Human Aspirations in the History of Space Flight

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I. Favell (2004), JBIS, 57, 340-347

Refcode: 2004.57.340
Keywords: History, Space flight, Pioneers, Exploration, Mars Society

The chief concern of this brief article is to remember the pioneers and early advocates of space flight and their aspirations: specifically, I refer to the period prior to the commencement of the `space age' with the launch of Sputnik I in 1957. Since that time unmanned scientific satellites and probes have been especially successful, granting us unparalleled access to other worlds and the deep recesses of the Cosmos. For our pioneers, however, the exploration of space was not of exclusively scientific importance: rather, it also held out the promise of uniting nations and even of serving as a conduit for the improvement of our race. When one considers all the data acquired by scientific probes one may legitimately ask, “for what purpose is this information sought?” The pioneers discussed in this article help to remind us that space flight is a human not only a scientific enterprise: this is why this article has been written.

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