It IS rocket science
Wilshire was founded in 1972, before the revolution in microcomputing. While the basic principles remain the same, technology has made vast improvements. Were able to bounce around with different scenarios, and view graphic output instantaneously on the screen. So the cycle time is more in line with the speed at which we can think.
Between earning his M.S. from Rensselaer and starting Wilshire, Tito spent six years working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he studied orbital mechanics with a specialty in trajectory design and ballistics, areas he studied at Rensselaer. Because I was also interested in the stock market, the transition from engineering to investment analysis seemed very natural to me. The mathematics and statistics that I used in engineering could be applied in a systematic way to understand how prices behave in the stock market.
Tito is pragmatic about the role of education. It was that education that paved the way for a successful business career, which allowed me to afford the space trip. But the education is just the beginning: Its a tool kit for what youre going to do with the rest of your life.
He still remembers some of the coursework that was most influential in shaping his career and his ambitions. I had a course in calculus and variations, and a course in celestial mechanics, and those were the courses that dealt with flight-path analysis, and it was that aspect of spaceflight that fascinated me. When you analyze orbits, and optimal transfers from one orbit to another, you have to visualize being in orbit. It might be that those early academic experiences helped generate the desire to actually be in orbit.
Future of space travel
Tito says his interest in space travel reflects his concern for the long-term survival of the human race.
[Space travel] is an insurance policy because ... if you stand back and think about it, over the next several million years, whats the probability that well wipe ourselves out through some environmental change? Global warming could cause climactic changes that might snowball (no pun intended). Ice-caps melting, changing of circulation patterns, everything could go awry before we could adapt to it.
We could have a comet or asteroid impact, we could have a disease, a major superpower confrontation. All these things are probably more likely than less when you look out a couple of million years. If our species was distributed around the solar system and we had self-sustaining colonies, then humanity could be preserved until the Earth became habitable again.
I hope that the price of civilian space travel will come down. That will only happen if a big demand develops, because with that demand capital would be made available to provide cheaper access to space. I cant say for sure whether there will be a lot of people following me in the near future. I hope there are, and Ill do everything I can to help facilitate it, but well just have to see.
Lessons from the launch pad
Its in our nature to explore, says Tito.
I learned that with proper training, you can feel comfortable in situations you never dreamed youd be comfortable in. I wasnt at all frightened. Sitting on top of a 100-ton rocket and blasting off was something I was quite calm about. That experience has given me a renewed sense of courage and self-confidence.
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