Military and Civilian Uses of Space

Lingering and New Debates
  • Michael Krepon
Part of the Issues in International Security book series (IIS)


President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and his administration’s attempts to resume tests of antisatellite weapons (ASATs) dominated our national security debates over America’s role in space during the 1980s. In contrast, the most dramatic space-related event during the decade — the loss of the space shuttleChallenger and its crew — did not generate a wide-ranging, divisive debate over America’s future in space. Instead, this tragedy focused public and expert attention on why the accident occurred, how to operate the shuttle safely, and ways to diversify America’s access to space in the future.


Reagan Administration Public Diplomacy Contentious Debate Strategic Defense Initiative Deployment Decision 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    “Should the Senate Ratify the SALT Accords?” National Review (July 7, 1972), p. 744.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bernard Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), p. 200.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, “Administration Report to the Congress on U.S. Policy on Antisatellite Arms Control, March 31, 1984,” Documents on Disarmament, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: USGPO, 1986), pp. 204–19.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Office of Technology Assessment, Commercial Newsgathering from Space, A Technical Memorandum (Washington, D.C.: USGPO, May 1987).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This discussion draws on the analysis of Michael Nacht, “Implications for Crisis Decision Making,” in Michael Krepon, Peter D. Zimmerman, Leonard S. Spector, and Mary Umberger, eds., Commercial Observation Satellites and International Security (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    This discussion draws on a more detailed assessment of how observation satellites have affected public diplomacy and compliance questions by Peter D. Zimmerman, “Remote Sensing Satellites, Superpower Relations, and Public Diplomacy,” in Krepon et al.,Commercial Observation Satellites and International Security. Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nacht, “Implications for Crisis Decision Making,” p. 194.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See “Sweden Investigates Satellite Verification of Disarmament Treaties,” press release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 13, 1988, p. 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Krepon
    • 1
  1. 1.The Henry L. Stimson CenterUSA

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