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10/16/2003 Archived Entry: "You're just jealous, NASA"
Posted by CKL @ 12:08 AM PST

From the New York Times' reportage on China's first man in space:

"It's significant that we now have a third nation to send a man into space," said Roger Launius, the former chief historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But Mr. Launius noted that the mission was making few waves in the United States and Russia, where sending astronauts into near-orbit of the Earth is commonplace.

"In the overall scheme of things, this is not a technologically mesmerizing event," Mr. Launius said. "A lot of people are saying, `Been there, done that.' "

Maybe it's not a technological advancement, but it's a giant leap for Mankind (pun intended) that more nations are really getting into the manned space exploration game. And the U.S. doesn't want to admit it, but Russia has been more consistently successful with its space program than America ever was. We have spurts of national interest, as in the 1960s with going to the Moon, but then we move on to the next fad.

Russia and China are old countries. They've got thousands of years of history and culture to inform their decisions. When they get into something big, they're in it for the long haul. These are the countries that will get it done and keep doing it. These are the people who will move humanity into space.

We may have the coolest new toys, but being first is not always the most important thing.

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