The Politics of Space: A History of U.S.-Soviet/Russian Competition and Cooperation in Space

The Politics of Space: A History of U.S.-Soviet/Russian Competition and Cooperation in Space

The Politics of Space: A History of U.S.-Soviet/Russian Competition and Cooperation in Space

The Politics of Space: A History of U.S.-Soviet/Russian Competition and Cooperation in Space

Synopsis

This is the first political history to emerge since the end of the Cold War that analyzes the development and interactions of the U. S. and Soviet/Russian space programs throughout the Space Age. Taking advantage of American and Russian sources previously unavailable, the author shows how U. S. and Soviet space policies intertwined with other, broader policy interests- interests that coalesced both in a frenzied "space race" and in surprisingly persistent attempts at cooperation. This ambivalent interaction did not end with the demise of the USSR. Von Bencke traces history through to the present, exploring the most recent opportunities that the two great space rivals have found to work together- and the new challenges they must yet surmount.

Excerpt

My interest in the coexistence of U.S.-Soviet/Russian competition and cooperation in space grew out of my interests in American and Soviet government, international relations and space policy. The natural overlap of these disciplines is American and Soviet/Russian space policy and how space policy relates to foreign and domestic policies. This disciplinary overlap provides the basis for a history of the space age which is focused on U.S.-Soviet/Russian international space policy formation. Rooting this history in its broader contexts relates space to wider issues concerning domestic and foreign policy formation in both the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia.

The initial stage of this project was made possible by funding from the Harvard Russian Research Center, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Ford Program. Ibis funding facilitated research trips to Washington and Moscow. Unfortunately my first trip to Russia was cut short when I was mugged and needed to return to the West for medical treatment. The rampant crime in Russia is quite real and threatens would-be researchers as well as economic recovery! The Ford Program and PBS were especially helpful in enabling me to return as quickly as possible to Moscow, where I continued my interviews and archival research.

The final stage of this project was made possible by the Center for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) at Stanford University. CISAC and its co-directors, David Holloway and Michael May, provided me with a wonderful environment for research and writing, and without their financial, intellectual and personal support I could not have completed this book.

Special thanks go to Viktor Sokol'sky, a long-time Russian space historian, who served as my host and mentor at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of the History of Science and Technology, as well as to Leonid Vedeshin of Interkosmos and Vladimir Kurt of the Institute of Space Research, both of whom commented on various aspects of my work and introduced me to several other Russian specialists who did the same. I am similarly grateful for the hospitality and assistance of Roger Launius, Lee Saegesser and Dill Hunley of the NASA History Office.

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