Mobile Ed has always been interested in Space. Way back in the dark ages we began touring withour Sky Dome portable planetariums and taking them into schools so that young students could begin to understand the universe in which we live. And through the years we have kept a keen eye on all the events and breakthroughs connected with Space and Space exploration.
Well today is an important day.
On October 4, in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. Today, we hardly think about all the satellites floating around the planet, so used to the idea have we become. But in 1957, this was earth shattering news. The launch of Sputnik I put fear into the hearts of Americans, and filled them with rage as well. On one hand, there was the nagging knowledge, in the middle of the Cold War, that a Russian object was passing over our heads every day. Then there was the rage at having been beaten into Space by our enemies. It seems somewhat laughable now, but in the middle of the Red Scare and with fall out shelters appearing in suburban basements, the fear was palpable at the time and Sputnik made it worse.
The launch of Sputnik I was a pivotal event that commenced the “Space Race” in ernest. It wasn't long after that that we caught up in the area of satellites. Then came the era of manned Space flight and the Mercury Space Program. The hoopla over the “original seven” astronauts was captured brilliantly in the film The Right Stuff, based on the book of the same title. America loved her astronauts.
And the age of Space exploration had begun.
Well another important anniversary is celebrated on October 4.
On October 4 of 2004, another milestone was reached. On that day the space ship SpaceShipOne became the winner of the Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight, by being the first private craft to fly into space. The age of commercial space flight was dawning.
But another event of importance occurred the very day that SpaceShipOne won it's prize.
On October 4, 2004, just as SpaceShipOne was launching a new era of Space exploration, a 67 year old man born in Oklahoma, passed away quietly in California. That man was Gordon Cooper, one of the “original seven” Mercury astronauts. Mr. Cooper had flown the last of the Mercury capsule flights, Faith 7. He orbited the Earth 22 times and spent more time in Space than the previous five astronauts combined, 34 hours, 19 minutes and 49 seconds. He later flew as a command pilot on Gemini 5 and was involved in the Apollo program. In later life he served as a consultant for the Walt Disney Company.
Gordon Cooper was there at the beginning of manned Space flight and we like to think it would have pleased him to see the beginning of a new age in that field beginning as he was taking his leave of this Earth.
In 2012, the ashes of Gordon Cooper were included in the cargo of the SpaceX flight launched to the International Space Station.
We at Mobile Ed firmly support the investigation and exploration of Space, and continue to do our part to encourage the engineers and pilots of the future. From Sky Dome Planetarium, the foremost mobile planetarium available in this country, to The Invisible Wonder, teaching kids about principals of flight, to The STEM Museum, encouraging future engineers and scientists, our programs are designed to propel a new generation into the wonders of science, technology and engineering.
We think Gordy might have liked that, too. :-)
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fieldsof science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN. He also spent ten years coordinating assembly programs for the elementary school where his own children went to school.