One of the effects of the Space Renaissance is the great variety of opportunities for those individuals who want to excel at new technologies and activities. These Individuals have skills and personality traits that make them prime candidates for top military positions, such as fighter pilots, who are the main source of pilots for launch vehicles. And, as we move away from the NASA Control Center model of space launches into the more decentralized reusable launch vehicles model, we can expect to need even more trained and skilled pilots.
But the US Air Force is facing a shortage of 700 fighter pilots, the best of the best, in 2016 and they say it is due to the competition from the private and commercial aviation industry. The news report on this situation can be found at http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2016/07/us-air-force-short-700-fighter-pilots-our-plan/129907/?oref=defenseone_today_nl
The military and many space flight experts already know that 100% robotics solutions are much more costly than using human pilots, especially in the demanding environment of fighter jets. Experts I have read affirm that the best use for robotics is to support the highly trained and flexible human pilot (in the case of fighter jets). This is also true for space vehicles, in which it is best to have a human coordinating and lowering costs by setting up the robotic system according to the needs of the moment.
Private industry led space development is much more flexible and adaptable than military or government led efforts, and that is why Space Renaissance USA and all the organizations that are part of the global Space Renaissance Initiative applaud the way NASA is creating opportunities for civilian contractors to assume critical roles in their projects. This is definitely the best way to deal with shortages: of pilots and of new ways of lowering costs as we promote humanity’s access to space and the resources (and opportunities) it offers us.
Space Renaissance USA, (www.us.spacerenaissance.org) the team that is pushing for US leadership in private industry space development and travel, is also looking for top notch candidates for membership. The Renaissance needs all sorts of skills to be promoted, and for leaders to be helped as the world is transformed and we reach out into space: you and I really have the opportunity to be part of that future!
Note: The author is also President of Space Renaissance USA.