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This book investigates the influences of various social factors upon the contents of space shuttle technology and the direction of technological change through case studies from the social shaping of technology perspectives. It finds that the struggles among NASA, the U.S. Air force and the OMB shapes the design of the space shuttle; President Nixon approved the space shuttle program in consideration of presidential election and soaring unemployment; throughout the history of the space shuttle program, there have been typical symptoms of technological lock-in, the essence of which is “self-fulfilling prophecy”; using the “interpretative flexibility” to explore alternative paths of technological development is an effective way of unlocking; the policy wavering on the issues of upgrading or replacing the space shuttle fleet disperse scarce resources, the technological controversies among which fall into 2 categories, one concerning issues of values, which has no logical necessary solution, the other concerning issues of facts, which may be complicated by the boundary-work in technological practices and the social construction of technological facts; there is no apriori boundary between social and technological problems in the transition of the space shuttle program.This book concludes that the rise and decline of the space shuttle program embodies a typical “Apollo Paradigm” which over emphasizes pre-planning and central control and is highly dependent on long term stable and focused political support; the “Apollo Paradigm” is no longer compatible with our times and it is necessary for us to explore a flexible path for the healthy and sustainable development of human spaceflight; the “technological logic” in the history of the space shuttle program has been restricted and negated by various social factors during each step of its expression and “the social expression of the essences of technology” perspective can provide a unified explanatory perspective for technology studies.

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Jia HUANG (China) 8040
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