Knowledge Transfer From the Army to Space

As civilians in the modern world, we often don’t realize that many technologies that we now take for granted were actually created from technologies that had some sort of an alternate use. The military is an innovative hub, that has had to reinvent itself in order to remain relevant in today’s world. The internet was actually developed as a military operation, and has now evolved into a technology that is beneficial to the entire globe from various perspectives.

The aerospace world too, has indeed benefitted from military operations and has evolved from its initial stages, where ballistic missiles were once utilised as the baseline of modern rocket technology. With the start of the space race,  was the race to improve the space technology, and see how far the nations can go in terms of their space exploration. Space is the ideal place to channel innovative energy, and generate union and harmony.

Space exploration is something that has always intrigued mankind. From children who stare at the night sky and try to figure out the constellations, to the scientists and engineers who realistically figure out how to get there, the space realm is always thought of as one of those frontiers that was somehow out of reach. With the advent of commercial space corporations such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, the idea of reaching space is something that many of us civilians actually feel we’ll be able to do in our lifetimes.

There is a technological continuum. With the advancement of technology, eventually we were able to develop rockets that were powerful enough to reach lower earth orbits and actually enable space exploration to become a reality. The gravitational force of the Earth is a powerful one, but once you overcome gravity, the exploration of space can then begin. From ballistic beginnings to the Artemis missions, we’ve definitely come a long way. Let’s take a trip down the Space Memory Lane.

A few decades ago, the development of long-distance rockets by the Germans, led the country to realize that they could be utilized as weapons. These rockets had the ability to actually seek targets and approach and detonate with precision. They were utilized in World War 2 in an attack against the British. After that initial shock, countries such as the United States and the Soviet Union decided to create their own missile programs. The efforts were developed in order to ensure that they were able to protect themselves in time of attack.

In order to monitor the prospects of attack, satellites were launched into space. The first satellite was developed by the Soviets and launched in 1957. With the launch of satellites however, a brilliant idea was generated that humans could actually orbit the Earth. In 1961, the Russians then launched their first man to orbit the Earth. The Americans, intrigued by this mission decided to attempt their own space missions and in 1958 and 1962, they were able to launch their own astronauts into space.

After this expedition, the aim of exploring bigger and farther territories ensued. By 1969, US efforts had reached a point where they had developed ballistic technologies, built from the principles of ballistic missiles, that would enable the rockets to reach escape velocity, find their orbital trajectories and reach locations like the moon. The Apollo era was therefore created.

All of this took place within one decade, an amazing feat that led the consciousness of the nation to be changed from one of war to one of innovation and exploration. With time, satellite technology and navigation technology became a technology that was utilized  in everyday life. Evolving from army technology, the nations who developed these technologies realized that it was for the best that these technologies were utilized for good.

Another decade later, new innovations such as the Voyager spacecraft were utilized to explore the deeper regions of space, and enable detailed images of planets such as Jupiter and Saturn to be explored. The gains from all of these activities have inspired the many generations of space explorers that now exist.

Now in 2020, we’ve reached the dawning of a new era, where the focus is reaching and thriving as a species on Mars. It’s an amazing time to be involved in science and technology, especially in the space race. Remembering where it all came from, is a testament to our growth as a human race.