Bleddyn E. BowenMar 17, 2023
Power, Technology and War in Outer Space
Oxford University Press 2022
Space technology was developed to enhance the killing power of the state. The Moon landings and the launch of the Space Shuttle were mere sideshows, drawing public attention away from the real goal: military and economic control of space as a source of power on Earth.
Today, as Bleddyn E. Bowen vividly recounts in Original Sin: Power, Technology and War in Outer Space (Oxford UP, 2022), thousands of satellites work silently in the background to provide essential military, intelligence and economic capabilities. No major power can do without them. Beyond Washington, Moscow and Beijing, truly global technologies have evolved, from the ground floor of the nuclear missile revolution to today's orbital battlefield, shaping the wars to come. World powers including India, Japan and Europe are fully realizing the strategic benefits of commanding Earth's 'cosmic coastline', as a stage for war, development and prestige.
Yet, as new contenders spend more and more on outer space, there is scope for cautious optimism about the future of the Space Age-if we can recognize, rather than hide, its original sin.
Bleddyn E. Bowen is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Leicester, specializing in space policy and military uses of outer space. The internationally recognized author of War in Space, he consults on space policy for institutions including the UK Parliament, the European Space Agency, and the Pentagon.
Sam Canter is a policy and strategy analyst, PhD candidate, and Army Reserve intelligence officer. His views are his own and do not reflect any institution, organization, or entity with which he is affiliated.