Just think of it - 70 years ago, when in 1960s William Shatner (Captain James T Kirk) was playing in the original Star Trek, there was not even a slightest possibility that a simple civilian guy could go into space. All those few real astronauts were selected from the best of the best of the best. There were (still are) legends about their epic training and required traits. They were and are the Earth’s (super) heroes.
And now even a 90 years old guy can go into space, no questions asked 70 years since the start of the show is a very long time, of course, a couple of generations (which is a way too slow for such space hotheads like us) BUT at least such an important step is finally achieved.
On the personal note, I am shocked how bright and witty William Shatner still is in his 90s You can watch the BBC interview here:
Jeff Bezo’s & Bransons’s space adventures are lame. Sub orbital flight might be “rocket science” but let’s face it they are a step up above boy scouts playing with bottle rockets, they just have bigger budgets.
They don’t don’t go significantly further than a balloon can go and I bet you could obtain more zero g time with a balloon launched system espicially if using a descent parachute rather than heavy rockets.
Yeah they can go as high as the ISS but for mere minutes. I remain unimpressed. Meanwhile Musks crews are in orbit with days of zero G not seconds for not much of a factor more in ticket cost.
I am also very much disappointed that we are still not in the age of Star Wars and I don’t get to fly my Millennium Falcon but it’s still better than just building more tanks, border walls, and whatever other earthly political businesses
But I definitely share your discontent about the status of space things
I think that, unfortunately, it wasn’t about ‘exploration’ in the first place - it was arms race disguised as space exploration. Good or bad thing, it is picking up the pace again - especially, China.
I agree with you on most counts, but just a few corrections on the distances involved:
High-altitude balloons can go up to 37km high
New Shepard’s maximum height is 118km, only 18km above the boundary of space (100km up), and even then that’s because they fired the abort motor in-flight, which gave it a bit of extra height. Typical flights are between 100km and 107km, barely above the boundary of space.
The ISS orbits at an average of 400km, although the exact height depends on how long it’s been since they had a reboost
Actually I was lucky to see and touch the Auguste Piccard’s balloon-capsule - he first did that - and he reached 15 km attitude with it. And I was looking at that metal ball and kept thinking - how did he manage to get down in such a thing?? Infinite courage
I thought, 118km was only for the safe test? It wouldn’t take a lot to gain more attitude from that point, would it?
Just asking for an objective discussion and context - more or less I know the space development histories of both the USA and USSR - from both angles. There were mistakes, sacrifices, propaganda, loses, victories, state crimes, and heroism on both sides. But I am not a space history scientist (one cannot eat it all) so there are things I don’t know and some that I cannot possibly know. That’s what I am asking
But above all, I believe that the whole human civilization is investing too little into the space science whatever the reasons or context. (That’s not a surprise statement from an EVE capsuleer, is it? )
On the “bright” side, once the whole Earth’s biosphere goes to hell, the ‘space exploration’ will become the top priority again. Especially for those 2% of richest people owning 50% of the global wealth
This is less space history and more global history. The space race was just one part. China like the USSR is more focused on looking song now opposed to being strong later. They are putting money into projects not because they need them but to show they can. They are trying to control a population through force and fear despite their size. They are alienating their allies by being needlessly antagonistic. And go out of their way to make trade into their country more difficult.
These are all things the ussr did that ultimately led to its collapse. The biggest difference is the USSR had more independence in local governments. This both caused it too collapse sooner but also have areas more stability after it collapsed vs what could happen in China.
Well, I consider it more like a test stage and friendly competition because Musk will send a rocket to Mars anyway
First of all, thank you very much for explaining your angle! Much appreciated! Though I don’t agree with everything you stated but this your angle is more philosophical so I wouldn’t have many fact-based contra-arguments anyway. But I am really grateful that you took your time to reply so comprehensively Just one thing - I myself was born in a former USSR country so I can assure you that the local governments were not “more interdependent” - the situation was the same as it is now in Honk Kong. The USSR collapsed because of a different reason - all the system was already completely broken and collapsing onto itself. The Chernobyl scientist (and former communist) Valery Legasov explained the situation in a brilliant academic way in his secret tapes (I read the transcription). Actually, some historians consider the Chernobyl disaster being the starting date of the USSR collapse. (BTW, some politicians were hoping that the Covid would become the China’s Chernobyl point).
while they didn’t have any power they were sub-divided and had governing structures in place across the different republics in the union, So when the union collapsed there were people it collapsed onto rather than anarchy. Hongkong and Macau are about the only regions in china that have a similar set up, however the population density in Macau would be disastrous.
Yes this is a symptom of what I described. The state was horribly mismanaged and set itself into a death spiral trying to maintain an illusion of power and economic strength rather than risking appearing vulnerable as it restructured and rebuilt needed infrastructure both physically and politically.
This would be like pointing to a boil as the starting date of an infection. It was do to the USSR starting to collapse that churnable happened. Chernobyl didn’t start the collapse of the USSR.
The space race is also attributed to the collapse of the USSR, Though it was more of an aggravating factor than a direct cause. But that was one of the main goals of the space race for both sides as well as the cold war in general.
Not exactly. High-altitude balloons can get up to 37km, and you experience full gravity throughout the entire trip. New Shepard hits an average of between 100km and 107km, barely above the boundary into space, and you experience a few minutes of zero-g at the height of its trajectory. A zero-g simulation airplane (the Vomit Comet) will also allow you to experience zero-g, but it’s broken up into several short sessions, as the plane flies up and drops back down again, and you experience heightened gravity in between the periods of zero-g.
Technically, Shatner went into space, since he travelled above the Karman line (100km up), the international boundary of space. However, he didn’t go into orbit. For the same price as a seat on New Shepard, he could have booked a seat on Crew Dragon and spent several days in orbit around the Earth,