From Space Odyssey to Satellite TV

Pop Culture

From Space Odyssey to Satellite TV

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar


s ISRO’s 104 satellites went into orbit today, they added yet another chapter to the ever-expanding book on human flirtation with outer space.

Almost exactly thirty-three years ago, one of the book’s earlier chapters was written. In 1984, NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless became the first human to fly untethered in space. The US Navy Captain exited the Challenger shuttle, wearing a jetpack of his own design, and flew freely in space. McCandless’ backpack was regarded as an important step on the road to technology that would enable astronauts to conduct spacecraft repairs while on long space journeys.