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

By W. D. Kay | Go to book overview

spaceflight (or perhaps anything else) in a pluralistic fashion. There is only so much that a single technological system can accomplish, particularly when it is new. Attempting to design it to achieve too many goals only increases the likelihood that it will end up satisfying no one.

In addition, conceptualizing space policy as an outcome of arena interactions clearly demonstrates why the problems of the program cannot be ascribed simply to lack of leadership. If he (or someday she) is sufficiently motivated and attentive, even a president is capable only of uniting the executive arena in support of a given program, and even then usually for only as long as that individual remains in office. So long as the other arenas operate independently, there will always be multiple demands placed on the space program, leading to either an overcommitted system (as in the shuttle or the original design of Freedom) or ongoing pockets of opposition (as in the station's later versions). To make matters worse, the positions taken by these arenas are constantly subject to change.

Thus, the basic problem facing the U.S. space program is the number, variety, and stability of the participants who play a role in its development. Since participation is so fundamental to the American political system, if that really is the key to the difficulty, then revitalizing space policy will prove to be a far more intractable problem than most observers realize. It is therefore necessary to consider the impact of widespread participation on the conduct of the program, the task of the next chapter.


NOTES
1.
Jim F. Heath, Decade of Disillusionment: The Kennedy-Johnson Years ( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), p. 99; Robert F. Coulam, Illusions of Choice: The F-111 and the Problems of Weapons Acquisition Reform ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977).
2.
See, for example, Harold D. Lasswell, The Analysis of Political Behavior: An Empirical Approach ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1948); David B. Truman, The Governmental Process: Political Interests and Public Opinion ( New York: Knopf, 1951); Seymour Martin Lipset, Political Man: The Social Basis of Politics ( Garden City: Doubleday, 1960); Arend Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977); Theodore J. Lowi, The End of Liberalism, 2d edition ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1979); Kay Lehman Schlozinan and John T. Tierney , Organized Interests and American Democracy ( New York: Harper and Pow, 1986). In fact, this concern goes back much further. Alexander Hamilton , James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers ( New York: Mentor, 1961); and Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. Richard D. Heffner ( New York: Mentor, 1956), among others, wrote extensively on the impact of factions and associations.

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I - Introduction: WHERE DID WE GO WRONG? 1
  • 1: A Program Adrift 3
  • 2 - In Search of the Magic Bullet: Critiques of U.S. Space Policy 13
  • Notes 28
  • Part II - THE SPACE PROGRAM FROM THE GROUND UP 37
  • 3 - Nasa: The Eye of the Storm 39
  • Notes 62
  • 4 - And a Cast of Thousands 69
  • Notes 94
  • Notes 104
  • CONCLUSION: NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND THE DEMOCRATIC DILEMMA 120
  • Notes 122
  • Part III - PROSPECTS FOR REFORM 127
  • 6 - A World Without Borders 129
  • Notes 148
  • 7 - From Henry Ford to Captain Kirk 161
  • Notes 181
  • Bibliography 197
  • Index 237
  • About the Author 245
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