The Consequential Frontier: Challenging the Privatization of Space by Peter Ward, Melville House Publishing, New York & UK; October 2019; hardcover, 224 pages, $26.99.

As 2020 promises to loom large for the commercial space sector, this book is a timely read regarding the privatization of outer space.

The book’s title speaks volumes with Peter Ward taking an investigative look at a key question: If humankind and their private wealth have made such a mess of Earth, who can say we won’t do the same in space?

Your favorite rocketeers are included – Musk, Branson, Bezos – but Ward also introduces activists attempting to keep private space groups from rushing irresponsibly into the cosmos.

The book is divided up into three parts, covering such topics as the Cold War and the Outer Space Treaty, space tourism, orbital debris, and the perils and profits of mining the Moon, along with a look at NASA, from contractor to client.

Authoring articles in The Economist, Newsweek and Bloomberg Businessweek, the author writes that “space, despite being a cold, harsh environment full of danger, still represents something of a blank slate for humanity,” but warns “we’re not off to the best start.”

The Consequential Frontier offers cautionary flags about rocket billionaires, smaller entrepreneurial groups, and the overall privatization and “democratization” of low Earth orbit and beyond.

Will space be a “shining beacon” of cooperation…or a “mash-up of corporate interest and a repetition of generations of mistakes,” questions Ward.

Readers will find this book thought-provoking and also disquieting, but a helpful reminder that a productive and trouble-free space future comes at a price.

For more information on this book, go to:

https://www.mhpbooks.com/books/the-consequential-frontier/

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