chapter  7
24 Pages

Space at the Tipping Point

Sputnik announced its presence in orbit with a simple electronic beep in 1957. Only 12 years later, men walked on the Moon. Certainly, reasonable people assumed, it would just be a short matter of time before lunar colonies and planetary exploration expanded the human horizons and became routine, spurring technical advancements beyond imagination. All of that seemed inevitable. But then it was 9 years between the last Apollo flight and the first Shuttle flight, and 16 years between President Ronald Reagan’s space station announcement and the first long-duration crew arriving at the ISS in 2000. Space development was not progressing as rapidly as many people had expected.