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SPACE AGE BEGAN

SPACE AGE BEGAN October 4, 1957, the world awoke to a new sound. A very weak "beep " coming from outer space. People everywhere tuned their radios to listen to the first man-made artificial earth satellite - Sputnik. The Soviet Union had beaten the United States to space.

It was 500 miles up, traveling at 18,000 miles an hour; and it circled the globe every 96 minutes and it flew over the United States seven times a day. The sound of its incessant beeping fascinated and disturbed the nation.

FIRST MAN IN SPACE

The Space Age began or October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first Earth-orbiting satellite -Sputnik. It

weighed 184 pounds (83.6 kilograms). The highest extent of its orbit was 584 miles (942 kilometers). It circled the Earth every 96 minutes and remained in orbit until early 1958, when it fell back into the atmosphere and burned.

The effect of Sputnik on an unsuspecting world was electrifying. The United States was especially surprised and embarrassed. The public's attention was immediately directed to the failure of the schools to teach mathematics and science adequately. Although this failure was not fully remedied, the United Stales did put its first satellite into orbit on January 31, 1958. The space race had begun.

Just as the Soviet Union beat the United States into space with Sputnik in 1957, so it was first to send an astronaut into space in 1961. The Soviet cosmonaut's name was Yuri Gagarin, who graduated from the Air Force school at Orenburg in 1958. Gagarin went aloft in the spaceship Vostok 1 on April 12,1961, at 9:07 a.m. He orbited the Earth once in one hour and 29 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers). The ship landed the same day at 10:55 a.m. It was Gagarin's only space flight.(1481)

 

First Electronic Computer

The first fully automatic large-scale calculator was built by Howard Aiken of Harvard University working with engineers from International Business Machines Corporation. It was called Harvard Mark I and was completed in 1944. Data were entered on punched cards, and output was on punched cards or processed on an electric typewriter. It was a large machine - 15 meters long and 2.4 meters high.

The first generation of what can be called a real computer, not just a calculator, was the Colossus, put in operation in 1943 in Bletchley Park, near London, England. It was used to decipher German codes in World War II The Colossusi however, was built only for this task. The distinction of the first general-purpose computer goes to a machine known as ENIAC - Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator - designed and built by J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly of the University of Pennsylvania in 1946.

These Machines were enormous by today's standards, but they were less powerful than today's computers. They used hundreds of vacuum tubes. The invention in 1948 of the more efficient and much smaller transistor which does the same work as vacuum tube, helped make today's personal computers possible.(1034


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 820


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