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Space technology has brought about profound changes in the past few decades for science, for business, and for the world at large. It has enabled us to explore the Solar System and observe the universe beyond in ways that were previously impossible. The use of satellites has transformed telecommunications and has made remote observation of the Earth's surface possible, with dramatic effects on a variety of activities from war to weather forecasting. Space is now established as a multi-million-dollar industry.

The author provides an authoritative account for the non-specialist of the great variety of human activities in space. He first surveys the history of the subject and describes the various systems available for putting payloads into space. He then considers manned space flight, space science, and the other uses of spacecraft, such as telecommunications and Earth observation. A survey of what is being done by the various countries that are engaged in space activities of one kind or another is followed by a discussion of the commercialization of space, and a postscript considers what activities in space may have to offer for the future. The text is written in a lucid and non-technical style, and a glossary of acronyms is provided.

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Oxford University Press
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