Gotta Watch: Space spectacular
April 12th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Space spectacular

These videos are sure to put you in a spacey mood. Today's Gotta Watch recognizes the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. Be it jamming out with a rock legend from above the atmosphere or watching 133 shuttle launches in 133 seconds, these videos should feed your need speed and expand your knowledge of the cosmos.

Man's first space flight – It was an amazing feat, and in the battle that was the space race, the former Soviet Union landed a powerful punch when it successfully launched the first manned space flight. Watch cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin make the first-ever orbit of Earth and ignite the race to the first moon landing.


Making music from above – It's a new take on the idea of musical collaboration. Astronaut Cady Coleman makes history by playing the first ever space-Earth flute duet with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.


Super shuttle shuffle – Watch all of the shuttle launches at the speed of light. Well, it's not quite that fast, but you'll see 133 launches in less than two and a half minutes.

Columbia takes flight - It was the beginning of an era. Thirty years ago today the nation's shuttle program began with its first flight.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Science • Shuttle • Solar System • Space • Technology
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dim Mak

    And now I'm going to end with an epic flute solo!

    April 12, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • SgtSerge

      Key workd ...... SOLO =)

      April 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    Lol.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tony marchese

    My suggestion to them 20 yrs. ago would of saved them lives & billions along w/greater progress & development. Simply use engines w/reverse trusters like a heavy passenger jumbo airliner to reduce entry & landing speed. Entering atmosphere w/reverse truster solution to many of their risky life threatening & expensive glider design!! Maybe future space engineers will use this SIMPLE approach that's a 100% safer & cost effective!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • CP in FL

      Tony,
      I like that you are trying to think outside of the box, but a space shuttle has no fuel when it is coming back into the atmosphere. Therefore you cannot "reverse the thrusters" as you put it. Also, I am not aware of a rocket engine that has the ability to reverse thrust, but it is an interesting idea.

      April 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • answerman28

      Not only is there no fuel left at that point.. even if there was, the air isnt dense enough for reverse thrusters to do much and its traveling way too fast. Virgin galactic has the perfect solution.. its low cost and their ship floats down like a feather.. google it!

      April 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walt

      Solid fuel rockets are difficult to control, it's essentially like lighting a roman candle. Liquid Fueled rockets don't have quite the same power. To have reverse thrust, you'd have secondary engines dedicated to slowing you down, and that just adds more weight, which would require more thrust to get into orbit.

      The only way we'll ever have cheap ground to orbit transport costs is with some kind of geostationary space elevator. I think we're around 50 years away from it realistically. We're starting to develop the kind of super strong materials (at the nano level) that will allow a tether to stretch 22,000 miles.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan Bednarik

    Shuttle is gone.. now America is reduced to an upgraded Apollo era spacecraft. What a legacy.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • HoustonSteve

      Thanks, Obama

      April 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      I stubbed my toe this morning......THANKS OBAMA 😦

      April 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luc

      +1 on that. America now depends on commercial space companies that need government bailouts just to survive. Why not just put the money into NASA and call it a day!? It's certainly better than funding the other useless and irresponsible ideas such as a new war in Libya

      April 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • SgtSerge

      If you had half a brain you would see that America's space legacy (a word to describe a lasting impression) has already been created. What America is doing now is creating the vision of what the new Legacy will look like and act.
      Sort of like when we decided to go to the moon and did it. Vision, Goal, Do.
      Like I said, half a brain would figure that out instead of spewing hate.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey Root

      You can thank Bush for that.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    It's such a waste and a shame that we are retiring the Shuttles when they were designed to fly 100 missions apiece. Of the 3 remining Orbiters, Discovery has the most missions with 39, Atlantis has 32, and Endeavor only has 24 missions under her belt.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tony marchese

    IThat's why I said its like a glider meator entering the atmosphere! The shuttle is very expensive w/seats on it. All that technology available etc. cannot come up w/fuel capacity engines when is already entered the atmosphere? It's a very, very possible idea... no?! Science fiction solved this problem back in the 30's w/flash gordon if I remember right!! Many thanks for your insight..T.M.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wes

    How about solar power , I mean your that much closer to the sun> and the heat shields could transform that heat into some kind of power,on reentry to the atmopsphere ? Scienc Friction

    April 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris S

    I'm a huge space enthusiast and fan of the space shuttle. However, I do believe that it is time for the old bird(s) to be retired. Although very proficient at its mission, the shuttle is an old technology platform with a very limited scope (earth orbit only).

    People here think that we are headed back to "Apollo technology". Standard rocket designs are much safer launch platforms and they are scalable, unlike the shuttle. The recently announce Falcon Heavy rocket will have a payload of 53,000 KG to low earth orbit, which is more than twice the shuttles capacity. Standard rockets can also be launched on trans lunar/mars injection paths, which is obviously not possible with the shuttle. Additionally, the idea that we are going back to Apollo era tech is absurd. The exterior shell might look similar, but the internal computers, engines, and engineering will be completely modernized.

    Although it will be a sad day when NASA can't launch Americans into space, it certainly wont be the end of our manned space efforts. New rockets are currently being designed in the private sector with a much better cost per pound to orbit ratios, which a government agency could likely never achieve. Depending on the results, NASA will be able to either completely dedicate their resources to more complex deep space missions (which should be their goal), or develop their own heavy lift rocket to specifically address mission requirements (not a good idea, congress will be excessively involved in the design which will decrease performance and increase cost).

    Either way, I'm sad (but glad) to see the shuttle go, and I'm extremely excited to see what the future brings after the final "wheels stopped" is called.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SgtSerge

    Great read Chris!
    I have to agree with you, but I think our goal (humanity) should be to find away to colonize space for humans, the earth has a nasty habit of cleansing her self, would be nice to be off of this rock before that happens again.
    Does not seem a priority though.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Slarty Bartfast

    As a child of the shuttle era, I'm sad to see them go as well. To those who say the money could have been better spent, you may be right, but I don't think you can make the further argument that monies spent on the shuttle program were 'poorly' spent. How many discoveries were spawned from it, how many children were inspired by it, how has America's prestige been enhanced by the fact that only one nation in the history of the world ever created a fleet of craft designed to go into space and return safely to port on a (semi-) regular basis? As I pointed out to my young son years ago, 'that's YOUR country's flag on that ship!'

    And to all those who recall America's first space fleet with fond memories, may I suggest a listen to the song "Countdown", written by the Canadian band Rush about their experience of watching the launch of the first shuttle. Readers of my own vintage may recall that the United States government invited many different artists to attend the launch and then to use it as inspiration to create their own art. At that time the most complicated machine ever built, we didn't know if it would fly or go up in a huge fireball. But we wanted the world to watch our attempt. As an American, that kind of spirit fills me with pride, something I don't think a road or a bridge or a program could produce. They have their place to be sure. But they can't inspire the way the shuttle did. Fair seas and following winds.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dennis

    I can't wait until the first McDonalds opens on the Moon..

    April 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |