Can Democracies Fly in Space?: The Challenge of Revitalizing the U.S. Space Program

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 - Political Science - 244 pages
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Over the last two decades, the image of the U.S. space program has become seriously tarnished. Its problems have ranged from massive cost overruns to serious program delays to catastrophic mission failures. The space program, once the most prominent symbol of American scientific and technological preeminence, now seems but one more example of government bumbling, extravagance, and waste. In this study, Kay examines the recent problems of the space program and finds that NASA's failures, like its earlier successes, are ultimately traceable to the way the American political system operates. Asking can democracies fly in space?, the author suggests that the traditional workings of democratic politics actually exacerbates those very features of space projects--size, expense, and complexity--that make their development so difficult in the first place.


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Page 218 - The Evolution of Civilian In-Space Infrastructure, ie, 'Space Station' Concepts in the United States," in Civilian Space Stations and the US Future in Space (Washington: US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, OTA-STI-241, Nov.

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About the author (1995)

W. D. KAY is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. In 1993, he served as scholar in residence at the NASA history office.

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