AMBASSADORS FROM EARTH: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft/FINAL COUNTDOWN: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program

By McQuaid, Kim | American Studies, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

AMBASSADORS FROM EARTH: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft/FINAL COUNTDOWN: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program


McQuaid, Kim, American Studies


AMBASSADORS FROM EARTH : Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft. By Jay Gallentine. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. 2009. FINAL COUNTDOWN: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program. By Pat Duggins. Gainesville and Tampa: University Press of Florida. 2009.

Both these popular histories of spaceflight are engagingly written by authors (Jay Gallentine a film and video engineer; Pat Duggins a journalist) who know their craft, and who seek to pass along awareness of the early decades of the Space Age to younger readers uninformed about formative events that often occurred before they were born. Academic specialists may decry the scarcity of footnotes, and will be bothered by the sometimes-glaring lack of references to important earlier works which could easily have augmented major portions of the analysis of both authors. Their students, however, will enjoy the glimpses of the very-human excitements and frustrations involved in scientific and technological advance.

Both volumes have to be used with some caution. Meaning that, for example, what they don't say can be as important as what they do say. Both authors, for example, treat only a portion of their subjects. Gallentine covers an approximately 30-year "golden age" of lunar and planetary spacecraftthat ends with the 1977- 1989 Voyager "grand tour" of the outer planets (while curiously saying nothing about important pioneering missions like the first landers on Mars' surface (Viking 1 and 2). Duggins' narrative is weak on portions of the Space Shuttle and Space Station story-USA or (especially) Russian-before the Challenger tragedy of 1986, and ends with the (now largely defunct) President George Herbert Walker Bush Moon-Mars space vision of 2004-2009. The authors, additionally, have defects of their qualities. Meaning that both are very clearly "fans" of the space specialties they treat, and have little, if anything, good to say about human spaceflight (Gallentine) or planetary scientists and astronomers (Duggins). Both authors also ignore the Earthly applications satellites (after early particles and fields research ending about 1960) that were increasingly important-and divisive-within portions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and also ignore (with the exception of a brief manned military shuttle program) the increasingly large military satellite systems that affected the thinking and action of NASA administrators. Advocacy-driven narratives like these are capable and even eloquent. They do not, however, allow younger readers to comprehend how modern space-based networks of communications or weather satellites many use cell phones to access came to exist. Nor do they help students-or their teachers-understand how the modern era of space-based satellites has produced data that allow us to intelligently comprehend and visualize what environmental scientists are talking about when they address the many and growing challenges of climate change and "Global Warming."

Both authors, additionally, depend heavily on interview data and can, on occasion, over-identify with their most important sources. Gallentine's collection of about twelve personal narratives, for instance, tends to be very kind to pioneers at Iowa State University (i.e. Dr. James Van Allen) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AMBASSADORS FROM EARTH: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft/FINAL COUNTDOWN: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.