Near the end of his fifteenth orbit as Greenland slipped by noiselessly below, he made the routine measurements that tested the operation of his space capsule and checked the automatic instruments which would transmit their stored data to Earth on his next pass over Control. Everything normal; all mechanical devices were operating perfectly.
This information didn’t surprise him, in fact, he really didn’t even think about it. The previous orbits and the long simulated flights on Earth during training had made such checks routine and perfect results expected. The capsules were developed by exhaustive testing both on the ground and as empty satellites before entrusting them to carry animals and then the first human. (more…)