Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

by Neil M. Maher
Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

by Neil M. Maher


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Winner of the Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award
A Bloomberg View Must-Read Book of the Year
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

“A substance-rich, original on every page exploration of how the space program interacted with the environmental movement, and also with the peace and ‘Whole Earth’ movements of the 1960s.”
—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

The summer of 1969 saw astronauts land on the moon for the first time and hippie hordes descend on Woodstock. This lively and original account of the space race makes the case that the conjunction of these two era-defining events was not entirely coincidental.

With its lavishly funded mandate to put a man on the moon, the Apollo mission promised to reinvigorate a country that had lost its way. But a new breed of activists denounced it as a colossal waste of resources needed to solve pressing problems at home. Neil Maher reveals that there were actually unexpected synergies between the space program and the budding environmental, feminist and civil rights movements as photos from space galvanized environmentalists, women challenged the astronauts’ boys club and NASA’s engineers helped tackle inner city housing problems. Against a backdrop of Saturn V moonshots and Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind, Apollo in the Age of Aquarius brings the cultural politics of the space race back down to planet Earth.

“As a child in the 1960s, I was aware of both NASA’s achievements and social unrest, but unaware of the clashes between those two historical currents. Maher [captures] the maelstrom of the 1960s and 1970s as it collided with NASA’s program for human spaceflight.”
—George Zamka, Colonel USMC (Ret.) and former NASA astronaut

“NASA and Woodstock may now seem polarized, but this illuminating, original chronicle…traces multiple crosscurrents between them.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674237391
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 03/11/2019
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Neil M. Maher is Professor of History at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, Newark.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Launching the Sixties 1

1 Spaceship Earth: Civil Rights and NASA's War on Poverty 11

2 Shooting (from) the Moon: NASA, Nature, and the New Left during the Vietnam War Era 54

3 Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Cape Canaveral and Whole Earth Environmentalism 92

4 Heavenly Bodies: "Manned Spaceflight" and the Women's Movement 137

5 The New Right's Stuff: The Hippie Counterculture and the Rise of the Conservative Crescent 183

Conclusion: Grounding the Space Race 228

Notes 241

Acknowledgments 347

Illustration Credits 351

Index 353

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