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[Opinion] Space Programs

Posted August. 08, 2003 21:59,   


The Soviet Union launched the mankind`s first satellite Sputnik 1 on October 4 1957. One month later, it sent Sputnik 2 and again six months later Sputnik 3. Russians were also far ahead of Americans in manned spacecrafts. Yuri Gagarin, the world`s first astronaut, said `Earth is all green,` as he watched over the planet aboard the Bostock 1 launched on April 12 1961. Watching Russians sending one spaceship after another, Americans were in a state of shock. Then President Eisenhower even apologized to the people. American pride was left wounded until the Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon July 21 1969.

Ancient Greek writer Lukianos once wrote about a man flying to the moon with birds` wings. This story is a testament to mankind`s long-held dream of traveling to the outer space. We say dreams will come true. Now we are living in a space age. Countries are in fierce competition with each other to explore the outer space. Some 8,000 satellites have so far been sent to the orbit. 1,000 of them are still up and running, conducting such missions as monitoring, surveillance and weather forecasts.

Space programs are bound to greatly affect the future of mankind in almost all areas –space factories rolling out bearings, semiconductors and medicines, space laboratories conducting research on physics, biology and medicine, space care facilities for patients who need to be treated in a gravity-free clean environment and space power plants turning solar energy into microwaves. The military is leading the space development efforts, in particular. The so-called killer satellites will destroy enemy`s missiles using laser beams. Mirror satellites, which reflect high-energy laser to shot down missiles, are also being developed.

This country has only begun to lay the foundation for space programs. The groundbreaking ceremony of the National Space Center was held in Oeinaro-do, Goheung-gun in South Cholla Province yesterday. When the center is completed at the end of 2005, it will be the 13th country to have a launching pad. We already successfully sent a rocket developed by our own technology to the space in November last year. Now is the time to become fully independent in space technologies. Hope that the space center located in the island on blue South Sea will become a mecca of space programs and a tourist attraction like Kennedy Center in Florida, U.S.

Song Moon-hong, Editorial Writer, songmh@donga.com