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Arthur C. Clarke: Sci-Fi Stud

Posted by | Filed under Science Fiction, The Cosmos | Sep 22, 2015 | Tags: , | No Comments

At the close of the war, the scientists who had built and launched Nazi Germany’s V-2 ballistic missiles immigrated to the Soviet Union and the United States. Amid the gypsum desert of White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico, they worked with their American counterparts to rebuild and relaunch these rockets. The British knew firsthand the destructive power of rockets in war as the V-2s bombarded London; rocket power, as demonstrated by the German V-2s, was becoming a major new force. In 1952 Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, who worked at that time at White Sands, got Clarke access to the site and talked with him about rocketry’s potential.

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Clarke saw the promise of space travel, but he also understood that governments would be loath to embrace it unless a practical use could be found. In October 1945 Wireless World published his article “Extraterrestrial Relays,” which laid down the principle of geostationary satellites. Three communications satellites, positioned 120[degrees] apart in a geostationary orbit, or “Clarke orbit,” as some now

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