Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


NASA Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo

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[427] Either spaceflight will be proven a successful revolution that opened the heavens to human use and habitation, or it will be proven an unsuccessful revolution that demonstrated in its failure the limits of technological advance .... If spaceflight does fail, its abandonment will represent a technological counterrevolution of great consequence, symbolizing the end of progress as it is understood today.
- William Sims Bainbridge,  The Spaceflight Revolution: A Sociological Analysis

America's space program was once a source of pride and inspiration. Now it is a shambles, its mission unclear, and its very existence at hazard.
- Stuart F. Brown, "Space after the Race"

By the early 1970s, the spaceflight revolution was already gasping for breath. Born in the violence of the cold war, driven by the Sputnik hysteria, perverted by the specter of atomic apocalypse, and ultimately fed by the need to demonstrate in some dramatic - maybe even primal or mythic - way the essential superiority of the American democratic system over its supposedly entrenched and black-hearted communist enemies, the U.S. civilian space program of the 1960s represented an extraordinary national movement that could be sustained only for a brief but intense period when Americans were deathly afraid of the end of life as they knew it. Kennedy's moon shot was meant to alleviate deeply embedded fear and paranoia. By design, his Apollo program put America back on course as the world's indisputable technological leader and the guardian of a safer and more hopeful future.

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