The Space Age (1957 - ?)

When did The Space Age end?

Was there another ‘age’ between it an The Information Age?

Does one age have to end before another can start? We are still exploring space, even though we aren’t sending people out there like we used to.

I think so. I mean, we still use bronze but we’re not in the Bronze Age. The Space Age (at least to me) has certain connotations that include the styles of the time, the Space Race, and so forth.

I suppose one would have to ask what is meant by the phrase “____ age.”

During the Stone Age, people used a lot of stone tools.

During the Bronze Age, people made a lot of important things out of Bronze, I suppose.

Space travel was never really a big part of the world economy. I suppose we have sattellites, but I don’t see those as dominating in importance. So arguably, we never had a Space Age.

The end of the Apollo program would be an appropriate ending point.

I’d agree with that, if each time period just has to be one kind of “age”. So, if we are now in the “Information Age”, what did the “information Age” replace?

Sounds reasonable. I might make it 1976, after the Viking mission. After that, ITSM, we stopped expanding and started concentrating on near space with the Shuttle.

But I’m wondering if there was a year when it suddenly stopped being The Space Age and became a different age. Like, when did the Information Age start? Early-'80s when home computers became available? 1989 when the World Wide Web came into being? Did people say ‘We’re in the Space Age’ until a certain year and then say ‘We’re in the Information Age’ (or whatever)? Or did they stop saying ‘We’re in the Space Age’ for a time (no ‘age’, I guess) until The Information Age?

The Industrial Revolution, although a few decades elapsed in between. And don’t forget The Jazz Age, more of a social era.

There’s no central authority laying down the law on when such things as the “Space Age” started or finished. To my mind the Space Age ended when the Apollo flights stopped, but really this question has no factual answer (and therefore shouldn’t be in GQ).

ages don’t replace each other, but merely stack on top. The space age of exploration and advancement is still going strong. In the 80s the PC age hit, and since the mid-90s, we’ve been in the midst of the information age. What’s next? Probably bio-engineering age. But all these ages are still going on, although a lot of practices within might become archaic or evolve. Can you argue we don’t use stone anymore?

Ever hear of Voyager? Galileo? Cassini? Hubble? Spirit and Opportunity? The contention that we stopped exploring space after Viking is simply nonsensical.

Of course. But Viking really caught the public interest during the Space Age. In the two years that elapsed between the launch of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 it seems public awareness waned. I mean, everyone gets excited about Mars, but Saturn is like ‘Oh, OK.’ And manned space flight came much closer to home. The U.S. started out with a cannonball shot, progressed to orbits, progressed to Lunar orbits, progressed to landing on the moon… and then went back to Earth orbits.

Of course we’re still sending out probes. But are we still in the Space Age? I don’t think so. It seems to me we stopped being in the Space Age around the time we got to the Shuttle. By that time nobody thought there would be moon bases or space tourism (you know what I mean.)

If you asked a person in 1967 if they were living in the Space Age they’d probably say yes. If you were to ask now, the answer would probably be no. These ‘ages’ are based on public perceptions, I think. If we’re not in the Space Age, then it must have come to an end. When?

Alive At Both Ends already answered you. “Public perception” admits of no factual answer. The Space Age is just a saying, not an era.

Moved from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

General Questions Moderator

As far as I’m concerned, until an ordinary schmoe like me can visit the moon, the Space Age hasn’t begun.

IMHO the space age ended with Apollo 17 in Dec 1972, the information age began with the release of the Altair in 1975.

The oil crisis in 73 killed the space age. Sure, there were social troubles in the 60’s, but we were still in the race for the moon. That kept the Space Age going. After Neil, Mike and Buzz got back, all the moon missions were “more of the same.” So when we took a kick in the national cojones (ie, our car culture) from the oil embargo, we took our eyes off the prize.

As for what the Space Age was, I’d say it was an atmosphere of manifest destiny. We WERE going to the stars. Setbacks would occurr, but we’d overcome them.

A technology’s “age,” IMHO, does not end until a new technology arises which surpasses its importance. Thus, the Bronze Age did not end until iron surpassed bronze as a driver of… well, whatever they drove. Similarly, while the Space Age unquestionably peaked with the Apollo program, it didn’t end until information technology surpassed it as a driver of economic growth, technological innovation, and social change. It’s my opinion that that happened around 1982.

I’ve heard “Information Age” tossed around for our current time. I’d say the space age ended with the space race in the mid-70s sometime, after attention waned a bit and authors no longer wrote about the glory of exploration (as much). Now our primary use for space is the transfer of information, so it kind of fits together.

I belive the fad (of historians assigning “ages” to historical periods) started with H.G. Welles (se his “OUTLINE OF HISTORY”). There was no "space age’-simply because , outside of the initail (nationalistic) drive to get to the moon, they whole thing is impossible.
Plus this nonsense about a “post” industrial age. we had better face this-we are STILL an industry-based culture, and will be-for the next 100+ years!