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Global Networking and the Contrapuntal Node: The Project Mercury Earth Station in Zanzibar, 1959-64

In 1960, the US government and British protectorate of Zanzibar signed an agreement that allowed US contractors working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to build an earth station that would support Project Mercury, the first manned US satellite mission. This article focuses on the development of the Project Mercury earth station in Zanzibar during 1959-1964. To historicize the earth station’s establishment, the focus lies on the geopolitical and sociotechnical relations that resulted in the Zanzibar station.