Working towards the fulfilment of interstellar spaceflight

 

Kelvin F. Long is an Aerospace Engineer, physicist, author and business entrepreneur. He has been working on the problem of interstellar spaceflight since around 2007 and seeks to bring about this hypothetical future as a self-fulfilling prophecy. He has been involved with the founding of numerous projects, initiatives and companies which have interstellar spaceflight as a primary goal.

He was the originator and co-founder of the fusion starship study Project Icarus, and the co-founder to the laser sail Starship study Project Dragonfly. He was the Vice President and co-founder of the U.S non-profit Icarus Interstellar, and currently serves as the co-founder and Executive Director for the U.K not-for-profit the Initiative for Interstellar Studies. He is also a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, has served on its governing council and was the Assistant Editor and Chief Editor of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS). He is also a member of the Mars Society, the Planetary Society, and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Physics. He is an Associate Member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and a member of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Society.

He is also the founder and Managing Director of the aerospace consultancy company Stellar Engines Ltd. He is also the Managing Director of the property and investment company Terra Altair Ltd. He was also one of the co-founders of the company Nebula Sciences Ltd, which conducts high altitude balloon launches to bring down the cost of access to near space for all, and he serves as the technical science lead director. He enjoyed a long career working as a physicist for the UK Ministry of Defence on ballistic missile technology.  He has also been a College teacher of Engineering Design for two years and a University Lecturer of Space Science for three years at Reading University. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the International Space University. He also serves on the Breakthrough Initiative Project Starshot Advisory Committee.

He has published numerous technical and popular articles associated with interstellar flight and has also been involved with the production of numerous books. He also enjoys reading and writing science fiction and has published several short stories. He is currently working on his first science fiction novel and has interests in ancient studies, theoretical physics and astronomy and the welfare and rights of animals.

 

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Philosophy in Life

Take a look at the gorgeous image of the Sun setting on the distant horizon. I took that photograph off of the South West Coast of England. It is awe inspiring, warming, but also a reminder that we are just specks of stardust in the vast cosmos, living on borrowed time and space. So what are we to make of this limited time we have? 

I grew up from humble beginnings, and fought through many personal hardships that got me to this place in my life where I am now, so that I am able to pursue my passions and talk freely to anyone that might be interested in hearing my personal perspective on life's journey. What got me through the difficult days was my passion for space exploration, and the inspirational possibility that a future awaits us more incredible that can be written in our greatest works of literature. 

Kindness and compassion to others has always been important to me, and I try if I can to encourage that same trait in others. For solidarity with our fellow human beings must be the foundation of any castle upon which we establish our society if we hope for it to be sustainable and grow harmoniously. 

And yet I have also made a great discovery, an astonishing discovery that I want to share with everyone. In life, many of us hold ourselves back from advancing, never achieving the dreams we aspired to, never 'going for it' and accepting that we may fail. But I have discovered that there is a great power within all human beings to become whatever we want to be. Most never discover this, accept in a crisis situation when they are called upon to respond to a life pressure in a flight or fight manner. What holds us back, is fear of failure, the prospect of ridicule, the possibility of criticism, the realisation that we are simply not good enough. So we settle for second best. We never become a musician, or a poet, or a writer, or a scientist, or an architect, or an artist or whatever else we personally might have loved to do. And this 'second best' approach becomes more pronounced in life as we move into our careers, adopted families, take on responsibilities and commitments. 

Yet it is only by allowing ourselves to fail that we advance, that we learn who we truly are, and discover our true character. I guess what I am saying is, failure is okay, and its even necessary if you are to progress. With the exception of being lucky, few successes are ever built on a pure win-win strategy, but are built on the back of an incremental set of smaller failures which gradually moves you towards your goal, if you keep on going. I believe in the potential of self-actualisation and so it has become my life philosophy to help others realise that they too can achieve their dreams. And if I can play any role in helping others to realise that, then that brings me great happiness if I have enriched the life of another. 'You' need nobody else - the power is within each of us to achieve anything that we want to. The task, is to instil that infectious optimism in the deepest parts of other people's bellies, so that it grows root and catapults us all forward towards a happier and more fulfilling future.

It took me many years of hard study to become an established scientist. It took me several attempts and some failures to become an entrepreneur. Yet I have achieved these things. I am not an artist. I am not a poet. I am not a writer. I am not a photographer. I am not a musician. And yet I like to attempt all of these things and to fail at them, in the hope that I might become better in the process, and also learn something about myself and the reality for which I am a part. I have no limits, they are only defined by the expectations of others around me, and the fears that they have about their own hopes and dreams. Be special! be extraordinary! life is too short not to be.

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein.