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Crowded OrbitsConflict and Cooperation in Space$
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James Clay Moltz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159128

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159128.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Crowded Orbits

James Clay Moltz

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter outlines the underlying issues of the competing trends of competition and cooperation between nations due to increased human space activity. The risk of space conflict raises a number of troubling challenges as humanity stands on the threshold of a major expansion of human space activity. The Space Race during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union serves as an example of cooperation. Both sides learned that unrestricted military behavior risked uncontrollable conflict. Unfortunately, history somehow disproves this as the previous default behavior for humans with regard to new environments (unsettled continents, the oceans, and the world's air space) has been a self-destructive pattern of conflict and division of spoils. In space, however, the conflicts could be quite a bit more dangerous, particularly given the close linkages between space security and nuclear stability among the great powers.

Keywords:   competition, cooperation, nations, human space activity, space conflict, Space Race, Cold War, United States, Soviet Union, great powers

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