The Right Stuff

“I am very pleased to have made the cut because this is an important flight for all of us: Not just for myself, or even for Ellison Enterprises but for the entire future of manned spaceflight.” Dr. Kumar Singh

Dr. Kumar Singh talks about his upcoming flight on the Ellison Enterprises’ Destiny

by Jan Simmons

I got a chance to talk with Doctor Kumar Singh, who has been selected to join the flight crew of the first commercial spaceliner, The E.E. Destiny, on it’s maiden voyage to the stars. Of course, his reputation preceded him but I was taken aback when I actually met him. Unlike the stereotypical scientist, Dr. Singh was a tall handsome man of obvious Indian ancestry with large brown eyes, rugged good looks and thick black hair.

“So, Dr. Singh, is it true that you are the first Indian—”

“Ms. Simmons, I am not here to promote more division of our planet – I am an American citizen of Indian descent and, yes, I am also a citizen of India but my ethnicity has NOTHING to do with this venture. Pardon my bluntness, but I wish to have irrelevant questions stopped now.”

“Of course. What are your thoughts on the upcoming flight?”

“I am very pleased to have made the cut because this is an important flight for all of us: Not just for myself, or even for Ellison Enterprises but for the entire future of manned spaceflight.”

“Dr. Singh, you are an accomplished academic with doctorates in several fields. What are your areas of specialization?”

“My fields of expertise are astrophysics, engineering, and theoretical physics.”

“I also understand that you have served in the United States Air Force.”

“Yes, for 15 years and I have been certified on a number of commercial and military aircraft though, on this mission, I’ll be responsible for navigation and communications.”

“I’ve heard that the number of qualified applicants vying for a spot on the crew of the Destiny was huge. How exactly were you chosen for this prestigious mission? Do you know what criteria was used to make the selections?”

He chuckled. “You would have to ask the selection committee.”

Doctor Singh was pivotal in getting SpaceX’s Falcon9 rocket off the drawing board

“Now, Dr. Singh, could you tell me how you met Niles Ellison and Elon Musk?”

“Oh, I met Elon years ago during a test flight. As for Niles, I’d done some engineering for his firm in the past but he actually came to me, personally, to suggest that I throw my hat into the ring for a seat in the cockpit.”

“We understand one of the passengers is an associate of yours, Dr. Piotr Apostolov?”

He nodded, a smile on his faces. “Yes, Piotr and I are colleagues. We bump heads once in a while, but he’s a good man and an outstanding scientist. Although he’s one of the passengers, we might get a chance to discuss a few things – perhaps even agree to collaborate on one or two projects of interest.”

“The passenger list of Destiny’s maiden voyage is a real ‘who’s who’, isn’t it?”

“It is, indeed. Besides Doctor Apostolov, there will be plenty of luminaries from around the world.”

“Why do you think Ellison Enterprises made the inaugural flight an ‘invitation-only’ affair?”

He chuckled. “You’d have to ask Niles but, to be honest, I think he wants to associate Ellison Enterprises with commercial spaceflight among the world’s ‘movers and shakers’. It’s good business. And, by broadcasting and streaming the event live, he guarantees people think of Ellison Enterprises first when they think of space.”

It was unfortunate that our interview was cut short at this point as Dr. Singh was called away. I wish him as well as the passengers and the rest of the crew the best of luck.


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