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SPST503 - Chronology of Space

Course Details

Course Code: SPST503 Course ID: 3719 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course takes an in-depth look at the past and current structure, tasking, goals and objectives of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Emphasis is placed on the roles of the individual research centers, space centers and laboratories that form the NASA organization. The origins and impact of the ‘space race’ are discussed in detail.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/25/19 - 08/30/19 09/02/19 - 10/27/19 Summer 2019 Session D 8 Week session
06/24/19 - 11/29/19 12/02/19 - 01/26/20 Fall 2019 Session D 8 Week session
08/26/19 - 01/31/20 02/03/20 - 03/29/20 Winter 2020 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, the student will have:

CO-1: Appraise the role that the early space pioneers, the Soviet and U.S. nascent space programs, and science and technology advances of the mid-20th century played in manned and unmanned space programs.

CO-2: Evaluate the scientific and technical advancements paved the way for the global overhead systems related to commerce, communication, imaging, and related fields.

CO-3: Assess the economic and political progression of government only/classified satellite programs to commercial satellite systems.

CO-4: Critique the decision making process for U-2, SR-71, Corona, Talent-Keyhole Systems, and related classified programs during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

CO-5: Differentiate the progression of manned space programs from the Mercury/Vostok program to the Space Shuttle, and subsequent International Space Station.

CO-6: Evaluate the impact that the Apollo program had on the space program, and assess the political ramifications of the Moon landings.

CO-7: Assess the success and failures of the U.S., Soviet/Russian, specifically programs related to planetary and deep space exploration.

CO-8: Analyze the milestones in international space policy, law, and treaties and evaluate the contribution each has made in the evolution of space exploration, global communication and commerce.

CO-9: Hypothesize the future of the U.S. manned space program.

CO-10: Demonstrate mastery of the course objectives through graduate level research, discussions, and writing.

Research proposal: Proposals are a critical part of a good writing. But as this is a professional skill that is rarely taught or expected. The proposal I require is tool for you, not for me. That is I teach you a skill that you can apply in any class or in the real world when you have to prepare a paper, and want to organize up front.

This is a narrative proposal, much like the introduction of a paper. The research proposal has three parts. The first part is your introductory paragraph setting the tone of your paper.

The second part is a couple to a few paragraphs outlining what the key issues or arguments you will need to develop or argue. This is what you need to focus your research on what you need. Otherwise if you use broad statements or keywords, you my stumble across what you need, but with a proposal you go looking for exactly what you need.

The last part of the proposal is the most important, and often what you have to determine first. What is it you want to conclude, that is what is it you hope to learn and takeaway from the paper. A good paper identifies a problem or issue for which you will offer a solution or recommendations. For an historical paper this would be lessons and what could have been done, should have been done, lessons that were not learnt, or lessons that can apply recommendations for a current or future event.

So altogether, depending on the focus and scope of the paper, which is determined by the conclusion you will hope to reach, not the problem or a bunch of general questions, you will have from a few to several paragraphs for your proposal.

Remember you only have a total of seven weeks to complete the paper. So your topic has to be narrow enough so you can fully discuss and develop your ideas. Research is not done in a weekend or just a week. Good graduate research is multi-sourced, primary when available, and current or appropriate for the topic discussed.

Let me iterate. Once you have described the issue or problem and set the parameters of the paper, then you transition into the second part of the research proposal. This part lays out how you plan on approaching the paper, the type of research you plan on conducting, and in general, the direction the paper will take.

Finally, the most important part of the research proposal is the conclusion. Or, more specifically, what you hope to conclude. For a proposal, one may refer to the conclusion as the meat of hypothesis, if one wishes to use an academic term. That is the entire proposal is holistically your chosen hypothesis.

The conclusion is the whole purpose behind the paper. The conclusion is the reason you write a paper. It is nice to do research so you, the student can learn more about a topic, or to inform a reader about a problem and the surrounding issues, but that is not the purpose of the paper itself. The purpose is for you to draw a conclusion – lessons and takeaway.

A conclusion may be a recommendation or recommendations based on your research for whomever reads the paper, the lessons learned from the examples you gave, lessons that can be applied to a current situation, or a lesson that was not learnt and therefore a mistake had been made in either a current or past situation, or your unique opinion or perspective on how history developed based on the research you did and your analysis.

A well written proposal can then serve as the introduction of the paper itself when you begin writing it. But be sure that you edit the proposal to reflect the final paper itself.

Once you have a working proposal, you can then develop an outline. An outline is not elementary school work; professional writers nearly always use outlines. It not only helps organize one’s thoughts, but helps one to focus on the topic. The more detailed the outline the easier it will be to write the paper.

There are some writers who prefer to think through an outline and then write the proposal. If this is what works best for you, then by all means follow that pattern.

Finally, with an outline and research proposal in place, you can begin to think about your research questions. That is the questions you will need to answer, quotations you will need, and any data that will be required for your paper. Then you can build your requirements list. That is where to find the sources you will need find the answers to your research questions.

Note: Research question in this context are not the broad based ones that seem to be choice of minimalist instructors, but specific ones from your outline. If your outline states you need to find arguments supporting funding of new overhead satellite system for national security, then the research questions might be:

Which Members of Congress support such a system? Find direct quotes to support their arguments.

Are there any former presidents, or military figures?

Has the White House made any supporting statements?

Are there any non-government support for such systems?

This way you look for specific statements, not hope you might stumble across statements from secondary source material.

See documents in the writing materials folder to assist you in editing; and, to help better understand assignments.

Working bibliography: One secret to successful academic and professional writing is keeping a working bibliography, and annotated bibliography/note file going from the start. Every time you visit a website, data base, refer to a book or other resource, you put that item – assuming relevance to the topic—properly cited in your working bibliography. And for those sources that are dealing with the specific questions or arguments you need for each of your outline points, you note any ideas, data, corroboration, examples, or direct quotes, properly cited you put in your working note file.

Then at the end, when you begin writing everything you need initially is already done, and in place. So, as you write you may find you need a quote or something from a source you look at early, while you were still formulating your ideas, you can go to your working bibliography, and find that source easily. And there is a very good chance that if you are taking good notes, and corroborating ideas, you will not be using material in your note files, but the citation would be in your bibliography.

Research Paper: The research paper topic will be selected by the student with approval of the instructor. The topic may be on any topic related to programs, events, or ideas related to space. That is you have a virtually unlimited choice here. That is why the proposal is so critical so you can narrow your topic to something that can be handled reasonably well in an eight week term.

There is no length minimum or maximum. This is a graduate level course and a paper commensurate with graduate level work is expected. The paper length is determined by the parameters the student sets in his or her introduction and the amount of writing necessary to fully develop the topic.

Forums: There are nine forum topics, eight graded topics, as well as one open topic.

There is an expectation that one will actively participate in the open forums each week, the more you participate the more you will take away from the class. Your initial post to each forum is due by midnight Wednesday of each week. By midnight the following Sunday, you will be required to post to at least two of your classmates initial posts.

I feel one the most important aspects of a graduate class is conversation. Thus the forum topics are designed for developing ideas, entering into dialogue with the professor and/or your classmates on a variety of topics related to the course.

Active, sustained, multiple participation is expected from all students. Each conversation post should be focused on a single thought. Use multiple posts to discuss multiple ideas. Do not try to cover everything at once. If the general subtopic has already addressed your basic thoughts, then there is no need to repeat what has been stated, except perhaps for a reply or to add further discussion. Joining a discussion in progress and participating is equally has valid as coming up with an original discussion point.

I want to repeat it is not necessary to answer any question I ask, and then respond to others. This is fine should you wish to do so. I want discussion, not just a bunch of facts or assertions. So don’t just put out a lot of facts, write loads of asserted data, and think you are done.

Engage one another, and your professor. A conversation, and that is about 75 percent of the grade, is an exchange between you and others that is more than just a single response and answer. I give broad general questions to get the discussion started, where it goes from there is largely up to the class. The value of the forums is in the conversations that develop. Note the points, nearly 60 percent of the total points for this course are based on the forums.

Use proper paragraphs, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Use salutations so I and your fellow students know who the thread is directed. All, To all, Class, Dr. G, Professor, Doctor Gideon, Sam, Mike and Mary, Dr. G and Fred, are all examples of salutations depending on who you want to address the comments to. Anyone may respond to any thread.


All written submissions should be submitted in 12 point Times New Roman font, please. It is easier on your professor’s eyes. Double space and indent paragraphs. Use a cover sheet and put your name and course as well as topic or assignment in the file name: jerrypols510isum11proposal.doc, or YourNameSPST620ISum12WarPowerProposal.doc, etc. There are no length requirements. Your proposal determines what is necessary. A paper is no longer or shorter than it needs to be to support and reach the paper’s conclusion.


All assignments for the School of Security and Global Studies (papers, essays, exams, and Forums) must follow the Chicago Style guidelines and for this class footnotes/bibliography. Students should refer to the APUS On-Line Library APA style for the correct citation method for footnotes and bibliography


I understand real world happenings. Try to stay ahead of the assignments so you can stick to the guidelines I set, which I set for you to help you stay on track. However, if you need more time for any reason, ask for it ahead of time, after due dates assignments will be deducted 10 points.

NameGrade %
Forums 40.00 %
Forum #1 5.00 %
Forum #2 5.00 %
Forum #3 5.00 %
Forum #4 5.00 %
Forum #5 5.00 %
Forum #6 5.00 %
Forum #7 5.00 %
Forum #8 5.00 %
Research Paper 60.00 %
Research Proposal 15.00 %
Working Bibliography 6.00 %
Research Paper 39.00 %
Book Title: Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
Author: McDougall, Walter A
Publication Info: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997
ISBN: 9781597404280

Book Title:Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
Author:McDougall, Walter A
Unit Cost:$79.61

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.