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Towards a Crowded Heavens?

By Taylor Marvin

I have a new piece up at e-International Relations briefly summarizing the resurgence of interest in civil space programs, especially those outside of the traditional space powers. As more nations technological capabilities increase with economic growth, we can expect the ranks of spacefaring nations to increase. However, because civilian space programs are primarily motivated by national prestige concerns, which are less connected to national security than during the height of the Cold War, investment in space is unlikely to return to its Space Race-era heights barring a return to a hostile, bipolar global order. The kicker:

“How realistic these rising powers’ space ambitions are remains open to debate, because their national space programs are limited by both practical and political constraints. It is also worth remembering how many space exploration goals are never met. The greatest bar to optimistic hopes for exploration are not what a nation can do but instead what it chooses to do, and this choice is inherently political.”

The word limit for the piece was short enough that I wasn’t able to explore the issue in great detail, but check it out if you are interested. This is a conceptional similar argument to my last piece for the site, which argued that the US and China are unlikely to engage in a civilian space race in the foreseeable future.

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