One of the truisms about the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) in the eyes of most politicians is that it is a listless relic from the Cold War. On the surface, this interpretation seems acceptable. After all, its crowning achievement (the moon landings) has yet to be surpassed after forty years and likely will not be matched for at least another ten. Moreover NASA’s ordained cause, gaining the upper hand in space, was made possible by the national willpower only the fear of being overtaken by a technologically advanced arch-nemesis can generate. This condition certainly is not on the near horizon. With the Soviet space program decisively defeated in 1969, interest in NASA sharply declined, immediately reflected in the battered 1970 budget. It is then surprising to note that the budget was resurrected to the degrees of the Apollo program and is maintained at this level to the present. In light of this fact, perhaps modern-day NASA can be defined differently. This paper presents such a position. Jettisoned from the funding accompanied by the mandate to defeat a rival nation, NASA also shed its orientation as a combative frontline soldier fighting on the outer space front. This vacuum was filled by a spirit of internationalism as NASA sought help from abroad to compensate for its shortcomings after being shoved to the margins of the American environment. Forging international alliances in space missions and deploying cosmopolitan motifs, NASA made considerable strides in science and mindshare and seems anything but listless.
NASA; Outer space — Exploration; Space Race – History; United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
History | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Other History
The Age of Aquarius: The reorientation of NASA after 1969.
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