In this article the mundanity of contemporary cyberspace will be contrasted with the technological sublime of the space programme, now almost 40 years ago. Using some short stories from J. G. Ballard, I explore the idea that contemporary forms of 'space', usually prefigured as 'cyber' or 'virtual', are insular and privatized in comparison to Apollo. To a certain extent, this contraction of ambition can also be witnessed in contemporary cyberpunk science fiction, and in the combination of capitalist and conspiratorial narratives about space. Though there are many ways in which the space race might be deemed politically suspect, it represents a triumph of a modernist concatenation of progress, technology and organization. In contrast to the introverted couches of the virtual, the sublime space between the stars might suggest a much more expansive relationship between technology and the human.
- Space programme