Politics In Space

Putting a man in space wasn’t a scientific feat. It was an engineering, managerial and political triumph. The cost in human lives was more than we knew.

As 40 years have passed since Gagarin’s flight, new sensational details of this event were disclosed: Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space. Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin’s famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday. According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959. “All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published,” Rudenko said.

These were incredibly brave men, and the world knows nothing about them except their bravery. But why were they erased (if only temporarially) from history?

The AstroWife and I watched the movie Dr. Zhivago over the weekend (only my second viewing, and I was much too young to understand it the first time. What a marvelous film!). What struck me more than anything was how completely the politicized fell into evil, even as they had started by trying to do good. It’s called playing God, and it never works, of course. That’s the lesson of history.

So we understand why “they” try to rewrite history. It’s often not convenient. We see it revealed in Pravda, we see it in the NYT, and of course, we see it in political campaigns.

And just as an aside that only tangentially related, let’s have a show of hands, please. In the internet age, who thinks this kind of rewriting of history will work?

Most of us got a few of these e-mails yesterday as well, and if the blogospheric response gives any indicator, McCain didn’t convince anyone.

And even more tangentially, who now thinks that this means “they” will try to control the internet next?

Explore posts in the same categories: domestic, politics, Space

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