"The Crucial Frontier" is scattered with forward-thinking touchstones, including large-scale power production in space and permanent space stations in low-Earth orbit designed to foster asteroid-mining initiatives. There's also a proposed flyby of Halley's Comet and a reexamination of space treaties, with an eye toward resource exploitation on the moon. In fact, there's a call for total withdrawal of all space treaties -- especially those that restrict space weapons. In essence, the plan was simply to propel right-wing American agendas off Earth: extract resources and build military might.
"Our share of extraterrestrial resources would enormously increase our military strength. This in turn would give weight to your [President Reagan's] diplomacy in its quest for a genuine peace."
Being futurists, the group also identified what it believed to be incoming, technological threats: death rays from space, either taking the form of lasers (which use concentrated photon beams) or mass weapons (a stream of electrons). The report notes that while no one had actually launched these weapons into space, versions of them had been used with varying success on Earth, which meant it was only a matter of time before lasers from space started wreaking havoc in the wars of tomorrow.
"Deployed in high Earth orbit, one such station could potentially burn down all the missiles launched from whatever locations by one side during an all-out nuclear war, and then leisurely burn down all enemy bombers for an encore," the report states, going on to say that such a giant space death ray could assure victory and deflect any attack. "If such a space laser battle station could defend itself from all types of attack which enemies of its owners could direct against it, its ownership would confer the prize of a planet -- just as soon as it was put into orbit."
The document goes on to mention the ability of the Soviets to put large payloads into low Earth orbit, a capability the United States didn't readily have in 1980, and raises concerns about supposed "killer satellites" the authors claimed wielded space shotguns to deorbit satellites.
"Advanced reconnaissance satellites may contribute significantly to the stabilization of peace between the superpowers in the late '80s and '90s, if war-waging capabilities become comparable in that period," the space war portion of the report concludes. "These satellites will be valuable, but vulnerable. Space defenses are possible, but only for those who have a presence in space. US space capabilities may therefore be crucial for US survival."