Space Race: From A Political Statement To A Marketing Stunt Space Race: From A Political Statement To A Marketing Stunt

Space Race: From A Political Statement To A Marketing Stunt

50 years ago, the Space Race was considered a “giant leap for mankind”. Nowadays, it’s hardly even an attention-grabber… but why?
CatalunyaCiènciaZPortada Derecha 18 marzo, 2019 user1 0
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Since the 1960’s, the Space Race has lost its appeal. Instead of looking up at the moon, people’s attention has now shifted to what’s directly in front of them. The CosmoCaixa of Barcelona is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The exhibition of this big mission is taking us back to a time of inexplicable eagerness of a whole nation and even outsiders. It’s also making everyone ask themselves: why has there been such a decline in citizen’s interest with space? 

Back in the day, the US Government made it all about collective participation, which is why the mission was so successful and popular among citizens. But nowadays, many people wouldn’t agree with such an expensive mission with no outcome for them or their daily life. Healthcare, education, global warming and migration are the more popular issues on our earth at the moment – they are here and they are real.

<picture showing side by side replicas of the space suit made by Emilio Herrera and the space suit used on Apollo 11.

The suit on the left is a replica of the space suit created by Emilio Herrera. The one on the right is a replica of the space suit from Apollo 11


However, 50 years after Apollo 11’s popular moon landing, people’s perception of the Space Race has greatly changed. Society isn’t amused by the idea of such an expensive trip to space. When the Apollo program began, NASA consumed 4% of the federal spending. On the other hand, the current estimate spending from the US doesn’t even reach 1% of the GDP.

Private investors are more interested in the moon than governments

Nowadays, private investors and technology powerhouses are taking over the Space Race. The economic outcome of space missions still has minor significance, while the marketing meaning is outstanding. The projects changed from political issues to missions of commercial interests. Like all parts of the global systems, the space race also adopted more and more to the capitalist logic and “space sells”.

Giant Marketing designs have been brought up throughout the last few years. Such as Red Bull spending more than 50 million euros for an ad where Felix Baumgartner jumps a record 39 kilometers. The responsible agency ZenithOptimedia claims that the action “was worth every euro”.

At the moment the three richest entrepreneurships are leading the space race: Elon Musk with SpaceX, Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin. They are all attempting to get a foothold into private manned space flights.

Elon Musk announced the first private flight will take place at the end of this year – on board there will be the japanese investor Maezawa. The time of big patriotic missions is over and particular interests are leading. The ”giant leap for mankind” turned into a toy of the billionaires of our world and space seems even farther than ever for the average citizen. Ultimately, the space race has gone from a political statement to a marketing stunt.


Reminiscing the Space Race

All in all, the study commemorates of one of the greatest achievements of humankind. Although many question its purpose, the space race is extremely astonishing. The CosmoCaixa is going to guide visitors through an interactive environment. Visitors can gain further insight into this mission, including hands on activities.

The exhibition will take place from December 18, 2018 to May 26, 2019.

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