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Title: United Kingdom space policy, 1955-60.
Author: Whyte, Neil Edgar.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3567 7220
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1996
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This is a policy history of the earliest period of ·space' and the United Kingdom. tt is mainly concemed with the creation of the UK's first space policy, announced in 1959, but considers key precursor programmes as well as operational aspects of the policy itself. It treats both civil and military factors. Part I considers the precursors, i.e. the early upper atmosphere sounding rocket programme set up in 1955, and the early military interest in reconnaissance from satellites. Key to the former was the coincidence of civil and military interest in the upper atmosphere, the former for purely scientific reasons, the latter on account of the development of Blue Streak, the UK's medium range ballistic missile. The crucial development of the concept of using Blue Streak as the basis of a satellite launcher arose and is considered under the reconnaissance interest. Part II narrates developments between 1958 and 1959, when the UK's first policy was being developed in Whitehall. This process amounted to the fonnulation of a proposal for a civil scientific space programme based on Blue Streak, and the proposal's subsequent assessment. The roles of the key actors are analysed in detail - government departmentslbodies, the Royal Society, leading individual ministers, officials, advisers and independent scientists. Central is the assessment exercise mounted by the government's AdviSOry Council on Scientific Policy (ACSP), and the vexed question of scientific and technological priorities. Part III examines operational aspects. Though only a comparatively modest programme was agreed in 1959, it engendered serious problems in operation, some symptomatic of ailments in the whole system of government funded science. This part also considers all-important developments in the military's attitude towards space between 1959 and 1960
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History