I remember October 4, 1957 when Sputnik was launched.
It was a profound shock to people in the United States and the space race was born. One of the consequences
of Sputnik was an increased emphasis on math and science in American schools. In Dallas, the school day was permanently lengthened one hour to help
American students catch up. It has also been my pleasure to met astronauts
James Lovell of Apollo 13 fame, who autographed
my membership certificate when I joined the Circumnavigators Club in 1989, and
Senator John Glenn. So it was a special thrill to
get to visit Star City with 14 fellow
Star City was so secret during the Cold War that it did not appear on any
and cosmonauts lived and worked in a secluded environment.
We saw the working simulator of the Mir Space Station, the hydrolab for weightless training, space food, etc. One of the highlights of the visit was lunch with an
American Astronaut Ken Cockrell and Russian
Cosmonaut Valery Korzun. Ken is a fellow graduate
of the University of Texas and I recognized him from the photos I had seen in the alumni magazine. He is very professional and thoughtful. Valery is a very charming
man and an excellent representative for the cosmonauts. He has spent over a year in space. We also spoke with 3 other American
astronauts and observed 3 Japanese astronauts training.