Reaching for the High Frontier: End Matter

Reaching for the High Frontier

by Michael A. G. Michaud

Copyright 1986 by Praeger Publishers and reproduced with permission of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, CT. Read complete book here or buy from Amazon.

Table of Contents



This Appendix lists significant American space interest groups active as of 1984. The categories are those used in Chapter 8, The Space Group Boom. The memberhship figures are taken from Trudy E. Bell’s monograph Upward: Status Report and Directory of the American Space Interest Movement, 19841985. A few of the groups included in Bell’s directory are not included here because of my doubts about their significance or their relevance to the pro-space cause.

Name and Location of Group Date Founded Membership
Educational, Mixed Purpose, and Other
American Space Foundation for Education, Inc., Washington, DC 1984 Section 7
Hypatia Cluster, San Francisco, CA 1981 85
L-5 Society, Tucson, AZ 1975 9,500
National Space Club, Washington, DC 1957 1,200
National Space Institute, Washington, DC 1974 10,000
The Planetary Society, Pasadena, CA 1979 130,000
Spaceweek (National Headquarters), Houston, TX 1980 100 local directors
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Washington, DC 1980 4,000
United States Space Education Association, Elizabethtown, PA 1983 1,000
United States Space Foundation, Colorado Springs, CO 1983 700
Young Astronaut Council, Washington, DC 1984 3,800
Economic Interest Groups
Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc., Washington, DC 1917 50 firms
The GEOSAT Committee, San Francisco, CA 1976 90 firms
Nonprofit Interests
Public Service Satellite Consortium, Washington, DC 1975 100 orgs.
Space Science Working Group, Association of American Universities, Washington, DC 1982 20 univers.
Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD 1969 55 univers.
Professional Organizations and Societies
Aerospace Education Association of America, Reston, VA 1976 10,000
Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, New York, NY 1951 6,900
American Astronautical Society 1954 1,000
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, NY 1963 37,000
American Society of Aerospace Pilots, Grants Pass, OR 1981 1,300
Aviation/Space Writers Association, Washington, DC 1938 1,300
Society of Satellite Professionals, Washington, DC 1983 550
Funding/Research Organizations
California Space Institute, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 1979
The Space Foundation, Houston, TX 1979 28 firms, 100 indivs.
Do It Yourself: Technology Development and Research
Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), Washington, DC 1980 1,000
Space Studies Institute, Princeton, NJ 1977 5,000
World Space Foundation, South Pasadena, CA 1979 not discl.
Political Organizations
American Space Foundation, Washington, DC 1981 22,000
American Space Foundation Candidates Committee 1984 above
American Space Frontier Committee, Merrifield, VA 1983 10,000 contrib.
Campaign for Space, Bainbridge, GA 1980 1,500 mail list
Congressional Space Caucus, Washington, DC 1981 169
Congress Staff Space Group, Washington, DC 1981 230
Spacepac, Santa Monica, CA 1980 2,000 contrib.
18,000 on phone tree
Write Now!, Los Angeles, CA 1980
Space Defense/Space Arms Control
High Frontier, Inc., Washington, DC 1981 40,000 subscrib.
Institute for Security and Cooperation in Outer Space, Washington, DC 1983
Institute for Space and Security Studies, Potomac, MD 1983 800 mail list
Progressive Space Forum, San Francisco, CA 1979 250
World Security Council, San Francisco, CA 1980 328
Umbrella Organizations
National Coordinating Committee for Space, Arlington, VA 1979 18 groups


The British Interplanetary Society (BIS), founded in 1933, is the oldest significant pro-spaceflight organization still existing under its original name. The first important group, the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt, went out of business in the 1930s. The second, the American Interplanetary Society, became the American Rocket Society in 1934 and merged with the Institute for the Aeronautical Sciences in 1963.

The BIS, being the principal space interest group in another English- speaking country, provides a useful standard of comparison for American space interest groups. Although there are some similarities, the differences are striking.


In the early 1930s, a young Cheshire man named Philip E. Cleator, who had long held an interest in the possibility of space travel and who was an active reader of science fiction, discovered the existence of the American Interplanetary Society. Throughout 1933, he struggled to create a British counterpart, finally bringing six people together for a founding meeting on October 13, 1933. As in the case of the American Interplanetary Society, many of the early members of the BIS were science fiction writers or fans. Most were in their twenties; Arthur C. Clarke joined age 19. Cleator later described the prewar society as a small group of enthusiasts and cranks. The first issue of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society was published in 1934.[1]

The raison d’être of the BIS was “to achieve the conquest of space and thence interplanetary travel.”[2] Unlike its U.S. cousin, however, the BIS was severely restricted in its ability to do technology work by the Explosives Act of 1875, which was interpreted by British authorities to exclude private rocket experiments. As a result, the society became concerned primarily with theoretical and design work and with spreading the spaceflight message. However, historian Frank H. Winter notes that there was no immediate groundswell of public interest in Great Britain, nor was there a British champion of spaceflight with the stature of a Konstantin Tsiolkowsky or a Hermann Oberth.[3]

In 1936, Cleator published a book entitled Rockets Through Space, which introduced the public to basic spaceflight ideas and attracted some public notice.[4] In the same year, the film Things to Come also inspired a flurry of interest in spaceflight. Despite all this, the society’s prewar membership peaked at a little over 100.[5]

The BIS had no success in persuading the British government of the utility of rockets. In a now classic letter, an Under Secretary of State in the Air Ministry wrote the following:

We follow with the interest the work that is being done in other countries on jet propulsion, but scientific investigation into the possibilities has given no indication that this method can be a serious competitor to the airscrew-engine combination. We do not consider that we should be justified in spending any time or money on it ourselves.[6]

In 1937, the London branch of the BIS took over the leadership of the organization from the Liverpool branch. Meanwhile, the society had embarked on the design of a spaceship that could carry three people to the Moon; the results were published in 1939.[7] Many of the basic ideas of the BIS Moonship study were applied 30 years later in the successful Apollo landings. However, because of the beginnings of World War II in Europe, the BIS ceased activities in late 1939.


The BIS was revived during the second half of 1945 and was incorporated in December of that year with a membership of 280. Its membership was boosted by the merger into the BIS of other British groups that had continued to function during the war.[8] The Journal resumed publication and became a respected international medium for spaceflight ideas. The Moonship was redesigned. The example of the BIS inspired the formation of the American Astronautical Society in 1954.

The postwar BIS became more professional in its membership, although it still was more of an amateur society than the American Rocket Society. Membership rose to 2,900 by 1953.[9] In 1956, the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society was joined by the less technical magazine Spaceflight, noted for its excellent coverage of international space events. Continuing its role as an advanced planning department for the spaceflight movement, the BIS did work on an “aerospace transporter,” which presaged the U.S. Space Shuttle.

Sociologists William S. Bainbridge comments that the BIS was struggling to become a professional technical space organization in a nation that had little use for one.[10] BIS activists tried to create a major United Kingdom rocket industry; in 1960 they urged a U.K. space program based on European collaboration, with the Blue Streak rocket as the first stage of a satellite launcher, and outlined a national program including the development of the Black Knight as a second stage. Their advocacy contributed to the formation of the European Launcher Development Organization.[11] However, their aspirations for a national program suffered failure in 1973 when the independent British launcher program was cancelled.

BIS activists also worked long and hard to persuade the British Post Office of the merits of satellite communications, an idea stemming largely from the work of early BIS member Arthur C. Clarke, but progress was slow. (The Society’s longtime secretary, L. J. Carter, commented in 1984 that the BIS did not intend that space communications be the only area of British space activity.[12]) Increasingly, the United Kingdom conducted its space efforts through European multinational organizations, today the European Space Agency. Not until 1985 did the United Kingdom begin to create its own official space organization.[13]

In October 1973, at the fortieth anniversary of its founding, the BIS rededicated itself to the spaceflight revolution by announcing plans for studies of interstellar flight and communication. BIS members launched a study of the feasibility of an unmanned interstellar probe called Project Daedalus. The results, published in 1978, showed that such a vehicle could be built by a civilization only slightly in advance of our own, although it would be expensive and difficult.[14] As the Moonship study presaged Project Apollo, so this effort may presage a real interstellar probe in the future.\

By 1984, BIS membership was maintaining a relatively constant level of about 3,500. Roughly one third of the members came from outside the United Kingdom, with most of those being Americans. The society has acquired a larger headquarters building near Lambeth Palace in London. The BIS holds a large annual meeting every October at the seaside resort of Brighton and smaller lecture and film programs at its London headquarters.


In his 1976 book The Spaceflight Revolution, Bainbridge observed that, unlike the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the BIS had not been absorbed into the aerospace industry, in great measure because of the weakness of official support for spaceflight in the United Kingdom. It had remained independent. While the AIAA concerned itself with projects showing the promise of quick financial gain, the BIS kept the long view. Bainbridge concluded that the two organizations complemented each other by playing different roles.[15]

The contemporary BIS does not try to play all the roles U.S. space interest groups have explored, particularly the newer political ones such as lobbying aggressively or forming political action committees. “The BIS has not got into political activism” says Society Secretary L. J. Carter, noting that political activism can cause the more sober space-oriented person to back away.[16] This has enabled the BIS to avoid a split between the technical side and the enthusiast side of its membership.

BIS activists have sought to use modest means such as letters and information packets to persuade government officials, members of parliament, and opinion molders of the need for greater efforts in the spaceflight field. However, opposition remains strong. Carter recognizes that such mundane matters as politics are now of real concern. In his view,, the most exciting thing now is the United States space station; the BIS would like to see major British involvement with the project.[17]

The BIS also recognizes that a new generation of people interested in space has made its presence felt in the United States. “This is creeping up on us,” says Carter, who observes that “we need to transmit across generations.”[18] The BIS also shares the U.S. space advocacy’s hope of broader participation in spaceflight. Advocating more European activity in space, a Spaceflight editorialist wrote, “The time has surely come when we should strive for a broader participation in activity at the space frontier.”[19]

The BIS faces a watershed in the process of rejuvenation. “It is becoming more practical, and is gearing itself into the system,” says Carter.[20] In particular, this involves awareness of competing claims from nonspaceflight interests. The society, which follows the work of U.S. space interest groups, understands that it must learn new techniques.

In the end, what is striking about the BIS is its staying power. “There have been many competitors to the BIS,” comments Carter.[21] But they have faded, and the BIS has survived. Unlike the U.S. case, in which the spaceflight movement has flowered into a diversity of organizations, the BIS has maintained a central, preeminent position in the field within its national culture for over 50 years.

“Progress is due to small groups with vision,” Carter concludes. “Small groups are the way to make the greatest progress in the shortest time “[22]


  1. The history of the British Interplanetary Society is recounted by William S. Bainbridge in The Spaceflight Revolution (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976), pp. 145-57 and in Frank H. Winter, Prelude to the Space Age: The Rocket Societies 1924-1940 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983), pp. 87-97. Another source is The British Interplanetary Society: A Descriptive Account, Regulations for Membership (London: British Interplanetary Society, 1973).
  2. Bainbridge, Spaceflight Revolution, p. 148.
  3. Winter, Prelude to Space Age, p. 87.
  4. Ibid., p. 93.
  5. Bainbridge, Spaceflight Revolution, p. 150.
  6. Winter, Prelude to Space Age, p. 90.
  7. Ibid., pp. 95-97 and Bainbridge, Spaceflight Revolution, pp. 151-52.
  8. Bainbridge, Spaceflight Revolution, 154.
  9. Ibid., p. 155.
  10. Ibid.
  11. British Interplanetary Society, p. 12.
  12. Interview with L. J. Carter, June 1, 1984.
  13. “Britain Plans National Space Center,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, February 4, 1985, p. 18.
  14. Project Daedalus (London: British Interplanetary Society, 1978).
  15. Bainbridge, Spaceflight Revolution, p. 156.
  16. Interview with L. J. Carter.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. “A Third Community in Space, Spaceflight, September/October 1984, p. 337.
  20. Interview with L. J. Carter.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.


The literature on space exploration and spaceflight has grown to enormous proportions. In this bibliography I make no attempt to provide a comprehensive survey; this is a personal, highly selective listing of the works I have found most useful and interesting.


Of the basic works that influenced my generation, the first was Willy Ley’s Rockets and Space Travel: The Future of Flight Beyond the Stratosphere (New York: Viking, 1947), which is particularly useful for its descriptions of early German rocket experiments. Ley also collaborated with artist Chesley Bonestell on the memorable The Conquest of Space (New York: Viking, 1949), whose easily readable text and brilliant paintings inspired many space dreamers. Perhaps the best basic introductions to spaceflight of those years were Arthur C. Clarke’s Interplanetary Flight (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950) and The Exploration of Space (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951); some of the same material was carried over into Clarke’s excellent book The Promise of Space (New York: Harper & Row, 1968). A good, although now somewhat dated, introduction to space exploration and spaceflight was provided by Frederick I. Ordway, III, James Patrick Gardner, and Mitchell R. Sharpe, Jr., in Basic Astronautics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962) and by Frederick I. Ordway, III, James Patrick Gardner, Mitchell R. Sharpe, Jr., and Ronald C. Wakeford in Applied Astronautics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963). At about the same time, I. M. Levitt and Dandridge M. Cole published Exploring the Secrets of Space: Astronautics for the Layman (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963), which included Cole’s ideas about colonies in space. Wernher von Braun’s visions of the human future in space appeared in Collier’s magazine during 1952, in Cornelius Ryan, ed., Across the Space Frontier (New York: Viking, 1952), and in Wernher von Braun, Space Frontier (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1971).

In more recent years, Isaac Asimov and artist Robert McCall collaborated on the attractive large format book Our World in Space (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1974). NASA’s Outlook for Space (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1976), although it is a conservatively written official report, is a useful reference document. Periodically, the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress updates its massive published compilations of information on the United States and Soviet space programs. Richard Hutton produced a readable, informal survey of the space arena in The Cosmic Chase (New York: New American Library, 1981). The Office of Technology Assessment’s Civilian Space Policy and Applications (Washington, D.C., 1982) provides a useful overview of U.S. space activities and the issues they raise. For the nonexpert reader, my current favorite among general books on space­flight and space exploration is Kenneth W. Gatland, ed., The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology (New York: Harmony Books, 1981). Although it is not really either an encyclopedia or a comprehensive history, it is compactly written and superbly illustrated. Of the more personal works written by astronauts, I would recommend Michael Collins, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1974) for the Apollo era. Joseph P. Allen’s Entering Space: An Astronaut’s Odyssey (New York: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 1984) conveys the Space Shuttle experience by text and magnificent photography, although the observations of the highly intelligent Allen appear to have been somewhat compromised by the “commercialization” of the text.

As for the periodical literature, I have found the most useful general publications to be the weekly Aviation Week and Space Technology (for current events), the British Interplanetary Society’s monthly Spaceflight, and the American monthly Space World, now published in collaboration with the National Space Institute. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ monthly magazine, which has been called Aerospace America since January 1984, has become a much more readable source for generalists under the direction of publisher Jerry Grey.

In my opinion, there is as yet no completely satisfactory history of the Space Age. Eugene M. Emme produced a straightforward history of the early years in A History of Spaceflight (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1965). Wernher von Braun and Frederick I. Ordway, III’s History of Rocketry and Space Travel, third revised edition (New York: Crowell, 1975) did a competent job of covering the history through the Skylab era, although much of it is about early rocketry. David Baker has compiled two massively detailed works on rocketry and spaceflight: The Rocket: The History and Development of Rocket and Missile Technology (New York: Crown, 1978) and The History of Manned Space Flight (New York: Crown, 1981). Although these are very useful as references, they are marred by strained syntax and are not easy reading. NASA has put out useful chronologies of individual years of the U.S. space program in its Astronautics and Aeronautics series, although as of this writing the most recent chronology published was for 1976. NASA also has published books on individual projects, such as Edgar M. Cortright, ed., Apollo Expeditions to the Moon (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1975) and Leland F. Belew, ed., Skylab, Our First Space Station (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1977), but these tend to be collections of papers without an overall point of view. Frederick I. Ordway, III, and Mitchell R. Sharpe tell an interesting story in The Rocket Team (New York: Crowell, 1979) about the German rocket experts who came to the United States. John M. Logsdon’s The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970) has become a standard reference; as of this writing, Logsdon was completing a book on the Space Shuttle decision that should be equally useful. The American Astronautical Society has made helpful contributions through its AAS History Series, published by Univelt.

By far the most ambitious historical effort to date is Walter A. McDougall, . . . The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, 1985). This insightful, provocative, and sometimes controversial work is devoted primarily to the political history of the U.S. and Soviet space programs up to 1964, with more recent years covered in less depth. Although not everyone would agree with all of his conclusions, McDougall has shown that space history has come of age.


For me, two works on this subject have been more influential than all others: William S. Bainbridge, The Spaceflight Revolution: A Sociological Study (New York: Wiley, 1976) and Frank H. Winter, Prelude to the Space Age — The Rocket Societies: 1924-1940 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983). Arthur C. Clarke edited a useful collection of historical material about the space pioneers and the early years of spaceflight in The Coming of the Space Age (New York: Meredith Press, 1967). Some of the more established groups have published historical reminiscences, notably Eugene M. Emme, ed., Twenty-Five Years of the American Astronautical Society, 1954-1979: Historical Reflections and Projections (San Diego: Univelt, 1980 [AAS History Series, Volume 2]). For post-Apollo space interest groups, the standard references are Trudy E. Bell, “American Space Interest Groups,” (Star and Sky, September 1980, pp. 53-60 [reprinted as “Space Activists on Rise,” Insight, August/September 1980, pp. 1, 3, 10 and a revised version in “Space Activism,” Omni, February 1981, pp. 50-54, 90-94]); “From Little Acorns . . . : American Space Interest Groups, 1980-1982” (unpublished paper available from the author); “Upward: Status Report and Directory of the American Space Interest Movement, 1984-1985” (published by the author in 1985 and available from her). There also have been a few other generalized articles on the space interest group phenomenon, notably Trudy E. Bell, “People for Space” (Science 80, September/October 1980, pp. 99-100); M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Citizens for Space” (Science 211 [1981], p. 152); Owen Davies, “Activist Update” (Omni, April 1982, pp. 20, 133, 134); Owen Davies, “Activist Update” (Omni, May 1983, p. 20); and Dennis Stone, “The Space Advocacy Movement” (Sky and Telescope, May 1983, pp. 452-53).


One can find the roots of these ideas in earlier works by Tsiolkowsky, Bernal, and several science fiction writers. For the modern era, however, the primary exponents are Krafft A. Ehricke (in numerous articles and papers), Dandridge M. Cole, and Gerard K. O’Neill. For Cole, I would recommend Dandridge M. Cole and Donald W. Cox, Islands in Space (New York: Chilton, 1964) and Dandridge M. Cole, Beyond Tomorrow: The Next Fifty Years in Space (Amherst, Wisc.: Amherst Press, 1965). For O’Neill, the basic references are Gerard K. O’Neill, “The Colonization of Space” (Physics Today, September 1974, pp. 32-40) and The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space (New York: William Morrow, 1977). A readable discussion of the broad concept is Thomas A. Heppenheimer, Colonies in Space (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1977). The proceedings of the biennial Princeton conferences on space manufacturing are published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The results of the 1975 and 1977 summer workshops were published by NASA in Richard D. Johnson and Charles Holbrow, eds., Space Settlements: A Design Study (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1977) and John Billingham, William Gilbreath, and Brian T. O’Leary, eds., Space Resources and Space Settlements (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1979). The best introductory book on space manufacturing is G. Harry Stine, The Third Industrial Revolution (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1975).


The only book I know of that deals extensively with the demographics of the space enterprise is Mary A. Holman, The Political Economy of the Space Program (Palo Alto, Calif.: Pacific Books, 1974). Jon D. Miller produced the most useful study of public opinion in “The Information Needs of the Public Concerning Space Exploration: A Special Report for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration” (De Kalb: Northern Illinois University, Public Opinion Laboratory, July 20, 1982). There is a useful section on this subject in Civilian Space Policy and Applications (Washington, D.C.: Office of Technology Assessment, 1982).

There are several good surveys of science fiction. My personal favorite is James Gunn, Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction (New York: Visual Library, 1975). A useful compendium of information, although in the dry format of an encyclopedia, is Peter Nicholls, ed., The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979). There are many periodicals in the science fiction field; Analog has been particularly space-oriented, and Starlog is good on space themes in visual media.


Space science — especially planetary exploration — has been particularly well served by talented writers, spectacular photography, and imaginative art work. Over the years, NASA has published several fine books on the results of planetary missions. My personal favorite is William K Hartmann and Odell Raper, The New Mars: The Discoveries of Mariner 9 (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1974). Others include Richard O. Fimmel, William Swindell, and Eric Burgess, Pioneer Odyssey: Encounter with a Giant (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1974); David Morrison and Jane Samz, Voyage to Jupiter (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1980); Richard O. Fimmel, James Van Allen, and Eric Burgess, Pioneer: First to Jupiter, Saturn, and Beyond (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1980); and David Morrison, Voyages to Saturn (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1982). A more generalized publication is Bevan M. French and Stephen P. Maran, A Meeting with the Universe: Science Discoveries from the Space Program (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1981).

Of the commercially published books on planetary exploration, one of the best is Mark Washburn, Planetary Encounters: The Exploration of Jupiter and Saturn (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983). Eric Burgess produced readable accounts in To the Red Planet (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978) and By Jupiter: Odysseys to a Giant (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982). An excellent survey of the solar system, drawing on the findings of planetary exploration, is J. Kelly Beatty, Brian T. O’Leary, and Andrew Chaikin, eds., The New Solar System (Cambridge, Mass.: Sky Publishing, 1981). Clark R. Chapman’s well-written Planets of Rock and Ice: From Mercury to the Moons of Saturn (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982) presents a more personal and selective view. For those with a serious interest, Michael H. Carr’s The Surface of Mars (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1981) is a model of the clear, readable presentation of scientific findings.

Of more general books on space science and astronomy, Don Dixon’s Universe (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981) combines a clear explanatory text with photographs and spectacular paintings by the author. More philosophical and provocative, but also beautifully illustrated, is Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980). There are many excellent general textbooks on astronomy; my personal favorite is George 0. Abell, Exploration of the Universe, fourth ed. (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing, 1982).

The decennial reports of the National Academy of Sciences on astronomy and astrophysics are basic references; each seems better written than its predecessor. They are Ground-Based Astronomy: A Ten- Year Program (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1964); Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1970s (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1972); and Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1982). For planetary exploration, the Solar System Exploration Committee’s Planetary Exploration Through the Year 2000 — A Core Program (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1983) is a helpful guide. As for the periodical literature, two magazines stand out: the long-established Sky and Telescope and the more popularized Astronomy. The Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin put out by the Lunar and Planetary Institute of the Universities Space Research Association is good for current news and bibliography. For people with a serious scientific interest, I would recommend the journal Icarus.


In 1982 and 1983, there was a sudden surge of books on the general subject of military activity in space. None is definitive, but several have good features: G. Harry Stine, Confrontation in Space (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981); James Canaan, War in Space (New York: Harper & Row, 1982); David Baker, The Shape of Wars to Come (New York: Stein and Day, 1982); David Ritchie, Spacewar (New York: Atheneum, 1982); Thomas Karas, The New High Ground: Systems and Weapons of Space Age War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983); and Curtis Peebles, Battle for Space (New York: Beaufort Books, 1983). Uri Ra’anan and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr., edited International Security Dimensions of Space (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1984), based on a 1982 conference at which many speakers were sympathetic with strategic defense. General critiques of military activity in space include Bhupendra Jasani, ed., Outer Space — A New Dimension of the Arms Race (Cambridge, Mass.: Oelgeschlager, Gunn, & Hain [for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute], 1982) and William J. Durch, ed., National Interests and the Military Use of Space (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1984). On U.S. policy, the definitive work is Paul B. Stares, The Militarization of Space: U.S. Policy, 1945-1984 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1985).

In my view, there is as yet no objective, detached, scholarly published work on space-based strategic defenses. As of 1985, the topic remained highly controversial; authors tended to be either very much for such systems or very much against them. Perhaps closest to an objective study is the Office of Technology Assessment’s SpaceBased Missile Defenses (Washington, D.C., 1985 [there is a parallel OTA study of anti-satellite weapons, also published in 1985]). A brief but relatively detached survey appeared in Strategic Survey, 19841985 (London: International Institute of Strategic Studies, 1985, pp. 3-5 and 12-17). A set of pro and con articles appeared in Issues in Science and Technology (Fall 1984). Jeff Hecht produced a useful work, somewhat heavy on the technical aspects, in Beam Weapons: The Next Arms Race (New York: Plenum Press, 1984).

Basic official U.S. documents on the Strategic Defense Initiative include Fred S. Hoffman, study director, Ballistic Missile Defenses and U.S. National Security: Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense, October 1983); Defense Against Ballistic Missiles: An Assessment of Technologies and Policy Implications (Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense, April 1984); The Strategic Defense Initiative: Defensive Technologies Study (Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense, April 1984); The President’s Strategic Defense Initiative (Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense, January 1985); SDI: A Technical Progress Report Submitted to the Secretary of Defense by the Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organi­zation (Washington, D.C., June 1985); and Report to the Congress on the Strategic Defense Initiative, 1985 (Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense, 1985).

As for private advocates of space-based missile defenses, Daniel O. Graham’s High Frontier: A New National Strategy (Washington, D.C.: High Frontier, 1982) remains a political landmark, although it is not well written. Graham has followed this with other books, such as one done with Gregory A. Fossedal: A Defense that Defends: Blocking Nuclear Attack (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair, 1983); The Non-Nuclear Defense of Cities: The High Frontier Space-Based Defense Against ICBM Attack (Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Books, 1983); and the pamphletlike paperback We Must Defend America: A New Strategy for National Survival (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1983). Space scientist Robert Jastrow has been an aggressive advocate of the Strategic Defense Initiative in his 1985 book How to Make Nuclear Weapons Obsolete (Boston: Little, Brown) and in several articles and interviews. Prominent science fiction writers also have risen to the defense of the Strategic Defense Initiative: Benjamin Bova in Assured Survival: Putting the Star Wars Defense in Perspective (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984) and Jerry E. Pournelle and Dean Ing in Mutual Assured Survival (New York: Baen Books, 1985). The work of Keith B. Payne, ed., Laser Weapons in Space: Policy and Doctrine (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1983) is a collection of essays that tends to be in support of the Strategic Defense Initiative. One of the authors, Colin S. Gray, supported space-based defenses and criticized space arms control in his sharply worded book American Military Space Policy (Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Books, 1983).

Among the critics of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the most active group has been the Union of Concerned Scientists, which published The Fallacy of Star Wars (New York: Vintage Books) in 1984. Generally critical essays can be found in Sidney D. Drell, Philip J. Farley, and David Holloway, The Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative: A Technical, Political, and Arms Control Assessment (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University, July 1984) and in Jeffrey Boutwell, Donald Hafner, and F. A. Long, eds., Weapons in Space: The Technology and Politics of Ballistic Missile Defense and Anti-Satellite Weapons, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1985).

As for periodicals on military activity in space, the most useful to the generalist are Aviation Week and Space Technology and the Washington-based newsletter Military Space. The latter put out an expensive Guide to the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1985.


Most of the literature on space commercialization is in periodicals such as Aviation Week and Space Technology, Commercial Space, Space Business News, Space Commerce Bulletin, Commercial Space Report, and International Space Business Review. Particularly useful survey articles are Vernon Louviere, “Space: Industry’s New Frontier” (Nation’s Business, February 1978, pp. 25-41); Charles Chafer, “A Business Perspective on Space Policy,” in Paul Amaejionu, Nathan C. Goldman, and Philip J. Meeks, eds., Space and Society: Challenges and Choices (San Diego, Calif.: American Astronautical Society [Univelt], 1984, pp. 29-40); and David Osborne, “Business in Space” (The Atlantic Monthly, May 1985, pp. 45-58). Jerry Grey provided some general coverage of this topic in his book Beachheads in Space: A Blueprint for the Future (New York: Macmillan, 1983). By 1985, larger studies had appeared, notably Edward Ridley Finch, Jr., and Amanda Lee Moore, Astrobusiness: A Guide to the Commerce and Law of Outer Space (New York: Praeger, 1985) and Nathan C. Goldman, Space Commerce: Free Enterprise on the High Frontier (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Books, 1985). A useful survey of the issues can be found in David C. Webb, A Current Perspective on Space Commercialization (Washington, D.C.: Aerospace Industries Association of America, 1985). The communications satellite industry is well served with newsletters such as Satellite Week and Satellite News.


The general literature on space stations began to grow after President Regan’s initiative of January 1984 but is still largely in the form of periodical articles. Jerry Grey’s Beachheads in Space (New York: Macmillan, 1983) includes considerable material on space stations, and Brian T. O’Leary’s Project Space Station (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1983) is almost entirely devoted to the subject; both are advocacy books. Theodore R. Simpson, ed., The Space Station: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (New York: IEEE Press, 1984) is a useful collection of papers and statements about the station. Hans Mark’s “The Space Station — Mankind’s Permanent Presence in Space” (Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, October 1984, pp. 948-56) provides a helpful overview of the history of the American space station.


Useful summaries of theories about interest group politics appear in Allan J. Cigler and Burdett A. Loomis, “Introduction: The Changing Nature of Interest Group Politics,” in Allan J. Cigler and Burdett A. Loomis, eds., Interest Group Politics (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1983) and in Section I of Norman J. Ornstein and Shirley Elder, Interest Groups, Lobbying, and Policymaking (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1978). Classic, influential works include Mancur Olson, Jr.’s economics-oriented studies, The Logic of Collective Action (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965) and The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1982). Terry M. Moe’s The Organization of Interests: Incentives and the Internal Dynamics of Political Interest Groups (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) is heavy reading but full of insights relevant to this book.


Of the many books that discuss Moon bases and colonies, my favorite is Neil P. Ruzic, Where the Winds Sleep: Man’s Future on the Moon (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1970). More than 50 papers from the 1984 lunar base symposium appear in Wendell W. Mendell, ed., Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century(Houston: Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1985). For Mars, the classic work is Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, The Exploration of Mars (New York: Viking, 1956). A good modern survey of the subject is James E. Oberg, Mission to Mars: Plans and Concepts for the First Manned Landing (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1982). Saul J. Adelman and Benjamin Adelman presented a fine, although slightly technical, discussion of solar system colonization and interstellar travel in Bound for the Stars (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981).


Michael A. G. Michaud, a member of the Aviation/Space Writers Assocation, is the author of more than 40 published articles on spaceflight and related subjects. A Californian, he holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles and has done further graduate work at UCLA and Georgetown University. Michaud has delivered papers on space-related subjects at the Princeton/AIAA Conference on Space Manufacturing, the Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, and the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. He also has spoken on such subjects at conferences of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Astronautical Society. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.

Reaching for the High Frontier: Table of Contents


Get the NSS NASA Federal Credit Union Credit Card Ad Astra Magazine Shop Amazon Enterprise In Space
Help NSS Improve Our Website By Providing Your Input

Help NSS Improve Our Website By Providing Your Input

How do you feel about the new NSS web site? Let us know what you are thinking so we can make our site better for you and our other visitors. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This