The aim of this comprehensive and compiled document is to firstly, fulfill the requirements of the given brief as well as to go above and beyond. Secondly, the aim is to inform and educate individuals on surrounding matters regarding the space race in the past and the one occurring presently in a non-biased, well-researched manner.
The first space race lasted between 1955 and 1975 consisting of the main political superpowers of the time, the Soviet Union and the United States of America. The ignition of a possible second space race already began in 2015 when Blue Origin and SpaceX collided with ideas on Twitter. With a growing number of countries interested in Anti-Satellite technology, private space companies rapidly entering the orbit that we call the market, and political tensions higher than ever in this modern day. The research will revolve around a second “space race” and the progression of technology that ultimately leads to a conflict of ideas and a rise in competition to assert one's political dominance. There are a plethora of similarities to pick from in the past and present that align the thesis of “History repeats itself”. In the following pages, the researched conducted presents a clear argument that is informative and brings to light clear events in history that have unfolded before which pays tribute to supporting the overall argument.
Cognizance of the first Space Race
A byproduct of two superpowers using a proxy war to enforce political ideologies on opposition sides. The Space Race was bound to happen as technology raced forward astronomically in the 1940s onwards. It was only a matter of time before it was announced that technological feat so grand would be attempted by American scientists and astronomers alike to gain superiority over the Soviet communist agenda. It was a symbol of power and dominance and it was imperative for both sides to take the bait and achieve the impossible - use space as a frontier for human evolution. Admittedly, the Soviets won almost all of the small milestones given by the Americans. Unfortunately, when Kennedy used the Space Race as a forefront to get re-elected there was nothing that could stop him from funding Apollo 11 and all its prior projects. This lead to the heroic story of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, it was a symbol of a technological feat humans could achieve. It not only served as a statement that communist propaganda and ideology would not be accepted by the American people, but that a collective unit of people of all colors could work together to achieve a rocket so powerful that it transported three individuals to the moon. This progression of technology, politics and social dynamics often repeats itself throughout history as time progresses. In this context, it’s early events are aligning with modern day politics, social dynamics and technological feats.
Cognizance of a possible second Space Race
Although not as eventful as the first, history remains to be seen as time unfolds. Blue Origin, SpaceX and Orbital are but just three space companies that have risen up in the last 10 years. There is growing evidence to suggest the bubbling competition emanating from the global market to gain money. Political gain might not be the motivator this time, but money is. American Congress has expressed concern for the growing number of non-traditional entrants on the rocket market. “The U.S. has used Russian rocket engines for government and commercial launches since 2000.” but is rapidly turning away in 2019 as a result of new job opportunities and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Anti-Satellite technology is on the rise as currently there are no regulations or political policies surrounding them. The evidence presented suggests the world is entering a new era with plenty of space for a company or country to form ideas around how they wish to proceed. There is a growing tension in and amongst political powerhouses due to the fear of satellite debris, loss of funds due to private enterprises, and the uncertainty for the future. This immense competition amongst American private corporations has incited the U.S. government to take extreme measures to ensuring they have grasp over the future of space travel. This is only the beginning, but aligns with the first stages of when the main goal of the first ‘Space Race’ was to launch a man into orbit. The nation addresses made by John F. Kennedy focused primarily on that topic to initiate conflict with the Soviets. This same concept is beginning to occur with Donald Trump.
The original Apollo designs were constructed by Wernher Von Braun and Arthur Rudolph. These Apollo rocket designs required many intelligent scientists to cooperate and work together to complete milestones of unimaginable proportions. Lunar landing and Orbit rendezvous proposed by John Houbolt was a monumental step towards the ambition to put a man on the Moon. It is similar to Elon Musk's ambition at SpaceX to put several individuals on the Falcon 9 and settle on Mars.
Both needed and need a breakthrough of technological feats to advance. Tom Mueller at SpaceX designed the Merlin Rocket engines and Dragon Propulsion system which was imperative to create reusable rockets, reduce the cost of space travel and these are milestones towards landing on Mars. Similarly to Sputnik and America’s satellite which were small stepping stones to the grand scheme of landing Apollo 11.
The water filter, joystick, cordless tools, and computer microchip were all created to achieve the dream and ambition of putting a man on the Moon. They pioneered important first steps to ensuring survival within space. Something that at the time, was merely a theory with no practical or physical knowledge surrounding the matter. Similarly, SpaceX, BlueOrigin, Orbital and Virgin Galactic have to invest in 3D printing foods, blow up housing, and other items you’d expect in colonizing Mars and sustainably putting individuals on Mars. Both, technologically have various similarities as summarized here, clearly indicating in the technological department that there was a similar ambition to put a man on the Moon, and now to put a man on Mars.
The Space Race as aforementioned was a product of two nations wanting to best the other in order to forefront their own political ideology. John F. Kennedy issued a challenge so that he could keep it’s presidency in his re-election if Apollo did turn out successful which it did. This evidently means that a Space Race, the ambition to put a man on the Moon can politically be used to advantage one’s political gain. It’s been done before to rebuke communist agenda and extend a president's reign.
There are most definitely similarities to suggest that this claim is shared by presidents of today. For example, Donald Trump asserted that in his first term, ambitions would be made to put a man on Mars but forgot all about it down the line as his presidency has dictated. Donald alike to many other individuals knows that Space has not lost all interest and can be used to pry into the hearts of voters. Donald Trump recently addressed the nation about creating a sixth branch of the military called the ‘Space Force’, in his speech he mentioned profusely how important it is to have militaristic dominance in space ‘as well’. Donald Trump’s patriotism is a very risky characteristic, and one that spurred John F. Kennedy to begin the Space Race in the first place. The fruitfulness of the matter is that two American presidents have used the ambition and idea of reaching a galactic destination to further their own political agenda alike to how John F. Kennedy extended his political term by spearheading the Space Race as his mark in history.
Although, slightly off course, it does carry some relevant water. ASAT technology or anti-satellite technology is on the horizon and reports show that China, Russia, and the United States are going head to head on who may control what and what kind of regulations are pertinent to space.This is important as the destruction of any objects in space creates debris and these are firmly monitored as you cannot launch rockets into an orbit filled with collision fidelity. “India became the latest country to carry out an anti-satellite (ASAT) test resulting in debris. India sought to frame the test as a sign of its prowess in space, but on a global level, the event serves as an important wake-up call about the risks of ASAT-related technology.”
This political hole is only a beginning as it is fueling diplomatic relations regarding Space and as time progresses so will the focus and when the focus moves towards Elon Musk’s and many other private space corporations ambitions to reach Mars, the political atmosphere will be tense.
This build-up is very similar to the ideas that brought about the domineering attitude that America had in crushing the communist agenda through a Space Race.
The Space Race and the ambition to put a man on the Moon evidently brought families together, scientists, and cultures. Three African American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson were heroically responsible for solving the mathematical and astronomical equations required to launch John Glenn into orbit. At the time, not only was racism a major factor within NASA and general politics but being a woman and being given the chance to achieve one of the greatest feats in human history was unheard of.
Similarly, humanity lives in a society more open to different people, races, genders, and cultures than ever before. There is an opportunity to join people who have never had the chance to work together to achieve something great. There are no boundaries to hiring or opportunities when it comes to social aspects anymore. Gwynne Shotwell is the COO of SpaceX and she is a woman. The Brooke Owens project is dedicated to allocating women into the Aerospace industry and providing for them in Blue Origin, SpaceX, NASA, and Virgin Galactic. The ambition to put a man on the Moon was not just a political goal or an ambition. It was a dream that collectively allowed untraditional individuals to prove itself as modern-day Aerospace is as well. Both ambitions have generated the opportunity and interest in the Aerospace field for people of all color, race, sexuality, and gender.
Alike to how the first ‘Space Race’ opened the floodgates to allowing individuals with profound talents to conquering a patriotic goal - Katherine Johnson, Dorothy and Mary - there are systems in place to represent the LGBT, and POC in space corporations. Especially within Blue Origin as Jeff Bezos has expressed in lengths how important it is to create ‘buy-in’ by including all of humanity to achieve a humanity based goal.
It is no longer ‘The ambition to put a man on Mars’ or ‘The ambition to put a man on the moon’, it is now ‘The ambition to put an individual on Mars’ or ‘The ambition to put an individual on the Moon.’
Summation of points
In conclusion, politically, socially and technologically there are clearly defined similarities that evidently constituents the logical conclusion that history does indeed repeat itself. In this context, the ambition to put a man on the Moon parallel to putting a man on Mars as well as political ambition, ASATs and fundamental private corporations there are a variety of similarities through these two space races to pick from presented in this document. The leaders that are in play may not be presidents but they do indeed have the horsepower of the global market and plenty of money on their hands. There is plenty of motivation for nations as mentioned, such as China to go forward in sponsoring a private corporation to ensure political domination within space. History does indeed repeat itself, it just disguises itself so well it takes a while to recognize the similarities until an argument is well constructed within a research task.