By Jack “2fish” Fischer
VP of Strategic Programs at Intuitive Machines
May 5, 2021
It was enormous; a metallic beast laying on its belly that took my breath away. As a 6-year-old looking up at the largest, most magnificent rocket in history – I could almost feel the magic of thousands of people coming together to create the future. Built at a crossroads in history – built for that moment – the Saturn V was the culmination of a challenge set by an energetic leader in the throes of a cold war. JFK called our moon program a goal which served "to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” And he was right.
That rocket is all it took for me to fall in love with space, and it sparked a desire for me be a part of something bigger than myself, so that hopefully someday other 6-year-olds could be inspired like I was. I wanted to be part of a program like Apollo because I firmly believe that when we can accomplish great, almost unimaginable things – it inspires us all to do even greater things.
Blessed with good timing, some luck, and a healthy serving of hard work, every experience I had built upon the last, vectoring me towards my dreams. Whether I was driving a Bobcat for the family construction company, flying combat sorties in the mighty F-15E Strike Eagle, or testing the edge of the envelope in a F-22 Raptor, I consistently put in the effort to grow and be ready for opportunities. In 2009, I got the chance of a lifetime – to join NASA’s astronaut corps. Eventually I flew to and lived aboard the International Space Station (ISS), did two spacewalks, and of course played with floating food – I literally lived my dream. The ISS is the greatest example of international cooperation in history – a shining castle in the sky that shows what we can do when we put our differences aside and work together. We have been rocking the science for more than twenty years aboard the ISS and making a profound societal impact as a result. I am so proud to have played a part.
When I returned from my mission, my focus became keeping the space domain safe for the growth of a burgeoning economy, now and in the future. I was able to help design the United States Space Force and was privileged enough to work alongside Guardians worldwide who are dedicated to the safety and security of the final frontier.
And then it happened. I had lived my dreams, I had flown jets at the edge of crazy, rode a rocket towards the stars, and led groups of incredible people in protecting the heavens. Now what? As the river of life pulled me in a new direction, I retired from my beloved Air Force, and came to the realization that I had no idea what was next.
What I found is that just like the Saturn V was seemingly built for that specific moment in time – as individuals, I think we are too. Sometimes, as our lives change in dramatic ways, we need to ask ourselves what are we built for? Why did destiny bring us here – to this point in time, with these life experiences and skills?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with the answer to those questions. At least until I found Intuitive Machines. I found a team that is picking up on JFK’s long-dormant challenge and returning the United States to the Moon. It is a team that weaves together our childhood dreams of space, leverages the collective experiences of its members, and satisfies a burning desire to make an impact on our shared tomorrow.
After I saw that big rocket on its belly, if someone asked, I would say with youthful exuberance “I want to be an astronaut!” Now I see that ‘astronaut’ was just another step in my path, one that I am still walking. We are built for moments – the culmination of our experiences, skills, and opportunities – that must continually evolve with the world around us if we are to realize our true potential. I feel that I was built for exactly this moment, in helping Intuitive Machines take us back to the Moon and pioneer humanity’s next big step.
What are you built for?