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Happy Yuri Gagarin Day!

 
Bartender
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Today is the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight. I can't say I'm not disappointed. 50 years and I still don't have a flying car
Here's how it worked
Get your checkbooks out, the capsule launched immediately before Gagarin's flight is for sale today.
Also we find out where the Space Shuttles will retire. Come on Wright Patterson AFB!
 
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The news on TV here tonight mentioned it, but the topic was not much longer than 15 seconds.

Then there was another topic about Dutch people spending holidays in Germany and what Dutch and German people think about each other. That topic was three minutes or so. I guess that was much more important than Yuri Gagarin's historical flight.
 
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I despair at what gets considered "newsworthy" these days...
 
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Jesper de Jong wrote:I guess that was much more important than Yuri Gagarin's historical flight.


Of course it is. Yuri Gagarin is long dead, while Dutch and German folks will continue to sneer at each other for centuries to come.
 
Jesper de Jong
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Actually Ulf, they were mostly talking about that the Dutch and the Germans are now thinking much more positively about each other than in the past. Apparently the Dutch now think the Germans are generous, precise and level-headed. I forgot what the Germans exactly had to say about the Dutch.
 
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I find it interesting that with the celebration of Comrade Gagarin's historic actions, that very little was said about the actual driving force behind the "space race" and why the astronauts and cosmonauts were heros in their respective countries.

By the mid 1950s, both sides had both fission and fusion weapons, but had limited ways to deliver the bombs to the other side. The space race was about developing technology to launch nuclear war on countries on the other side of the world. It was wrapped in a show about humans in space, the moon, etc. but that was only what was sold to the public. The race was a weapons race, with potentially catastrophic results for the world if either side won.
 
Joe Ess
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Pat Farrell wrote:The space race was about developing technology to launch nuclear war on countries on the other side of the world.



The R-7 Semyorka, the first true ICBM, was deployed in 1959. Gagarin's flight was in 1961. If what you say were true, I'd expect the opposite series of events.
 
Pat Farrell
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Joe Ess wrote:R-7 Semyorka the first true ICBM, was deployed in 1959. Gagarin's flight was in 1961. If what you say were true, I'd expect the opposite series of events.


The Soviets were way ahead of the US. Those old enough to remember it saw a constant stream of TV/newsreel footage of US rockets blowing up 10 feet off the launch pad. Sputnik was the driver to completely change how Math and Science were taught in the US. It was called "new math" at the time. The race was on, budgets were growing, folks getting hired, etc. well before Gargarin and Shepard went up. Even in '61, the Soviets had a big lead, the US didn't have a successful orbit until John Glenn's "flight"

 
Joe Ess
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I was referring to your assertion that the space race was a cover story for ICBM development. If the ICBM comes first and everyone knows about it, human space flight doesn't make a good cover story.
 
Pat Farrell
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Joe Ess wrote: I was referring to your assertion that the space race was a cover story for ICBM development. If the ICBM comes first and everyone knows about it, human space flight doesn't make a good cover story.



An arms race doesn't necessarily go to the side that invents a sharper sword first. It goes to the side who can make the better sword in quantities to provide them to all of their soldiers. The Soviets had a working ICBM, but it wasn't great. The US had none.

I didn't mean "cover story" as they use it in spy novels. But I meant it as an example of government deliberately obfuscating the real goal. Its far easier to get the public to support a race to the moon than it is to get them to support a race to destroy the planet. Even when the results are actually the same.
 
Joe Ess
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Pat Farrell wrote: But I meant it as an example of government deliberately obfuscating the real goal.



I see the space race was a cold war proxy battle. The moon was the high ground. A better ICBM doesn't get you to the moon. Technology developed to get to the moon (life support, food, waste disposal, ball point pens that write upside down) don't transfer to ICBM's.
ICBM's were a deterrent to the godless red menace (or decadent capitalists, depending on which side you were on). I don't think it was necessary to fool the general public about their development.
 
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