Weekly Roundup 7/11/2011

"As Shuttle Era Ends, Dreams of Space Linger"
John Noble Wilford, The New York Times, July 9, 2011

"The space shuttle: Portrait of an American era"
Philip Scott Andrews, The Washington Post Magazine, July 10, 2011

Synopsis: Two veteran space-watchers reminisce as NASA prepared for the July 8 launch of Atlantis, the final mission in the agency’s 30-year space shuttle program. In his essay, John Noble Wilford, who covered the space program for the Times since the 1960s, recalls the difficulties that preceded the first launch in 1981 and the gradual routinization of the program as guest lawmakers and others were invited into space flight. Photographer Philip Scott Andrews, who recalls tagging along as his father photographed space missions for Canon, provides a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos taken over the last three years.

Takeaway: “I no longer expect to see boot prints on Mars during my lifetime,” says Wilford, now 77. But he closes by wishing “bigger and braver dreams for us all in the future.”

For our coverage, see Thomas J. Billitteri, “Human Spaceflight,” CQ Researcher, Oct. 16, 2009 (subscription required).

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


Bradley Manning’s Army of One
Steve Fishman, New York Magazine, July 3, 2011

A constant flow of major news events has pushed the WikiLeaks story out of the limelight. But the case remains very much alive, with secret U.S. government documents brought to the surface by WikiLeaks still regularly cited in news stories. (Over the weekend, the Miami Herald reported on a WikiLeaks cable that said U.S. medical students in Cuba had been threatened with loss of their scholarships if they had contact with U.S. diplomats in Havana.) Meanwhile, Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who faces possible life in prison for allegedly leaking the trove of documents, remains in military custody. Some people who dealt with Manning during his tour of duty as an intelligence analyst in Iraq tell a New York Magazine reporter of a deeply unhappy, highly talented individual who seems to have been completely out of place in the Army. One of his superiors questioned whether Manning was emotionally fit to be deployed to a war zone. A reader may wonder if military manpower needs overcame that concern, thereby arguably setting in motion the still unfolding WikiLeaks saga.

--Peter Katel, Staff Writer

For our coverage, see Alex Kingsbury, “Government Secrecy,” CQ Researcher, Feb. 11, 2011 (subscription required).