Seventy Three Years Ago Today

The space race begins with the launch of a V2/A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemunde, Germany which becomes the first man-made object to reach space.

Less than nineteen years later, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when he orbited the earth on 12 April 1961 in a Soviet Vostok spacecraft.

And a mere eight years later, unless conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the United States put the first man on the moon on 20 July 1969.

Less than two years after that, the Soviet Union launched the first space station, Salyut, and public-sector extra-planetary supply management began.

Speaking of the space race, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its maiden flight thirty years ago today on 3 October 1985, forty two years after the space race began. Atlantis, the fourth operational space shuttle, flew thirty-three missions and orbited the earth a total of 4,848 times, travelling a distance that was more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Notable missions were it’s 4th, which deployed the Magellan probe bound for Venus, its 5th, which deployed the Galileo probe bound for Jupiter, its 14th, which represented the 100th US manned mission and the first shuttle docking with Mir, its 21st, which was its first docking with the International Space Station (ISS), and its 30th, which was the final Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission.

And eleven years ago, less a day, on 4 October 2004, SpaceShipOne won the $10 Million Ansari XPrize when it became the first-even private vehicle to carry a human being into space.

And this year, Space Exploration Techologies, SapceX, became the first company to ship private cargo to the ISS using its own rocket and ship, the Dragon.

And Virgin Galactic is working on a new SpaceShipTwo that could be ready to take commercial passengers into space as early as next year.

It won’t be long before someone puts up a private space station, and private sector extra-planetary supply management becomes a reality. (And when it does, and you need someone to optimize those supply models, you know who to call.)