2074: Airplanes and Spaceships
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This comic is pointing out that more time has elapsed since the first spaceship flight, than previously elapsed between the first airplane flight and the first spaceship flight.
Airplanes and spaceships are often considered to be related vehicles, under the term aerospace, with degrees in aerospace fields often having aeronautics (airplanes) or astronautics (spaceships) tracks. The jump in technology and performance between the first airplane and the first spaceship was enormous: the Wright Flyer had a max speed of 30 mph, and the first flights reached only about 30 feet above ground, with distances of only 120 to 850 feet. In comparison the Vostok 1 mission of Yuri Gagarin reached orbital velocity of 17,500 mph, a minimum altitude of 91 miles (480,480 feet), and traveled once around the earth (about 25,000 miles). This represents an increase in performance of between about 600 and 150,000 times.
In contrast, although the time since the first spaceflight equals about the same amount of time, performance has not increased much at all. Speeds and altitudes during the Apollo mission were both faster and higher, and distance traveled has increased via space missions that remain in orbit longer, but the overall technology and performance is not much different that that used during the first space mission.
- [A timeline is shown with three dots on it. Each dot has a label beneath the dot, and the two intervals between the dots are also labeled, with lines indicating which dots are belonging to that label.]
- Dot 1:
- December 17, 1903
- First human airplane flight
- Dot 2:
- April 12, 1961
- First human spaceflight
- Dot 3:
- Interval 1-2: 57 years 4 months
- Interval 2-3: 57 years 7 months
- [Caption beneath the frame:]
- Spaceships are now older than airplanes were when we flew our first spaceships
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