Tracking Diplomacy: The International Geophysical Year and American Scientific and Technical Exchange with East Asia, 1955-1973

Master's Thesis


At the beginning of the Space Age, under the auspices of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) was chosen to develop a network of optical satellite tracking stations in a number of countries around the world. This thesis is not a detailed chronology of the Baker-Nunn program or a technical account of early optical satellite tracking, it isÌÄå¢Ì¢åâåÂÌ¢åÛåalternatively– an investigation of international scientific cooperation as it played out at two observatories in East Asia in the late 1950s and 1960s. This thesis, through comparative analysis of the tracking stations in Japan and India, will investigate the numerous ways Japanese and Indian observers negotiated with the SAO to advance their scientific institutions and participate in an international scientific program while still maintaining their authority and autonomy. By examining the experience of American observers working at satellite tracking stations in Japan and India, this thesis argues that in order to understand the nature and impact of global scientific programs, the day-to-day workings of the scientific outposts, the backbone of the programs, have to be examined.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07212009-122541

Author Teasel Elizabeth Muir-Harmony
Advisor Thomas Stapleford
Contributor Thomas Stapleford, Committee Chair
Contributor Marc Rodriguez, Committee Member
Contributor Don Howard, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline History and Philosophy of Science
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2009-07-07

Submission Date 2009-07-21
  • United States of America

  • Cold War Science

  • International Scientific Cooperation

  • Satellite Tracking

  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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