By National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ph.D. Steven J. Dick
Complaints of October 2007 convention, backed by means of the NASA heritage department and the nationwide Air and house Museum, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Sputnik 1 release in October 1957 and the sunrise of the distance age.
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Moments of perceived crisis, for example tend to privilege some justifications over others. In the initial collective national anxiety following Sputnik, the raison d’être of the American space program was framed in discourses of national pride and national security. These justifications were particularly effective in the 1960s, the former for Apollo and the latter for various military and intelligence space projects. The other three justifications—economic competitiveness, survival of the species, and scientific discovery—were at the forefront in the post-Apollo years when the American space program was more mature but also more directionless in the inevitable letdown after the Moon landings.
There is hardly a historian who would agree that Korolev single-handedly founded the Soviet space program, yet his epic biography completely overshadows the mention of many other individuals who made critical contributions to the emergence of the Soviet space program. Here it is important to distinguish between formal academic history and the popular notion of history that becomes part of the collective memory of a nation. With the former, historians are drawn to complexities and the messiness of yesterday; with the latter, our predilection is to distill complexities down to broad themes, personalities, and events that are often deterministic and teleological in nature.
In the aftermath of World War II, the remainder of the German missile program, the most developed effort at that point, then fed into several different postwar missile programs, including those of the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain. The Soviet Union in turn passed both German and “indigenous” technology to the Chinese while the Americans did the same to the Japanese. By the mid-1970s, the “space club” included all of the countries, joined in the 1980s by India and Israel who depended on flows from the United States and France respectively.