by G. Jack Urso
|Early Soviet design for a moon rocket
atmospheric booster platform.
ABC Science Editor Jules Bergman narrates the 1961 segment, when American self-confidence was shaken by the Soviet triumph. Of particular interest here is the Soviet animation of their own plan to go to the moon, already planned in 1961. America would eventually get there first, but in 1961, with Soviet post-war strength at an all-time high, it very much looked like the hammer and sickle would be planted in lunar soil before the stars and stripes.
The piece ends with Bergman interviewing a very young astronaut by the name of John Glenn. Glenn, interviewed a week before Gagarian’s flight, is asked about the real possibility of the Soviets getting a man in space first. Glenn, confident and relaxed, says he’ll be disappointed, but with an enigmatic smile assures everyone, “We got our goals, I guess they have theirs, and the fact they do or do not get a shot off ahead of us will not alter the objects of Project Mercury.”