In the popular imagination, space is the final frontier. Will that frontier be a Wild West or a global commons where commerce is allowed to flourish and no one country dominates? At this moment, nations are free to send missions to Mars or launch space stations. Space satellites have become vital to daily life -- from weather forecasting to GPS. The militaries of the United States and other nations have also made space a critical arena -- spy and communication satellites are essential to their operations. Since the Reagan administration"s attempt to create a missile defense system to protect against Soviet attack, the United States has aimed to maintain a dominant power in space to protect civilian and defense assets. In "Heavenly Ambitions," Joan Johnson-Freese argues that the United States has developed a flawed space policy by politicizing space threats and by continuing to believe that military domination is necessary to protect U.S. interests in space.
Johnson-Freese, who has written and lectured extensively on space policy, lays out her vision of space as a frontier where nations cooperate, and military activity is circumscribed by arms control treaties that would allow no one nation to dominate. This is in the world"s interest as well as U.S. national interest.