Written by Marcia Smith
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
Legendary Russian rocket designer Boris Chertok has edited a new book forecasting the next century of spaceflight. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Baturin outlined the book`s contents at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars this afternoon, emphasizing that it is a forecast, not a prediction.
The book`s 40 authors incorporated science and science fiction to put forward their best guess as to what the 21st century will hold for the world, including for space activities. Somewhat surprisingly, they foresee little role for Russia in space past the 2020s, with the United States and China as the dominant players. They anticipate significant militarization of space and the first "space war" about 2050. They assert it will last two years and the results will be just like World War II - favorable to the United States. The pi?ce de rёsistance as the next century begins will be a "shocking event" according to Baturin: the first launch of an "artificial space pilot: not an automated device, but the product of artificial life." It terms of its impact on humanity, he likened it to Yuri Gagarin`s 1961 flight that placed the first human into space.
The book was published two weeks ago and Baturin`s slides showed the English translation of the title as "Astronautics of XXI Century: Attempt of a Forecast of Development Till 2101." Baturin donated a copy of the book to the Kennan Institute`s library at the Woodrow Wilson Center, noting that it undoubtedly is the first copy of the book in the United States. Chertok, 98, was the inspiration behind the book and is listed as its editor.
In addition to being a cosmonaut, Baturin was an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and has a background in law. He was a Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute in 1990 and worked with Chertok on this book.