Five days after George Floyd died under a policeman’s knee, the sleek Crew Dragon rocket soared into Florida’s skies. Americans were invited to ‘stop everything’ to watch a live stream of the launch. A collaboration between NASA and Elon Musk’s Space X company, it was the first commercial craft to bear astronauts from US soil to the ISS space station. Cameras captured astonishing close-ups of the rocket’s first stage plunging back to Earth for a perfect landing on a drone-ship. Billed as a ‘Launch America’ mission, the event saw President Trump boast of making America ‘number one on Earth’ and ‘making space great again’. Yet even as NASA director Jim Bridenstine evoked the spirit of 1969 ‘to bring people together’, the country was convulsed with #BlackLivesMatter protests. For all the suspense and glory of that fiery cigarette stub streaking through the blue, it couldn’t distract us from the cities burning below. If anything, their juxtaposition only recalled the Space Race’s dark subtext.
Talking of reaching for the stars and finding Earth, can we all doff our helmets to Alexei Leonev who passed away this week? What an extraordinary man. In those early days of space travel, the Space Race recruited plenty of courageous explorers. But rarely were they so articulate about what they experienced, so artistic in their vision. Leonev is best known for undertaking the first ever space walk or EVA. His own paintings show him as a white suit hanging on an umbilical cord above the blue planet. The dark visor reflects the deep, leaves us to guess the emotions of a man untethered from his homeworld.
As Space X's Starship rocket takes to the skies this October, Space Cat Press unveils our own out-of-this-world series of launch events. Our first title, Desert Moonfire: The Men Who Raced to Space is now on sale. To mark its lift-off, we invite you to a book fair, a FREE writing workshop and a book launch featuring model rockets, moon cake, and an explosive story! All this and our first open submission window coming up.
July 20th 1969. Where were you? Were you here at all? Today is 50 years since the first humans touched down on another world. And NASA has invited us to trawl through distant memories and share our Moon-day stories.
As we cruise towards the Lunar Landing 50th anniversary, here’s 5 of the best TV shows, movies and podcasts showing now. Strap in for a warp-jump through decades of nostalgia and awe.
Today marks 50 years since three astronauts blasted off for the Moon on a Saturn V rocket. As if to mark the occasion, tonight’s skies are offering us the red-daubed Moon of a partial lunar eclipse. Perfect opportunity for some spectacular Moon-watching in your own back-garden.
The Space Race would never have got off the ground without science-fiction. It took fables of the impossible to fire up the imagination of space pioneers.