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Freedom 7


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I overlooked the fact that yesterday saw the sixtieth anniversary of America's first manned space flight - Alan Shepard's sub-orbital hop aboard Mercury-Redstone 3, better known as Freedom 7. Back then, of course, it generated huge excitement, but now coverage of manned space missions is patchy - did you know that the Crew Dragon 1 astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday morning? First American night splashdown since Apollo 8, but if they mentioned it on TV I missed it.


We've obviously come a long way since Shepard's flight, though he and everybody else would surely have expected us to have gone a lot further - a Moonbase and footprints on Mars at the very least. Unfortunately you don't get Buck Rogers without the bucks, or whatever the quotation is - without the will of the politicians we're not going anywhere.


I just hope that come the 75th anniversary we're not still stuck where we are now.

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"No bucks - no Buck Rogers" - from the film script of "The Right Stuff". It was never mentioned in the book.


As something becomes more routine, it becomes less newsworthy. That is fully to be expected. When an Avro Lancastrian took off from Heathrow bound for South America in 1946 it made headline news and the newsreel cameras were there to record it. Now, dozens of airliners take off every day for far flung destinations and nobody notices.

Once something has become routine (or APPARENTLY routine, in the case of the Space Shuttle)  news media will only notice when something goes catastrophically wrong.

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