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View Full Version : 50 Years Ago Today... The Great Space Race Was On!



woofiedog
10-04-2007, 12:24 AM
October 4, 1957 50 years ago:

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">The year was 1957, the date was Oct. 4 and Americans everywhere were looking up. Something new was in the stars, something never before seen. </span>

What they were seeing was Sputnik, a 22-inch, 184-pound, man-made satellite, which the Soviet Union launched into space.

The Russians launched the first artificial satellite from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan which demonstrated the technological superiority of Communism (actually more of a propaganda pain for the US). They equipped the Sputnik with transmitters to broadcast on frequencies at 20 and 40 MHz so everyone will know it's up there.
The United States was shocked. Senator Lyndon Johnson said the Russians have jumped way ahead of us in the conquest of space. "Soon, they will be dropping bombs on us from space like kids dropping rocks onto cars from freeway overpasses!*" [*from a movie that dramatized the emotional impact of that day]. Everyone in the United States were constantly reminded that the Russians were well on the way in conquering space and newspaper headlines, "REDS ORBIT ARTIFICIAL MOON" and "SOVIET SATELLITE CIRCLES GLOBE EVERY 90 MINUTES".

http://www.amsat.org/amsat/features/sounds/sputnik-photo.gif

Reactions by Americans:

Many people did not know how to think of a satellite in orbit. It was too mysterious for them, "What is a 184 pound object in orbit?" "Are they looking down at us?"

Engineering colleges were flooded with new students the following quarter. It was as if everyone was "joining the army" to take on the Russians in the New Frontier (the govt also provided a lot of funds for engineering schools to fuel new interests in engineering).

Everyone on Johnston Island in the Pacific were issued sidearms to carry at all times. Johnston Island is so small it only has room for a runway and a hanger for airplanes.

Students at Case Institute immediately became "Rocket Scientists" and stayed up many late nights discussing various methods of space travel.

Jim Dawsons, science writer for the Star Tribune, wrote about how his third grade teacher was very nervous at the time. His school at Omaha, Neb., was just a few miles from the Air Force's Strategic Air Command headquarters. A fleet of F-100 fighters appeared in the sky coming right for the school. "MiGs!" the teacher shrieked. "MiGs!" She ran, hysterical, from the classroom, convinced they were about to be nuked by Russian fighter jets. The kids, mostly Air Force brats, ran to the windows to admire the F-100s, the coolest jet of its day.

Politicians and editorialists began attacking the U.S. educational system for having fallen behind Soviet schools in training people in the sciences and other fields.

Former President Harry Truman was moved to comment, charging the "persecution" of prominent U.S. scientists by Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the early 1950s had been a setback to the nation's development of satellites and rockets.

Ross Perot became inspired by the Sputnik to create an electronics dynasty.

After observing Sputnik, seven year old Franklin Chang-Daz of Costa Rica became infatuated with space travel and eventually became a NASA astronaut.

Tom A. posted on the newsgroup about an American entreprenuer had a "Sputnik" gumball for sale at the local candy store. It was blue and had protrusions sticking out of it to simulate Sputnik's antenna, and it was delicious.

CIA and other intelligence groups cut down a model of a Sputnik on exhibit at the Brussels World's Fair in early 1958 (a story heard by Paul Dickson, author of "The Shock of the Century")

Rich Tweedie K6VKT (now a SK) as a high school junior was one of first ham radio operators to hear Sputnik before it was mentioned on American radio and TV news, though many others thought it was a hoax (for a first person account, see below).

Cajun76
10-04-2007, 12:53 AM
Beat me to it, good post! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

woofiedog
10-04-2007, 12:58 AM
I remember my father and I went out into one of the back fields at our house and saw Sputnik going across the night sky.

I guess time does go by rather quickly.

Blood_Splat
10-04-2007, 07:58 AM
Now all NASA does is masturbate in low earth orbit.

ploughman
10-04-2007, 08:48 AM
The unmanned programme is bubbling away quite nicely with other agencies increasingly getting in on the act. But if you do want a wank, LEO is the only place to go.

Skunk_438RCAF
10-04-2007, 08:54 AM
As fate would have it, this rolled out on the SAME day, in Canada:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Avro_Arrow_rollout.jpg

SeaFireLIV
10-04-2007, 08:57 AM
Sometimes I almost wish the Communists and Americans were still cold-warring it cos we`d probably be past jupiter with mars undergoing colonisation by now.

But all we did was get to the moon, then stop?

And to think, I once thought we did all that to broaden man`s horizons and unite the Human race in discovery, just to find it was all due to a spat between 2 nations trying to have one up on the other...

Wouldn`t it be nice if the effort we put into Space exploration at the time of the Cold war could be continued in the time of Peace?

But guess not.

Divine-Wind
10-04-2007, 09:19 AM
Yeah. It's kind of ironic that most technological advances happen during war. Just think, we might not have the computer if it weren't for the military's need for a room-sized calculator.

Von_Rat
10-04-2007, 01:32 PM
the russian and the american people seem to have decided that their money is better spent elsewhere. even though i myself think its short sighted, it is afterall their money.

of course someone will come in here ranting about polititians etc etc. but imo if it was left enterly to the people themselves, i doubt a dime of tax money would be spent on space.

ploughman
10-04-2007, 01:45 PM
It was expensive, that and Vietnam and the rest of it all at the same time. The future looks very interesting though, China, India, the EU, Russia and the USA, amongst other nations, all looking to develop or extend a manned presence in space in addition to a flowering of unmanned missions.

DrHerb
10-04-2007, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by Skunk_438RCAF:
As fate would have it, this rolled out on the SAME day, in Canada:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/Avro_Arrow_rollout.jpg http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

SkyChimp
10-04-2007, 06:30 PM
Originally posted by Divine-Wind:
Yeah. It's kind of ironic that most technological advances happen during war. Just think, we might not have the computer if it weren't for the military's need for a room-sized calculator.

Technology needed to build a computer was back-engineered from the UFO that crashed at Roswell. Everyone knows that.

Enforcer572005
10-04-2007, 09:40 PM
Heh heh....not meaning to steal from the previous comedic value, but if NASA would release what it really knows about so called UFOs and advanced technology that wasn't from here, there would be much greater interest in getting into space.

Protecting societal norms is far more important than advancing mankind though.

Until we come up with more advanced propulsion systems (we have, but no money), there won't be much interest in space flight. People don't see anything in it for them since it takes so long even to get to planets in our own solar system, much less other stars. The popularity of shows like the Star Trek series shows there is interest, but NASA has failed to exploit this. I'll go home now.

Choctaw111
10-05-2007, 11:52 AM
I just watched "The Right Stuff" last night. I have it on video http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Blood_Splat
10-05-2007, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Enforcer572005:
Heh heh....not meaning to steal from the previous comedic value, but if NASA would release what it really knows about so called UFOs and advanced technology that wasn't from here, there would be much greater interest in getting into space.

Protecting societal norms is far more important than advancing mankind though.

Until we come up with more advanced propulsion systems (we have, but no money), there won't be much interest in space flight. People don't see anything in it for them since it takes so long even to get to planets in our own solar system, much less other stars. The popularity of shows like the Star Trek series shows there is interest, but NASA has failed to exploit this. I'll go home now.

Going back to the moon has become a joke for engineers at NASA. a lot of them have come up with far better ways and cheaper ways to get to the moon again. They can't understand why NASA higher ups want it to cost so much to the point that it is unforeseeable to even go back. It's like NASA really doesn't want to go back their again for some unknown reason.

Blood_Splat
10-05-2007, 12:57 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOAMA7HnU-0

Von_Rat
10-05-2007, 06:10 PM
It's like NASA really doesn't want to go back their again for some unknown reason.


they already have enough green cheese?

woofiedog
10-05-2007, 10:22 PM
Quote... they already have enough green cheese?

Well stated! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

NASA has a Bigger fish to fry...

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Fast forward to this millennium: In 2001, the European Space Agency (Esa) approved an exploration programme, called Aurora, with an ultimate goal of staging a human mission to Mars by 2030.

Then, in January 2004, President George W Bush announced a programme for returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and - at an undetermined date - to Mars.
</span>

http://www.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/145956main_NTR_borowskii.jpg
A spacecraft powered by a positron reactor would resemble this artist's concept of the Mars Reference Mission spacecraft. Credit: NASA

Most self-respecting starships in science fiction stories use antimatter as fuel for a good reason it's the most potent fuel known. While tons of chemical fuel are needed to propel a human mission to Mars, just tens of milligrams of antimatter will do (a milligram is about one-thousandth the weight of a piece of the original M&M candy).
However, in reality this power comes with a price. Some antimatter reactions produce blasts of high energy gamma rays. Gamma rays are like X-rays on steroids. They penetrate matter and break apart molecules in cells, so they are not healthy to be around. High-energy gamma rays can also make the engines radioactive by fragmenting atoms of the engine material.

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is funding a team of researchers working on a new design for an antimatter-powered spaceship that avoids this nasty side effect by producing gamma rays with much lower energy.

RocketDog
10-06-2007, 04:49 AM
A little known part of the early Russian space programme.

The space pig.

Cheers,

RD.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v402/RocketDog/2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v402/RocketDog/3.jpg



(If you thought this was genuine for more than 20 seconds, then you probably believe most things you read on the internet)