Tag Archives: U.S. Civil Space

Beginning the Age of Satellite Communication: Echo 1, August 1960


I just spoke with a journalist about the Echo 1 communications satellite test that took place in August 1960. It’s interesting that this month marks the fifty-fifth anniversary of the world’s first communication satellite, but it is an anniversary that … 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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A Balance Sheet on All of the Landings on Mars


Since the beginning of the space age there have been 17 landings on the surface of Mars, some of which were not successful. Initially the Soviet Union carried out two attempted landings in 1971, Mars 2 and 3, but the … Continue reading

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Recalling the First Vikings on Mars


The 20th of July marked the 39th anniversary of Viking 1’s touch down on Mars after a voyage of nearly one year, followed within a two months by Viking 2. The landings represented the culmination of a series of missions to … Continue reading

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Reconsidering the Place of Cooperative Programs in Relation to the International Space Station


The national space programs of the worlds have long been dominated by national concerns over international affairs. This is most assuredly the case with the United States. Manifested in the context of both competition and cooperation, international concerns have been a … Continue reading

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NASA’s Overestimates of Soviet Lunar Capabilities During the Moon Race


Many times NASA officials used the national security intelligence on the Soviet Union to sustain their case for an aggressive effort to complete Apollo by the end of the 1960s. In a few instances these public statements aroused within the … Continue reading

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Timing of the Apollo Landing in Relation to the Soviet Lunar Program


Americans have long known that the American effort to land on the Moon served as an enormously effective response to a Cold War crisis with the Soviet Union. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in July 1969 few recalled … Continue reading

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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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