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The Human Race or Outer Space

Thesis The space program is still a viable means of advancing science for the betterment of humankind and should continue.

I. The race for space.

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A. The beginning.

B. Kennedy’s announcement.

C. Some do not agree with the program.

II. The success of the mission.

A What is the space program doing for us?

B. Maybe there are benefits.

III. The Spinoffs.

A. Lightning suppression.

B. Cancer detection device.

C. Bacteria killing.

D. Extreme foam.

IV. The quest continues.

A. The nature of the beast.

B. Still Getting a return.

C. What is next?

Outer Space or the Human Race

The space program has a rich and glorious history that over the years has served many purposes. The modern space program derived its roots from a man named Wernher von Braun. As a boy, von Braun “ became obsessed with rocketry, and many who knew him held that the boy was slightly touched in the head because he often spoke buoyantly of man one day going to the moon” (Breuer ). Wernher von Braun never lost sight of his dream. After many turbulent years of developing rockets for Hitler’s Third Reich, he was brought to the United States of America. He was not alone. All together, 1,000 German scientists and their families were brought to the United States. About 1,000 more were kidnapped by the Russians. This was the beginning of the Cold War. Both countries wanted technological superiority in the areas of missiles and rockets. Russia scored the first victory on October 4, 157 when they successfully launched and orbited a satellite named Sputnik I. “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established on July , 158 when president Eisenhower signed it into law” (Launius ). On May 5, 161, president Kennedy unveiled the commitment to execute project Apollo in a speech on urgent national needs.

In announcing the lunar landing commitment he said “If we are to win the battle that is going on

around the world between freedom and tyranny, if we are to win the battle for men’s minds, the

dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all,

as did the Sputnik in 157, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere who are

attempting to make a determination of which road we should take…We go into space because

whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share” (64)

President Kennedy also said, “ I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon…” (65). Many people did not agree with president Kennedy. Initial NASA estimates of the cost of Project Apollo were about $0 billion (67). To the average tax-paying citizen the cost of the project was far too expensive. Some people did not see any logic in going to the moon. Did we not have enough problems right here on earth? Another sentiment was that the last time we got involved with competing with the Russians we only succeeded in building enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet.

What nobody knew at the time was all the benefits that would be reaped from the space program. Then and now, the space program is still a viable means of advancing science for the betterment of humankind and should continue.

There are many people who think that going to the moon was a spectacular display of the United States powers but now it is time to stop playing in space. They think that too much money is being spent on the space program when so many other programs here in the United States are being neglected. Each space shuttle cost $1.7 billion to build and each launch cost $450 million (Dunbar 5). Consider if there were 1 launches of the shuttle per year, the cost would be around $5,400,000,000. not including the cost of the vehicle. In their eyes, that much money could be spent on numerous programs to help our citizens. For example, approximately 505,77 people could earn associate degrees at a technical college (at the current rate) for the cost of one shuttle and one launch. The money could also be used to offset the cost of heath care. Our elderly could be given free nursing home privileges. Social security would not be in danger. Property taxes could be offset with the surplus of cash we would have if the space program were canceled. The fact of the matter is that government programs too numerous to mention could be saved or created with the trillions of dollars we would have in excess. Another fact is that the there are no plans to discontinue the space program now, or any time in the future.

From the programs beginnings there have been people who have wanted it shut down. When Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins returned from the moon mission, President Richard M. Nixon was urged by some of his advisors to halt the Apollo program (Breuer 16) His advisors felt that there would be disaster in the future. Nixon accepted the potential for disaster on the premise that humankind would benefit by continued peaceful exploration of the moon and universe (16).

The Apollo 11 moon mission was the largest and most successful scientific endeavor man has ever undertaken. One billion people watched (14) as the Eagle touched down on the surface of the moon. Never before and never again has one event captured the hearts and minds of people all over the globe. At that moment, even the most ardent complainer of the cost watched in awe and amazement as Neil A. Armstrong first stepped on the moon’s surface. At 156 A.M. on July 0, 16, Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”(1)

At the time of the Apollo missions, the average American was not aware of the true nature of the successes or the benefits and rewards they would reap from the spinoffs. What was apparent to the tax-paying man-on-the-street was the amount of money being invested in the space program. What were they getting in return for their investment, boxes of lunar rocks? Even today’s shuttle missions do not seem to have any apparent relativity to benefiting humankind. News reports are often times sketchy as to the why and what of the current mission. The truth is that the rewards and benefits are all around us. They are in every aspect of our daily lives and most of us are unaware of how the spinoffs benefit each one of us.

The first spinoffs that made there way into the public seemed to be a rather contemptible trade-off for our money. On supermarket shelves everywhere there was a popular Pillsbury product called, Space Food Sticks. Tasty, nourishing, and about the size of cigarettes, they provided a quick source of energy for active people (Taylor 41). What followed next were various forms of freeze-dried foods. What was not apparent to

consumers were how the advancements of food items trickled over to airline food. Airline food used to be a barely edible meal that probably had its own spinoff; Alka-Seltzer! The coolers used to regulate the body’s temperature inside a space suit were modified into a refrigeration system that did not require batteries or outside power supplies. This system is incorporated into commercial aircraft galleys and is the key factor for the advancement of the quality of today’s tasteful variety of airline food.

Spinoffs from the space program are not always obvious at first. In fact, some are not evident at all unless pointed out. Yet, other spinoffs are not even realized for some time until someone stumbles on a way to incorporate it into commercial use. There are literally thousands of space spinoffs directly benefiting man’s present life on earth (41). They are too numerous to mention all of them. The Following are just a few.

A hundred times per second of every minute of every day lightning strikes the earth (Spinoff 18 ps-1). When lightning strikes a house a multitude of damage can occur to electronic equipment. An inventor named Sam Gasque was developing a new cable for satellite systems. The previous versions had many wires to get the signal from the dish to the house. Sam wanted to make an all-in-one cable that was resistant to lightning strikes. He turned to NASA who allowed him to review research on lightning protection of the space shuttle. With NASA’s help, Sam’s cable was developed and tested. The cable worked so well that not only is it available commercially; plans are being made to incorporate it into airport lightning systems. Down time on airport flight control systems due to lightning strikes will be virtually non-existent thanks to the space program and Sam Gasque.

Space medical specialist have long been intrigued by how and why microgravity affects the immune system (hm-1). NASA began searching for hardware for a machine that could separate and examine cells rapidly. A machine called a flow cytometer was in use by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to evaluate caner cells. It was about the size of a pool table, which was too large for NASA’s purpose. They wanted to use it on the international space station. NASA and the ACS teamed up to create a more compact flow cytometer. The

NASA/ACS team was successful beyond their wildest dreams. Not only did their new compact flow cytometer do every thing they were looking for, it led to the development of a new tool. It is a high flow resolution instrument designed specifically for DNA analysis of solid human tumors (hm-). The device allows doctors and researchers to better understand the nature of a tumor, and therefore provide better treatment (hm-). The new devices have the potential to become significant tools in fighting cancer (hm-).

Another useful spinoff comes from MRLB International Incorporated. They developed the water purification units for the space shuttle. They use a cartridge that incorporates a resin technology developed by Umpqua Research (hm1-1). The cartridge removes bacteria from water and exceeds the American Dental Associations recommendations for dental unit water lines (hm1-1). The cartridge has powerful commercial applications. It is estimated that thirty-five percent of all deaths in developing counties are due to contaminated drinking water. Since no energy is needed to flow water through the cartridge, it is a cost effective means for purifying water in developing countries (hm1-).

NASA needed a lightweight fire resistant thermal and acoustic material to use on the shuttle. Inspec Foams Inc. manufactured a foam product called Solimide ® (t-1). On the shuttle the foam is used for thermal insulation and protecting delicate equipment. It can withstand the harsh environment of space. Properties of the foam include remaining resilient in temperatures ranging from minus 00 to plus 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Virtually no smoke or toxic byproduct is generated upon decomposition (t-1). Solimide is now used in commercial applications for airframe manufacturers. The foam is used in place of fiberglass insulation saving hundreds of pounds in weight reduction in turn saving fuel cost and natural recourses.

The International Space Station is being constructed in cooperation with several leading nations. Humankind’s quest for knowledge is never ending. What started as a young boys dream-come-true has become seemingly endless endeavor of technological advancements.

The benefits of the space program number in the thousands with thousand more to come in categories that range from health and medicine to entertainment. When a new technology is discovered by the space program,

it always seems to trickle down to enhance our lives. It is the nature of the beast. NASA has proven themselves to be eager to share their findings with the public even going as far as waving rights to patents on joint ventures. Throughout the years from the beginning of the space program until now, the public has invested heavily in NASA. Although millions are spent each year, NASA has the smallest budget of the major agencies in the Federal Government. Its budget has represented less than one percent of the Federal Budget since 177 (Dunbar ). What is the return on our investment? Virtually every aircraft in the sky utilizes technology derived from the space program (). The U.S. aerospace industry generates over $40 billion in annual exports and almost $0 billion in positive balance of trade each year (). New industries have been built on the technologies that made space exploration possible, including personal computers, advance medical equipment, communications satellites, weather forecasting, and natural resource mapping ().

We cannot possibly know what the future holds in store for space exploration. We do know its glorious past and the various benefits we reaped from it. It was all made possible because so many believed in the dream and did not ever give up hope that it could come true. It is nice to know that that there are still dreamers out there.

Work Cited

Breuer, William B. (1) Race to the moon Americas duel with the Soviets. Westport Praegers Publishers.

Launius, Rodger D. (14) NASA a history of the U.S. civil space program. Malabar Krieger Publishing


Dunbar, Brian (1) NASA FAQs, Part NASA and the U.S. Space Program. 7 Feb. 1. 8 Aug.1

http//www.nasa.gov/qanda/nasa space.html.

Spinoff 18, NASA, Electrifying Development. 10 Aug. 1


Spinoff 18, NASA, Cancer Detection Device. 10 Aug. 1


Spinoff 18, NASA, Beating Back Bacteria. 10 Aug. 1


Spinoff 18, NASA, Foam The “Right Stuff” For Extreme Environments. 10 Aug 1


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