spaceflight’s murky future


When I asked Joseph N. Tatarewicz, associate professor of history, to write a post for Talking Heads, I knew that he was one of the leading experts on the history of NASA and no stranger to writing about the institution. Joe outdid himself, however, and his blog post seemed too good to keep to ourselves. I’m not an “unapologetic space cadet” like Joe, but he broke the history of the space program down so that I understood the context of what’s happening with NASA funding now.

So we decided to share Joe with the world, and we sent his piece to the Baltimore Sun as a potential Op-Ed. The editors there saw what we did, and added Joe’s grounded and knowledgeable voice to the debate over the fate of NASA.

As Joe explains:

“Presidents have tossed out grand visions easily over the years, few seriously, and they have continued those of their predecessors only with solid popular support or compelling policy reasons… Presidents have always used space as an instrument for their broader programs and agendas, but usually without much public debate or even notice. This is different. The old, well-worn paradigms and plans are probably off the table, but the new ones are just emerging, in piecemeal fashion.”

What’s the future of human spaceflight? No one is sure, but Joe gives us the background we need to make an educated guess. Read his full Op Ed here.


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