April 12 marks the anniversary of the launching of 27 year old cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into near space where he in his Vostok made a single orbit of the Earth on a spaceflight lasting 108 minutes. I am fascinated with the story of Gagarin. A mere eight years later the US had men on the moon.
I have been thinking lately that, although the space program may not have reached the heights predicted at this stage of the game, humanity isn't doing too badly with space flight, exploration and travel. The ISS actually had a dramatic experiment regarding dark matter discovery last week, Kepler and it's exoplanet discoveries, Cmdr Chris Hadfield is tweeting amazing photos from orbit, asteroid missions are developing, that crazy skyhook landing on Mars, China seems poised to go to the moon within 10-20 years...I understand we don't have the 2001/Odyssey space station, but some of our technology surpassed what was predicted. Cat videos on demand for goodness sake.
I am not one who bemoans the entry of private enterprise supplanting government funded space travel. I think it's the next logical step...just hopefully more like Outland than Elysium.