Few contemplating a visit to the newly refurbished museum wing of the Dorset Aeronautical Space Agency [DASA] are likely to be attracted by the idea of a few hours mouldering in its dusty archives section when there are major - and frankly "sexier" - exhibits of international significance to be admired. The capsule in which first Minti [“the first dog to orbit the earth”] and then - once thoroughly scrubbed-down and de-loused - Professor Thrupiece himself journeyed into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Southern Kazakhstan in early March 1957 is but one of the prime attractions alongside a fragment of an Atlas Rocket which was discovered in a large crater in the back garden of No 24 Station Road, Sixpenny Handley in June 1974 only hours after a communal bonfire night celebration had "gone a bit wrong".
Whilst it is inevitable that the public will be drawn to - and may even be moved to venerate - these large physical objects - testament, as they are, to the technological triumph that was the essence of the Space Race and the spin-off excitement it once generated* - those of a more contemplative disposition would be well-advised to take more than a cursory interest in the literary, audio and video treasures which have now been painstakingly catalogued by DASA's Chief Archivist Dr Thea Boxe-Fyled.
*eg Bacofoil, the non-stick frying pan and the everlasting genetically-modified gobstopper
Much of the material is, of course, the province of the specialist, comprising as it does a number of highly technical documents, the decipherment of which probably require several PhDs and a Diploma in Patience/Arrested Development, but there are gems in the archive which will prove of interest even to the most educationally-challenged. This applies, in particular, to the substantial collection of cine-films and video-tapes many of which have never been digitised, turned into tik-tok memes or published in the social media and, in consequence, have rarely, if ever, seen by the public.
One such - now wonderfully restored and generally "tarted-up" by Threadbone Digi-Labs technicians - is a short collage of recovered footage charting some of Professor Thrupiece's early space outings; mainly those undertaken as part of the Space and Moon Landing Projects planned between 1958 and 1972 by both the USA and the USSR. The complex history of the young Professor Thrupiece's involvement in these efforts - as both scientist and technologist as well as pioneer astronaut/cosmonaut - has been exhaustively [and exhaustingly] treated in a definitive monograph still available FREE OF CHARGE from the Professor Thrupiece Online Worldwide Interweb Digital-Portal Outlet Site [HERE]. Therefore, his distinguished contribution needs no further rehearsal here.*. Suffice it to say that the now missing-presumed-disappeared Professor was in the first flush of youthful enthusiasm at the time and probably needed the money.
* that doesn't normally stop you [Ed]
As well-documented as the Professor's space efforts may be in photographs and in print, however, few readers will be prepared for the shock, awe and sheer physical excitement generated by the experience of witnessing actual moving footage of him in action - taken at the time and hardly glimpsed since. No wonder Aeronautical Historian and Deep Space Observer Sum-Ware Owttheyer is moved to describe the viewing experience as "brief but life-changing" as well as "dim but nice to have".
Anyone interested in seeing the footage in its entirety is urged to book a viewing slot via the DASA Worldwide Inter-Website. They should do so before 24th June 2021 after which date the archive will be re-sealed until 2071, lest conspiracy theorists, moon-landing deniers and the more generally paranoid be discouraged from advancing their absurd ideas by the availability of actual evidence.
A sneak preview is available BELOW