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NASA’s Dale Gardner with two failed satallites.

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Working in space science and technology is an exciting prospect for many young scientists and engineers, but potential employers rarely draw attention to the ethical dilemmas of such a career. In their latest briefing in its series 'Thinking about an ethical career in science and technology' Scientists for Global Responsibility sheds light on some of difficult choices to be made, especially concerning the thorny issue of involvement with the military.

Using space for war is major and growing activity. The director of space operations for the US Air Force, Maj. Gen. Judd Blaisdell, estimated that 33,600 people at 36 sites around the world are currently involved in space-war activities. ‘The 20th century added a new dimension to warfare with the nuclear bomb’, said Therese Delpech director for strategic affairs at the Atomic Energy Commission, ‘and the 21st could well be remembered for bringing the arms race into space’. Last year the government gave the US permission to upgrade the radar at Fylingdales as part of the star wars plan, which many believe is less a deferent and more a destabilizing initiator of a new arms race.

The recently revealed negotiations between the US administration and Poland and the Czech Republic about sitting the biggest missile defence site outside the US in central Europe cannot be good for international stability

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