When future generations review the history of the twentieth century they will undoubtedly judge humanity's movement into space, with both machines and people, as one of its seminal developments. Even at this juncture, the complex nature of spaceflight and the activity that it has engendered on the
part of many peoples and governments makes the U.S. civil space program a significant area of investigation. People from all avenues of experience and levels of education share an interest in the drama of spaceflight. This book is the most up-to-date synthesis of the American civil space program available, and the only one designed especially for use as a college textbook. Written by NASA's chief historian, it describes the history of this effort from its earliest origins to the early 1990s
and offers a powerful analysis of the space program that merges political, economic, technological, scientific, and foreign affairs into a meaningful whole. As in all the Anvil Series texts, it has both a sound historical narrative and a set of key documents which suggest other aspects of the story.