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Between 1954 and 1961 military planners and political leaders competed to cultivate public attitudes that would support their plans for seizing the initiative in space security issues. Key Air Force figures such as Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas White labored hard for the development of armed flight technologies that could traverse both air and space environments. The Air Force's flagship vehicle for controlling aerospace was the Dynamic Soarer space glider bomber, a heat-resistant single-seat space shuttle meant to conduct reconnaissance, bombing, and other missions to ensure American superiority--and peace. In contrast, President Eisenhower envisioned non-weaponized satellite reconnaissance systems as the best tools to ensure peace. In keeping with the low-profile but important roles that CIA actions and U.S. Information Agency initiatives played overseas, Eisenhower's policy relied on space reconnaissance happening quietly and behind the scenes.
The Other Space Race is the story of how neither policy was fully realized. By examining the important but largely forgotten period of research between 1954 and 1961, Nicholas Michael Sambaluk provides a more meaningful context for understanding space security policy and space history.