Space Technology

Space Technology

Space Technology

Space Technology

Synopsis

Here is a ready-reference guide for the nonspecialist with current information about developments in space technology as well as the present and future social, political, and technical impact of those developments on everyday life. It includes a history of the evolution of space technology; a discussion of applications; a chronology of major developments; profiles of prominent people and institutions; explanations of key principles; a discussion of the major impacts and implications of space technology; an examination of major issues surrounding the use of such technology; and predictions for future advances. Also offered are a glossary, a list of key associations, a list of print and electronic information resources, 40 illustrations, and an index.

Excerpt

The arrival of space technology in the middle of the twentieth century changed the course of human history. Modern military rockets with their nuclear warheads redefined the nature of strategic warfare. Because there would be no victors under a strategy of mutual assured destruction, the avoidance of global nuclear war became the prime national security objective for both the United States and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. However, stimulated by the politics of that same period, powerful space launch vehicles, initially derived from military rockets, allowed us to escape from the relentless pull of our home planet’s gravity—an uncompromising, embracing force within which all previous human history occurred. Through space technology, smart robot exploring machines visited all the major planets in our solar system (except tiny, frigid Pluto), making these distant celestial objects almost as familiar as the surface of our own Moon. Then, as part of history’s greatest exploration adventure, space technology enabled human beings to walk for the first time on another world. For many, the Apollo lunar landing missions conducted between 1969 and 1972 by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) represent humanity’s most magnificent technical accomplishment.

Through space technology, orbiting instruments and human eyes began to observe the universe directly, rising above the blurring influence of Earth’s protective atmosphere and discovering its long-hidden immensity, variety, beauty, and dramatically violent processes. Today, the almost daily . . .

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