Into the Unknown Together: The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight - Human Spaceflight, Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), Dynasoar, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo Programs, Space Exploration
Into the Unknown Together is a comprehensive review of the political and management terrain involved in the early US space program—especially those aspects dealing with human spaceflight. More
Into the Unknown Together is a comprehensive review of the political and management terrain involved in the early US space program—especially those aspects dealing with human spaceflight. Indeed, the work is encyclopedic, coming in at a hefty 682 pages, including endnotes. Primarily covering the period from the birth of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 to the end of the Apollo program in 1972, the book discusses in great detail the complex, sometimes byzantine, interactions that characterized the relations among NASA, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Air Force. The book is particularly strong in its tracing of the development of these interactions and the manner in which each presidential administration put its own stamp not only on the overall US space program, but also on the nature of the relationship between NASA and its DOD counterparts. These interactions varied in time and intensity, ranging from cooperation to conflict and benign disregard. The work certainly represents an important contribution to the serious academic literature relating to space history, clearly refuting any notion that NASA was merely a puppet of the DOD or the Air Force. The 108-page bibliography alone, current through the early 2000s, is a most impressive resource for the writer on space issues. In sum, for the professional space-policy “wonk” or historian of US space (and science) policy, Into the Unknown Together is a must reference for a study or library. Colonel Erickson has done the academic fields of space history and policy a great service. (Review by Lt Col Joseph P. Bassi, USAF, Retired)
Contents: Chapter 1 - Necessary Preconditions * Chapter 2 - Eisenhower Act I * Chapter 3 - Eisenhower Act II * Chapter 4 - Mercury, Dynasoar, and the NRO Under Eisenhower * Chapter 5 - Kennedy, Prestige, and the Manned Lunar Landing Program * Chapter 6 - NASA, DOD, McNamara, and the Air Force Under Kennedy * Chapter 7 - Gemini, Dynasoar, and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory * Chapter 8 - Johnson's Philosophy, Space Policy, and Institutional Continuity * Chapter 9 - Apollo and the MOL * Chapter 10 - Conclusion
Colonel Erickson examines the use of space exploration as a tool to secure international prestige and national pride as part of the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. He looks at the creation of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), the evolving NASA-DOD relationship, and the larger context in which this relationship was forged. He focuses on the human-spaceflight projects—Projects Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Dynasoar, and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory—by examining the geopolitical, domestic political, and bureaucratic environments in which decisions concerning these projects were made. By blending in the individuals involved, the obstacles that were overcome, and the achievements of the US space program, Erickson reveals a special transformation that took place during this chapter of Americana.
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