Article ID: CBB023055354

Communications Technologies as Community Technologies: Alaska Native Villages and the NASA Satellite Health Trials of the 1970s (2017)


When is a satellite a medical technology?  In the early 1970s, two NASA satellites, ATS-1 and ATS-6, became part of a series of biomedical experiments taking place high above the Arctic in an effort to repurpose Cold War communications technologies for the construction of community health systems. This effort to use technology for health and community development brought NASA scientists, Alaska Native political leaders, and physicians and nurses of the Indian Health Service into an unlikely partnership. The results was a morally charged relationship between telecommunications and public health that continues to this day.

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Authors & Contributors
Usselman, Steven W.
Lu, Hanchao
Siddiqi, Asif
Knoespel, Kenneth
Norton, David. W
Britton, Maxwell E.
Slavic Review
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Social Studies of Science
American Heritage of Invention and Technology
University of Alaska Press
University of Washington Press
Arctic Institute of North America
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
George Washington University
Satellites, artificial
Cold War
Science and politics
Space travel; space flight
Space programs
Science and war; science and the military
Eisenhower, Dwight David
Semenov, Iu. I.
Geist, Otto William
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
Alaska (U.S.)
United States
Soviet Union
Polar regions
Arctic regions
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Naval Arctic Research Laboratory
University of Alaska Fairbanks. School of Mineral Engineering
International Telecommunications Satellite Organization

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