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A Comparative Study of the Great Powers'
Space Policies

By Ari Litwin| Mentor: Dr. Houman Sadri


Current manned space efforts are heavily invested in areas where cooperation is a key concern. The International Space Station program consists of seven international partners, and there is a renewed push to send unmanned probes to the moon in preparation for future sustained manned missions. Cooperation in space endeavors, much like in any area of international policy, has its own benefits and challenges that are unique to each participant and this comparative analysis will present the view of these benefits and challenges from the perspective of each of the great space powers. This research evaluates each of the great space powers, Russia, the United States, and China, in terms of its potential for successful international cooperation. A country tends to view its manned space program either from a political perspective, stressing national security and international prestige; or from an economic perspective, stressing industry growth and profit generation. It is believed that a country with the economic view of its program is more open to international cooperation, whereas a country with the political view will be less inclined to work with partners. Methodologically, the paper first presents a historical view of each of the great space powers’ manned space programs. This is followed by a look at current efforts and future plans, and finally, a look at the potential for international cooperation. Each nation’s unique situation, in terms of the benefits and challenges it must consider in choosing to undertake expanded cooperation, are discussed.

Introduction >>