Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Love This Stuff

Ten minutes that make ya pause, think, and marvel...

I remember the historical events in the first part of this video, at least the stuff that begins about the time Sputnik was launched.  I also remember somewhat more vividly the mystique and aura surrounding our satellite reconnaissance capabilities during the '70s and the '80s, mainly because I worked on the technical side... on the periphery... of the spy business during that time.  The surveillance satellites discussed in the video played a VERY large part in putting me out of a job, actually, given the fact the ground-based monitoring systems I worked on did the same sort of work at a much higher cost and produced significantly inferior results.

The thing that REALLY blows me away, however, is the fact these satellites and their supporting infrastructure were designed and deployed in the 1950s and 1960s, without the benefits of either internet or massive computing capabilities.  Ain't that SUMTHIN'?

h/t:  This article in The Atlantic.


  1. I remember listening to the beep-beep-beep of the first Sputnik on my old Zenith radio (you remember the old giant reddish cordovan-colored box with the wristwatch-like metal linked gold strap on top and the big anodized gold ring with the two-pronged tuner arm around the big center ring with the big egg-shaped tuner knobs?) Remember, Buck, they beat us into space only because the Eisenhower Admin wanted space exploration to be "peaceful" and so entrusted the main effort to a joint civilian/Navy effort (Vanguard) which was a total dud and kept blowing up on the pad on Nat TV? IIRC they finally got one in space (Explorer I) post Sputnik but was so unreliable that the Eisenhower Admin had to reluctantly turn to the Army (Jupiter MRBM) & AF (Atlas MRBM) for an all-military dependable launch source. Hell, they're still using the Atlas today..

    PS: Didn't my Blackhawks beat some team last night to go out in 2011 winning their last game of the year? What was the name of the team they beat? Any ideas, Buck? I forget..

  2. Sorry, Buck, me, above--as if you couldn't tell.. :)

  3. Buck, Check your spam, looks like I had a long anon post and a gig about the Hawks win go down the tubes. Happy New Year as well!

  4. Moogie: Yup.

    Virgil: We never had a Zenith, so I don't remember that model. But I DO remember listening to Sputnik on my Ol' Man's big-ass Hallicrafters World-Band radio... the kind that had city names on all the different bands and looked pretty exotic to my 12 or 13 year old eyes.

    In re: your Hawks. Isn't that the same team that got shut out by the lowly Kings... at HOME... three or four nights ago?

  5. Buck/

    Re the Kings. OUCH! You HAD to remind me, didn't you...'course I did poke the wasp's nest.. :)

  6. All this makes some of the ol' digraphs and trigraphs go further into the past.

    GG, TK, and so forth. (I have no idea what all those combinations mean!)


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