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The University of Southampton
HistoryPart of Humanities

Research project: Religion and the US space program

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Professor Kendrick Oliver is the author of To Touch the Face of God: The Sacred, the Profane, and the American Space Program, 1957-1975, the first book-length study of the relationship between religion and the US space program.

Kendrick Oliver book cover

Grounded in original archival research and participant testimonies, the book explored the role played by religious motivations in the formation of the space program, the responses of religious thinkers to the new age of space explanation, and the scope for spiritual experience in spaceflight. The book also explored one of the largest petition campaigns of the post-war era, when eight million Americans, between 1969 and 1975, wrote to NASA expressing support for prayer and Bible reading in space. For many Americans, it was not always easy to tell whether the space program was a godly or godless venture.

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