Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy 50's Sputnik!

I cannot let this day go by without mentioning that fifty years ago, on October 4, 1957, Sputnik I was launched by the Soviet Union. If it had not happened, would the US have started a space program? Sputnik I was the first man-made satellite and its birth changed the curse of the world by creating further Cold War tensions and shocking the United States to the point of initiating the space race and also starting a revolution in science education in the country.

Sergei Korolev, also called the father of the Soviet space program, was the designer for the Sputnik project. A brilliant scientist, he had to keep a low profile because the project remained secret for years and he was only known as the Chief Designer. Nobody knew him, and he was publicly recognized only after his death in 1966.

The Sputnik story that began in 1957 is about the very essence of who we are; we are explorers, and I certainly hope we stay that way.


No puedo dejar pasar este día sin mencionar que cincuenta años atrás, el 4 de Octubre de 1957, la Unión Soviética lanzó el Sputnik I. Si éste no hubiese nunca ocurrido, hubiesen los EEUU comenzado un programa espacial? Sputnik fué el primer satélite fabricado por el hombre y su nacimiento cambió el curso del mundo al aumentar las tensiones de la Guerra Fría y al impresionar a los EEUU a tal punto de iniciar una carrera para llegar al espacio. Al mismo tiempo propulsó una revolución de enseñanza de las ciencias dentro del país.

Sergei Korolev, considerado el padre del programa espacial soviético, fue el diseñador del proyecto Sputnik. Un científico destacado, se vió obligado a mantener un perfil muy privado porque el proyecto se mantuvo en secreto por muchos años asi es que solamente se le conocía en todos lados como el Diseñador Jefe. Nadie, o muy pocos sabían de él; fué reconocido publicamente solo despues de su muerte en 1966.

La historia del Sputnik que comenzó en 1957 es la esencia de lo que somos; somos exploradores, y espero que así continuemos...


Tomas Bradanovic said...

Yo tengo unos "Life" de esos años, el impacto fue tremendo y un duro golpe al orgullo norteamericano en plena aguerra fría: los agoreros decían que el comunismo estaba listo para apoderarse del mundo, que la enseñanza de las ciencias en USA era una basura comparada con la URSS, es curioso, más o menos la misma paranoia que tienen ahora con los chinos o la que tuvieron en los 80 con los japoneses.

La URSS terminó siendo un tigre de papel y lo mismo -pienso yo- pasará con China en unos años más. La opinión pública casi siempre se equivoca a la hora de sacar las cuentas.

Lilian said...

Hola Tomas!
Interesantisimo lo que cuentas; me fascinaria ver esos "Lifes" que tienes. De puro orgullo y miedo, los EEUU desde el lanzamiento del Sputnik se pusieron en un plan de emergencia para desarrollar su plan espacial.Como poder ver el futuro, no?
Un abrazo ;o)

mila said...

I have always been amused by the explorations of space being the cause of so many tensions during the cold war. What was everyone worried about? I never did quite figure that out.

The exploration has been exciting to me, though. I wish I could travel into space--even just to orbit the earth. It would be so thrilling to get to see what the astronauts saw. Or go to the moon. I don't need anything as grandiose as Mars or some outer galaxy. I am a simple girl with simple tastes. Just to the moon!

Lilian said...

Hola Mila!!
I guess it was the fear of the unknown, because at the time, whoever got to the moon or to Mars first, or have the most technological power, was going to be the superpower. Uh! something else... I envy your willingness to be an astronaut! I cannot deny it has crossed my mind, but only if the aircraft becomes larger otherwise it would be extremely confinig to me.

Palm Springs Savant said...

good point. Interesting to wonder about that. But at any rate, its been an incredible past 50 years since, hasn't it?

Lilian said...

Hi Rick,
It certainly has been an incredible time since the first satellite was sent to space. The technological progress of humankind has put us on the verge of a new world, in my opinion; I am thinking of all these new theories about new dimensions and so forth, it's just amazing. On the other hand, we are still very close to the Paleolitic Period on matters related to human development, how ironic, don't you think? ;o)

mila said...

Ok, maybe you would not want to go into one of the current space shuttles--but what if (oh, I adore "what if")a huge alien aircraft were nearby and the aliens wanted you to take a trip--would you go? Even if you didn't know the risks or their intentions? I know I would. Some things, some knowledge, some thrills, I think are absolutely worth the risks, even if you don't survive them.

Anyway, I know it is off-topic, so we can play the game some other time, hahahaha....

un abrazo!

Lilian said...

I LOVE this game ... Like you, my answer would be "YES!! Please, take me". I would volunteer in a second. My curiosity would be more powerful than anything else, I know it ;o)
Un abrazo!