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Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90 

British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the
age of 90.

The following is from an item in Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1584 - December
21, 2007 commerating his 90th birthday: 

For years Arthur C. Clarke, has held honorary AMSAT membership number 2001.
And, needless to say that he is best known for having penned the novel 2001: A
Space Odyssey. That book was adapted into a motion picture directed by Stanley
Kubrick. The film won an OSCAR for Best Special Visual Effects.

But Arthur C. Clarke's most important contribution may not have been his
science fiction writings. Rather, he is credited with development of the
concept that lead to the development of the geostationary satellite as
telecommunications relays in space.

Clarke first proposed this idea way back in October 1945 in a paper titled
"Extra-Terrestrial Relays - Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?"
The article was published in United Kingdom publication Wireless World
magazine. The technology he outlined became the basis for most modern
communications into the 21st century. In this clip from a 1992 interview with
the late Roy Neal, K6DUE, Clarke told how the idea came about:

Clarke: "At the time I was working on a very complex RADAR. It was the first
Ground Approach Control flight management system which has about a thousand
valves or what you call tubes. At least one would blow out every day , so I
couldn't imagine that sort of equipment operating without mechanics on the spot
to change them and give it service. So I assumed that these relay stations
would be manned space stations, like the Freedom Space Station but at a lower

"What I didn't envision was the incredible revolution in solid state
electronics: First the transistor and later the micro-chip. And I have
sometimes said though not very seriously that the invention of the transistor
was a major catastrophe for astronautics because if we hadn't invented the
transistor we would have had to build manned space stations and we would have
been half way to Mars by now (giggle)."

For his effort, the geostationary satellite orbit known as the Clarke Belt was
named in his honor.

Back to his literary career, in 1982 Arthur C. Clarke continued the Odyssey
epic with a sequel titled "2010: Odyssey Two." This novel dealing with space
during the Cold War was made into a film titled "2010: The Year We Make
Contact." It was directed by Peter Hyams for release in 1984 but was not
considered to be as revolutionary or artistic as was 2001.

But that was not the end of Clarke's Odyssey writings. In 1988 he penned the
lesser known "2061: Odyssey Three" followed by "3001: The Final Odyssey" in
1997. To date, neither of these latter to Odyssey stories have made it to the
big screen.

In all, Arthur C. Clarke has penned some 33 novels and another 29 non-fiction
books and stories since he began writing them in 1950. His latest titled
"Firstborn" was published this past year. 

BBC News Report 


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