The Other Space Race is a unique look at the early U.S. space program and how it both shaped and was shaped by politics during the Cold War. Eisenhower’s “New Look” expanded the role of the Air Force in national security, and ultimately allowed ambitious aerospace projects, namely the “Dyna-Soar,” a bomber equipped with nuclear weapons that would operate in space. Eisenhower’s space policy was purely practical, creating a strong deterrent against the use of nuclear arms against the United States.
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Nicholas Michael Sambaluk is an assistant professor of practice in military science and technology for Purdue University and a research fellow for the Army Cyber Institute at West Point. He earned his PhD in U.S., military, and international relations history from the University of Kansas in May 2012.Review:
“Sambaluk has written an important book that offers a though provoking consideration of a space race within the U.S. government. The significant value of this work is the history of the USAF’s thought and ideas about the use of space. In this context, Sambaluk has contributed greatly to the historiography of the space age.” ― U.S. Military History Review
"As the US civilian space agency took shape, the Air Force sought a militarized program based on the premise that the weaponization of space was inevitable, and since aerospace was an extension of the atmosphere, the Air Force ought to carry it out. The Air Force proposed a dynamic, soaring glider/bomber dubbed the Dyna-Soar. Such plans conflicted with President Eisenhower’s vision of a non-weaponized space environment in which security could be provided by satellite reconnaissance and the high-altitude U-2 spy plane. In this context, Dyna-Soar appeared to be an overpriced dinosaur. From 1954 to 1961, the president and the Air Force sparred over Dyna-Soar, which came to symbolize the philosophical debate over space defense policy―with the Air Force hampered by the need to alter design in order to enhance the prospects for approval, and the administration limited in defending its position because of the need to keep its satellite program secret. Eisenhower prevailed, but allowed his successor latitude to continue Dyna-Soar or cancel it, which President Kennedy did. This balanced account gives each perspective a fair hearing, and offers a counterpoint to accounts of the early space age dominated by Apollo. | Summing Up: Recommended."―CHOICE (ALA.org)
“Sambaluk’s well-researched and well-written book captures the zeitgeist of the Cold War. Accordingly, Sambaluk addresses obscure issues surrounding the missile age. Hence, students of the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations will find The Other Space Race not only revealing, but also a fine addition to their library.”―Parameters
“Readers and researchers interested in the realities and irrationalities of defense procurement and the history of the US military during the Cold War generally will benefit from careful reflection on the arguments presented in The Other Space Race. Its author is particularly informative on Eisenhower's New Look defense policy and the effect of Sputnik on American public opinion. And, too, his concentration on the Dyna-Soar manned orbital bomber concept provides valuable insights into early Air Force thinking on space as a theater of operations. That said, the book is not a comprehensive history of the Air Force in the Cold War, analogous to, say, Ingo Trauschweizer's The Cold War US Army. It complements Curtis Peebles's study of reconnaissance over-flights of the Soviet Union during the Eisenhower years. Sambaluk has clarified the US Air Force's attitude toward "aerospace" advances as well as the critical role of service branches, with their distinct cultures, in shaping policy and strategy. He also adds depth to our understanding of Dwight Eisenhower's forewarnings about the threat posed by the military-industrial complex.” ― Michigan War Studies Review
“The Other Space Race is fascinating look at the early years (1954–1961) of the celebrated ‘Space Race’ between the United States and the Soviet Union. It is full of fascinating sidebars fleshing out the context of the times in vivid detail and peaking with the lunar landing in 1969. Overall, a splendid rendering of the behind-the-scenes complexities of early American space-policy formation as leaders wrestled with appropriate responses and future direction at the height of an increasingly heated Cold War.”―Military Review
“The Other Space Race is a clearly written and thoroughly researched monograph that deserves a wide readership. Sambaluk’s use of archival resources and contemporary trade journals is excellent, as is his care in reminding readers that nothing in history is inevitable.”―H-War
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