United States space cooperation and competition: Historical reflections

  • Launius R
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Abstract

From the very beginning of the space age, the ability to undertake non-military activities in this new regime has been an element of foreign policy. The mirror image twins international cooperation and competition between nation states has driven many of the key decisions in the major programs undertaken by the United States, especially in the evolution of its human spaceflight initiatives. For much of the Cold War era, head-to-head competition with the Soviet Union defined the human program, especially the Apollo program to land astronauts on the Moon. In the aftermath of the Cold War foreign policy objectives still inform the delineation of policy, especially the cooperative nature of large programs such as the International Space Station. This essay explores the evolution of the place assigned international space cooperation and competition in the United States.
From the very beginning of the space age, the ability to undertake non-military activities in this new regime has been an element of foreign policy. The mirror image twins international cooperation and competition between nation states has driven many of the key decisions in the major programs undertaken by the United States, especially in the evolution of its human spaceflight initiatives. For much of the Cold War era, head-to-head competition with the Soviet Union defined the human program, especially the Apollo program to land astronauts on the Moon. In the aftermath of the Cold War foreign policy objectives still inform the delineation of policy, especially the cooperative nature of large programs such as the International Space Station. This essay explores the evolution of the place assigned international space cooperation and competition in the United States.

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Authors

  • Roger D. Launius

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