RoCkInG The Boat!

The Blog That Feels Lonelier Than A Parking Lot When The Last Car Pulls Away

10 Years At Sea On The World Wide Web!

a boat




My Space


Locations of visitors to this page
Visitor Locations

Add to Technorati Favorites

Mike Daisey
Gallivanting Monkey
Flaming Banjo
Some Guy Named Paul
Yellow Dog
The Rachiest One
Moe Is Their Leader

Metroblogging Seattle
The SunBreak
This Modern World
Warren Ellis Rages
Paul Mullin Rants

AFTRA National
AFTRA Seattle
Actors Equity
Theatre Puget Sound
Seattle Actor
Annex Theatre
Center For Wooden Boats
NW Film Forum
Comfort Music
Aisle Say

Caution Zero Network
The Half Brothers
Harvey Danger
Purty Mouth
Hands Of Kali

The Great Rambini
Got Beets?
The Baying Hound
Giraffes & Elephants
Dr. Peoni
The Beige One
Condiment Grrl
Ghetto Hipster
Don't Worry Be Hambly
Bookkisser (Molly II)


(Google Calendar)


November 2002

December 2002

January 2003

February 2003

March 2003

April 2003

May 2003

June 2003

July 2003

August 2003

September 2003

October 2003

November 2003

December 2003

January 2004

February 2004

March 2004

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

October 2012


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Look, Up In The Sky

Couldn't let the day pass without acknowledgement of one of the defining events of the 20th Century. For those who aren't already clued-in, today is the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Sputnik I, the first earth-orbiting artificial satellite.

Although this momentous event occured a full three years before I was born, the legacy of that tiny, beeping sphere nevertheless shaped a large portion of my upbringing. Not only was I quite literally reared on the sights and sounds of innumerable manned and unmanned rocket launches (some of my earliest memories, muddied though they may be in the loose temporality of a small child, are of sitting on my father's lap watching early Mercury lift-offs) resounding in my eyes and ears, but at the same time I was privvy to a significant cultural shift away from the omnipresent dread of "the nuclear nightmare" that defined much of the post-WW-II era, and toward Kennedy's now-famous "new frontier" of the 1960's. To say that I was born at the beginning of a new era in human history, presumptuous as it may sound, would not, I think, be inaccurate.

Of course, other geo-political and cultural issues came to the fore during that same period: our increasing military involvement in S.E. Asia; the counter-culture movement, and others, but for me, those pale in comparison. Space was the paradigm of the age in which I was born and grew up, and for those who know me well, it is still one of the things with which I most strongly define my sense of self.

I was less than six months old when Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin powered into orbit on the top of a Soviet R-7 rocket, essentially the same launch configuration that had put Sputnik into space three and a-half years previously. I probably saw (although it would be absurd to claim to remember) Alan Shepard's publically televised 15 minute sub-orbital flight mere weeks later. The same goes for John Glenn's February 1962 orbital mission.

But after that, the memories become clearer, sharper even as the frequency of such events accelerated with lighting speed: sitting in our ranch house outside Laramie, WY, watching later Mercury launches in glorious black-and-white; listening to CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite - to me, the veritable voice of the "space age" - describing Gemini missions, and of course culminating in that unforgettable July evening in 1969, sprawled in front of a color TV in the living room of our house in Lake Oswego, OR, while a grainy black-and-white image conveyed the ghostly form of a space-suited Neil Armstrong as he hopped down the ladder of his lunar module "Eagle" to take that first furtive "giant leap for Mankind".

Since then, there have of course been innumerable other triumphs, and tragedies - both for the Soviets and for ourselves - as we continue to take our first small steps off the planet we call home. And despite the complexities of international politics and the fickleness of public support, we endeavor to live up to the legacy left us by the herculean efforts of the likes of Korolev (a fascinating story, his, and one almost completely unknown to most people outside of the space fraternity) and von Braun, Gagarin, Glenn, Aleksei Leonov, Valentina Tereshkova, Ed White, Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins, Lovell, Schmitt, Young, Crippen, Ride, Krikalev, McAuliffe, Yang, so many others, all of whom, like those of us born into the First Age of Space (but unlike them, destined to watch the skies from below) are children of the new era, born out of the fear and paranoia of the past, and destined, despite the backsliding of the less visionary among us, to continue to take "small steps" into the future.

All thanks to a little silver ball flung into the unknown on a column of smoke and flame a half century ago today.

Labels: , ,

Posted byCOMTE on 2:07 PM

0 Scurvy Dogs Have Gathered 'Round The Scuttle Butt

This page is powered by Blogger. Why isn't yours?