The Right Stuff?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by SpeedoGuy, May 14, 2007.

  1. SpeedoGuy

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    America's female astronaut heros who could have been but never were:

    Female pilots reached for the stars - CNN.com

    The Soviets put Valentina Tereshkova in orbit in 1963. Its too bad America chose not to do the same with its highly qualified female astronauts.
     
  2. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Oh, those fun-loving CNN guys and their hijinks.

    The female Soviet astronauts were no more pilots than Laika was. Just a stunt, some girl grabbed off a factory floor so that Krushchev could rack up another fake accomplishment to demonstrate the superiority of Marxism and Leninism. That's the same reason that the Soviet Union lied and claimed that Yuri Gagarin landed while still inside the Vostok capsule - so the flight would qualify for an international altitude and speed record set up for airplanes. (Vostok, of course, was designed to eject the astronaut before landing.) All a PR show.

    Despite all the whining from our, ahh, progressives over the last few decades, I prefer to think that the West doesn't routinely regard its citizens, male or female, to be mere Bingo counters, to be played arbitrarily for imaginary advantages.
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    What about the CNN piece was fabricated?

    And Republican Senator Jake Garn's 1985 ride on space shuttle Discovery was only for scientific purposes?
     
  4. ClaireTalon

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    The right stuff, are you referring to Tom Wolfe's famous novel? And the movie made from it?

    It tells a lot that women were active in flight service in Air Forces in Europe since WW-I, however, most as trainers and in supporting roles, for transferring aircraft from the factories to the front line air bases. Their activities shifted more and more to the role of test pilots in WW-II and thereafter (Jacqueline Cochran broke the sound wall 4 years after Chuck Yeager, in 1953, and Ann Baumgartner piloted and experimental jet at FL 350 and a speed of 350 kts in 1944), however they were not allowed to carry the professional description of a "military pilot".

    Another descriptive fact is that it was the Navy, and not the AF, where the first women earned their wings as "Naval Aviators" in 1974, the army trained six more women as helicopter pilots during the same year. It wasn't until 2 years later that women were admitted to pilot training programs. Add another two years, and we have 1978 as the year of the first female Air Force pilots. And add another 15 years until you have the first female combat pilots.

    While Big_Dirigible is right that Tershkova was a factory worker, he didn't mention that she had been selected also for having completed her studies in engineering and being a qualified parachutist. Still, the thought behind her was to send a woman into space, as a symbol, while it wasn't her intention to work towards such a flight. The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, had joined NASA in 1978 for astronaut training. And while she had one more flight and another planned, Tereshkova never made a second tour. So, I agree with BD that her flight was more a propaganda action. When I look at the CNN report, I get the impression that the training for Mercury 13 was more an act of show, something to give the space program the appearance of being equal opportunity, with chickening out as late as possible. However, in the long run, the American program produced more female atronauts than the soviet program did.
     
  5. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    No senator (or teacher, or other supercargo) has ever pretended to be the pilot of the shuttle - the "astronaut". And the shuttle has no real function, scientific or otherwise. That's perhaps why nobody even notices shuttle launches nowadays. Shooting senators (or whatever) into space was a stunt, but hardly a pioneering one. If the vehicle was considered to be in the prototype stage (as Vostok certainly was), they wouldn't have been firing off passengers who had no real business being there. The parallels with the Russian stunts are weak.

    The shuttle concept was originally sold to meet a real need for a reusable vehicle for cheap flights to repair satellites already in orbit. Of course what we got was a bloated thing which never gets out to where most of the satellites are. It orbits at about 300 miles up, max. The important communications satellites are in geosynch orbits, 21 thousand miles further out. There are no closer geosynch orbits possible, so that's where they have to be. And the shuttle is in the wrong class of orbits to reach most of the lower altitude weather, earth monitoring, and spy satellites. Those are in polar orbits, launched from Vandenberg. All rockets from Vandenberg are fired to the south. Rockets fired from Canaveral are fired to the east, to insert vehicles into equatorial orbits, which NASA considers more useful for lunar and interplanetary flights. And of course equatorial shots are the only ones which can reach geosynch orbits. The shuttle has never been launched from Vandenberg. So, in short, the shuttle is useless and expensive, and always has been. Its purpose is mainly bureaucratic and political - to pretend that the US is "doing something" in space.

    As for the CNN thing, sorry, I didn't see it. I've seen more than enough of CNN to know what I'll get for my time. The chances of my learning anything I don't already know about the American or Russian space programs from CNN is about as likely as the TV weatherman leaning anything about climate change by skimming through "Meet Mr. Weather". Or did you think that "rocket scientist" in my profile was just a big joke?
     
  6. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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  7. ManiacalMadMan

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    I read some where this morning that the space shuttle Endeavour that was just sent up has problem According to the article there was a worrisome gouge on the belly of the shuttle caused maybe by ice which broke off the fuel tank just after lift off.
     
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