Goals in Space

American Values and the Future of Technology

By William Sims Bainbridge

Paperback : 9780791406151, 268 pages, August 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406144, 268 pages, August 1991

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. The Pilot Study

3. The Main Surveys

4. Technology, Science, and Economics

5. Idealism and Emotional Motives

6. Military Applications of Space

7. Colonization of Outer Space

8. Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence

9. Epilogue

Appendix A:Space Goals from the 1977 Seattle Voter Survey

Appendix B:Space Goals from the Autumn 1986 Harvard Survey




Goals in Space draws upon a detailed sample of 4,000 Americans to discover what values this society attaches to the space program. Systematic survey procedures identify 125 specific goals of the space program, and Bainbridge examines how these represent the perceived general values of spaceflight, including economic, industrial, environmental, social, spiritual, emotional, and military benefits. While the most popular justifications for spaceflight offered immediate gain for the current society, many Americans have a clear image of the revolutionary transformations that spaceflight may accomplish in the long run, notably colonization of the solar system. The findings of this study clarify the ideological bases for space technology and set the terms for the future debate on investment in space exploration.

William Sims Bainbridge is Chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthroplogy at Towson State University. Goals in Space is his ninth book and his third on the space program.


"This book is not merely about 'goals in space:' It is really a much broader work than that. It sets a fine example of the way in which research should be done on public opinion concerning policy issues and especially concerning those policy issues which give rise to social movements. Bainbridge has developed a highly innovative and creative approach, analyzing the space movement within the same general frame of reference commonly used in the analysis of social movements of other kinds, and using survey research methods in a somewhat unusual way to illuminate the character and the social context of an elite social movement. " — Maurice N. Richter, Jr. , State University of New York at Albany