This is supposed to be a space story, but it is weighted down by pedestrian tales of administrative and political haggling. Apollo 11, says Jerry Grey, marked the end of ""the era of space as a 'gee-whiz' arena for stunts and extravaganzas,"" and we are now in ""the real space age,"" with satellites performing such routine tasks as weather forecasting and pest control. However, costs remain exorbitant because we need reusable spacecraft launchers like Enterprise. So far so good. But unlike the books of Henry S. F. Cooper, Jr., which concentrate on space activities, much of what follows centers on congressional and agency maneuvering, with Grey conducting a vendetta against Senator William Proxmire, head of the Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with NASA. Proxmire ""had just licked the whole aerospace industry on the SST,"" says Grey, ""and he was not yet willing to give up on the shuttle."" (Grey describes space activity under Carter as the ""doldrums of indecision."") Space may be the ""seat of the world's new industry,"" with the shuttle ""making that industry more productive,"" but Grey does not explain clearly what this means and how it is taking place. He does suggest possible space industries--ball bearings, for one (not clearly explained either)--but then goes into a lengthy hypothetical look at the future: ""By 2010, the first all-lunar-material space power plant was in geo-stationary orbit,"" etc. A promising lift-off; then misfire.