Over the last two decades, the image of the U.S. space program has become seriously tarnished. Its problems have ranged from massive cost overruns to serious program delays to catastrophic mission failures. The space program, once the most prominent symbol of American scientific and technological preeminence, now seems but one more example of government bumbling, extravagance, and waste. In this study, Kay examines the recent problems of the space program and finds that NASA's failures, like its earlier successes, are ultimately traceable to the way the American political system operates. Asking "can democracies fly in space?," the author suggests that the traditional workings of democratic politics actually exacerbates those very features of space projects--size, expense, and complexity--that make their development so difficult in the first place.