never give up on yourself, but if you work hard and believe in yourself, your dreams may come true.
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing you are not innovating.”
— Elon Musk
The Upcoming Crew Dragon Launch
In 2018, the Pew Research Center learned that the majority of Americans believed that it was essential for the U.S. to remain a global leader in space. Many believed that NASA was vital to this.
This upcoming launch is one that will make history for SpaceX and NASA, and re-establish the United States as a leader in the space age of the 21st century. SpaceX has created its Crew Dragon spacecraft to launch humans into space, and this will be its first time doing so.
For the first time ever, the NASA worm logo was painted onto a Falcon 9 rocket.
The worm logo was brought back because NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, wanted to mark the achievement of returning human spaceflight to American soil.
“I’m very appreciative of the partnership with SpaceX and their willingness to work overtime to make this happen.”
— NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine
This flight, known as the Demo-2 flight, will be a first for NASA. It will be the first time NASA has used a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft to carry humans to the ISS. This test flight will also help NASA certify SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the ISS.
Dreams Do Come True
Dreams do come true, but not by magic. It takes hard work, sure, but the hardest part of that work is believing in yourself enough to make it happen. You have to believe that your dream is worthy, and many do not.
I even struggle with this. I almost didn’t write that open letter back in 2018 to Elon Musk. The doubt was real and echoed in my head: “Come on, this is Elon Musk. Do you really think he would read your blog post? He has millions of followers — you won’t be seen.”
But I wrote it anyway. All of my life, my dream was to be a writer. I thought you had to go to college for that — which I didn’t have the luxury of doing. I gave up on that dream, somewhat, but in the advent of social media, it was reignited.
My writing shaped my life — whether it was about minerals or helping others or just poetry. And it led me to Elon Musk, my work with CleanTechnica, and my love for gems and minerals.
Elon Musk not only believed his dream was worthy, but he believed that it would be something that would help humanity in the long run. This drive to help us — humanity — is what pushed Elon Musk to never stop believing in himself.
SpaceX, a dream of an immigrant who loved America so much that he became a citizen, has taken NASA’s hand and together with other American companies will transform us, step by step, into a multi-planetary species.
The dream of one man, who had his heart set on Mars, led to the inspiration of millions, a new American Space Age, and history in the making. Elon went from having historical figures criticizing his dream to becoming a historical figure today — one whose works of engineering, along with that of the whole SpaceX team — will send American astronauts to space from American soil.
This will be the second step in the direction of Mars.
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