In 2008, Elon Musk's SpaceX became the first private company to build a low-cost rocket that could reach orbit. Suddenly Silicon Valley, not NASA, was the epicentre of the new Space Age.
Ashlee Vance follows four pioneering companies - Astra, Firefly, Planet Labs and Rocket Lab - as they race to control access to outer space. While the space tourism ambitions of billionaires such as Bezos and Branson make headlines, these under-the-radar companies are striving to monetise Earth's lower orbit; to connect, analyse and monitor everything on Earth.
With unprecedented access to private company headquarters, labs and top-secret launch locations - from the US to New Zealand, Ukraine to India - Vance presents a gripping account of private jets, communes, gun-toting bodyguards, drugs, espionage investigations and multimillionaires guzzling booze as their fortunes disappear.
This is the most pressing and controversial technology story of our time. Welcome to the new Wild West above the clouds.