An evening pause: Fifty years ago today Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the second Russian to fly in space, and the first to stay in orbit more than one day. During his seventeen orbit flight he also was the first human to experience space sickness and to sleep in space.
The newsreel below is somewhat comical, as the Soviets were not very forthcoming with information. To provide visuals the newsreel used film footage showing a V2 rocket from World War II, as well as a very unrealistic globe with an equally unrealistic spacecraft to “demonstrate the course of an orbit around the earth.”
Nonetheless, because the newsreel is of that time, it illustrates well the fear the west had of the Soviet’s success in space. For a communist nation to be so far ahead of the U.S., which so far had only flown two suborbital flights, was a challenge to the free world that could not stand.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him. The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today. He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future. Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.