Apocalypse du Jour

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About the author

Richard Jurmain

Rick Jurmain is a retired rocket scientist and entrepreneur. In the ‘90s, he and his late wife Mary (killed by cancer in 2016) built a successful corporation from the ground up. For Realityworks, Inc., their first invention was named by Fortune magazine as Product of the Year in 1994. In 2000 the Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Chamber of Commerce selected Rick and Mary as the local Entrepreneurs of the Year, and Ernst & Young selected them as Finalists for the Wisconsin Entrepreneur of the Year award. Mary ran the company, while Rick was Vice President In Charge Of Things That Go Beep (engineering, computers, phones, faxes, cars, dishwashers and, oddly enough, toilets, though they rarely go beep).

In the ‘80s, Rick led, or was a member of, 13 NASA Space Shuttle mission control Flight Activities teams. The Flight Activities teams planned missions starting years prior to launch, and re-planned missions during flights when things went wrong. And things always went wrong. Rick also led the Operations Analysis teams for General Dynamics’ Single Stage to Orbit (SSTO) and McDonnell Douglas’ National AeroSpace Plane (NASP). He spent 15 years in the aerospace industry doing tactical analysis and war games, including top level WWIII combined arms games, and he helped invent hypersonic war games.

In the late ‘90s Rick was a founder of Vela Technology Development, Inc. Vela started much of what is becoming the space tourism industry. Vela’s briefings to Burt Rutan and Richard Branson started them on the path to space tourism. While Vela has since folded, Rick owns its process patent on key low-acceleration trajectories for space tourism. And if Rutan doesn’t get his butt in gear, the patent will be worthless because it expires soon.

Rick is 65 years old, currently retired, though working intermittently as a board member, inventor, and writer.

Rick is widely acknowledged to have been Mary’s trophy husband. Though no one has ever thought of him as just another pretty face. At least, no one who’s seen his face. And, come to think of it, no one has ever considered that he was a first place trophy, either. Rick was just in the right place at the right time to trip up a gorgeous, massively intelligent woman with an aging biological clock and desperately low standards. Someday someone will make a fortune building a dating site for such women.