22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

Tracking the Space Race: Cold War Culture, Global Rivalry, and Jodrell Bank

In this wide-ranging talk two leading academics from the University of Manchester will discuss how the emerging global Cold War in the 1950s shaped culture, politics, and international diplomacy in both The United States and the Soviet Union, resulting in a dramatic competition to conquer space. Dr Tom Tunstall Allcock will first provide the American perspective, ranging from Hollywood film production to nuclear preparedness programmes and the formation of NASA. Dr Rachel Platonov will then discuss the Soviet perspective, looking at the political and ideological imperatives behind the Soviet space programme and the use of the ‘space race’ in domestic and international propaganda. Both will also explain the vital role that Jodrell Bank Observatory played in the drama as a crucial location for tracking and verifying landmark space missions, resulting in close attention from intelligence services in both Washington and Moscow

Speakers: Tom Allock and Rachel Platonov