Tag Archives: U.S. Civil Space

The Space Shuttle and the Costly Nature of Space Access


Why is space flight so expensive? Lowering the cost of space access has long been a major goal of rocketeers. Thus far they have largely been unsuccessful in doing so. Space travel started out and remains an exceptionally costly enterprise. The … Continue reading

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The International Space Station and the Clash of Civilizations


As the operations on the International Space Station now move toward a score of years, it may be that this cooperative venture provides one of the clearest opportunities present for tying nation-states together. One is reminded of the quote from … Continue reading

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Whither Space Astronomy?


The space age provided astronomers an opportunity to expand research far beyond the capabilities offered by ground-based observatories of earlier eras. During the 1960s they began using space-based technology to enhance humanity’s understanding of the universe. In addition to greatly enhanced … Continue reading

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The Mystique of the Space Suit


Wherever astronauts go, from the beginning of the human spaceflight program to the present, they have been characterized by their uniform. Nothing sets astronauts apart from ordinary Americans more than the physical existence of a space suit, and in this … Continue reading

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Chronology of Key Space Anniversaries for 2015


1945—70 Years Ago 4 July—The NACA’s Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) launched from Wallops Island, Maryland, its first test vehicle, a small two-stage, solid-fuel rocket to check out the installation’s instrumentation. The group soon began serious work to learn about … 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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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Why Mars”


Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration. By W. Henry Lambright. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Preface, introduction, conclusion, notes, index. Hardcover. Pp. ix – 320. USD $45.46. ISBN: 978-1-4214-1279-5. W. Henry Lambright’s Why Mars: NASA and the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight”


Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight. By Jay Barbree. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 2014. Introduction by John Glenn. Illustrations. 517 pages. ISBN: 978-1250040718. $19.68 USD. Hardcover with dustjacket. Whatever else Jay Barbree’s Neil Armstrong: A Life of … Continue reading

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A Short History of Reentry and Recovery from Space in Less than 1,000 Words


The atmosphere surrounding the Earth and supporting life here makes spaceflight harder than it would be if it did not exist. It is said, only half-jokingly, that getting to orbit is like getting “halfway to anywhere” because of the energy … Continue reading

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Announcing Space Policy and History Forum #14: Commercial Spaceflight After the Antares and SpaceShipTwo Failures


Announcement  Commercial Spaceflight After the Antares and SpaceShipTwo Failures Space Policy and History Forum #1406 Monday, December 8, 2014 by Jeff Foust, Space News The commercial space industry suffered two major accidents in less than a week in late October: the … Continue reading

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