Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 March 2018
In 1975 American and Soviet spacecraft docked together in orbit as part of the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the world's first international crewed space mission. Focussing on the project's political symbolism, this article argues that the ASTP was an attempt by the Nixon and Ford administrations to advertise US–Soviet detente by harnessing the optimistic imagery of “space brotherhood,” an instinctive kinship supposedly shared by American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. This was ultimately unsuccessful, as detente's critics appropriated the mission for their own symbolic use to attack US–Soviet detente as a fantastical escape from earthly problems.
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22 Scott and Leonov, 130, 202–3.
23 “The Ugly American,” Missiles And Rockets, 5 Oct. 1965, 55.
24 Sociologist Lewis Mumford's depiction of the space race as a contest between Soviet and American “megamachines” epitomized this anti-technocratic critique. Tribbe, Matthew D., No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings in American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 112CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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32 The OST itself is available at www.unoosa.org/pdf/gares/ARES_21_2222E.pdf, accessed 19 Oct. 2017. The 1968 UN Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space is available at www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introrescueagreement.html, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
33 Lyndon B. Johnson, “Remarks at the Signing of the Treaty on Outer Space,” 27 Jan. 1967, The American Presidency Project, at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=28205, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
34 Teasel Muir-Harmony, “Project Apollo, Cold War Diplomacy and the Framing of Global Interdependence,” unpublished PhD dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014, 173–76; Logsdon, John, After Apollo: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 10–20Google Scholar.
35 John Logsdon refers to the idea of flying a foreign astronaut on a later Apollo mission as “Nixon's pet idea.” See ibid., 109–12.
36 Arnold W. Frutkin to Thomas O. Paine, “US/USSR Space Cooperation,” Memo, 2 Jan. 1969, Record Number 15590, “USSR Cooperation Documentation, 1963–1974,” NASA History Office.
37 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Letter from Dr. Paine on Increased International Participation in Space Programs,” 27 Aug. 1969, folder Space Programmes Foreign Cooperation (Feb. 1969–Nov. 1970), Box 392, NSC Subject Files, National Security Council (NSC), Files, Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, CA (hereafter “Nixon Library”); Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “International Space Cooperation: US–Soviet Activities,” 6 July 1970, 2–3, folder Space Programs Foreign Cooperation 1970 [Feb. 1969–Nov. 1970] 1 of 3, Box 392, Subject Files, National Security Council (NSC), Files, Nixon Library.
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39 Logsdon, 17; Don Lesh to Henry A. Kissinger, “Soviet Invitation to Astronaut Borman,” 9 June 1969, folder USSR Vol. III Jun July 1969, 1 of 1, Box 710, NSC Country Files, Europe USSR, Nixon Library.
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43 Alan Barth, “Earthly Kinship of Men in Space,” Washington Post, 20 July 1969, 40.
44 Muir-Harmony, “Project Apollo,” 143.
45 “Memorandum to Dr. Henry Kissinger,” folder Space Programs Foreign Cooperation 1970 [Feb. 1969–Nov. 1970] 3 of 3, Box 392, Subject Files, National Security Council (NSC) Files, Nixon Library.
46 The list included the Apollo 1 astronauts, Vladimir Komarov, the Soyuz 11 crew, Yuri Gagarin and several astronauts who had also been killed in plane crashes during training exercises. Scott, and Leonov, , Two Sides of the Moon (2005), 313–14Google Scholar. For the Salyut 1 mission and the ensuing tragedy see Ivanovic, Grujica S., Salyut, The First Space Station: Triumph and Tragedy (Chichester: Springer Praxis, 2008)Google Scholar.
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49 David N. Parker to Chuck Colson, “Random Thoughts Re Follow-up to Soviet Trip,” 5 June 1972, folder EX OS 3-1 Astronauts 1/1/1971-[1971–1972], Box 10, subject files: Outer Space, White House Central Files, Nixon Library.
50 David C. Hoopes to the President, “Meeting with Apollo 16 Astronauts and Dr. James C. Fletcher, Thursday 15 June 1972, 12:30 P.M. (5 Minutes), The Oval Office,” memorandum, folder EX OS Outer Space [1971–72] 3 of 3, subject files: Outer Space Box 1, White House Central Files, Nixon Library.
51 Richard Nixon, “Radio Address on Foreign Policy,” 4 Nov. 1972, The American Presidency Project, at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3692.
53 The Soviet crews made their first official visit to train in the US in July 1973; Scott and Leonov, 344.
54 Richard Nixon to James Fletcher, 25 Sept. 1973, folder EX FG 164 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1/1/7, Box 2, subject files: FG-164 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, White House Central Files, Nixon Library.
55 Thomas P. Stafford to Richard M. Nixon, 24 April 1974, folder EX OS 3 Space Flight 7/12/1973-12/31/1973, Box 9, subject files: Outer Space, White House Central Files, Nixon Library; Richard Nixon, “Remarks Following a Tour of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas,” 20 March 1974, The American Presidency Project, at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4392, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
56 Richard Nixon, “Radio and Television Address to the People of the Soviet Union,” 2 July 1974, The American Presidency Project, at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4282, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
57 Stafford, We Have Capture, 198.
58 John F. Donnelly to Ronald Ziegler, 29 July 1974, EX OS 3-1 Astronauts 1/1/1973-[1973–74], Box 12, subject files: Outer Space, White House Central Files, Nixon Library.
59 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Meeting with Soviet Cosmonauts,” 6 Sept. 1974; “Tentative Schedule: Visit of Russian Cosmonauts Washington DC September 6–8, 1974,” 19 Aug. 1974, folder OS 3 Space flight 8/9/74-3/31/75, Box 1, Outer Space 8/9/74 (exec), to Space Flight 7/31/76 (Exec), White House Central Subject Files, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, MI (hereafter Ford Library).
60 Norman Kempster, “Ford, Spacemen Eat Crabs,” Washington Star, 8 Sept., 1974, A5.
61 “The Russians Have Landed – And Texas Says Welcome,” People, 30 Sept. 1974, at http://people.com/archive/the-russians-have-landed-and-texas-says-welcome-vol-2-no-14/; for similar coverage see Victor K. McElheny, “Soviet Astronauts Enjoy Flight into Fantasies of Disney World,” New York Times, 10 Feb. 1975, 24; Jack Waugh, “Building US–Soviet Space Team,” Christian Science Monitor, 19 July 1973, 5–6.
62 Scott and Leonov, 346.
63 See Sage, Daniel, “Giant Leaps and Forgotten Steps: NASA and the Performance of Gender,” in Bell, David and Parker, Martin, eds., Space Travel and Culture: From Apollo to Space Tourism (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2009), 146–63Google Scholar; Gerovitch, Slava, Voices of the Soviet Space Program: Cosmonauts, Soldiers, and Engineers Who Took the USSR into Space (New York: Palgrave Macmillan: 2014), 14CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Margaret Weitkamp has written persuasively about how NASA's institutional discomfiture with the female body constrained the opportunities available to would-be female space travellers. Weitkamp, Margaret, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2004)Google Scholar.
64 Stafford and Cassutt, We Have Capture, 185; Slayton, Deke!, 294.
65 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Participation in Apollo–Soyuz Test Project,” Tab A, “Recommended Telephone Call,” 14 July 1975, folder OS 3 7/1/75-7/23/75, Box 1, Outer Space 8/9/74 (exec), to Space Flight 7/31/76 (Exec), White House Central Subject Files, Ford Library.
66 Gerald R. Ford, “Telephone Conversation with Apollo–Soyuz Test Project Crews Following Rendezvous and Docking of the Spacecraft”, 17 July 1975, The American Presidency Project, at www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=5086, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
67 Ezell and Ezell, The Partnership, 329–40.
68 Scott and Leonov, 358–59. For astronauts’ difficulty mastering Russian see Ezell and Ezell, 255–56, 260–61.
69 “US Soviet Flight Not Just Handshake in Space,” Baltimore Sun, 22 Feb. 1975, A1; “Symbology Activity to Be Performed during ASTP,” John F. Kennedy Space Centre Press Release, 13 July 1975, record number 007463, “ASTP General July 1975,” NASA History Office.
70 “Background Facts: Commemorative Cigarette Brands”; “Together Let Us Explore the Stars: Bloomingdales Introduces EPAS, the American/Russian Commemorative Fragrance,” both in record number 007559, “ASTP: Impact Of,” NASA History Office; further information on EPAS is available at “Bottle, Apollo–Soyuz commemorative, glass, made by Revlon/Novaya Zaria, USA/USSR, 1975,” 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, at https://ma.as/363253, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
71 Ezell and Ezell, 345–47.
72 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Meeting with US Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts,” 13 Oct. 1975, folder National Aeronautics and Space Administration (4) 10/1/75-8/31/76, Box 14, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency File 1974–1977, Ford Library.
73 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Promotion for Astronaut Tom Stafford,” 7 Aug. 1975, folder Stafford, Tom, Box 3, “National Security Advisor, Presidential Name File, 1974–1977,” Ford Library.
74 Executive Secretary Theodore L. Elliot to Henry A. Kissinger, “Joint Space Docking Mission and the President's Visit to the USSR,” 29 Dec. 1972, folder SP-1-1 US-USSR 1/1/71 Box 2973, subject numeric files, 1970–73, Entry 1613, Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State, NARA.
75 John Donnelly to Ronald Nessen, 7 May 1975, folder P750152-1437 thru P750157-1537 (55–74), Box 157C, P-reel microfilm printouts, entry number 454, Central Foreign Policy Files, record group 59, General Records of the Department of State, NARA.
76 Williams, Phil, “Detente and US Domestic Politics,” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs), 61, 3 (1985), 431–47Google Scholar, 439–40.
77 Jonathan Spivak, “The First Space Handshake,” Wall Street Journal, 22 July 1975, 16.
78 “Apollo-Soyuz,” Washington Post, 17 July 1975, A26.
79 “… And One Giant Leap for PR,” Los Angeles Times, 15 July 1975, 113.
80 Matthew D. Tribbe's recent cultural history of the Apollo era, No Requiem for the Space Age, has explored the way in which the American media and intellectual elite became disenchanted with space propaganda.
81 Morgan, Michael Cotey, “The United States and the making of the Helsinki Final Act,” in Preston, Andrew and Longevall, Frederick, eds., Nixon in the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 164–79Google Scholar, 165–66.
82 James M. Naughton, “Ford Bids Nations Live Up to Spirit of Helsinki Pact,” New York Times, 2 Aug. 1975, 1.
83 “J.D.L Burns Rocket Model Here in Protesting Detente,” New York Times, 16 July 1975, 19; Scoop Jackson attended a less combative rally for Soviet Jews in Florida on the day of the Apollo launch; see “Rally for Soviet Jews Marks Cape Liftoff,” Jewish Floridian, 17 July 1975, 1A, 3A, available at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00010090/02424/1x, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
84 94th Congressional Record, daily edn, 15 July 1975, statement of Robert Bauman H6821-2. For press examples see “Solzhenitsyn and the Spacemen,” Chicago Tribune, 18 July 1975, 2:2; “Dragon or Handshake?”, New York Times, 12 July 1975, 24.
85 Joy Billington, “Cheese Rocket Stayed on the Pad,” Washington Star, 14 Oct. 1975, D3.
87 Henry A. Kissinger to the President, “Your Meeting with Gromyko,” 30 Sept. 1976, “USSR (44),” Box 19, country file USSR (32), Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, National Security Adviser Files, Ford Library.
88 Nicholas C. Chriss, “U.S., Russians to Begin Discussions on Resuming Cooperative Space Missions,” Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 1977, 1.
89 Responding to a 1984 questionnaire sent by the ASE, five astronauts (Walter Cunningham, Ronald E. Evans, Gordon Fullerton, Jim Lovell and Harrison Schmitt) expressed apprehension about the organization being used for political ends. Folder 3, Box 1, Records of the Association of Space Explorers, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, CA. The ASE will be explored in detail in Jenks's, Andrew chapter “Transnational Utopias, Space Exploration, and the Association of Space Explorers, 1972–1985,” in Geppert's, Alexander forthcoming edited collection Limiting Outer Space: Astroculture after Apollo (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)Google Scholar. Unfortunately this book was yet to be published at the time of writing.
90 For Shuttle–Mir see Angelina Long-Callahan, “Russian–American Cooperation in Space: Privatisation, Remuneration and Collective Security,” in Krige, Long-Callahan and Maharaj, NASA in the World, 153–84; Albrecht, Mark, Falling Back to Earth: A First Hand Account of the Great Space Race and the End of the Cold War (Lexington, KY: New Media Books, 2011)Google Scholar; Morgan, Clay, Shuttle–Mir: The United States and Russia Share History's Highest Stage (NASA SP-2001-4225) (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2001)Google Scholar, available at https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4225.pdf, accessed 19 Oct. 2017.
91 The decision to invite Stafford to the Soyuz 11 funeral indicates a similar recognition of space brotherhood's propaganda potential by Soviet leaders, though without access to Soviet archival sources this article has limited its discussion to the space brotherhood's reception and appropriation within the United States.
92 One of the six major design guidelines for Sputnik 1 was that its radio signal be powerful enough to be picked up by amateur listeners. Siddiqi, Asif, Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003) 162Google Scholar.