Sunday, 6 February 2011

Lift Off

 One of the GB commemoratives "The Genius of Gerry Anderson" issued 11 Jan 2011
5-4-3-2-1, Lift Off.  The excitement mounts as the huge engines roar and the rocket starts to move, the supports falling away. Little has changed over the years, technology has improved but the basic way of heading into space has not change. Perhaps some day we might find the secret of anti-gravity as James Blish imagined in his Cities In Flight series but until then we need thundering engines to break free of earth.
 Mongolia 1963 Rocket Blasting Off
 Laika, the first animal in space. It was unknown what the impact of space flight would be on living things. So when Laika was trained and chosen to take flight on Sputnik 2,she was launched into space on 3 November 1957. Unlucky for Laika the Russians did not have the technology to re-enter at this time so her end was not as glorious as her flight unlike
 1961 Czechoslovakia "Gagarin's visit to Prague"
Yuri Gagarin who 4 years later on 12 April 1961 became the first man in space and went on a celebratory tour on his return. His worldwide fame meant that despite being involved in the development of designs for reusable aircraft the Soviet officials were not keen on him returning to space. Probably with good reason for the rockets were very crude and it must have been a hair-raising ride. Sadly he died in a routine training flight in 1968.

The 60s of course were at the hight of the cold war and the race for space was watched all over the world
 USA 1962 - "US Man in Space"
The Project Mercury program ran from 1959 to 1963 with the aim of putting a human in orbit round the world. The astronauts eventually chosen were named the Mercury 7 one of which was

Togo 1962 - Space Flight Commemoration
Alan Shepard, the second person, and the first American into space on 5 May 1961.  He piloted the Freedom 7 mission.  On return he was asked how he felt sitting on to of the rocket waiting for lift-off and he said that it was the fact that every part of the ship was built by the lowest bidder. It did not put Shepard off for he returned to space as commander of Apollo 14 ten years later.
These were the first faltering steps into space and we looked forward to more as John Kennedy made his speech with the famous words:
"We choose to go to the moon. We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..." 
 As I watched the Apollo missions and those grainy black and white photographs of the first steps on the moon it was if the journey into space had just begun and the planets were next.  It was not to be and those dreams of a generation were never fulfilled.  But tomorrow we may go to the stars.
"Apollo 11 launch from Cape Kennedy on 16 July 1969. This mission landed men on the moon for the first time." NASA photograph, City of Liverpool Museum postcard.

The Sunday Stamps meme is hosted by Viridian Postcard. whose suggested theme was Space and Rockets


Postcardy said...

Great post. I really enjoyed reading the history and seeing the stamps that illustrate it.

Bob Scotney said...

This is a great post. I'm pleased you started it with Thunderbirds.

Sheila said...

Wonderful! I particularly like the Mongolian stamps. Poor old Laika. I very nearly used Captain Scarlet from Thunderbirds this week, but remembered I had postcards that would fit the bill.

viridian said...

Goodness great post. I like the Mongolian stamps and the Czech stamp really catches the flavor of the space race and the cold war at that time.

Deborah said...

Great post. Nice set of stamps.

Coffeedoff said...

What a super lot of space stamps. I like the Monolian tall rocket one best.

Dorincard said...

Nice selection! :)