Yep, very cool. I just wish we'd have followed up on the promise of that first tiny step.
China seems to be taking a few steps at the moment. I guess it all depends who you mean by "we" - the US or humanity as a whole?
I can certainly understand why the space race was a competition that went hand in hand with the Cold War, but I think tha boat has sailed on trying to keep space tech out of anyone's hands. I'm pretty happy to see anyone making strides at this point.Not to mention, if China's advances made the U.S. feel a little competitive again, I could live with that too.
It also depends on what you think the first step was: if the promise of Sputnik was the promise of conquering space, point taken--we're seven years past 2001 with no routine spaceplanes laying over passengers to Clavius at a bigwheel space station. But if Sputnik is looked at as a proof-of-concept for orbital satellites: well, that's worked out rather well and probably far exceeded anyone's expectations.Sometimes things don't end up where anyone thought they would. I understand where you're coming from, Jim, but I think Sputnik's children are happily bouncing phone calls and athletic competitions around the globe or snapping pics for scientists and spies back at home. If anything, Sputnik's progeny may even have done too well.
If we were to put a big wheel out there, with lots of moon dust and rock around the rim, mostly for protetction against debris and cosmic rays and such, it could sweep it's own orbit clean. The we preturbate the orbit slightly, sweeping an ever increasing area. I guess you could think of it as a vacuum cleaner...But, yeah, Space! Let's GO!
And hooooray to the Eisenhower Administration for this little-known coup. The US could have beat the Soviets to orbit, but chose not to. The Soviets would have protested in the UN and World court about fly-overs of their airspace. Instead, because they did it first, THEY came up with the idea that national airspace only extends up so high.A bit of genius, that.But yeah, whoever got there first, good show. I actually saw the sister machine at the VDNKh in Moscow - it's tiny and shiny. :)
John, I was under the impression that the reason we were second was that Eisenhower was backing Vanguard instead of Explorer because Vanguard didn't have any of our "trained Nazis" working on it. I knew about the Soviets having established the precedent that orbital flyovers were legal, but I wasn't aware that Eisenhower purposely let them set the precedent.
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