Sputnik moment, revisited

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

I wrote this comment on a site just after Ofailure said we need a Sputnik moment. What a schnook. Here are the facts about the Sputnik and Explorer spacecraft and other socialist junk versus the excellent equipment created by freedom.

Socialists have to be first, not best. It’s part and parcel of the propaganda. Remember the Soviet space program?

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite, but complete garbage. It died in about 20 days because it used dry cell batteries and gave no meaningful scientific data except in the negative. Read this from Wikipedia:

1) Apart from its value as a technological first, Sputnik also helped to identify the upper atmospheric layer’s density, through measuring the satellite’s orbital changes. 2) It also provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere. 3) Pressurized nitrogen in the satellite’s body provided the first opportunity for meteoroid detection. If a meteoroid penetrated the satellite’s outer hull, it would be detected by the temperature data sent back to Earth.

Let’s go through those. 1) So if it’s orbit didn’t change then nothing would be found. Dumb. 2) Maybe. You can bounce radio signals from the Earth through the ionosphere and get pretty much the same info. 3) IF…a meteroid penetrated the satellite. What if the skin was too thick to allow penetration by smaller particles that might be significant scientifically? Ooops! And it had to penetrate the satellite’s hull! What if a meteroid penetrated the hull and caused the orbit to change? Wouldn’t that screw up the first test of checking the atmospheric density? Wouldn’t an external grid be a better way to test for these impacts? If there was no penetration, there was no data. Once again, just typical socialist crap.

Vostok 1 was the first manned satellite to orbit the Earth but the spacecraft was so crappy, it didn’t have it’s own parachute; the pilot, Yuri Gagarin, had to eject and parachute to safety, in violation of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale rules which stated the pilot had to take off and land with his craft. So, according to the rules, Gagarin was NOT first. But the socialist French overlooked that and gave him the record anyway.

The first space walk, again by the Soviets and a near disaster. The cosmonaut, Alexey Leonov, almost didn’t get out of the craft. They had to deflate his pressure suit to get out and then it was reinflated per normal use. But when he tried to get back in, he couldn’t and they had to deflate it again, but this time it was deflated to almost zero pressure because he couldn’t fit through the hatch. It damn near killed him.

Now, let’s put these three up against the effort of the United States.

Here is the Explorer 1 info, again from Wikipedia:

The scientific instrumentation of Explorer 1 was designed and built under the direction of Dr. James Van Allen of the University of Iowa containing:

Anton 314 omnidirectional Geiger-Müller tube, designed by Dr. George Ludwig of Iowa’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory, to detect cosmic rays. It could detect protons with E > 30 MeV and electrons with E > 3 MeV. Most of the time the instrument was saturated;

Five temperature sensors (one internal, three external and one on the nose cone);

Acoustic detector (crystal transducer and solid-state amplifier) to detect micrometeorite (cosmic dust) impacts. It responded to micrometeorite impacts on the spacecraft skin in such way that each impact would be a function of mass and velocity. Its effective area was 0.075 m2 and the average threshold sensitivity was 2.5 × 10−3 g cm/s;

Wire grid detector, also to detect micrometeorite impacts. It consisted of 12 parallel connected cards mounted in a fiberglass supporting ring. Each card was wound with two layers of enameled nickel alloy wire with a diameter of 17 µm (21 µm with the enamel insulation included) in such way that a total area of 1 cm by 1 cm was completely covered. If a micrometeorite of about 10 µm impacted, it would fracture the wire, destroy the electrical connection, and thus record the event.

Electrical power was provided by mercury chemical batteries as opposed to the dry cells used in Sputnik. This from Wikipedia again:

Mercury batteries powered the high-power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days. Explorer 1 stopped transmission of data on May 23, 1958 when its batteries died, but remained in orbit for more than 12 years. It reentered the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on March 31, 1970 after more than 58,000 orbits.

Please don’t tell me you think Sputnik had any scientific impact compared to Explorer. Also, Explorer 1 found the Van Allen radiation belts. What did Sputnik find? That socialist crap burns up in the atmosphere just like good American spacecraft. Big deal.

The Mecury spacecraft was much better than Vostok. Not the least of which was it had it’s own parachute to allow for a safe landing. The pilot didn’t need to exit the spacecraft unnecessarily while it was hurtling through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour, as with Vostok.

When Ed White became the first American to walk in space during his Gemini 4 flight with Jim McDivitt, there was no issue with pressurization. The only problem was that the hatch was momentarily stuck. The pilots got it unstuck in short order and everthing went fine.

Technology produced by socialism — unmitigated shit. Technology producted by freedom — the best in the world. Or even out of this world!  



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