For those of us who used to watch the 80’s TV show, The A-Team, this was the iconic line said by the team’s leader, Hannibal Smith. In the show, an ex-military team, wrongfully charged with a crime, break out of prison and go on the run. In typical 80’s TV show format, they face a different challenge each episode, defending the innocent by fighting bad guys and bullies against the odds. They would come up with the craziest scheme possible to achieve their goal. After a few twists here and there they would come through to the other side with good being victorious over evil. And, at the point of victory, Hannibal would light his cigar and say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”
This is often the line that comes into my head when I see something I have worked to develop become real. Whether it is printing a poster or marketing materials I helped to design, coming to the end of a workshop I helped to create, or seeing a project I was a part of begin to gain momentum, the image of Hannibal with his cigar and a smile on his face seems to fit the scene. It is a feeling of genuine excitement and satisfaction of seeing something that you have worked towards actually take shape. It does not need to be 100% perfect. In fact, quite often the results are imperfect. But simply the fact that it worked makes all the setbacks, challenges, stress and sweat worthwhile.
So, I can only imagine what was being felt by Elon Musk and the crowd of SpaceX employees this past week when the Falcon Heavy launched off the pad at Cape Canaveral. Approximately 6000 employees sharing an intense ‘moment of truth’ when what they had worked towards launched itself into space. And to top it off, the sheer audacity of sending Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster along for the ride.
I must admit, it was the first time since I was a child that I have felt that pure excitement looking at a space launch, with that feeling of “anything is possible” circling inside. The launch, the two booster rockets landing in almost perfect synchronicity, and then the images from the roadster with the Earth in the background; all of it worked together to create an awesome spectacle. The main booster failed miserably on landing, but that did not matter in the least. It did not change the fact that history had been made. A mission to Mars had gone from the perception of a dream to something attainable, and the exploration of space was back in the minds and hearts of earthlings once again.
I can only imagine the intensity of feelings within all those people at SpaceX, and Elon Musk himself. The only way I can empathise their feeling is picturing Hannibal with the A-Team, successful after another off-the-wall mission, lighting his cigar with that smile and saying, “I love it when a plan comes together!”.
See live video from SPACEMAN in his roadster here!