The Future of 21st Century Spaceflight Remains Uncertain

SpaceflightBug.jpg

Fifty years ago it was not even certain that humans could survive the experience of spaceflight. With his one-orbit flight, Yuri Gagarin demonstrated that they could. Since that April 12, 1961, feat, (only) 522 people have gone into orbit, an orbiting space laboratory has been continually inhabited since 1998, and 12 astronauts walked on the surface of the moon. Even with this record of accomplishment, the future of 21st century spaceflight remains uncertain. Will humans stay close to planet Earth, or will they some day in the next decades once again set out for distant destinations? Cold War competition sent Americans to the moon. What will be the compelling rationale for this century's human space exploration? The answer is not clear.

Presented by

Dr. John M. Logsdon is professor emeritus at George Washington University. He has written numerous articles, reports and books on space policy and history. Dr. Logsdon is a member of the Exploration Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Technology

Just In