Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Eyes in the Sky

Today on Far Future Horizons we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Space Age. 

On October 4th, 1957 Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, was launched and humanity entered the Space Age. 

To mark the occasion we will focus our attention on those ever present orbital sentinels and eyes in the sky that have become the indispensable tools of our technological civilization – the artificial satellite. Earth observation satellites continually monitor our world’s weather, environment and human activity (both civilian and military). Telecommunication satellites are the nerve cells of the twenty-first century’s telecommunications network.

Since October 4th, 1957, with the launching of Sputnik I, satellites have transformed our world into a global village. As we enter the second phase of the Space Age we can expect satellites to play an ever increasing role in serving and maintaining human civilization in the areas of long term weather forecasting, global surveillance and perhaps even in controlling the world’s weather and climate.

To explore the role of the artificial satellite in our modern world we look back in time to the dawn of the space age with two very informative documentaries: Disney's Eyes in Outer Space (1959) and NOVA's Sputnik Declassified.

The entire collection of Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrow Land: Disney in Space and Beyond is available on DVD from

NOVA's Sputnik Declassified can be purchased on DVD from PBS Home video.

Disney's Eyes in Outer Space (1959)

Weather Command

This is a rare Walt Disney Space documentary that speculates about the possible future of satellites and technology in controlling the weather. Remember, when this documentary first aired, Sputnik had just gone up only two years earlier.

Sometime in the future, teams of weather warriors working in war rooms scan the Earth with weathersats.

When a hurricane is seen approaching the Bahamas and Florida, a graphic weather display plots high-pressure systems over North America. The weather men ready their technological assault on the storm.
Weather Weapons

Commanders order cloud-seeding efforts to force rainfall over Kansas and Labrador. Giant seeding towers blast silver iodide into the fronts while robot planes attack them from above. High- and low-pressure systems are steered into the hurricane’s path. Cloud-seeding missile salvos add to the precipitation power that steers the hurricane out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Once again the steely-eyed staff of Weather Command have averted climatic disaster.

Nova’s Sputnik Declassified

The world changed fifty years ago, on October 4, 1957, when the U.S. public heard the shocking news that the Soviet Union had successfully launched the first satellite, Sputnik I. Why didn’t the U.S. beat the Soviets in this first crucial round of the space race? NOVA reveals an astonishing behind-the-scenes story of the politics and personalities that collided over the earliest efforts to get America into space, long before the founding of NASA. With help from Walt Disney, von Braun’s vision of future space travel swiftly captivated American TV viewers. But, even as he became the first media star of the Space Age, von Braun’s attempts to build space probes were hobbled by inter-service rivalries. In Sputnik Declassified, NOVA details the previously untold story of the technological and political missteps that made the U.S. lose out to the Soviets bleeping electronic silver basketball.

Sputnik Declassified by carlo1974
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