Autumn 2011

Photo Finish

"On Target: Flight of Second U.S. Astronaut

Credit: Jeff Stansbury, “On Target: Flight of Second U.S. Astronaut,” Amerika Illustrated, December 1961.

Blast Off

It’s been 50 years since the first human space flight—a triumph of science, engineering and imagination. This year’s Alumni Weekend—taking place from September 22 to 25—takes as its theme the era that ushered in the atomic age with its fascination for space, the men who first explored it and the headlong competition between two nations to exploit it.

Trevor Rockwell, ’11 PhD, recently presented a paper titled, “They May Remake Our Image of Mankind: Representations of Cosmonauts and Astronauts in Soviet and American Space Propaganda” at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Rockwell’s research examines Soviet Life and Amerika Illustrated, two propaganda magazines distributed in the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He compares official Soviet and American depictions of space exploration and how the Cold War competition gave way to the spirit of cooperation in space. Rockwell also recently presented a lecture titled “From Hysteria to Handshake: Peace and Progress in American and Soviet Space Propaganda” at the Alumni Association’s Walter Johns Circle.

This image, taken from Amerika Illustrated—the Russian-language propaganda magazine that the United States government distributed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War—shows members of the American and world press viewing the launch of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, the second American astronaut launched into space from Cape Canaveral, FL, on July 21, 1961.

- Jennifer Jenkins, ‘95 BEd

View more Cold War images:
Get the flash player here: