Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Gagarin, Armstrong & Laika

It's a shame that what Yuri Gagarin achieved will forever be equated with the Cold War and the Soviets and Americans ideological tussle rather than as one of our greatest achievements.
On the news channel RT (Russia Today) they were describing Gagarin's double of being the first human in space and the first human to orbit the earth as the most important achievement in the space race. As they would being proud Russians.
Over on CNN, it was acknowledged as a great achievement but they argued that the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon as the pinnacle of the space race. As they would being rightly proud Americans.
Neil Armstrong is undoubtedly the more famous and his actions more symbolic but without Gagarin, Armstrong wouldn't have been stepping off that lander and into the history books.
Yuri’s space flight ensured that President John F Kennedy pushed the USA’s space ambitions up the list of priorities and there probably wouldn’t have been a man on the Moon just nine years later. Gagarin’s achievement could be said to have changed the course of world history.
Gagarin's could be the most important for mankind, he paved the way for every astronaut that followed, but Armstrong's the more significant because it showed man can leave our own planet, stand on other bodies in the solar system and return safely.
Unfortunately, once the moon was landed upon the space program cooled and the next giant step of a man on Mars, never materialised and due to financial constraints, is unlikely to be revived in our lifetime.
So instead of regressing back to the days of the Cold War we should celebrate both the Soviet and Americans feats, both as hugely important as each other and spare a sad thought for little Laika too who beat them both out of the Earths atmosphere.


Anonymous said...

One of my bosses commanded a couple of shuttles and lived on the MIR. because of him i got to meet buzz aldrin. we had breakfast. very cool. this is really weird - he puts his pants on one leg at a time...


Lucy said...

My second thought was did you find out if he was bitter about Neil getting all the glory or what he thinks about being made into a doll?

My first thought was why was you watching him put his pants on and why was he not wearing pants when you got there?

Anonymous said...


it seemed that buzz was bitter about many things. he was not, and is not liked very much at nasa. they needed him because he designed the docking system used by the LEM and the orbiting ship. he seemed a bit sneaky to me... still, he was on the friggin moon!!!

concerning your first thought - he was wearing pants, but it was cold and he needed a snowmobile overall since we were about to end breakfast and go ice fishing. maybe i should say he puts his snowmobile overall on one leg at a time...


Cheezy said...

My two favourite memories of Buzz Aldrin (apart from him walking on the moon, which I must admit is a pretty special thing to have on your CV) are:

1) when he was interviewed by Ali G, who immediately called him 'Buzz Lightyear' and then asked him if he thought man would ever walk on the sun, and

2) when he was confronted by one of those 'hoax moon landing' cranks who called him a cheat and a liar, so Buzz simply punched him in the face!... Nice one... Well you would wouldn't you?

Lucy said...

I didn't realise Buzz was not liked at NASA. I thought he might be bitter just because what he did was magnificent but everybody just remembers Armstrong. Still, he has got a doll named after him and Armstrong hasn't so that should make him a bit happier.

Buzz and Prescott must have gone to the same charm school. The man on the sun line did make me laugh though.