For All Mankind: A Peek Into What Could Have Been

What if the Soviets got to the moon first?

Dennis Sanders

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My first memory of the US Space program took place in August of 1977. On that late summer morning, seven-year-old me stood in front of the television watching history being made. On TV, a Boeing 747 flew over the California desert with a special passenger: the Space Shuttle Enterprise. In a few minutes’ time, the test shuttle was going to separate from the jumbo jet for its first flight test.

Enterprise sat on top of the 747 waiting for the moment when it would be released and glide through the air. Enterprise didn’t have any engines, so when it separated from the 747, it would gracefully glide for a number of minutes on its own until it made a landing on a dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

I was still a few months from being born when America landed on the moon and I have no memory of any of the famous Apollo missions. Enterprise’s first flight test was the first time seeing a space vehicle live on television.

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Dennis Sanders

Middle-aged Midwesterner. I write about religion, politics and culture. Podcast: churchandmain.org newsletter: https://churchandmain.substack.com/