Space and Security

A Reference Handbook

by Peter L. Hays


Two-and-a-half years before Russia launched the first Sputnik satellites in 1957, the United States had already established a secret policy that emphasized peaceful applications of space technology and set the precedent of using satellite overflight for reconnaissance collection. Almost all of the organization and management structures that were created in the 1950s continue to affect U.S. national security space policy today.

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Cover image for Space and Security

March 2011


Pages 289
Volumes 1
Size 6x9
Topics Security Studies/Science, Technology, and Security

This thorough examination of the roots and motivations for U.S. national security space policy provides an essential foundation for considering current space security issues.

During the Cold War era, space was an important arena for the clashing superpowers, yet the United States government chose not to station weapons there. Today, new space security dynamics are evolving that reflect the growing global focus upon the broad potential contributions of space capabilities to global prosperity and security.

Space and Security: A Reference Handbook examines how the United States has developed and implemented policies designed to use space capabilities to enhance national security, providing a clear and complete evaluation of the origins and motivations for U.S. national security space policies and activities. The author explains the Eisenhower Administration's quest to develop high-technology intelligence collection platforms to open up the closed Soviet state, and why it focused on developing a legal regime to legitimize satellite overflight for the purposes of gathering intelligence.


  • Provides a succinct analysis of key current national security space issues that includes all key national security space policy statements from 1955 to the present day
  • Presents an extensive chronology of events from the mid-20th century to the present
  • Contains 45 biographies of politicians, NASA officials, and military personnel who have shaped U.S. space policy
  • Includes a descriptive directory of government and private organizations, including advocacy groups, government agencies, and advisory committees


  • Focuses specifically on national security space policy and presents a comprehensive foundation for analyzing current space security issues
  • Utilizes all recently declassified national security space policy documents to provide a richer, more complete understanding of the complex and often hidden motivations shaping U.S. security space policy
  • Presents a discerning examination of key national security space issues from an inside observer of the system for more than 30 years
Series Description

Contemporary World Issues

24-hour cable news. Millions of Internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about. Visit the entire list of titles in the series at


  • Subject coverage spans six main categories:
  • Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that supports statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, Web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
Author Info

Peter L. Hays, PhD, is a senior scientist with the Science Applications International Corporation supporting the National Security Space Office in the Pentagon in Washington, DC. He is also associate director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and a professorial lecturer in international affairs for the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Hays is a contributing coeditor of American Defense Policy, Countering the Proliferation and Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Spacepower for a New Millennium: Space and U.S. National Security.

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