Here I go again, your favorite science fiction fan talking about trips to the moon and beyond, maybe Mars.

Texans like to do things big, and Elon Musk is no exception, presenting his plans last week for a reusable launch system with an eye toward interplanetary travel.

The MK1 is a prototype for SpaceX’s reusable launch system, and Musk unveiled his newest initiative last Saturday, the 11th anniversary of the first successful orbital launch of SpaceX’s first rocket, the Falcon 1.

The rocket, which is 387-feet tall, will be able to carry up to 100 people to the moon, Mars or other destinations in space or around Earth, according to Musk.

This rocket will launch the billionaire Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and others on a trip around the moon in the 2020s, probably at a steep price, steeper than any of us could dream of.

For those of us who still want to meet George Jetson, space travel remains a pipe dream, far beyond our financial reach, and that’s where my childhood literary heroes come into play, science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and perhaps my “unknown” favorite, Harlan Ellison.

I’ve always possessed a vivid imagination, and I was able to travel to faraway worlds through dozens of novels, first through the Carrington Memorial Library in South Boston and later through the bookmobile, which made its rounds through the county, including a stop in my driveway.

No, I didn’t pay for it to stop there, and I guess it was just luck of the draw the powers that be selected my address.

At any rate, Musk’s goal for SpaceX, founded in 2002, has been sending Earthlings into space, with development of reusable heavy rockets, cargo capsules and a crew ship for astronauts.

SpaceX has launch pads in Florida, California, and Boca Chica, Texas, but the sky seems to be the limit for Musk’s space dreams.

As for me, as long as I can read, I can reach the stars in my own, cheap way.

That’s a blessing in my science fiction book.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at