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Photo of Project Paperclip Team, Fort Bliss Events

From WWII to the Space Race: The Story of…

Linda Dawson moderated this important virtual conversation on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Event presented by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Check out the video posted on the museum website for this event or on YouTube:

From WWII to the Space Race: The Story of Project Paperclip – YouTube

Event details: From WWII to the Space Race: The Story of Project Paperclip


Between 1945 and the 1960s, the United States government brought more than 1,500 German scientists and engineers into the country through Project Paperclip to work on guided missiles, jet and rocket engines, aerodynamics, aerospace medicine, and submarine technology. The U.S. hoped these specialists could give them an advantage at the end of WWII and into the Cold War. Over time, many of the Germans disappeared into American military, industrial, and academic positions. However, one of them, Wernher von Braun, became prominent through his involvement in the Space Race.

Join the Museum for a program exploring Project Paperclip with Dr. Michael Neufeld, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and author of Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War, and Eric Lichtblau, author of The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men. The conversation will be moderated by Linda Dawson, author of The Politics and Perils of Space Exploration.


The Linda Getch Dawson STEM Scholarship for Women

The Linda Getch Dawson STEM Scholarship for Women at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Massachusetts was established by AWHS alumna Linda Getch Dawson ‘67 to support deserving young women in their pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics degrees.

The recipient must be able to strongly identify with and excel in STEM related coursework at AWHS. In addition, the student(s) must be able to verbalize their STEM interest and the importance of an increased number of women in science related careers.

Requirements upon the acceptance of the scholarship:

  • Student must remain in high standards academically and behaviorally, maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Student must participate in a STEM related activity such as a science fair or presentation.


Current writing project: “Women in Air and Space –…

Linda Dawson is writing for a new book project. The working title is: “Women in Air and Space – a Personal Perspective.”

The book will not only include factual biographies of these women and their contributions to the aerospace discipline but will also include the backstories that provide insight into what inspired these women as well as the challenges these women faced in order to live out their dream. When possible, the book will include personal stories that give a glimpse into these lives that provide a window into experiences that young women can relate to such as feelings of isolation, discrimination, cultural issues or pressures associated with personal relationships, family, and children. The book will provide a window into what made these women pursue such challenging and pioneering jobs, against the odds. It is important to document the stories of these women — their failures as well as their successes. All too often, women are overlooked or diminished in the roles they played in making space exploration successful. Their accomplishments need to be highlighted so that other women can be inspired and see that others, like themselves, have succeeded in their dreams to pursue careers in aerospace.

Slice of MIT logo Publicity

Linda Dawson featured by MIT Alumni Association

Linda was recently featured in Slice of MIT, an MIT Alumni Association website. Linda graduated from MIT in 1971, and this year marks the Class of ’71 50th anniversary!

Former Space Shuttle Engineer Explores the Politics of Space

Linda (Getch) Dawson ’71 grew up during the height of the space race between the United States and the USSR. She recalls driving with her family from Massachusetts to a New Hampshire observatory to hear the beeping of the Soviet satellite Sputnik as it passed overhead. “It’s funny how your path takes different turns, but I always came back to that first love: aerospace,” she says. Dawson’s path took her from MIT to NASA, then into a second career as a teacher and a writer, earning her the nickname “Rocket Woman” from colleagues and journalists along the way.

Read the full story…

Jun 4, 2021 | Catherine Caruso SM ’16 | Slice of MIT

Also posted on Twitter:

Wikileaks Handout/Reuters. The image is of classified U.S. military footage released by Chelsea Manning. Iraqis and journalists are seen being shot and killed, with the remote targeting interface visible. Publicity

Upcoming chapter in cyberwar book

Linda is writing a chapter for an upcoming book edited by Asst. Prof. Svitlana Matviyenko of Simon Fraser University School of Communication. Summary: Cyberwar Topologies: In Struggle for a Post-American Internet. Publication expected by the end of 2021.

Cyber related attacks are considered by some to be the biggest threats to space systems. Due to interdependence between civilian and military systems, a cyber-attack on a satellite could adversely affect the integrity of military operations. Cyber assaults are difficult to trace and become a perfect means to create large scale disruptions and possible damage to space systems. If an enemy manages to gain control of the command and control of a satellite, it could possibly “shut down all communications and permanently damage the satellite by expending its propellant supply or damaging its electronics and sensors”. A greater number of space systems are using “more advanced on-board processing, all digital components, software-defined radios, packet-based protocols, and cloud-enabled high-performance computing, the attack surface for cyber-attacks is likely to increase”.3 The most common counter-space cyber threats are unauthorized accesses, spoofing, software threats, data corruption/modification, ground system loss, interception of data and interruptions to precision timing.4

This chapter will present possible cyberwar cases using demonstrated technology along with the devastating impacts that could provide incentives to a war in space.

3. A. Gini, “Cyber Crime from Cyber Space to Outer Space”, Space Safety Magazine, 14 February2014,

4. Khan, Ahyousha. Cyber ASAT-Capabilities and South Asia. 01 Aug 2020.

Space War Events

War in Space lecture at Museum of Flight on…

War in Space: A special presentation from author Linda Dawson

Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019 – 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
What: Lecture / Presentation
Location: Charles Simonyi Space Gallery

War fought in space is becoming increasingly likely in a politically tense world, and author Linda Dawson explores how such a conflict could manifest in her new book, War in Space: The Science and Technology Behind Our Next Theater of Conflict. Presenting scenarios of what would occur in the event of a space attack, Dawson discusses the required technologies for both offense and defense in a possible war in space.

This event is FREE with Museum admission!

Apollo 16 Commander John Young on the moon in 1972. Lunar roving vehicle in background. Events

Washington State History Museum talk on 9/19/2019

The History of Space Exploration

Scholarly Selections

September 19, 2019 6:30 PM

Discover the complicated history, politics, and future of space exploration with Aerospace Engineer and UWT Senior Lecturer Emeritus Linda Dawson, who worked on the space shuttle program at NASA’s Houston Control Center.

Then visit the Washington State History Museum’s exhibit “A New Moon Rises,” featuring 51 dramatic, large-scale landscape images of the Moon’s surface.

About Scholarly Selections

A partnership between the UW Tacoma School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and the Washington State History Museum, Scholarly Selections brings UWT scholars’ work to the public in an informal setting. Talks are held on the Third Thursday of the month when admission to the museum is free.


War in Space reviewed by John Brantigan

We’re pleased to share this book review published in August 2019 by John Brantigan, MD, Executive Committee member at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.

War in Space—The science and technology behind our next theater of conflict by Linda Dawson provides a detailed historical review of the multi-nations dedication to peaceful exploration of space while quietly maximizing their military capability in space. With a M.S. Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from George Washington University, Ms. Dawson worked at NASA in the development of the Space Shuttle Program. I quibble a bit about the title: War in Space might attract science fiction fans, who will be disappointed. This book is about science and technology. It covers in detail the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 ratified by 104 nations dedicating outer space to be “free for exploration and use by all states” and prohibiting weaponization of space. Ms. Dawson reflects that the 1991 Gulf War was the “first space war” because GPS and other satellite capabilities were used to manage and control military operations. Satellite technology, not ordinarily designed for the average citizen, has now become an indispensable part of our lives. Disruption of GPS and its precision timing functions could quickly disrupt communications, finance, power distribution and other linked networks essential to ordinary daily life. GPS is vulnerable not only to “jamming,” which blocks the signal. GPS is also vulnerable to “spoofing,” a technique that generates a false signal, causing the receiver to indicate a incorrect position.

Ronald Reagan’s proposed space-based anti-missile system called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) nicknamed “Star Wars” was perceived as aggressive by the Soviet Union because it proposed space-based lasers and other weapons to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. Nevertheless, numerous nations are developing anti-satellite weapons and are competing to achieve dominance in outer space.

Who is this book for? It is for those of us who wish to understand how science and technology of our space program affects not only our national security but also our daily lives. A previous reviewer who described a few technical errors ignored the meticulous detail, expertise, and clarity of writing of this narrative.


John W. Brantigan
Chairman, Space Flight Committee
Museum of Flight
Seattle, Washington


Amazon book review