Well, for us ‘oldies’ growing up in the 60’s, many things taken for granted today ARE Sci-Fi to us.
60’s… *sigh*, and 70’s
Old sci-fi is amazing as long as one considers context. It is much safer never to solidify a date because it does add that level of humor while considering how science has evolved and how some believed it would evolve. I do prefer scifi with science though, it is painful to read poor logic and science.
1984 by George Orwell
That was ‘Required Reading’ when I was in school in the early 70’s. Even then it seemed years in the future.
1984 was years in the future for the 70s. -;-)
It’s close enough to being true today
That’s the year I was born. So I guess, I am from the future?
If they had gone with the original Saturn V rocket for space flight, instead of the shuttles, we WOULD have been exploring the universe by now. Wernher von Braun didn’t design it to just go to the moon for the Apollo missions. He designed it for space exploration to Mars and beyond. But Nixon despised the space program and NASA, so he went with the cheaper option of the space shuttles.
If they had done the shuttle as originally intended instead of fucking it up to look shiny but be cheaply made, it would have had a better chance of performing as advertised. Would have cost more to operate, but they probably never would have lost a flight. And, had they kept up the same rate of flights they were doing pre-Challenger, the world would have invested so much more into space for the last 30 years, that lunar and Martian missions would almost certainly have been on the menu by now.
The E.T. was supposed to be a separate, manned, atmospheric craft that would have functioned basically as a hefty jet plane, with a bit of rocket boost into near-orbit, and the shuttle would have then separated and had an easy lift from there to orbit. Instead, they took the orbital-only craft, stood it on its end, and called it good. For that matter – if I recall correctly, the craft would have collapsed under its own weight if it weren’t braced by both the ET and the SRBs. It was simply not designed to do what they expected it to, and then they wondered why they were having flaws and critical losses.
I do agree that they would have also gotten further with all-up rocket stacks, but only as compared to the shuttle’s final design. Rockets are huge, but tend to be a series of single-points-of-failure, so they carry inherent risks too. Creating a LEO presence was the most logical first step towards interplanetary exploration, to create a staging and supply depot in space (You wouldn’t build a car-boat-bicycle to cross the ocean, why build a single vehicle to cross space?), it’s just that they then basically gave up anything but lip service after they screwed the shuttle concept up.