Colleen Anderson was a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow at AICGS in July and August 2016. She is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the history department at Harvard University, focusing on the history of Germany, the Cold War, and technology. She is especially interested in the history of Germany within the wider context of Europe and the transatlantic world.
Her dissertation examines outer space exploration in East and West Germany, both in terms of German participation in space research and Germans’ imaginations about the possibilities for outer space travel. She looks at the period from the foundation of the two states in 1945 through German Reunification in 1990.
At AICGS, she will bring her dissertation project into contemporary space exploration. In particular, she will look at the role of German space exploration in the twenty-first century, especially within the European Space Agency (ESA). In recent years, German and European space scientists have faced new challenges and new opportunities. The termination of NASA’s Space Shuttle program ended a significant avenue for manned space travel. At the same time, the ESA is expanding its own research, seen most dramatically in the 2014 comet landing of the Philae lander. In addition to these new scientific opportunities and challenges, this project also contextualizes popular support for space travel within a longer history of postwar German involvement in European space endeavors.