One doesn’t often equate policy wonks with pioneers, especially in the space business, but Eilene Galloway is a notable exception. Ms. Galloway was in fact among the original space policy wonks: Not only was she instrumental in crafting the legislation that established NASA; she participated in the process that laid the very foundation of international space law, the United Nations Outer Space Treaty. And she did all this in an era when women were far more likely to be housewives than recognized leaders in emerging fields mixing high technology with international affairs.
Ms. Galloway, who died of cancer May 2 at the age of 102, also will be remembered for her unyielding commitment to the principle that space belongs to everyone and is a place for international cooperation, not conflict. This is in spite of, or perhaps due to, the fact that it was the prospect of conflict – nuclear war, to be precise – that thrust her into the space field: She was a defense analyst for what is now the Congressional Research Service when she was asked by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson to help examine the strategic implications of the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first artificial satellites.
At a time when space was another catalyst of fear in an already frightened world, Ms. Galloway forged a different vision for space, one in which peace, international cooperation and progress prevailed. Today, with nations more dependent than ever on satellites for commerce, public safety and defense, and with the world appearing ever more dangerous, the potential for space to become a medium of conflict has grown. In this environment, civilian and military leaders in all current and future spacefaring nations would be both responsible and wise to embrace the vision that Ms. Galloway never grew too old or too tired to share.