Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Five years ago, or so – during the time leading up to the first Sputnikfest, I spent some time shopping on eBay and bought some vintage items related to the Russian space program.  The items were nothing terribly valuable, but were interesting – some books and a filmstrip with images of Russian space ships cosmonauts.  But the neat thing about the purchases was that I bought them from a guy in Moscow.  We struck up a short email dialog after the sale and I discovered he was about my age.  I asked him if he had any particular recollections of the early days of the Soviet space program and he told me “no” he really didn’t.  He told me he was pretty young at the time and in addition, most of what was disclosed to the Russian public was heavily controlled by the government.  He said most of what he knew about those days were things he learned many years later.  I commented about how when I was a little kid I remember being afraid of the Russians – they were these “scary people” somewhere over the horizon that were held out as almost a type of “bogeyman.”  He told me that when he was a kid he was told that the Americans were scary – and stupid – and all the more dangerous because they were so stupid.  (I thought that was rather harsh)  And here we were, these two “children of the Cold War” all these many years later engaging in internet commerce.  With the end of the shuttle program, America’s space program seems to be the equivalent of a car “up on blocks”  and we find ourselves hitching a ride with our old Space Race Rivals to get into orbit.  This past week, on May 14, a U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts launched into space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft – heading up for a visit to the International Space Station.  Here is a link to a Yahoo News slideshow about the mission, which blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan – the same place the Sputnik missions launched from.  By the way, right now on eBay you can buy a Baikonur Cosmodrome cloth patch, supposedly from a Russian military uniform, and it will be shipped to you directly from the Soviet Union - $10.97 plus shipping.  We have come a long way, haven’t we?  Planet Terry

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