Russia celebrates the Space Exploration Day today. Yuri Gagarin was the first man, who flew into space, orbited the Earth, and successfully returned back to the planet, having landed in the area of the village of Smelovka in the Saratov region.
The humiliation that America experienced was really tremendous. Russians – poor and hungry, they have bears walking along their streets, and the first man in space was Russian! This apparently was the biggest success during the time of the ideological war between the USA and the USSR, the success, which the Soviet propaganda used the best it could. Americans were doing their best to lessen the significance of the first flight of a manned spaceship. As a result, any American citizen, who is interested in space exploration, is now certain that the most important even in the field happened in 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the Moon. Well, maybe there are not many people, who know that the first satellites, which were sent to the Moon, were also Soviet ones: three of them were sent to the Moon in 1959.
It was a Russian scientist Kosnstantin Tsiolkovsky, who theoretically substantiated the space flights. His first works on this subject were published in 1903.
The first liquid-fuel rocket was launched into space by American Robert H. Goddard in 1926. Werner von Braun was actively working on rockets later – the German scientist, who created V-2 long range ballistic missile, which was used by Nazis for bombing London during the years of the World War II. Von Braun moved over to the USA after the war, and continued his research of rocket technologies. Sergey Korolev was the scientist, who was working in that field in the Soviet Union.
By the beginning of the 1950s, the rockets carrying scientific equipment proved their use for studying the superstandard layer of the atmosphere, or the near space, so to speak. But it became evident that an artificial satellite could be better for those objectives.
The real beginning of the space exploration era was celebrated with the first artificial satellite that was launched into space on October 4 1975 by the USSR. The Russian word sputnik (satellite) became world known. The diameter of the first space aircraft was about 50 cm, there was no scientific equipment on it, with the exception for a radio transmitter, but its launch made a path for further research. The Soviet Union launched several other satellites after the first one, and the USA launched their first space aircraft in 1958 – Explorer-1, which transmitted the information about the radiation fields of the Earth.
Three satellites, capable of transmitting high-quality pictures of the Earth, were invented in the beginning of the 1960s. They were used for communication means too. The USA was actively working on the creation of a manned spaceship. One of them, Apollo-11, took American astronauts to the Moon.
The subject of space exploration was basically subordinated to ideological requirements. The progress in the field of space exploration was a powerful weapon of the Soviet propaganda, which demonstrated that the USSR was not behind the technical development of the United States. Both the USSR and the USA were spending huge funds on those works.
The fundamental space exploration principle nowadays is the international cooperation, which is not incidental. The USA, Russia, the European Union, Japan, Brazil, Canada are taking part in the construction of the international space station. China is perhaps the only country, which is by itself in this respect. It is willing to launch its own cosmonaut on its own spaceship for those ideological reasons too.
Needless to mention that the Russian space exploration is currently experiencing hard times. There was even a space tourism project developed as a way out of the hard situation. But on the other hand, Russia was the first country, which realized such a project. The Cold War times are over for good, let’s hope for that. But it should be reminded that Russia has a right to be proud of its role in the field of the space exploration; this should not be forgotten, no matter what the difficulties are.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov