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Resource Description

Resource Analysis

Alternatives and Impacts




Man in Space
Resource Analysis
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One of the requests from Congress was that this Study of Alternatives prioritize the 26 Man in Space sites for permanent preservation, display, and interpretation based on historic significance, ease of public access, amount of visitation, and immediate and long-term costs. The following analysis ranks the sites according to their interpretive/visitor use potential based on the information presented in the "Resource Description" section and in the resource evaluation table in appendix E. The preservation potential of the sites is discussed in the next section.


For the purposes of this study, the Man in Space theme has been defined to include the events and technological developments from 1915 to 1972 that contributed to early manned spaceflight, the first manned moon landing, and subsequent lunar explorations as well as unmanned scientific exploration of the earth, planets, and solar system. As indicated in the overview of the "Resource Description" section, there were several significant and identifiable periods in the early American space program. To indicate what aspects of the program each site represents, the Man in Space theme has been divided into subthemes that correspond to the significant periods in the program. In addition, a series of key components have been defined that reflect the steps essential in any successful space launch and manned or unmanned flight. Together, these subthemes and components provided the basis for evaluating the interpretive potential of the sites and their installations. The subthemes are as follows:

Early Technological Developments, 1915-1958 - early efforts to develop a scientific and technological base for the study of flight. This began with the establishment of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1915. In the following years the Army and Air Force as well as NACA established sites for the research and testing of airplanes and rockets. The period ended in 1958 with the establishment of NASA.

Innovation and Consolidation of Technological Developments, 1958-1961 - the period of space achievement beginning with the launching of the first U.S. space satellite and ending with America's first manned suborbital flight. This period also witnessed the preparations made by NASA for manned spaceflight, including reorganizing NACA and other government facilities and sites into the newly created NASA.

Man to the Moon, 1961-1969 - the period beginning when President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to landing a man on the moon and ending when that goal was accomplished. This period saw major portions of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned space programs successfully completed.

Moon Exploration, 1969-1972 - the period when the United States undertook a series of lunar flights and landings to collect additional scientific information about the moon. The moon missions provided the world's scientific community with a vast amount of data including photographs, lunar samples, and accurate maps.

Scientific Exploration of Space - the efforts to launch and track unmanned space probes for purposes of research and exploration of the earth, planets, and solar system.

The following key components reflect the steps essential in any successful space launch and manned or unmanned flight:

Research/Development Testing
Equipment Assembly
Test Launch/Flight
Astronaut Training (if manned flight)
Manned or Unmanned Launch
Flight Control

Table 1 displays and ranks the 26 sites and their installations according to their interpretive potential (as indicated by the number of subthemes and components of the Man in Space theme that each site represents) and their visitor use potential (as defined by the ease of access and the level of visitation). This table ranks the sites and their installations based on their ability to represent the Man in Space theme and to accommodate visitor use.

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Last Modified: Wed, Nov 29 2000 10:00:00 am PDT

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