Elthy

Did the Spacerace influence studends to become engineers?

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Im supposed to write an essay in my english lesson, one of the possible topics is if its justifiable to spend money on space exploration (and i have only 300 words :(). I remember reading somewhere that in the US numbers for engineers went up during/after the spacerace, apparently inspired by it. Do you know any source for that?

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If you search Google Scholar, there seem to be a number of papers that mention Apollo's inspiration effects in the STEM fields. You might be able to just cite it as common knowledge. Closest I found was what appears to be a class paper, and the most official on I found was this paper about the Ares program.

If you're justifying space program spending, you'll definitely need a link to NASA's official publications about the spinoff technologies from space program spending. 

Edited by SgtSomeone
Found better paper

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Did it influence how many engineers there were? Yes. Do I have a source? No. It seems like something obvious, or common knowledge. 

Edited by Findthepin1

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The Nasa Spinoff site seems very interesting, thanks for that!

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It's probably a good idea to mention weather reports and GPS as well... Satellite TV?

On topic: yes. I know people who did because of the Apollo Program.

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I wonder if KSP and/or SpaceX and the commercial space companies will have a similar effect.

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On ‎24‎.‎06‎.‎2016 at 3:45 AM, Bill Phil said:

It's probably a good idea to mention weather reports and GPS as well... Satellite TV?

Doubtful. Weather reports predate spaceflights, SatTV via Telstar dates back to 1962 and GPS-NAVSTAR... How does your teacher feel about precision-targeted nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles?

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14 minutes ago, DDE said:

Doubtful. Weather reports predate spaceflights, SatTV via Telstar dates back to 1962 and GPS-NAVSTAR... How does your teacher feel about precision-targeted nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles?

That's still spaceflight.

1962 was after Gagarin's flight in 61... But that's a manned flight. I'm talking satellites here. We wouldn't be able to orbit satellites without exploring the possibilities in space.

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13 hours ago, Bill Phil said:

That's still spaceflight.

1962 was after Gagarin's flight in 61... But that's a manned flight. I'm talking satellites here. We wouldn't be able to orbit satellites without exploring the possibilities in space.

Damn, I could swear the OP said "Apollo" and not "Spacerace" (sic).

On ‎23‎.‎06‎.‎2016 at 0:37 AM, Elthy said:

Im supposed to write an essay in my english lesson, one of the possible topics is if its justifiable to spend money on space exploration (and i have only 300 words :(). I remember reading somewhere that in the US numbers for engineers went up during/after the spacerace, apparently inspired by it. Do you know any source for that?

I remember my own entry exam. A sixty-second (no more, no less) verbal presentation on the issue. I botched it because I was afraid of saying too much.

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On 22/06/2016 at 11:37 PM, Elthy said:

Im supposed to write an essay in my english lesson, one of the possible topics is if its justifiable to spend money on space exploration (and i have only 300 words :(). I remember reading somewhere that in the US numbers for engineers went up during/after the spacerace, apparently inspired by it. Do you know any source for that?

You're quite right to look for proper sources. It's the sort of claim that "feels" right but it's also the sort of thing that an opponent could (quite rightly) reject as being pure propaganda.

I suspect the only kind of hard evidence you will find will be anecdotal and subjective: a number of engineers will certainly claim that they were inspired by the space race, but if there had been no space race they might have been equally inspired by jet fighters, skyscrapers, motorboats or something else.

And if there is a correlation between the space race and engineering student numbers, remember it could also correlate to the uptake of the contraceptive pill, probability of being drafted, number of vehicles or television sets per 1000 households, or any other number of factors.

So you should be able to find sources stating that one of the aims of spending money on space is to encourage clever people to become engineers, and there can be no doubt that a large proportion of the money spent on space exploration is in fact spent on employing engineers. However, that doesn't really mean that any significant numbers were actually encouraged into doing what they are doing now rather than something else. Nor does it mean that such encouragement is necesarily a good thing: rather than getting paid wasting their highly-developed skills on space, they could be leading us to an Earthly utopia where we all have cold fusion, privacy vis-a-vis big data and virus-free PCs... :wink:

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Or on the other hand, without the space programme to keep those highly intelligent engineers busy, our computers would be full of viruses and spied on constantly, while the world explodes around us, because a bored engineer is an extremely dangerous thing!

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 Yes, many college students went into engineering in the 1960s because of the space program. One of them is my best friend. When Apollo shut down in the early 70s, the market dropped out and there were too many engineers for the jobs available. Many, including my friend, ended up never working in engineering.

Regarding justifying the cost of the space program: I don't have a proper source for this, only hearsay: I remember one of the old hard science fiction writers claiming in a speech around 1980 that the entire cost of all the space programs in the world had been fully paid back from weather satellites alone, in lives saved and greatly reduced property damages. 

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8 hours ago, Beowolf said:

Regarding justifying the cost of the space program: I don't have a proper source for this, only hearsay: I remember one of the old hard science fiction writers claiming in a speech around 1980 that the entire cost of all the space programs in the world had been fully paid back from weather satellites alone, in lives saved and greatly reduced property damages. 

That's just one of the big points. You also have GPS, which is irreplaceable outside major cities where "AGPS" cannot be relied upon. And then there are all the other forms of mapping and imaging.

Doesn't really justify manned spaceflight, but that's a whole other kan of worms.

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