Tag Archives: presidential power

Setting Course for the Red Planet: Early Flyby Missions to Mars


Robotic exploration of Mars has been one of the persistent efforts of the space age. It began, just as lunar exploration had, in a race between the United States and the Soviet ­Unionto see who would be the first to … 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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What Do You Do for an Encore after You’ve Been to the Moon?


As early as January 1964 NASA administrator, James E. Webb, had been asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson for a well-developed proposal of future space objectives after the Apollo Moon landings. Webb did not want to respond; instead he tried … 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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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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Boarding the Spaceplane?


I posted this originally to the blog, “Above and Beyond,” on June 15, 2015. I thought I would reprint here. During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, senior government officials began to discuss the possibility of developing an “Orient Express,” … Continue reading

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JFK and the Limits of Presidential Leadership in Space


This is a perennial topic so I thought it appropriate to raise in once again. In reviewing the Kennedy decision to go to the Moon, announced on May 25, 1961, in a speech to a joint session of Congress, it soon … 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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Thoughts on an Historical Essay Currently Underway: The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism


I have been working on an essay, that I hope to publish someday with the following working title, “The Space Program and the Ideal of American Exceptionalism.” My definition of American exceptionalism emphasizes the perceived special national character of the U.S. as … Continue reading

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