In little more than fifty years, the United States’ involvement in space has brought the country and the world some of the greatest scientific and technologic achievements, yet these have also come at a tremendous cost. Space policy came of age in the Cold War and was used as a proxy for the all-encompassing competition that engulfed the two Superpowers of the time, the United States and the Soviet Union. This paper will investigate three eras of space policy each characterized by a significant event or chain of events that brought about a change in policy. The cases will be used to analyze a trait—public values—that can often be overlooked by other methods of evaluation. Public value mapping (PVM), developed by Bozeman and Sarewitz, will be used in conjunction with an open systems analysis, developed by Kraemer, to identify the public values of U.S. space policy over time and map them on a public values failure or success axis against an open/closed system axis. The underlying purpose of this paper is to better understand why the U.S. invests in large science and technology programs like space and how this understanding can be applied to other areas of governmental interest that contain public values. The PVM analysis identifies several key elements of success from the space cases, including external events, political windows, and strong, aware, and nimble leaders.
Professional paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
The Case for Big Things: Public Value Mapping U.S. Space Policy from Sputnik to SpaceX.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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