Tag Archives: Department of Defense

Reflections on the Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb


A couple of years ago I published on this blog the following discussion of the decision to use the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. On the seventieth anniversary of this defining event in human history I am calling … Continue reading

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Stimulating Aerospace Capabilities in America


Historians five hundred years hence may well characterize successful human flight, and all that followed in both air and space, as the most significant single technology of the twentieth century. Has it fundamentally reshaped our world, at once awesome and … Continue reading

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Space as Battlefield or Sanctuary?


For more than fifty years since the first space satellites were orbited the world engaged in activity in outer space for military scientific, and commercial purposes, but without placing weapons there or engaging in serious efforts to target objects in space. … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “To Save a City”


To Save a City: The Berlin Airlift, 1948-1949. By Roger G. Miller. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000. Pp. x, 253. Illustrations, maps, notes index. ISBN: 0890969671. $34.95.) I first read this book when it appeared in 2000, in … Continue reading

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A Short History of USAF’s Strategic Air Command in the Cold War


During the latter 1940s, although some demobilization took place after World War II, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union precipitated the creation of a strategic force that could strike an enemy with nuclear weapons anywhere … Continue reading

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A Breathless Survey of the Overhead Reconnaissance Harvest of CORONA


The U.S.’s development of a viable satellite reconnaissance program proved a major challenge through much of the 1950s, with the first successful flight coming in 1960. Under development in the latter 1950s, Project CORONA eventually became a successful American reconnaissance satellite … Continue reading

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The Cold War Origins of Space Access


It is almost a truism that the primary U.S. space launch capabilities were created only because of the challenge of an exceptionally desperate Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the development and deployment of ballistic missiles, space-based intelligence-gathering … Continue reading

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The Apollo Program and the Idea of Progress


It is somewhat trite to suggest that America was founded on the idea of progress and that it remains both an amorphous concept and one central to American national identity. In the 1830s an astute French interpreter of United States … Continue reading

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Announcing My New Study: “Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce”


I have just published as a part of the NASA History Series Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce.  The write-up for it reads: “With the rise of a range of private-sector entrepreneurial firms interested in pursuing space commerce, … Continue reading

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The Transit Program and the Origins of Nuclear Power Systems for Spaceflight


Since the dawn of the space age more than 50 years ago, the United States has pursued a variety of methods for delivering electrical power to spacecraft in flight. Nuclear power systems are the only ones that have been found … Continue reading

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