Redacted Histories of the Space Race

November 14, 2012

"I know very well that these men were Nazis, but they are also fantastic rocket scientists, and we need fantastic rockets!" Lisi Raskin and Wolfgang Hauptman narrate the absurd entanglements of the space race and President Truman's military desire for space superiority, with a nod to Trekkies.

After a visit to the Space Shuttle Pavilion at New York’s Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, I started to think about “American exceptionalism”—an unavoidable topic during election season—alongside the utopian rhetoric of a new beginning for humanity, in uncharted territory. While talking to my friend Wolfgang Hauptman about the Cold War’s arms and space races, we began free-associating from memories of John F. Kennedy’s speeches, Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program and the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. In this video, Redacted Histories of the Space Race, we exhume the history of the civilian space initiative, untangling relationships between Nazi rocket scientists, the decommissioned Space Shuttle Program, various US presidents and even Trekkies.