The Meaning and Value of Spaceflight

Public Perceptions

  • William Sims Bainbridge

Part of the Space and Society book series (SPSO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 1-14
  3. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 15-37
  4. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 39-60
  5. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 61-83
  6. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 85-111
  7. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 113-133
  8. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 135-157
  9. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 159-181
  10. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 183-203
  11. William Sims Bainbridge
    Pages 205-220
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 221-225

About this book


This book presents the most serious and comprehensive study, by far, of American public perceptions about the meaning of space exploration, analyzing vast troves of questionnaire data collected by many researchers and polling firms over a span of six decades and anchored in influential social science theories.  It doesn't simply report the percentages who held various opinions, but employs sophisticated statistical techniques to answer profound questions and achieve fresh discoveries.

Both the Bush and the Obama administrations have cut back severely on fundamental research in space science and engineering. Understanding better what space exploration means for citizens can contribute to charting a feasible but progressive course. Since the end of the Space Race between the US and the USSR, social scientists have almost completely ignored space exploration as a topic for serious analysis, and this book seeks to revive that kind of contribution.

The author communicates the insights in a lucid style, not only intelligible but interesting to readers from a variety of backgrounds. 


Analysis and Meta-analysis Astronautics and Politics Astrosociology Human Space Travel NASA in the Public Eye Opinion Polls on Spaceflight Public Perception Space Progams Sociological Studies of Spaceflight Space Race Spaceflight and Politics

Authors and affiliations

  • William Sims Bainbridge
    • 1
  1. 1.ArlingtonUSA

Bibliographic information