The Race into Space (1971 collectors cards)

The Race into Space

The complete 1971 set of 'the Race into Space' collectors cards in the original album

My mum was clearing out her attic recently so I got to trawl through a load of stuff I’ve kept from childhood. I was delighted to come across this album, and to find that all the collectors cards were still in situ - over 40 years later. I still remember making my mum buy loads of Brooke Bond PG Tips tea  so I could collect what to the 8 year old me were mesmerising images of our not too distant future…

This was so very early on in the era of space exploration. Neil Armstrong had only walked on the moon two years before, and the space shuttle was still in the earliest stages of planning. The page below shows what was envisioned then. Notice that the booster for the orbiter shuttle was itself a piloted craft which, having launched the orbiter, would have flown home. Very different to what finally flew, but somewhat reminiscent of the 747 that transported the retired shuttle recently, for example.

The Race into Space
Space Shuttle Discovery DC Fly-Over (201204170006HQ)

Space Shuttle Discovery DC Fly-Over, photograph courtesy of Nasa

But the pages that filled me with the most wonder were the confident predictions about moon bases and manned flights to Mars. Sadly, 40 years later, these scenarios remain as speculative as they were in 1971.

The Race into Space

Moon Base and Lunar Shuttle

You can read more about the many different kinds of Brooke Bond picture cards here. Below is a selection of pages from the Race into Space, and you can see more here, if you feel like a retro-rocket ride back to the dawn of human spaceflight.