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Asia's Space Race

Asia's Space Race: National Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks

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    Asia's Space Race
    Book Description:

    In contrast to the close cooperation practiced among European states, space relations among Asian states have become increasingly tense. If current trends continue, the Asian civilian space competition could become a military race. To better understand these emerging dynamics, James Clay Moltz conducts the first in-depth policy analysis of Asia's fourteen leading space programs, concentrating especially on developments in China, Japan, India, and South Korea.

    Moltz isolates the domestic motivations driving Asia's space actors, revisiting critical events such as China's 2007 antisatellite weapons test and manned flights, Japan's successful Kaguya lunar mission and Kibo module for the International Space Station ( ISS), India's Chandrayaan lunar mission, and South Korea's astronaut visit to the ISS, along with plans to establish independent space-launch capability. He investigates these nations' divergent space goals and their tendency to focus on national solutions and self-reliance rather than regionwide cooperation and multilateral initiatives. He concludes with recommendations for improved intra-Asian space cooperation and regional conflict prevention.

    Moltz also considers America's efforts to engage Asia's space programs in joint activities and the prospects for future U.S. space leadership. He extends his analysis to the relationship between space programs and economic development in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, making this a key text for international relations and Asian studies scholars.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52757-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    (pp. 1-11)

    Asia’s international relations have moved increasingly to the forefront of global attention in recent years. The region’s greater openness and expanding economic might have led to greater Asian integration into the international marketplace and increasing Asian influence relative to other world actors. These trends have been caused and stimulated by Asian efforts to be recognized globally in science and technology. Space activity is part of these processes.

    In some Asian countries, unfortunately, these trends have spurred regional competition, nationalism, and arms acquisition. As a result, Asia is witnessing a growing rivalry for technological ascendancy, political prestige, and security advantages through...

    (pp. 12-42)

    Much has been written about the dynamics of the cold war in space, what journalist William Burrows calls the “first space age.”¹ The United States and the Soviet Union dominated space and spent billions on sophisticated military systems to monitor the Earth from orbit. Yet neither deployed significant, dedicated weapons in this new environment after an initial foray of nuclear weapons testing in space from 1958 to 1962, which rendered a number of their own orbiting satellites inoperable. Despite a series of Soviet antisatellite (ASAT) tests from 1968 to 1982 and one U.S. ASAT test in 1985, a surprising trend...

    (pp. 43-69)

    By any number of measures, Japan has long been the most accomplished space power in Asia. It has more than five decades of achievements in space science, has extensive practice in human spaceflight, and produces sophisticated launchers, satellites, and robotic devices equal to the world’s best. However, Japan’s space mandate formally excluded military space activities until 2008, putting Tokyo well behind leading powers in military applications and military operational experience. In addition, in the civil space area, while Japan’s transfer vehicles now have independent access to the International Space Station (ISS), Japan has not yet made a decision to develop...

  7. CHAPTER THREE THE CHINESE SPACE PROGRAM: From Turbulent Past to Promising Future
    (pp. 70-109)

    It is no exaggeration to say that China’s space program, with in its rapid entry into human spaceflight and its equally demonstrative forays into military space projects, has captured world attention. Yet the origins and evolution of the Chinese space program—with its major discontinuities and changes in direction—are different from the fairly linear trajectories of most major space programs. In the United States, France, Japan, and the Soviet Union (at least after the 1930s), the pace of advancement tended to hinge mostly on questions of technology and funding. In China, by contrast, politics played a much more central...

    (pp. 110-135)

    India’s place in the world of major space powers is unique. It has been a nuclear-armed country since 1974, but its space program has had a remarkably peaceful orientation throughout most of its history. In contrast to the Soviet Union, the United States, and China, its fleet of space-launch vehicles originated as civilian rockets, not as military-purpose ballistic missiles converted to space-launch use. Moreover, until very recently India lacked any appreciable military space program, having focused for decades on Earth remote sensing, communications, and weather forecasting to serve the civilian economy and provide benefits to India’s vast and dispersed population....

    (pp. 136-157)

    Although China, India, and Japan have received the bulk of recent attention for their space developments, the emergence of the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) as a new player has arguably been even more dynamic over the past two decades. From having virtually no space capability, organizational structure, or overall plan as late as the early 1990s, South Korea has engaged in a major effort to enter the arena of spacefaring nations. As Doo Hwan Kim argues, “Korea is attempting to achieve fasttrack development in the space race,” despite its late starting date.¹ Although its strategy focused initially...

  10. CHAPTER SIX EMERGING ASIAN SPACE PROGRAMS: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
    (pp. 158-189)

    There is no set definition of what constitutes a “space program.” Relevant measures include a range of possible criteria: using space-derived data, designing an experiment to fly on someone else’s spacecraft, purchasing a satellite, building one’s own spacecraft, operating a spacecraft in orbit (whether one’s own or not), launching a spacecraft, having an astronaut go into space, or sending and returning astronauts into and from space with one’s own technology. Given the lack of a definitive threshold, however, the issue is better viewed as a continuum starting with possession of some space-related capability and ranging on the other end to...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN ASIA’S SPACE RACE: Implications for Regional and Global Policy
    (pp. 190-220)

    There is a space race going on in Asia, but its outcome—peaceful competition or military confrontation—is still uncertain. Fortunately, the dynamics of space activity in Asia are not solely hostile, nor are they intrinsically military related. Thus, there are still reasonable prospects for avoiding negative outcomes in space. Yet as countries in other parts of the world are moving toward closer cooperation in space, Asia is at risk of lurching backward, motivated by historical mistrust and animosities and hindered by poor communications on security matters. Military space expenditures are rising rapidly among the leading Asian space powers, and...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 221-264)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 265-274)