What does fast food have to do with interstellar travel? At first blush, not much. But halfway through the film, “The Founder,” on a grueling, recent ten hour flight, but aerospace, even NASA, might learn something from McDonald’s corporation founding CEO Ray Kroc.

Three years before Sputnik, Kroc was a frustrated milkshake mixer salesman eating at a never-ending string of low-rent drive-ins. Likewise, in our quest to send humans and massive payloads over interplanetary distances and beyond, aerospace is arguably still stuck in what in food service terms might be seen as the drive-in era, circa 1954.

We need to ask ourselves where are the breakthroughs that will make hypersonic spaceplanes and crewed interplanetary transfer vehicles as common as fast food outlets at an interstate interchange?

 

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