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 make the U.S. civil space program a significant area of study. 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. 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. It has both a sound historical narrative and a set of key documents which suggest other aspects of the story.