I am old enough to remember the USSR putting the first capsule into orbit and the underlying panic that ensued in America because no one wanted our enemy to have an advantage over us militarily. Space became the High Ground and it had to be obtained and held to have the upper hand over our then declared adversary.
All through the early years of the Race for Space, the Russians were one step ahead of the USA. In 1957, on October 4th, they launched the first unmanned satellite into orbit. Though Nikita Krushchev was not at first impressed with his country’s efforts of establishing a space program, he quickly changed his mind when he observed the reaction of America and the rest of the world to their accomplishment. Soon after Sputnik, Sputnik 2 was launched carrying a passenger, the canine named Laika. Laika didn’t survive the flight due to malfunctions in the atmospheric equipment of the vehicle. The USSR didn’t report Laika’s death at the time because they didn’t want anyone to know they had partially failed in their mission.
What concerned America the most about the launching and success of the Sputnik program was the fact that the USSR was capable of sending an extremely heavy object into space which made them capable of sending an atomic weapon into space and attacking the USA from that vantage point: The High Ground. Until these events, America didn’t have the space program as a priority. That changed when America realized that if she continued to ignore the implications of the USSR’s space program, they would be left far behind in a militarily important task.
Our program started out with the crash of Vanguard 1 but our subsequent missions lead by von Braun, were successful in putting into orbit scientific gathering equipment. One of these missions discovered the Van Allen belt, which was named for one of the rocket scientists on von Braun’s team.
Still, the USSR was in the lead with their Lunar missions, Lunar 3 bringing back photos of the dark side of the moon, a never before seen side of our natural satellite. Though Dwight D. Eisenhower wasn’t gung ho about the fledgling space program, he recognized the need to surpass the USSR with technology designed to take man into space. At first, the space program Mercury was a private enterprise. Congressional hearings and decisions led to the establishment of NASA and on July 29th, 1958 the bill creating the agency was signed into law by Ike. By the spring of 1959, 7 men were selected to be pilots in the Mercury Program, each one hoping to be the first American into space.
During the ensuing time, America’s rocketry kept blowing up and NASA was fearful of using humans in their missions and instead used rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees to “man” their satellites. The USSR had failures as well; however, their policy of secrecy didn’t publicize these catastrophes and they marched on to put the first man into space, Yuri Gagaran, on April 12, 1961. And once more, America was left behind and embarrassed.
Alan Shepherd was chosen as the first American Astronaut for a manned mission in the spring of 1961 and in May of that year, he made a 15 minute sub-orbital trip into space as the first American to successfully be launched from and returned to earth. Less than 3 weeks after this face-saving success, JFK stepped up to the plate and called for a manned mission to the moon to be completed by the end of the decade before a joint session of the American Congress.
Successful American missions followed Shepherd’s however, the USSR was still outpacing NASA’s achievements. By June of 1963 the Russians had spent almost 16 days in space compared to America’s just over 2 days. NASA buckled down on JFK’s challenge and by the beginning of 1964, scientists and engineers had worked up plans for a moon mission. This involved many technical challenges: how to get 3 astronauts into moon orbit, how to get a manned module onto the moon’s surface with a vehicle aboard, how to make a vehicle that would the men on the surface of the moon would be able to utilize for exploration, how do you get the men back to the Mother Ship while it and the moon are both moving. More and more problems were addressed and worked out in theory.
At this time, the USSR continued to euchre the Americans on achievements in space, but their program began to slow down after Alexei Leonev was the first human to attempt and complete a space walk. After this, the USSR stopped sending humans into space for over a year. During this time, America sent more manned missions into space and in December of 1965, America made a landmark triumph when Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 approached each other and an astronaut from each capsule rendezvoused in space. From this point on, America outpaced the USSR and continued to do so until the present time.
We have had several manned missions to the moon, a landing on Mars by robotic equipment which is capable of analyzing various aspects of the atmosphere and dirt. We have embarked on numerous probe missions to our sister planets and their moons, including an explorer beyond our solar system to seek out alien life forms to inform them of our existence. Our technology has advanced at an incredibly rapid rate and those advancements in space have led to technological advancements for myriad products for use in our everyday life, Velcro being only one example of this cross usage of things developed because of the needs of our astronauts in a weightless atmosphere. We have stationed powerful telescopes in space which are producing fantastic photos of our universe.
During all of these developments, we have held our sensitive scientific knowledge close to our chests and all we had to be concerned about were spies selling that information to foreign countries who didn’t have America’s safety in their best interests.
President Clinton decided to change a few things about sharing information. And that sharing has weakened America and strengthened our enemies. In an incredibly injudicious move, he empowered Korea, through former President Carter, another Politically Correct Leftist, to spit in America’s face and renege on a 1994 agreement to dismantle their nuclear weapons programs in exchange for free oil, free nuclear reactors, free trade and diplomatic relations. Korea didn’t wait 10 years to resume their nuclear weapons program while their citizens were eating rats to survive.
But even worse than that unbelievable “reaching out” to our enemy was the transfer of rocketry information that was handed to Red China on a silver platter by then President Clinton and his State Department through Lorel Space and Communications company. China had been having problems launching their Long March Rockets and the State Department was bypassed, the decision to permit the sharing of information with China was given to Clinton’s Commerce Administration. Based on a letter from then President of Lorel, Bernard Schwartz asked President Clinton to pass the decision onto this agency. The State Department had been in control of decisions of this nature in the past. Clinton ignored advice from his State Department and the Pentagon and granted the request of Schwartz. Of course, it was denied by Mr. Schwartz that the 1.3 million dollar contribution to Clinton’s political campaigns had nothing to do with this resolution. The Commerce Department eased restrictions on exportation of rocketry information to enable Lorel to aid China in successfully launching a Long March Rocket which was to carry a satellite of Lorel’s into space. Lorel’s decision to use China’s facility instead of an American satellite launcher saved Lorel millions. As a direct result of this sharing of information, China’s Long March Rockets guidance systems were improved dramatically and can now send nuclear war heads as far as the shores of America.
On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush unveiled his ambitious plans for a manned mission to Mars in a speech at NASA which would begin with a return to the moon and the establishment of a base there in order to cut construction costs associated with building the vehicles necessary to reach Mars. Building a Moon Base would be expensive initially, but would reduce costs in the assembly of space vehicles due to the lower gravitation on the moon as well as reducing the costs of the fuel needed to escape the moon’s atmosphere. Also, he pointed out that there were indications that there were materials on the moon that could be mined and used in space exploration missions and the production of air.
Fast Forward to President Obama: using an Executive Order, he dismantled President George W. Bush’s to send a manned mission to Mars. He has ended our Space Shuttle Program and has turned NASA into a weather station as well as a Governmental Outreach program to Muslim countries to help them “feel good” about their contributions to the exploration of space: when this was accomplished, I have no idea. Our manned missions can no longer reach further into space than low orbit altitudes without help from other countries. Obama plans on paying Russia to transport our Astronauts to the Space Station. Now that Russia has problems with its Soyuz rockets, those “bussing” plans are on hold, until at least October of 2011.
Since Lorel assisted the Chinese with their rocketry systems, China has made advances into manned space missions. China is now marching to build a space station and a moon base. A Chinese General has been quoted as saying the space projects of China are aimed at being able to attack the United States from space. With our withdrawal from active exploration on our own initiative, we are at the mercy of those who now hold The High Ground.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not comfortable with China and Russia having the upper hand in the physical ability to travel and build in space. I am also not really happy that people of a faith that has dedicated itself to destroying the Western way of life is now going to be privy to access to the greatest Space Program on earth.
Obama continues to show how engrained in Islam he is as well as how anti-American he is.
I pray for our country. I doubt we can survive another 4 years of this man.
And I often wonder how effective we are in our elections.