From 1958 until 1965 the MIT Lincoln Laboratory worked on a military communications experiment which involved injecting a belt of copper dipoles into earth orbit. The US Air Force and Defense Department supported this project, called West Ford, because the project promised to deliver a secure and reliable system to transmit messages. Some optical and radio astronomers protested the belt because they feared that the dipoles would interfere with research. Other astronomers and scientists looked positively upon the project primarily because of the fields in which they worked, the funding they received, and the contacts they maintained. West Ford casts light upon the struggle between different scientific communities, the way in which scientists compartmentalize state and professional responsibilities, and the nature of scientific advising during the Cold War. The project also points to a strand of environmental consciousness, different from, and earlier than, the mid-1960s popular movement.
Thesis (M.A.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2000
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- ch. 1. Lincoln Laboratory and communications in the national interest oin the early Cold War -- ch. 2. Supporting and defending 480 million dipoles -- ch. 3. "I will be affected by the belt ... ": the opposition responds -- ch. 4. Polluting space -- Epilogue and conclusion -- Appendix A: sources -- Appendix B: West Ford data -- Appendix C: The Space Science Board Ad Hoc Needles Committee -- Appendix D: The Space Science Board West Ford Committee -- Appendix E: The PSAC West Ford Review Panel -- Literature cited.
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