Category Archives: Cold War Competition

Remembering the Gemini Program


Since it is the fiftieth anniversary of the the end of the Gemini program in 1966, with the flight of Gemini XII on November 12-15, I thought it appropriate to reflect on what I refer to as the middle child … Continue reading

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Sputnik and Free Overflight in Space


It came like a shock to the system on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched a beach ball-sized orbital satellite to usher in the “Space Age.” The act in itself proved neither particularly shocking nor threatening but what it … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age”


Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age. By Matthew Brzezinski. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. The fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, sparked the publication of … Continue reading

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Eisenhower as Sputnik Crisis Leader


Since tomorrow is the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, I thought it appropriate to reflect on the Eisenhower response to what became an important crisis in his presidency in the fall of 1957. Without question, in reacting to Sputnik … Continue reading

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The Surveyor Landers on the Moon


Like so many other point of intersection, soft landing on the Moon with robotic probes proved a venue for Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The Soviets won that competition February 3, … Continue reading

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Key Developments in USA/USSR Space Cooperation During the Cold War


The post-Cold War era has seen the United States and Russia undertake fundamentally significant cooperative ventures in space. This was an enormously significant development for the pursuit of aggressive human space activities, no doubt, but it tends to overshadow a … Continue reading

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Visualizing Apollo’s Exploration and the Idea of Progress


For all but a handful of space travelers the voyages of exploration into space were events participated in vicariously by the  billions of humans living on Earth. It has brought a connectedness and reinforced a common set of values among … Continue reading

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Considering the Moon


What is it about the Moon that captures the fancy of humankind? A silvery disk hanging in the night sky, it conjures up images of romance and magic. It has been counted upon to foreshadow important events, both of good … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Books Review: “The National Labs”


The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974. By Peter J. Westwick. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003, xii, 403 pp. $49.95, ISBN 0-674-00948-7..06 To help win the cold war the United States created a set of research institutions throughout … Continue reading

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Remembering a Great Adventure: The First Circumlunar Mission


After a piloted orbital mission to test the Apollo equipment in October 1968, on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 took off atop a Saturn V booster from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts aboard—Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., … Continue reading

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