Adapted from the introduction of Generation Space:
We have come to understand that those of us born after Sputnik in 1957 and before the first space shuttle mission in 1981 are Generation Space. It’s an alternative way to understand the slice of time into which the two of us were born and the transition in the United States from post-WWII Baby Boomers to supposedly well-educated, change-hungry, racially heterogeneous Gen Xers. The two of us were born into Apollo a few years before the Moon landing and were in high school when Shuttle first took flight in 1981, twenty years to the day after Yuri Gargarin had become the first human in space. We were in college when Challenger broke apart in 1986, and much of Generation Space was in grade school or high school then, watching, knowing that a school teacher had perished before their eyes. We grew up thinking travel to Mars was inevitable, perhaps not far off in the future. To understand Generation Space offers one way to understand the legacy and potential we leave to Millennials as well.
Our Space Age love story is a way to understand history, culture, technology, and each other more deeply. Our version of this story explores who the two of us are as a couple and as part of a generation. Part of our adventure meant following the last space shuttle launches so that we might know by experience in addition to reputation. In Moby-Dick, the classic tale of searching for one’s whale—the object of one’s obsession—Herman Melville writes, “there are a rabble of uncertain, fugitive, half-fabulous whales, which, as an American whaleman, I know by reputation, but not personally.” We wanted to know our technological white whales personally. We became explorers together—witnesses and investigators—of Generation Space.