11am, Wednesday 6th April, 2022
How Australia justifies space: myths and rationales of Australian spaceflight – Tristan Moss
Space exploration has long been the site of overlapping and competing views of the benefit of such activities. It has been seen variously as prestigious, transformative, expensive and vital. Among spacefaring countries, such as the United States, governments and those who advocate for space have constantly sought to justify their space activities (and expenditure), often drawing on particular narratives of their nations’ past and current space achievements. American spaceflight historians, such as Roger Launius and Asif Siddiqi have identified tropes used by nations to rationalise spaceflight, including human destiny and survival of the species, geopolitics and national pride, national security, economic competitiveness, and scientific discovery. While scholars tend to see these as universal, countries such as Australia are either overlooked or treated as ‘America-lite’. This paper will therefore explore the rationales and narratives around Australia’s space experience. It will examine the myths around Australia’s space achievements and failures and will discuss how they underpin arguments around space made to, and by, successive governments.
Dr Tristan Moss is a senior lecturer in the Griffith Asia Institute. He is a historian researching Australian space history and the history of the ADF with a focus on its culture and policy. His current research focuses on a history of Australian space activities, 1957 – 2020, and he is also working on a history of sex in the Australian military.
Join us at Waurn Ponds (IC2.108), Burwood (C2.05.01) or on Zoom