Look up at the night sky, see the stars, planets and our closest neighbor, the moon. Every human being at one point in his or her life has done this same thing. It is only natural to look up and wonder in awe at whats out there. Human beings are made with an innate desire to expand and explore. In the 1950s when there was no more of Earth to discover, people started looking upwards at the sky to satisfy this internal desire. Hungry for dominance and technological innovation, the United States created NASA and embarked on what would become the greatest voyage in human history. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, space travel and the technology which powered it advanced far beyond what any prior civilization could imagine. Inspiring in humanity hope for a future not on Earth. An analysis of the effects of the NASA space program on the United States reveals a radical shift in educational policies, an influx of new an innovative technologies, and a renewed motivation and hope for the future.
The process of ‘selling’ the concept of a re-usable space transportation system to the American public and its political system started in the late 1960’s, following the successful Apollo mission. The space shuttle was approved as a method for operating in space without a firm definition of what it goals would be (unlike previous NASA programmes). Support for the project, both politically and economically, was not very strong (nasa: government, 2006).
Our loss of standing as the number one space faring nation will also greatly impact the nation on a psychological level. Americans have always been pioneers, innovators, and technological leaders; if we lose that standing it could cause a national identity crisis. Now we will break down the costs and benefits of the United States space program to help us better understand whether or not we should continue to fund it with taxpayer money.
Nevertheless, President Kennedy, felt very strong about his most profound New Frontier vision--“Project Apollo” in which the United States would send human-beings specifically to leave “American footprints” on the moon. The President secured funding for NASA and challenged the United States to place an astronaut on the Moon by 1970, after the Soviet Union launched a cosmonaut into outer-space in 1961. In the forefront, of Kennedy’s initiative was the prospect of first-time co-operation between the United States and the Soviet Union beginning in space—literally. Ultimately, designed to spread around this world and ending the Cold War (Hoagland, 2008).
As President Eisenhower once stated, “Every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed” (qtd in DeGroot). According to Jerry DeGroot, a lecturer in the Department of Modern History at the University of St. Andrews and author of the widely acclaimed biography “Douglas Haig”, every year, the United States federal government funds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with over $17 billion. When Keith Yost, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was asked about government funding on NASA, he replied, “NASA is not only spending money, but also the sweat of our laborers, the genius of our scientists, and the hopes of our children.” As a powerhouse in the work industry, NASA is taking away from the remainder of the country. Before venturing off into space, the US needs to realize the importance of tackling the issues that lie before the citizens here on Earth. As Richard Truly, a retired Vice Admiral in the United States Navy, stated in agreement, “...I didn’t go to NASA for the United States to make international commitments that wouldn’t keep, to design space vehicles that will never be built (or will be then fail), or to make promises to the American people that will never be kept.” It would be in the best interest for the citizens of the United States federal government to cut NASA funding.
Perhaps no greater tragedy defines the American Race for Space than the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger before millions of Americans as they watched on live TV in 1986. Building on two decades of successful space exploration kicked off by President Kennedy before his death, by the early eighties the American culture both believed that it was our right to fly into space and that no one did it better than we did. NASA had sent mission after mission into space over more than twenty years, each one accomplishing space exploration goals and building the reputation that America owned the stars. That day in January of 1986 was supposed to be another of those successes as the Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral carrying not only professional astronauts into space but also one everyday person, teacher Christa McAuliffe. Instead, the world watched as after seventy-three seconds after liftoff hopes and dreams exploded with the Challenger - leaving astronauts dead, the space program in jeopardy and America grieving and looking for answers. How leadership responded, what they said and did, would be really important to how the nation dealt with the loss and to the future of the space program. The man for the job was President Ronald Reagan, whose address to the nation appealed to the public on an emotional and logical level and helped to ensure that they
America’s space program is undoubtedly one of its greatest modern achievements. Few people cannot recall the famous quote “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” or do not know where it came from. The story leading up to the moment a man walked on the moon, as well as everything that came after, is just as interesting and important as the moment itself. The significance of the history of America’s aeronautics programs cannot possibly be overestimated, and their story is one that is incredibly important to the modern world of today. It would not be the nation that it is, with the technology it possesses, without its crucial involvement in the “space race”. If the technology that sent a man to the moon did not exist, our daily lives would be impacted and basic tools would be missing. Beginning with America’s first official aeronautics organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (or NACA) and continuing through to the present day and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (or NASA), the story of America’s aerospace programs is interesting and extremely important. It is a story that spans many years and giant leaps in technology, and involves important locations like Wallops Flight Facility and Kennedy Space Center. From the early beginnings of NACA and Wallops, and continuing on to the rise and success of NASA and Kennedy Space Center, aeronautics
It is often debated whether or not the Space Race was necessary. People have viewed it as a waste of time, money, and resources. America spent over $25 billion on the space program, equivalent to $100 billion today. Many believed that there were far more pressing matters on Earth, and that they should not explore space. Those people only saw the disadvantages that it had (Biddle, 2009). However, the Space Race was beneficial to humanity in various ways. Today Americans can use the knowledge obtained during the Space Race for countless purposes including commercial and military applications (Rabinowitch, 1963).The Space Race changed the face of science, international politics, and technology forever (Schefter 2005). The Space Race was not
The next major feat in space exploration was applying the motivations of the United States to combine with international forces and construct the International Space Station. Fathered by President Ronald Reagan in his State of the Union Address 1984, he argues, “America has always been greatest when we dared to be great. We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain. Tonight, I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade” (Reagan). The country was able to set goals and achieve them. The party-goers of the 20s would have never considered conquering the last frontier, but WWII enlivened the preposterous ambitions.
Throughout the twentieth century, space exploration and advancements allowed for the American dream to come to life. The space race, first man on the moon, and other space missions not only helped establish America’s opposing world power, but also acknowledged the fact that the United States encouraged its citizen and gave them a dream to aspire to as a nation. Space exploration achieved the American dream as the United States became a dominant world power and discovered new hopes for knowledge and peace which is emphasized by astronaut Neil Armstrong, President John F. Kennedy, and the first moon landing in 1969.
Despite that during the space race many thought that the monetary investment in space would not yield any achievements, they could not have been more wrong. In the article “Space Race”, of the 1965 New York Times, the author writes… “In the USSR - as everywhere else - there are great unmet needs to which at least some of the billions spent on space research could be more usefully diverted. In the Soviet Union, no less than in the United States, it is a distorted priority system that puts such prestige feats in space so far ahead of the real needs on earth” (The Space Race). However, what this author did not realize was that despite the appearance that the billions going to space research did not affect life on earth, but was only to prove superiority over the Soviet Union, it eventually improved life for everyone through the expansion of technology in everyday
Space has always been an unknown to the humanity, and therefore humanity has in insatiable desire to know as much as possible about the area beyond the Earth's atmosphere. Exploring space can lead to many new and exciting discoveries such as (see hubble, planets, kepler, moon rocks etc). When the United States first entered the realm of space in the [1960s], NASA had much funding. However, the motivation of this funding was not for science – it was political, as the government was determined to beat Russia in the Cold War Space Race. Today, as there is no political motivator as great as the Cold War, NASA is faced with a lack of funding and must make hard decisions. They must decide between the adventure and excitement of sending manned missions
Exploration and innovation are an innate part of America today, yet some of the public during the early 1960s was opposed to joining the space race which lead America into a great technological era. After proposing a plan to Congress to increase the budget for space exploration, Harvard graduate and President John F. Kennedy addressed the American people from Rice University in Houston, Texas in 1962 to arouse support for the continuation of space exploration and increasing funding for NASA (Freidel and Sidey). In his revered speech, “We choose to go to the moon,” he ambitiously proclaimed the need for American exploration and the maintenance of leadership in all aspects of innovation. Kennedy reminds his audience space must be “used
Many critics believe that NASA and space exploration should not be the main focus of the government. However, NASA is not just about flying rockets and putting men into space. There is science and engineering that is being developed to push humanity forward in life. This space program is essential to answering philosophical questions, creating new technology for practical everyday use, the international collaboration with other countries, and the long-term survival of the human
In the early 60s, President John F. Kennedy led America into a space race against the Soviet Union. American men and women across the nation backed this goal, allowing NASA to take great leaps in advancing its space exploration programs. This unified nation fulfilled its goal, and Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. However, since then, America’s space exploration has only declined. Funding for NASA has been drastically cut, thus greatly limiting the opportunities for exploring the cosmos. Understanding and exploring the universe is detrimental to the advancement of the United States and opens the door for vast possibilities. If the government chooses to limits its own advancement, then that responsibility must fall