Space: Sweet Little Bird

The U.S. last week passed another milestone in the space age—but this time the milestone was emotional as well as scientific. With the successful countdown and launch of Sigma 7, the near-flawless orbital performance of spacecraft and pilot and the extraordinary precision of impact and recovery, the U.S. space program graduated from quivering apprehension to solid confidence.

Once the men in the space program had done their best and then depended on luck; now they are prepared to take success for granted, rather than being surprised or relieved by it. On the long...

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