Outer Space in World Politics

Outer Space in World Politics

Outer Space in World Politics

Outer Space in World Politics

Excerpt

We are in the primitive stage of man's leap from his home planet. Part of the story of this incredible effort to explore and to utilize cosmic space is the story of how man studied the problem, how he tried to anticipate the consequences of his technical endeavors, and how he tried to understand his activities-- both to help him plan better the outcome of his huge expenditure of energy and resources and to rationalize his "out of this world" preoccupation.

Those of us who formed the initial core of social scientists at RAND in 1948 had a unique opportunity to study the implications of technical innovations at their early stages. At that time, the only satellites most of us had ever heard about had names like Poland and Hungary, except for the moon if a college requirement had included a survey course in astronomy. In the informal, transdisciplinary environment of RAND, it was disconcerting for a social scientist to hear physicists, astronomers, and engineers refer to "satellites" with no conceivable relation to the countries of Eastern Europe.

The theoretical studies of the scientists indicated that it was feasible to build boosters and to place artificial satellites in orbit. Soon, in ways that became our professional concern, we began to see that indeed there was a political connection. A few of us, once we had learned some elementary astronomy and had been initiated into what was then a secret study, began to think about the uses to which man-made satellites could be put and what the human consequences might be. Since I was a member of that original group of space-shocked political scientists, it is accurate to say that this volume had its origins in RAND a long time ago . . .

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