Tending the Forge of American Space Power

American culture has long had a fascination with outer space. President John F. Kennedy described it as “this new ocean,” and words like “destiny” and “frontier” are frequently used to characterize America’s relationship to it. Hollywood and the media often approach it with a sense of wonder, humility, and even a bit of fear. From the opening strains of “2001: A Space Odyssey” to the aliens from “Avatar,” space remains a source of mystery.

This cultural phenomenon may be a remnant of the first two-thirds of the 20th century, when in the span of a single lifetime, it was possible to witness the rapid progress from Wilbur and Orville Wright’s 12-horsepower, wood-and-fabric Kitty Hawk aircraft to the Saturn rocket’s 8.7 million pounds of thrust that landed a man on the moon. For a time, the 20th century even earned the moniker, “The Space Age.” Then, it all stopped. Human history moved on. … [The rest of the article is available with a subscription to World Policy Review]

This article appeared on the website of World Politics Review

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