Last week in Washington, the website of a little-known organisation called the US Office of Science and Technology Policy carried a low-key announcement about President George Bush signing an order that set out his administration's position on "freedom of action in space".
With the war in Iraq and the North Korea nuclear crisis dominating the headlines, this received relatively little play in the news media: since the moon landings, the final frontier has lost much of its former allure for the public.
The US will deny access to outer space
to anyone it classifies as ‘hostile’
Yet experts on the issue of deploying weapons beyond the earth's atmosphere were quick to interpret this new doctrine - the first revision of US strategy for a decade - as a unilateral declaration of American hegemony.
And in far-flung corners of the world, those who noticed the announcement were aghast. "Now America wants it all," said the Asia Times. "The US is turning space into its personal colony."
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