Tag Archives: Department of Defense

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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Recalling the Challenger Accident Thirty Years Ago


Thirty years ago on January 28, 1986, NASA and the nation suffered loss of the space shuttle Challenger during launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Many Americans had been excited about this mission, even more than those that had gone before, … 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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Parallels Between the Sputnik and 9/11 Crises


Is there a relationship between the so-called “Sputnik moment” in October 1957 and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks? Yes, at several levels there are intriguing parallels between the Sputnik crisis of 1957-1958 that Eisenhower faced and the aftermath of the … Continue reading

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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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