The 1960s began The Space Age:
• 1961–April 12, Yuri Gagarin, Russian Cosmonaut, makes the first flight from earth into space and is the first human to orbit the globe.
• 1961–May 1, Alan Shepard, American Astronaut, makes a suborbital flight.
• 1961–May 25, President Kennedy famously declares, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” (The goal was achieved.)
• 1962–Astronaut John Glenn is the first American to orbit the globe.
• 1967–The musical “Hair” features a song by James Rado and Gerome Ragni whose first lines can be considered an ode to human fascination with the wider universe:
“Good morning, starshine
The Earth says hello
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below”
• 1968—The movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” created by the future historian Arthur C. Clarke and the cinematic genius Stanley Kubrick–now in 50th anniversary re-release–is considered one of the most important movies of all time, posing questions humans continue to pursue: Where did we come from? Where are we going? [A personal note: I saw the original “2001: A Space Odyssey” in Cinemascope with my father in Manhattan. I hope to see it again in its re-release.]
• 1969—July 20, American Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin make the first human moon landing as Michael Collins pilots the Apollo 11 craft overhead.
So now we are in the sixth decade of the Age of Space.
My forthcoming book, a future history to publish in 2019, is titled FUTURE CHRONICLES: THE FIRST 500 YEARS OF THE AGE OF SPACE. It will be a history of the Space Age … the nearly 60 years that have already elapsed and the 440 years to come.
23 May 2018