The sixties

I was born in 1954, meaning I was in my mid-teens in the late 1960s.

I don’t really think I remember Sputnik, but I do certainly remember coming home from school, seeing the tv on and Yuri Gagarin orbiting the Earth. The first man to leave this planet, if only a short distance, and come back safely.

If he were alive today, he would be hugely famous, 60 years after his achievements.

I don’t remember the first American in space, Alan Shepard, but do definitely recall John Glenn being the first American to orbit the planet.

I was hooked on space. I knew all about the early astronauts, not so much about cosmonauts, for obvious reasons. My favourite was John Young, who died recently.

I could tell you all sorts about the missions, what happened, who achieved what, and, of course, Apollo flights to the Moon. Following Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the decade is out and return him safely to Earth, the beginning of the space race.

I always suspect that, had Kennedy not been assassinated, the trip to the Moon might have been rather different. But, as we know, Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquility in July 1969, fifty years ago this month nd a full year and a half before the dealine set by JFK.

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