chapter  2
30 Pages

Congested, Contested, and Competitive

Describing the space environment as congested, contested, and competitive presents an ominous picture, apparently to indicate an across-the-board threatening change from the past. The environment has certainly changed, and change bodes ill for those the status quo favors. Even in the 1960s though, “dominance” was likely an overstatement of the US position in the space environment. Then, it was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as the civilian face of the US space program, which established US preeminence(-cum-dominance) with the Apollo Program.2 Apollo was part of a techno-nationalist “space race”3 with the Soviet Union. While the United States handily won the race, its occurrence evidences that it was not the only country with considerable space capabilities. Even then, it was unlikely that the United States was able to “dominate” in the sense of being able to control Soviet access to and activity in space. The club of spacefaring nations, however, was clearly very exclusive.