The Other Side of the Sky: An Annotated Bibliography of Space Stations in Science Fiction, 1869-1993.
By Gary Westfahl. Holicong, Pennsylvania: Wildside Press/Borgo Press, 2009.
C13. "Building a Space Station." Men into Space. New York: CBS-TV, October 14, 1959.
Colonel Edward McCauley leads a crew of men into space to begin the process of assembling Earth's first space station. Unfortunately, as two pieces are brought together, a crewman's sleeve is caught between them, and McCauley is reluctant to attempt to free him for fear that his suit has punctured, or will puncture, causing his instant death. After a rocket bearing hastily improvised rescue equipment must be destroyed because it is on a collision course with their spaceship, McCauley employs a desperate maneuver to free the crewman while keeping his suit clamped shut.
At the beginning of the episode, there is an image of the completed station, a typical wheel in space; in later episodes, it will be referred to as Space Station Astra. The first depiction of the construction of a space station, the episode's process of doing so—sending modules into space, to be put together by astronauts—is not unlike the method actually employed to build the international space station. The most interesting message in the episode is conveyed by its final image, showing that McCauley and his men succeeded only in constructing one small slice of the wheel, and one small portion of a connecting spoke, indicating that the completion of the entire space station will require a large number of trips—which also turned out to be the case in real life.
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