The film 2001: A Space Odyssey had it all wrong. The 1960s-era movie featured HAL, a mainframe supercomputer that bears no resemblance to the distributed networks of smaller computers that actually run things in the cloud today. And the space program that it projected was dominated by big governments that still had everybody and everything under control.
It’s been roughly 50 years since President John Kennedy opened up the 1960s with a call to land a man on the moon. Those 50 years could be considered the first era of space, characterized by big government programs that pooled America’s resources and scientific know-how to create the technologies to get humans into space.
The next 50 years promise to be a very different “Barnstorming Era,” one characterized by many more private sector initiatives and a profusion of entrepreneurial energy. The role of government needs to change from the only game in town to a versatile and strategic partner working with many other players.