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The Space Telescope

The Space Telescope
A Study of Nasa, Science, Technology, and Politics

Out of Print

  • Date Published: October 1993
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2002
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521457682

Out of Print

Unavailable - out of print May 2002
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About the Authors
  • Robert Smith's The Space Telescope sets the fascinating and disturbing history of this massive venture within the context of 'Big Science'. Launched at a cost of no more than $2 billion, the Space Telescope turned out to be seriously flawed by imperfections in the construction of its lenses and by solar panels that caused it to shudder when moving from daylight to darkness. Smith analyses how the processes of Big Science, especially those involving the government's funding process for large-scale projects, contributed to those failures. He reveals the astonishingly complex interactions that took place among the scientific community, government and industry and describes the great range of personalities and forces - scientific, technical, political, social, institutional and economic - that played roles in the Space Telescope's history.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'With exquisite clarity, Mr. Smith exposes penny-wise strategies that lead to less science and more expense in the long run. That is why The Space Telescope is so valuable.' New York Times Book Review

    'Here is a stark portrayal of what big science has become in the post-war period.' Science

    'Those interested in the progress of contemporary astronomy or wanting to understand the underpinnings of late 20th century 'Big Science' will find The Space Telescope must reading.' Sky and Telescope

    'In every way this book deserves to be and is surely destined to become a classic in the history of science.' Isis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1993
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521457682
    • length: 528 pages
    • dimensions: 263 x 184 x 30 mm
    • weight: 1.059kg
    • contains: 99 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2002
  • Table of Contents

    Preface to paperback edition
    1. Dreams of telescopes
    2. Building a program
    3. Astronomers, industry and money
    4. Selling the large space telescope
    5. Saving the space telescope
    6. Making an institute
    7. Up and running
    8. Problems arise
    9. Closing in
    10. Reflections
    Short essay on sources

  • Author

    Robert W. Smith

    With contributions by

    Paul A. Hanle, Maryland Space Science Center

    Robert H. Kargon, The Johns Hopkins University

    Joseph N. Tatarewicz

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