Russians win space race

Russians win space race
By Jim Beacon

A little over three hours from now at 5:56 a.m., on July 21, 2011, the U.S. Space Shuttle will land at Cape Canaveral, successfully completing the last Shuttle flight and officially ending the U.S. Manned Space program. I'm sure it is no accident that NASA planned the landing for today, because today also "just happens" to be the 42nd anniversary of the day Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon — and planted what was then thought to be the victory flag signifying America had won the space race against the Evil Russians.

Except... well, except for the plain fact that, as of today, anyone going into space for duty aboard the International Space Station or any other reason will be doing so from within Russia inside a cramped three-person Russian Soyuz space capsule perched on top of a Russian Soyuz rocket (which was first launched in 1966).

There was some justifiable criticism of the Space Shuttle because it was "old," having been built in the late 1970's — but of course, it had undergone several major updates over the years and at the end was flying with state of the art computers and other modern systems. But, hey, at least we've finally solved *that* problem — we will no longer be flying into space on board an "old" system built in 1977 — no, we will now be flying into space on board an old system built in 1966 instead!

So, I hate to tell everyone this, but given that Russia is the only nation on the earth which is now putting men into space, it's clear who the *real* winner of the Space Race is.

Here Lies the United States of America — One Time Technological and Industrial Leader of Planet Earth.

R. I. P.

Copyright 2011 Jim Beacon with use rights granted to MediaBear

► Space shuttle remembered | A father and son who saw the first space shuttle launch in 1981 recreated the photo 30 years later with the last launch, reports The Atlantic: More> | UPDATE: Last space shuttle returns home and the space shuttle program is over. Atlantis landed at 5:57 a.m. (EDT), July 12, 2011 after its historic ride from the international space station. Follow updates at More>

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