Continuity and Change in the United States regarding space; 1998-2015

oh yeaaaaa



Date: October 29th, 1998 (Written March 20th, 2008)

Source title: NASA - John Glenn Returns to Space

Politics and Power    (Archive/print)

"On October 29, 1998, the first American to orbit the Earth made history again. John Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space by serving as a payload specialist on STS-95 aboard the space shuttle Discovery."

Historical Context: John Glenn was a former US Senator and Vice Presidential candidate at the time he returned to space. He was the first man to go to space from America back in the 60's and to orbit the Earth. His career as a Senator had ended as he entered retirement in 1995, and then decided to return to space as he still worked for NASA.

Purpose: The significance of this article telling about John Glenn only in his venture to space with a pretty large crew to conduct research is because of John Glenn's history-as an astronaut, politician and engineer and former NASA worker, and also being the first man from America to orbit the Earth. This article intends to show a parallel between his first historical landmark time in space orbiting the Earth, and this venture where he spent a significantly longer time in space.

Reflection: This source reflects Politics and Power over Technology in my opinion simply because of John Glenn's history.  He was a Senator under the Democratic party from 1974-1995, and one of the very small amount of politicians that have ever went into space, along with being the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn had also run to become the Vice President, but did not win. As a Senator, he was chief of some important issues including an important nuclear issue act. But his historical venture into orbit as the first man and the issues he faced while being a US Senator, to the second space travel make John Glenn and his adventures one of Political sense. (To add on to that, some people criticized his return to space as political gain granted by President Clinton.)

Source 2


Date: Feburary 1st, 2003 (uploaded May 21st, 2008)

Source Title: RARE! Space shuttle Columbia Explosion footage


Historical context: Columbia was a space shuttle that had many uses, and went into space many times. This was the 28th flight of Columbia, and the 113th flight of the entire Space Shuttle program. The space shuttle was going into space with 7 crew members to bring a research module up into space and to research some space particles and their effects.

Intended Audience: The intended audience of this video is anyone really who is interested in either space, space travel, NASA or disasters. It simply depicts the actual explosion on re-entry of the space shuttle Columbia, which would be interesting to anyone who wants to learn more about the disaster or is researching it or such.

Reflection: I think this pertains to culture because of a few reasons. This disaster affected me personally as I remember vividly watching it live with my father, who both of us are and always have been huge space nerds. I remember feeling scared because I had always wanted to go into space, and this just terrified me. It affected almost everything about space travel culture-as NASA were even suspended from space shuttle travel for 2 years. There were many memorials and a lot of TV that covered the subject. It was also the cause of terroristic fears as some people believed that it was in fact a terrorist at hand for the disaster, and there were also other conspiracy theories floating around such as that it was a hoax from an earlier movie that depicts an explosion of a space shuttle.

Source 3

Author: NASA

Date: July 7th, 2003 (launched) Jan 25th, 2004 (landed)

Source title: Mars Exploration Rover- Opportunity (archive/text)

Work, Exchange and Technology

"Opportunity is equipped with a powerful set of tools to study a diverse collection of rocks and soils that may hold clues to past water activity on Mars. These tools include multiple cameras: a panoramic camera (Pancam), as well as a navigational camera (Navcam), and a microscopic imager (MI) which obtains close-up, high-resolution images of rocks and soils. There are also several instruments for analyzing composition and mineralogy: a miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES), a Mossbauer spectrometer (MIMOS II) which provides unique information about iron-bearing minerals, and an alpha particle x-ray spectrometer (APXS) which tells us the chemical makeup of individual rocks and soils. Finally, the rovers are equipped with a “rock abrasion tool” (RAT) which exposes fresh material beneath the dust and weathered rinds that typically coat martian rocks."

Historical context: Launched with a twin named Spirit, Opportunity is a rover launched from NASA that still operates and communicates with us from Mars today. It was tied for 2nd rover ever sent to Mars, the first being Sojournor, this one being launched with Spirit, and the recently launched Curiosity.

Purpose: This article intends to inform the people who are interested in space/mars exploration about Opportunity. It does this by educating and giving the information about the rover, like its launch date, when it arrived, where on Mars it landed, what it's fit with so it can explore the surface and perform experiments etc.

Reflection: This article and source pertains to Work, Exchange and Technology because it's a huge technological step for mankind, as is any rover or mission in space.

Source 4

Author: NASA

Date: 1998-ongoing (multiple points in time are significant, like 2000, 2005/2006 (probably most important dates) and 2014)

Source title: What is the International Space Station? (Text)

America in the World

"The space station is also a science lab. Many countries worked together to build it. They also work together to use it."

Historical Context: In 1998, the International Space Station was born. The first parts were sent up. In 2000, the first crew inhabited it. In 2005, it was grounded, and in 2006 it was sent back up into space. Parts and crews are still being sent up, and crews live there today.

Purpose: This articles purpose is to inform people about the ISS, or International Space Station. For one, the name of the article is What is the International Space Station. But it gives info on the ISS like size, what it's for, when it was built and the ongoing process, the crew, and other important, interesting facts.

Reflection: The ISS could have fit into any of the four types that we are using. But I picked this one for a special reason. The world pretty much shares it. That's why it has the name international. Many different crews from different countries are sent up there, most notably Russians and Americans. The Americans have to make policies and such for it and so do other countries that send up crew, ultimately making America have to communicate and cooperate with whoever they're sending up etc.

Source 5

Author: Congress/George W. Bush

Date: December 30th, 2005 (when it became law)

Source Title: NASA Authorization Act of 2005

Politics and Power (Manuscript)

"EC. 101. RESPONSIBILITIES, POLICIES, AND PLANS. (a) GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES.— (1) PROGRAMS.—The Administrator shall ensure that NASA carries out a balanced set of programs that shall include, at a minimum, programs in—......"

Historical Context: George W. Bush had visions for space exploration and adventure and the likes of that idea. It was in a time of the want to progress into the future, as the bill allowed NASA to collaborate closely with other nations scientific endeavors.

POV: The POV of the people who wrote this act is that of progress, and hope for the future. They want NASA to work and balance between many different scientific feats, not just space exploration but actually studying and understanding space.

Reflection: This document represents Politics and Power because it was huge for George W. Bush and NASA itself. It made NASA have to include programs in human spaceflight, aeronautics research etc., and collaborate with other scientific corporations in the US and outside of the US. It was signed by George W. Bush in his hopes for the scientific progression into space.

Source 6

Author: Natalie Wolchover

Date: April 23rd, 2012

Source Title: Who Owns Space? Does Asteroid Mining Violate Space Law?

America In The World (Text)

"The most pertinent piece of law is the Outer Space Treaty (OST), an agreement signed or ratified by all spacefaring nations in 1967, which established, among other things, that no nation may claim sovereignty over space, the moon or celestial bodies. The treaty was intended to protect the rights of lesser developed nations that did not yet have the ability to explore space, and to prevent the U.S. or the Soviet Union — whichever would go on to win the space race — from claiming sovereignty over the moon. However, the question of space resource exploitation is not explicitly addressed in the treaty, and interpretations of its words vary widely."

Historical Context: Many companies have been wanting to start an asteroid mining business-where they go into space, mine materials from asteroids in space and bring them back to Earth for money.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to bring up the point of Space Law- and how going out into space to mine asteroids for ones own personal gain could be unfair, because who really owns space?

Reflection: This source represents America In the World because of how it can affect every person living here on Earth...because nobody really owns space, how can some companies just take control and take precious metals and other materials from asteroids that aren't even on the Earth?

Source 7

Author:  Mike Wall

Date: Nov 17th, 2014

Source Title: Philae Comet Lander's Big Bounce Captured in Amazing Photos

Work, Exchange and Technology

Historical Context: The spacecraft Philae launched in 2004. But it wasn't until 10 years and hundreds of millions of miles orbiting around the solar system to accurately land on an asteroid hurtling through space on November 12th, 2014.

Purpose: This video shows how Philae flew through space and used the gravity of the Earth and Mars to propel it further and further out until it could reach the asteroid. The article explains the landing of the Comet.

Reflection: This is a huge technological feat. When you watch the video and see how Philae flew through space and used other planets gravitational fields to propel itself and land almost perfectly on a tiny asteroid hundreds of millions of miles away, you have to just marvel at all of the calculations and work that went into this project.

Source 8:

Author: Neil Degrasse Tyson

Date: 2014-2015

Source Title: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey


Historical Context: Back in the 70's and 80's an astronomer by the name of Carl Sagan made a very popular show called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. It brought great interest in space, and reached out to many people and their interests. Now this show is a reboot, with popular astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Purpose: The purpose of this show is the educate everyone on the majesty of space, and generate more interest in the subject.

Reflection: This pertains to culture, because the show creates a big culture of people who are more interested in space and learning about space and other types of physics.


From 1998-2015, space and everything regarding space went through continuity turmoil, as everything changed and major events happened. Technological advancements, political ideas and actions and many, many other important events happened in this time to create possibly the most interesting time for space and space travel that the US has seen thus far.

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