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Neufeld, Von Braun

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Archive of books from previous SAASS 665 courses

Neufeld: Von Braun

Did von Braun accept a Faustian bargain? "He accepted the ample resources offered by the Third Reich to build rockets, believing that it would lead to a glorious new future for himself, and humankind, in space. When the cost turned out to be the murder and enslavement of thousands, something he did not want or suggest, he was unhappy, perhaps even appalled; but that did not divert him from his rocket projects or ambitions."

"von Braun has often been depicted as a saint or a devil, as a hero of space-flight or a Nazi war criminal. It is comforting to pigeonhole him as either, because one does not have to deal with his ambiguity and complexity, or the ambiguity and complexity of the moral and political choices offered to scientists and engineers in the modern era."

Consider whether the concept of realism, traditionally applied to international relations, applies to von Braun's story: was von Braun a realist or a utopian?

If the Nazis can be said to have acted towards the French, the Poles, and the Jews somewhat like the Athenians did against Melos, where do von Braun and his fellow scientists fit? Are they closer to Athenians or Melians? Are they the strong or the weak?

Burrows, This New Ocean

Lesson One, pp. 1-107:

The story of the first space age is the story of political ideologies that fought relentlessly above the atmosphere, as they did on the planet beneath it, in a dangerous duel for a global supremacy that was more illusion than serious possibility.

Using space to help humanity commuicate, forecast the weather, and accomplish other beneficial things and traveling there for the ultimate adventure and refuge was the central idea.

Burrows suggests that mankind has always been fascinated by the stars and motivated to travel to space.

Copernicus, Brahe, kepler, and Galileo changed mankind's concept of its place in the world through astronomy: so too would Isaac Newton through physics.

Tsiolkovsky, Goddard, and Oberth were deeply influenced by science fiction, as much as physical science as they strove to develop workable rocket designs.

Rocketeers, especially Korolev and the Germans under Oberg, were shackled to a common and unavoidable dilemma: their lifeblood, their financial sustenance, flowed from politicians and generals who had their won intentions for rocket technology.

A prisoner of Mittelwerk (the V-2 factory) noted of von Braun: "If, in the end, the V-2 was to permit man to go to the moon and to instigate a nuclear balance of terror, this futuristic programme did not grant Nazi Germany the possibility of winning the war....On the contrary. The obsession with rockets contributed decisively in the precipitation of the irreversible fall of the Third Reich."

Spires, Beyond Horizons

The Dawn of the Space Age:

  • A number of theorists worked out the feasibility of exo-atmospheric rockets in the early decades of the twentieth century.
  • An influential RAND study immediately following the end of WWII suggested the utility of artificial satellites for military operations.

The Air Force enterns the Space Age: 1945-1957:

  • The Air Force was initially cool towards ballistic missiles and satellites, but the launch of Sputnik and the prospect of sister-service advances motivated the service to place more emphasis on both efforts.

The National Space Program and the Air Force's Quest for the Military Space Mission:

  • The National Space Act of 1958 created NASA to operate the civilian space effort, while the services jockeyed for position through military space programs.
  • The Air Force emerged as the lead service in space (although it was not the only service or agency with a space program).
  • By the end of the Eisenhower Administration, the AF space program revealed the basic defense support characteristics that it would retain for the next four decades.

Gillespie & Weller, Harnessing the Heavens

Siddiqi, Soviet Space:

This essay seeks to summarize the institutional, technological, and programmatic decisions of Soviet space power in the Cold War.

  • Almost all civilian space systems were derived from military counterparts.
  • The Soviets defined generations of capabilities by the particular (standard) satellite bus used.
  • More often than not, the Soviets prematurely declared systems to be "operational."
  • Almost all Soviet satellite projects had American equivalents.
  • The Soviets invested enormous resources in unrealized military projects.

Sturdevant, Giving Voice to Global Reach, Global Power:

In the four decades since the Air Force launched its first dedicated military communications satellites, the role of SATCOM in military operations has grown from practically imperceptible to unquestionably essential.

Systems designed to support nuclear commnad and control are slowly being replaced by systems more suitable for MCO requirements.

Newer, high-capacity systems are still not enough to satisfy network-centric doctrines of warfare: upwards of 70% of DoD SATCOM is leased from commercial providers- consider Singer's conclusions in Singer, Corporate Warriors (Lesson 10) Cheng, The Long March Upward:

China has made self-reliance a hallmark of its space and missile programs.

China views its space program as a diplomatic and economic instrument, as well as a military instrument of power.

China's space program has been characterized by dual-use systems over the life of the program, much like the Soviet program

The PLA has exerted a significant influence on the Chinese space program.

  • The PLA observed the importance of space in Desert Storm and Allied Force, and the implications associated with domination of space in warfare.
  • The 2007 ASAT test demonstrates China's willingness and capability to contest space.

Peterson, Inernational Regimes for the Final Frontier

Just as the development of aviation required working out common rules for new human uses of the air, successful launches of satellites and other space craft required developing common rules for the use of space

Common rules emerge in one of two ways:

Rules are formed over time through tacit convergence of state interests
Rules are formed by explicit multilateral agreements

Situational Definitions:

Outer space negotiations have largely followed reasoning by analogy over inductive/deductive reasoning or even reasoning by metaphor

There are processes of interaction through which outer space agreements (or regimes) develop:

Pressure: deprivations (coercion) or rewards (inducement)
Exchange: transactions for mutual gain
Persuasion: altering preferences through argument

The United Nations has provided a structure for situation definition and interaction, but it has not precluded unilateral action in space.

Outer space as a location:

Res Nullius: an area outside the control of any individual state, but open to appropriation by the first one that establishes effective occupation (high seas analogy, whereby celestial bodies are "islands" that may be claimed)
Res Communis: areas outside national jurisdiction not open to state appropriation but to be used in common by nationals of all states (Antarctica analogy)
State Domain: areas within the territorial, maritime, or aerial jurisdiction of an individual state (national airspace analogy)

Jurisdiction in outer space:

Air and maritime analogies helped to establish registration and rescue/return norms among states
The Antartica analogy helped to inspire the notion of space as a sanctuary from military activity

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