History of Technology 2: Humans in Space

What's the biggest takeaway from our race to get into space? Easy: the U.S.A. > Russia. 'Merica! 'Merica!

LanguageEnglish Language
TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

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and the US were political and ideological enemies from the 1950s through the 1990s.

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all that yeah. well the two countries made a habit of bickering and one-upping

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each other for several decades. it was communism this and capitalism that 24 by

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7 .what's important here is that the Cold War was one of the reasons space travel [president on the phone]

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became a thing in the first place. in 1957 both the US and the USSR announced

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that they were going to launch satellites that would orbit the Earth

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and collect scientific data. basically spying on each other. suddenly getting to

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the moon wasn't just a fun maybe one day sort of thing. it was a race. and the

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Soviet Union was totally handing it to the US right out of the gate. by October [men in lab coats]

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1957 the USSR had launched Sputnik 1 the first man-made object to orbit the earth.

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a month later they launched the first live creature into space on the Sputnik

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2 like a stray dog from the streets of Moscow and now her treatment wasn't fun

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and nor was her eventual end. Sputnik 2 was not designed to be retrievable. no

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we're not gonna focus on that poor dog. well all this Sputnik action had

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Americans freaking out. the good ol US of A couldn't seriously lose to the

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Russkies right ?right? well by 1961 their Soviets were still winning/ they put the [map of U.S. and USSR shown]

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first man in orbit a fella named Yuri Gagarin/ well then they put the first

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woman in space valentina Tereshkova. what a way to shatter the glass ceiling there

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guys. no doubt the u.s. definitely needed to step up its game .so President John F

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Kennedy announced to the world this nation should commit itself to achieving

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the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning

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him safely to the earth. well that was a nutty thing to say because the US had [crew helping with trip to the moon waves hands]

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put an object in space for a grand total of 60 minutes at that point.

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oh sure John we'll just pop on over to the moon there hit control off the

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leader. but Americans loved it so the political pressure to figure out space

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travel went off the charts. it turns out that Russian technological research and

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pressuring scientists it's a really really bad idea. in the insane rush to

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get to the moon both America and the Soviet Union ended up with accidental

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deaths all over the place. in the u.s. three astronauts died in a fire while [headlines shown]

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testing out the Apollo one. in the Soviet Union another astronauts parachute

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failed while he was aborting a failed test. both countries took it down a notch

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but well not too many notches. there were tons of problems to be solved in both

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countries were determined to solve them. here's a short list of the issues with

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space travel. number 1 navigation. sounds like it wouldn't be hard to find the

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moon and it's a pretty big thing out there and it tends to glow. but it turns

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out there's an incredibly narrow route we have to take if we want to hit the [smiling men in lab coats]

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moon at the right spot at the right time and at the right speed. and in the 1960s

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there was no surie calmly guiding us to our destination. NASA had to build one of

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the world's first computer guidance systems using pretty primitive computer

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hardware. our microwave probably has more advanced technology than that they did.

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well another issue was food and water. spoiler alert humans have to eat and

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drink. engineers didn't want too much ship space taken up with food and water

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so they designed a water recycling machine to reuse most of the water on

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board and yes ew. and they figured out how to freeze dry food to make it [astronauts in a spaceship]

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smaller and significantly less appetizing. then there was the issue of

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actually surviving out in space itself. somehow people were gonna have to exit

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their shuttle and you know walk around on the moon. but space is kind of cold. we

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stinks. and there's no air which stinks more. so engineers and scientists

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designed the first spacesuits. well scientists and engineers also needed to

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figure out how to connect to spaceships. because of the way a moon landing has to

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work there's a big ship that makes the full distance and then there's a smaller

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shuttle that pops down to the surface of the Moon. [taxi cab drives over moon's surface]

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that means NASA I had to figure out how to let two ships connect and lock

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together in space. starts to sound kind of impossible right ? well apparently it

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wasn't because on July 20th 1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong and

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Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in the Apollo 11. well Neil Armstrong got to be

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the first human to set foot on the moon famously saying that's one small step

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for a man one giant leap for mankind. we wonder if they played rock paper [Armstrong and Buzz Lightyear on the moon]

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scissors to see who got to say that cool line.

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