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Imprisoned in a Tesseract: NASA's Human Spaceflight Effort and the Prestige Trap

Imprisoned in a Tesseract: NASA's Human Spaceflight Effort and the Prestige Trap This essay focuses on the decision by senior National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials at the creation of the agency to focus its efforts on human spaceflight, Moon and Mars missions, and human settlement of the solar system. Its leaders made a conscious decision to downplay space applications projects, exclusive of technological research and development, and eschew operational activities. They did so in favor of concentrating on the human exploration and development of space. In so doing, NASA fell into the prestige trap that dominated this mission in the 1950s and early 1960s. At sum it was a tesseract, a four-dimensional object, which locked NASA into a quest for ever greater space spectaculars featuring human involvement. Power and prestige, therefore, has cast a long shadow on the space agency, forcing it into a series of programs that have been oversold and undervalued. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Astropolitics Taylor & Francis

Imprisoned in a Tesseract: NASA's Human Spaceflight Effort and the Prestige Trap

Astropolitics , Volume 10 (2): 24 – May 1, 2012
24 pages

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References (72)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1557-2943
eISSN
1477-7622
DOI
10.1080/14777622.2012.696015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay focuses on the decision by senior National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials at the creation of the agency to focus its efforts on human spaceflight, Moon and Mars missions, and human settlement of the solar system. Its leaders made a conscious decision to downplay space applications projects, exclusive of technological research and development, and eschew operational activities. They did so in favor of concentrating on the human exploration and development of space. In so doing, NASA fell into the prestige trap that dominated this mission in the 1950s and early 1960s. At sum it was a tesseract, a four-dimensional object, which locked NASA into a quest for ever greater space spectaculars featuring human involvement. Power and prestige, therefore, has cast a long shadow on the space agency, forcing it into a series of programs that have been oversold and undervalued.

Journal

AstropoliticsTaylor & Francis

Published: May 1, 2012

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