Paper: From Apollo to the ISS: the Televisual Image in Human Spaceflight (Holland 2023)


The televisual image has played a key role in the first fifty years of human spaceflight and lunar exploration by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As multiple national space agencies and private entities prepare to return humans once again to the surface of the moon as a precursor to eventual planned missions to Mars, television will continue to deeply shape the perception and politics of human spaceflight. This paper presents a history of the televisual image in human spaceflight through analysis of contemporaneous documentary evidence such as spaceflight transcripts and space agency press kits, with a focus also on the technical developments underpinning the broadcasts. The analysis commences with NASA’s Apollo missions of the 1960s through to the International Space Station (ISS) era. These televisual images have deep cultural currency but are also fragile and present moments of risk for the agencies involved.

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