18 April 2011

Manned Spaceflight ~ Reaching For The Stars!

The Economist salutes Reaching For The Stars...
"Fifty years have elapsed since Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lit the blue touchpaper on the era of manned spaceflight. Progress was rapid -- only eight years separated Gagarin's flight from the infinitely more complicated mission that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon in 1969. Although the moon landings handed victory in the space race to America, the Soviet Union dominated manned spaceflight for the next decade, including some pioneering missions to the Salyut space stations to test the effects of long periods spent aloft. Only with the rise of the Space Shuttle programme in the early 1980s, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union a few years later, did America retake the crown. Manned spaceflight is now no longer a two-horse race. China first sent men up in 2003, and a year later three privately funded sub-orbital missions were made in SpaceShipOne."

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