Print Story Fifty Years
By Vulch (Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 01:16:56 AM EST) Rocket full of satellite, History, Before I were a lad (all tags)

At 19:28:34 UTC on the 4th October 1957, a Soviet R7 Semyorka rocket launched from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in the Kazakh SSR to put the first satellite in orbit.

The satellite, Sputnik 1, was a replacement payload as the planned vehicle was running behind in its construction. It was launched 6 months later as Sputnik 3.

Fifty years later R7s are still putting things in orbit from Baikonour (Now in Kazakhstan and rented by Russia) and elsewhere, and are one of the cheapest and most reliable ways of getting them there. A new launch centre is being built for them at Kourou in French Guyana so there's no sign of their being retired any time soon. Replacement payloads to cover construction delays are also still being made, Giove-B still hasn't launched and Giove-A2 has been ordered as a second place filler just in case it misses again.

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The other day by blixco (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 03:08:30 AM EST
I was talking to one of the guys here about 1950's technology.

"They did that shit with slide rules, man.  The Sr-71? All the first space flights?  Those guys knew their shit," he said.

"So you're telling me that computers have made us stupid?" I have to ask.

"Less capable, maybe.  If society gave rock-star celebrity attention to people who accomplish things, guys and gals with real skill?  These old NASA guys would still be driving around the country in convertible sports coupes getting handjobs from random blondes, showing up as guest stars on House or whatnot."

"Maybe we're just not that interested in accomplishing anymore."
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

Development time by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 06:49:09 AM EST

12 years later and two people had walked on the surface of the moon. The current plan for a return doesn't have the next landing within twelve years from now and the NASA director has stated the Chinese will probably be there earlier.

The usual suspects have got too cautious about blowing stuff up and breaking things. There are no successors to Sergei Korolev and Wernher von Braun, luckily there are people with money like Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow who are willing to take risks and actually fly stuff.

From 4 key players, a sense of regret and a call to action is worth a read.

[ Parent ]
Also, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 01:16:16 PM EST
people are no longer prepared to dedicate 10% of GDP to it for 10 years. Not just for willy waving anyway. I think it's not such a bad thing.

[ Parent ]
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