Space Race 2.0 – SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, NASA, and the Privatization of the Final Frontier by Brad Bergan; The Quarto Group/Motorbooks  (2022); 176 pages; Hardcover: $40.00.

This is a splendid read, chocked full of impressive images that showcase the entrepreneurial get-up-and-go that is opening up space to private exploration.

Science journalist Brad Bergan has authored a perspective on the private space sector, a business that is providing cargo and supply services, as well as lofting astronauts to low Earth orbit…and eventually beyond.

This is a well-written and nicely packaged product – a ground floor look at what the future holds. As Bergan notes, the pace of Space Race 2.0 “is and will be relentless, as countless scientists, engineers, and politicians join hands with a few billionaire space barons to signify humanity’s first solid steps into a wider universe.”

The book’s contents are divided into 8 sections, from healthy servings of Elon Musk at SpaceX to Richard Branson as the space knight, along with Jeff Bezos and his empire of dreams to detailed looks at the long road to reusability and sustainability, the race itself, and the future of conflicting realities.

There’s a festival of little-seen photos included in this volume, documenting both successes and missteps. The reader will also find a section on China’s emerging role in shaping the second space race.

“Until very recently, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the second Space Race would be a friendly, if at times rude, rivalry between major aerospace firms vying for contracts with NASA and other major space agencies,” the author notes. “But in the last several years, a new power has rapidly accelerated its own growth into space exploration…that new power is the Middle Kingdom: China.”

Bergan offers illuminating and distinctive thoughts in the book, asking what will sustainable practices mean in space? Also, the author pointedly observes that much like the first Space Race, the international dynamic of Space Race 2.0 is likewise serving as “an extended domain for mounting tensions between rival nations.”

Once again, this informative and nicely packaged book is well-worth reading, both a retroflection on private space growth and where it stands today, as well as what’s in the offing and challenges ahead.

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