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Space in the TropicsFrom Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana$
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Peter Redfield

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520219847

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520219847.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

The Margin of the Future

The Margin of the Future

(p.149) CHAPTER 6 The Margin of the Future
Space in the Tropics

Peter Redfield

University of California Press

This chapter gives a striking account of an affable French businessman, Georges, who, because of family connections, had been invited to indulge in his passion for space at the center of French technological pride, touring the site and watching a rocket rise. Georges was convinced that international space ventures offered the best possibilities for a peaceful future. Unlike many products of high technology, launch rockets are not items of mass production, but very singular objects. Each represents a substantial investment of materials and hours upon hours of labor, unified and dramatically tested. Even as rockets and satellites represent clear and limited objects, the vast alignments of technologies behind them are nominally acknowledged but effectively hidden. Within the representational field of space, Ariane oscillated between overlapping demands of European cooperation and French national interest. For the most part, French and European interests aligned, in keeping with strong French commitment to a united Europe. However, at points, the interests of Europe and France diverged, and one of the places they did so most concretely was with regard to the Guiana Space Center.

Keywords:   French technological pride, European cooperation, French national interest, international space ventures, Guiana Space Center

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