The ReturnBook - 2000
ISBN: 0312874243 TITLE: The Return AUTHOR: Aldrin, BuzzEXCERPT: ONE Scott:So how are you planning to top this mission? Are you sending the Pope next time?''''All the reporters laughed. Of course the question wasn''t serious, but it did give me a chance to work in a sound bite that my PR coach had suggested. Eventually, we''ll send everybody. But one step at a time, please.''''Outside, it was seven in the morning on the kind of pleasant, clear Wednesday in October that makes you think of football, or a long drive someplace where the leaves are turning--the sort of day that whispers too good to waste.'''' Inside, the press conference room was just like its equivalent at any Washington hotel--plastic crystalware,'''' stiff backed chairs, lots of room down front for cameras, a long table on folding platforms with all the legs concealed by fabric velcroed to the edges. I sat at one end of the long table, answering questions before the person the reporters wanted to talk to go there.Mr. Blackstone,'''' the man from CBS asked, we all know that you originally hoped to fly civilian tourist flights yourself, as pilot. Is there any chance that you''ll be doing that anytime in the next few Citizen Observer flights?''''Of course I''d like to go,'''' I said. But it took some pretty generous offers to get ASU to let us put people into empty seats. My next space flight, pilot or passenger, is a few years away, I''m sure.''''Would you fly a shuttle again if ASU invited you to?'''' This reporter, for some reason, didn''t seem to want to give the question up. You''ve been very careful about keeping your qualification to fly a shuttle.''''I keep my pilot''s license, too,'''' I pointed out. You really shouldn''t read anymore into it than that.''''After that, the questions were less personal. I didn''t mind the attention, particularly, but as CEO of ShareSpace, I''d rather it went to my company.Then we went into the usual ritual questions--the reporters in the room already knew the answers, but their editors might need footage of someone saying those things.What kind of mission is this?''''Like most of the ones Columbia flies nowadays. A general, mixed- bag deal--a little science, a little tech, a little business, a little promotion. You all know I can''t talk about anything classified, but sometimes they do classified work, as well, for a defense or intelligence agency.''''Do you know what factors influenced Pegasus Corporation''s decision about who to send?'''' It was the same guy from NBC who had needled me before.They wanted maximum publicity, I''d guess. Hard to find a more famous person who would get more attention and be better identified with their shoes. Or maybe the Pope wasn''t available.'''' That got a laugh; I had just time to wonder if I''d crossed over one of those invisible boundaries that my PR people were always warning me about, before the next question. The reporter from the Times had me explain that the seats ShareSpace was selling were available because the International Space Station (ISS) was behind schedule, and so some shuttle flights had been released to other projects.Then the tall woman from MSNBC walked me through a detailed review of who the first two Citizen Observers had been, in case somehow anyone watching the news now, in October, had managed to miss all the news in the previous May, or October a year ago. That seemed especially silly because well, the first one is in the room,'''' I said. Why don''t you tell us all about it, Fred?''''Fred Gernsback had been anchor for the Federal Broadcasting Network for almost two decades, and due to his enthusiasm for the space program, his voice had become more identified with space flight than that of any broadcaster since Walter Cronkite. He looked around the room, smiling broadly, and I wondered if anyone ever gets tired of being made the center of attention. Well, it''s not complicated and it''s not all that interesting. The way it works is that ShareSpace is a private business, like a travel agency, except that Scott Blackst
Publisher: New York : Tom Doherty Associates, 2000.
Characteristics: 301 p. ;,24 cm.