Category Asian Space Race: Rhetoric or Reality?


On March 26, 1979, the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed in Washington, DC. This peace treaty is considered as a watershed event in the geopolitics of West Asia. Interestingly, this peace treaty was indirectly instrumental towards founding of Israel’s space programme. After agreeing to abide by the provisions of the treaty, the Israel’s government realised that they do not have adequate technological capability to verify Egyptian compliance with the treaty regulations on the aspects like demilitarisation of the Sinai Peninsula. Israel was politically constrained to use reconnaissance aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) because as per the accord, they were not in a position to violate the territorial sovereignty of a now friendly neighbour. To overcome this difficulty, Israeli government approved the development of information gathering satellites and thus the space programme began.[19]

However, this does not mean that the thinking and the experimentation in the arena of space only started then. The Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities had established National Committee of Space Research (NCSR) during 1960s. Interestingly, even then Egypt was one of the reasons for Israel thinking ‘space’. On July 5, 1961, a solid two-stage sounding rocket was tested with metrological payload. One of the purposes behind this launch was to demonstrate to superiority of Israeli rocketry to the Egyptian rocketry [3, pp. 386-87]. Subsequently, almost after three decades, Israel became spacefaring nation during 1988 with the launch of Ofeq-1, a reconnaissance satellite using own launcher called Shavit. This was preceded by the formation of Israel Space Agency (ISA) in 1983 in affiliation to the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. Presently, the emphasis continues on building a broad space infrastructure. The space programme caters for both military

and civilian requirements. Israel’s growing space industry could be viewed as a natural outgrowth of the defence industrial infrastructure [4]. Strategic implications of the Israeli space agenda is evident from the fact that many scientists employed with the civilian space infrastructure and space industry have military sector background [5, pp. 90-6].12

Israel compared to its neighbouring Arab countries has a very small geographical extent. Israel’s relationship with most of their neighbours is not harmonious. Because of such geopolitical and geographical concerns and also because of other safety concerns, Israel can launch satellites only westwards, over the Mediterranean

[5] . For any westward launch, significant amount of energy is lost (eastward launch—the launch in the direction of the rotation of the earth is always the best option) which forces the launcher-state for various fuel and weight compromises. This puts Israel’s space programme into a huge disadvantage and severely limits po­tential operational trajectories, such as polar and equatorial orbits [3, p. 386]. Since westward launch demands production of satellites less in weight, compromises with number of sensors and life of a satellite are required to be made. Such limitations indicate that Israel has no option but to invest in small satellites.

Probably, Israel ranks fourth in the world in scientific activity. It puts Israel behind Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark in terms of the number of scientific publications per million citizens. One report mentions that Israel’s role in global scientific activity is ten times larger than its percentage of the world’s population

[6] . On the whole, Israel’s investments and achievements in science and technology have been noteworthy for many years. Various research and academic institutions in Israel has been undertaking research into space activities and related issues since the 1960s. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities formally established the National Committee for Space Research in 1963. The Academy has observer status at the European Science Foundation. The decision to establish a separate space agency for the purposes of satellite manufacture came much later. The Israel Space Agency (ISA) was established in 1983 with a wider mandate of inclusive of the initiation of international space projects to projects of the UV telescope for astronomical observations to support various private space activities.

Israel formally pierced into the Space Age with the launch of its first satellite, Ofeq-1, from the locally built Shavit launch vehicle on September 19, 1988. Sub­sequently, during last two decades, Israel has since made significant contributions in a number of areas in space area. They have handled multiple areas including laser communication, study into embryo development and osteoporosis, monitoring pollution and mapping geology, soil and vegetation in semi-arid environments [7].

Ofeq series is a reconnaissance satellite series, and till date the last satellite launched in this series is Ofeq-9 which was launched on June 22, 2010. First three launches of this series (till Ofeq-3) were successful. Ofeq-3 was launched with an advanced electro-optical payload. This system more than doubled its expected lifespan and successfully sent images of superior quality. However, Ofeq-4 was a not

success story. This satellite encountered problems in the second stage of its January 1998 launch.[20] It burned up, affecting Israel’s satellite reconnaissance programme significantly. Ofeq-6, launched September 6, 2004, was also a failure. The launch failed due to the launcher failure: the third stage of the Shavit launcher failed.

Subsequently, Israel had asked India to launch Ofeq-8 under commercial com­mitment. This satellite was launched by the India’s PSLV launcher on January 21, 2008. This satellite called TecSAR is synthetic aperture radar satellite fitted with a large dishlike antenna to transmit and receive radar signals capable of penetrating darkness and thick clouds [8]. Israel had multiple reasons for asking India to launch this satellite. In case of the launch from the Israeli soil, the required orbit could not have been reached because of the geographical location of the Israel and their political compulsions to undertake the launch from a particular direction. Also, they were not very comfortable to use a vehicle like Shavit because of its partial success rate. Probably, the cost of launch charged by the Indian space agency is lesser than Israeli launching systems. Iran had criticised India for undertaking this commitment because Iran is convinced that this is a spy satellite directed against them.

Apart from reconnaissance satellites programme and communication satellite programme, Israel has also made investments in few other space endeavours. In early 2003, the US flight-space shuttle Columbia carried the first Israeli astronaut to the international space station where he lived for 16 days along with six other crewmembers but unfortunately could not get back to the earth because of the Columbia shuttle disaster.

Amos or AMOS is the Israeli communications satellites series developed by the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and operated by Spacecom. The latest in the series called Amos-5 was launched on December 11, 2011, by a Russian rocket. This satellite has joined the satellites Amos-2 and Amos-3 which are already operational. It is the first Israeli satellite not produced by IAI. The communications services offered by Spacecom till now were covering West Asia, Europe and the USA; however, with Amos-5 now Africa has also been covered. This is one region where largest communications market exists.[21] Amos-5 has significant commercial utility. Over 55% of Amos-5 capacity was sold before the launch to a variety of customers, including broadcasters, telecom providers, communications companies and government agencies.[22] By 2014, one to two more satellites in this series are expected to be launched. The first satellite in this series Amos-1 was launched on May 16, 1996.

EROSs (Earth Resources Observation Satellite) are the Israeli commercial earth observation satellites, designed and manufactured by the IAI, with optical payload

provided by El-Op. These satellites are owned and operated by an Israeli company, ImageSat International. The first in the series, EROS-A, launched on December 5, 2000, is the lightest commercial high-resolution imaging satellite weighing only 250 kg providing high-quality digital imaging for a wide range of commercial applications. EROS-B was launched on April 25, 2006. Work on Eros-C system has probably began in 2011 [9, 10].

It is important to note that Israel is not forwarding its space agenda by isolating itself from others and working alone. Understanding the need to have country’s stakes in an international navigation constellation, Israel has signed an agreement with the EU during July 2004 to become a partner in the Galileo project. The investments for the Israeli side are expected to be to the tune of US$30-$50 million.[23] It has also undertaken few bilateral agreements and is participating in few new multilateral initiatives. In June 1999, NASA and ISA signed an agreement to share information through NASA’s Earth Observation System Data Information System (EOSDIS). Here, ISA gets information from EOSDIS useful for weather prediction, agriculture and meteorology. From its side, Israeli universities and research institutes contribute their own Earth observation data.[24] Israel is also making attempts to expand its space development and space industry base and has signed a cooperation agreement with ESA on January 30,2011. The objective of this agreement is to allow Israel and ESA to create the framework for more intensive cooperation in ESA projects in the future.[25] Israel has also established scientific research collaboration with the Indian space agency. One on the satellite launched by India to cater for their security needs in 2008 called RISAT-2 is built by the Israel Aerospace Industries.

Israel’s space programme is also suffering from various limitations too. Some projects are found lagging behind the schedule. Projects like French-Israeli micro­satellite VENUS (based on the Israeli satellite design-proposed launch was to take place in 2008) are still incomplete. It has been reported that this project is experiencing certain difficulties because of the problems in cooperation between Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries. However, the basic reason for the slowdown of the overall space programme appears to be financial. The ISA is a very small and poor institution and has limited budgetary support. This organisation has signed various pacts with other agencies, but their future solely depends on the Israeli government’s financial backing [11]. Various Israeli officials directly or indirectly related to the space programme are of the opinion that there is a requirement to do more in this field and formulate a clear-cut policy and establish a well thought off-road map.

In sum, Israel’s space programme is a story of small but proficient programme basically an offshoot of a military initiative. The main investment in this field has been from the point view of intelligence gathering and surveillance. The state has succeeded in establishing few important international collaborators to achieve quicker progress and is also found exploiting the commercial angle of this technology. The country has concentrated more towards developing microsatellites weighing 300-400 kg and is expected to concentrate in this field in future too.

Change in Space Policy

Since the beginning of its space programme, peaceful utilisation of space has been the Japanese mantra. Japan’s security forces were prohibited from involvement in space development under a strict interpretation of a 1969 parliamentary resolution limiting the use of space to peaceful purposes. However, subsequent to North Korean missile launch in 1998 into Japanese airspace, the country decided to launch few spy satellites (IGS-Intelligence Gathering Satellites) during 2003-2007. Also,

it provided the rationale for Tokyo to ramp up its participation in US missile defence [3]. But, the spy satellites have limitations in regard to its resolution in comparison with military satellites operated by other countries.[121] These Intelligence Gathering Satellites are controlled by the civilian administration. To conceal the military nature of these satellites, they are put under the control of the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center (CSICE) within the Cabinet Intelligence Office (CRIO) [13].

Japanese policymakers started thinking differently from their 1969 spelt position about peaceful use of space by 1980s. In 1980s, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone began to push for constitutional revision calling for a ‘final settlement of accounts for postwar politics’. He also brought in major change in Japan’s space use policy (1985). It was decided that the SDF (Japan Self-Defense Forces or JSDF, also referred to as JSF or SDF) could use the civilian satellites for their requirements, and a decision towards development of Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) system was taken [14]. During 2005, a group of powerful Japanese politicians issued a report on constructing a national space strategy. This report recommended the establishment of a new decision-making structure in regard to space issues. With this came the concept of creation of a new Basic Law of Space Activities. This was born out of the need to shift the focus of space policy from technological development to applications [15].

During June 2007, considering the growing importance of the space sector in terms of industrial and military growth, the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito Party submitted a bill of basic space law to the lower house of parliament demanding an amendment of the space law. It was made clear that the new basic space law will adopt the concept of ‘nonaggressiveness’, enabling military purpose applications.[122] After few deliberations the bill was finally enacted in May 2008. ‘The law says that the use and development of space should be done in accordance with the pacifist sprit of the Japanese constitution and benefit the security of Japan and the international community’.[123]

Subsequently, the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development was formed within the cabinet. This is aimed at promoting the measures concerning the development and utilisation of space in a comprehensive and systematic manner. On January 15, 2009, a basic policy for space development and utilisation was formulated, and it was announced that space is important for strengthening functions of C4ISR3 in light of the emphasis of building up of defence capabilities.[124] Strategic headquarters announced the Basic Plan on Space Security on June 2, 2009. The key elements of the plan are based on the Basic Space Law and include realising a safe, secure and affluent society. It also proposes to strengthen the national security through the development of space.[125]


China’s interest in satellite navigation technology dates back to the late 1960s. It was not able to overcome the various technical difficulties in this field for many years. Also, lack of funding could have added to their difficulties. However, all this is history now. China is found systematically developing their navigational architecture in planned phases. Their approach is to possess both a regional as well as global navigational system. As of 2011, China has fully operationalised their regional system and is rapidly progressing towards building a global system.

Chinese scientists developed the ‘Twin-Star’ regional navigation theory in the mid-1980s. It was tested on two DFH-2A communications satellites in 1989. This test showed that the precision of the Twin-Star system was comparable to the publicly available signals of the United States Global Positioning System (GPS).[212] The government approval for the development satellite navigational system was granted during 1993-1994 period. China’s first regional navigational system was called Beidou or Beidou-1.

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) was instrumental in de­veloping the Beidou system. The system is capable of providing all-weather, two-dimensional positioning data for both military and civilian purposes. It can also undertake communication functions. The first two satellites for this system were launched during 2000, and in late 2001 the system began providing navigational support. The third satellite (backup) was launched during 2003, and the network covers a major portion of East Asia region (between longitude 70°-140° E and latitude 5°-55° N) and has been made available to civilian users since April 2004. China is only the third country in world to possess an operational space-based navigational network. The fourth satellite in this constellation was launched during 2007, and the system works at with 20 m accuracy.[213]

After successfully operationalising the Beidou system for the Chinese region (by 2007), the state began working on its more ambitious project of developing the navigational system with a global footprint. This system is known as Compass (Beidou-2) and has 35 satellites—of which five are proposed to be placed in geostationary orbit and 30 in medium Earth orbit (MEO). On Sep 19, 2012, China has launched 14th and 15th satellites for the Beidou/Compass system.[214] So far, out of these fifteen satellites, one was launched for the purposes of testing, and one satellite has drifted off its track.[215] The entire system is expected to become operational by 2020. Initially, there were some apprehensions regarding China’s Compass system, but the programme is in a good shape and making significant progress.

By Dec 2011, China has launched (declared operational) a limited positioning service of Beidou for providing services for China and ‘surrounding areas’. The system has begun providing initial positioning, navigation and timing operational services. Beijing would launch another six satellites in 2012 to expand it to most of the Asia-Pacific region. Now, the system offers its civilian users positioning information correct to the nearest 10 m, measure speeds within 0.2 m per second and provide clock synchronisation signals accurate to 0.02 millionths of a second. The Chinese military is expected to obtain more accurate data. Experts are of the opinion that Beidou could be used to target cruise missiles against Taiwan in case of requirement. It could also be used to guide drones to destroy foreign naval forces.[216] On commercial front, this system is expected offer reach dividends to China. The annual output value of China’s satellite navigation industry is estimated to reach

more than 35 billion US dollars in 2015. Already, more than 5,000 Chinese Arms and organisations are involved in the application and services of satellite.[217]

Interestingly, apart from its RNSS and GNSS programme (Beidou-1 & 2), China has also developed another less known regional navigation satellite system called CAPS (Chinese Area Positioning System). This project was initiated in 2002. It is a passive one-way system in which satellites broadcast the navigation messages and receivers are the ‘listeners’.[218] This concept is different from conventional navigational systems. Here, all the navigation-related facilities are all located on the ground from where the messages are generated. These messages are sent to the communication satellites which only act as a transponder. The CAPS constellation is not specifically launched for navigational purposes but works on bandwidth rented on commercial communications satellites. It consists of commercial geo­stationary (GEO) communication satellites and inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO) communication satellites. China took three years to develop a validation system for CAPS and uses four commercial GEO communication satellites.[219] Such constellation cannot provide 3D positioning because all satellites are located in orbit over the equator. The height estimate can be provided by incorporating a barometer into the receivers [3].

The Beidou-1 system became operational during 2003, however; probably, China also continues to use the GPS and GLONASS signals both for commercial and military purposes. China is also a member of the Europe’s Galileo system which unfortunately is running much behind schedule and has not lived up to its expected potential because of financial constraints [4]. Sensing an opportunity, China decided to join this programme in 2003 and committed A230 million to the project. However, the ESA made it clear that China would not get any preferential rights in this system for using it for the military purposes. It was feared that irrespective of this, China could factor Galileo in its military doctrines. Today, with China being an ‘ASAT weapon state’ it is possible to believe that it could effectively neutralise American GPS signals over the theatre of operation (say China-Taiwan – India region) while using the Galileo system.

Initially, the Galileo system was envisaged without any military role. However, during 2006, the European Union Commission articulated the importance of Galileo system (with a promised accuracy of less than a metre) for military purposes.[220] China’s intentions in space navigation from a weaponisation point of view were

discussed immediately after it joined Galileo [5]. However, it appears that China has moved beyond Galileo. There could be various reasons for this. First, the project is unduly delayed, and the financial investments in this system are worthless when a cost-benefit analysis is made. Third, the USA would continue putting pressure on the EU to minimise China’s role in this system. Fourth, China’s Compass navigational system has reduced the importance of Galileo for it.

A decade later, it appears that Chinese involvement in Galileo is more embarrass­ing than rewarding. China’s interests in Galileo had political, military and economic dimensions. Maybe China was aiming to get launch contracts (Long March booster) for launching Galileo satellites. Also, being part of the project, they expected to get a technological and scientific insight into navigational system [6]. But, with the EU deciding that China cannot be given full membership in their programme, China’s interest in the programme dwindled. Moreover, frequency overlay issues are also expected arise from time to time.

Since China is developing its own Compass system, a clash of interest with the EU constellation is inevitable. As per the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) database, 36 satellite slots have been registered for Compass: 14 in geosynchronous orbits and 22 in the medium orbits traditionally used for navigation systems. Generally, there is a tendency to register for more slots with the ITU.[221] Under ITU policy, the first country to start broadcasting in a specific frequency has priority to that frequency.29 Naturally, Compass has the advantage because of the delays in the Galileo programme. With China making rapid progress in launching satellites for Compass constellation, it is not expected to face in problems in this regard.

Apart from Compass emerging as a competitor to Galileo, it is possible that it would serve a purpose beyond navigation. It could be used for detecting nuclear explosions or for electronic or signals intelligence. It has been argued by some that the Compass satellites will have so much extra power on board that they could be used as space-based jammers and could even target Galileo apart from GPS [7]. For China, the military utility of Compass is undisputed. Initially, China’s joining of Galileo was a win-win for both parties. It allowed the EU to snub the USA and get economic backing for the project. It was important for China too because it demonstrated the acceptance of China’s geopolitical, technological and economic might by the international community. However, the delay in the Galileo programme has changed the situation.


It is important to recognise the fine distinction between the terminologies militarisa­tion and weaponisation of space before beginning any further discussion. Identifying this difference is more important because at times it has been observed that some use the word militarisation interchangeably with weaponisation. It is also viewed by few that ‘militarisation’ of space is an imprecise phrase. This is because space has been militarised for decades. For many years, satellites have been used for intelligence gathering, and ballistic missiles are flying through space. Some bracket these issues and issues like killing satellites by using kinetic weapons together as the militarisation of space. At times, this also involves putting weapons in space which could be used for targets on Earth [1]. There are few nonlethal ways of targeting satellites by using jamming techniques. Also, it is very difficult to really define the space weapons. No universally accepted definition is available in this regard. Generally, it is perceived that space weapons are the devices which could damage or obstruct the functioning of any space system. However, the dynamic nature of technology and rapid developments happening in space realm are making it difficult to define the space weapons. Various technologies used for civilian purposes could be misused as weapons too. For example, a micro – or a nano-satellite could be converted into a space mine. The systems developed for the purposes of missile defence could be reconfigured for attacking satellites. All this clearly indicates that the term militarisation of the space, if made all inclusive, will have limitations in regard to clearly confirming the actual purpose behind any act. This demands a nuanced distinction to recognise the intent.

The term militarisation of space means ‘the use of assets based in space to enhance the military effectiveness of conventional forces or the use of space assets for military purposes. The military purposes of space expected to include communications, electronic intelligence, photoreconnaissance, meteorology, early warning, navigation and weapons guidance. The militarization of space is distinct from the weaponisation of space. It is defined as either weapons based in space or weapons based on ground with their intended targets being located in space’ [2].

Various other chapters in this part of the book have mostly followed the structure which essentially revolves around discussing the country-specific investments in various arenas of space technologies. However, it is important to appreciate while discussing the military utility of space assets that, for the purposes of military use, it is not necessary to own satellite systems in space and/or on ground. A state could acquire the required inputs either by purchasing data from the commercial satellite agencies or under bilateral/multilateral agreement a spacefaring nation could share it with them. Also, it is important to appreciate that the information gathered by using satellite technologies for peaceful purposes or for defensive purposes could also find utility for the military purposes depending upon the nature of data gathered and type of military requirement. It is obvious that the satellites meant for communication, remote sensing and navigation will have certain military usages. These are essentially dual-use systems. No detail discussion of such systems is done in this chapter. The basic intend of this chapter is to identify the space systems which are predominantly designed for the military usages. However, certain overlap with the civilian systems looks obvious because few states in the region are not open about identifying certain satellite systems in their possession as military-specific systems. They are designating them as civilian systems but their military-specific utility is becoming far too obvious.

As mentioned frequently in this book there are three major space powers in Asia having significant investments made in civilian space sector. Few other powers in the region could be termed as promising players with major futuristic plans. For states like Israel which is not a part of big three troika also uses satellite technology for military purposes. Few non-spacefaring states with the region also use satellite technology of strategic purposes. For few states in the region security threats are so overarching that they are not left with any option but to depend of multiple methods for handling these threats and space technologies become one of the sought-after option. Hence, before deliberating the militarisation and weaponisation policies of the states in the region, it is important to contextualise the threat perceptions of the states within the region and the dependence and requirement of space technologies for this purpose.

Ballistic Missile Capability

Missiles and space launch vehicles belong to the family of basic rocket technologies. In yesteryears, the US space launchers were developed from missiles. The basic difference between these two different genre of missiles arise from the goal of placing a nuclear weapon payload in a ballistic (i. e. reentering) trajectory, versus placing a satellite payload in orbit. Launch trajectory, size and number of stages all have a role in distinguishing the two different uses [8]. The capability to launch a satellite indirectly demonstrates the potential of a state to develop a missile. Certain states that are under constant international scanner due to their defiance of certain global nonproliferation/arms control norms find it difficult to conduct missile testing to prove their prowess and hence follow a ‘satellite launching’ route. A detailed discussion regarding this issue has been done elsewhere in this book.

Today, almost half of global nuclear weapon powers (within and outside NPT) are from Asia. Suitable delivery platform for launching of a nuclear weapon is a prerequisite for establishment of any nuclear force. Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is an important component of any nuclear weapon architecture, globally. In Asia, nuclear-capable countries like China, India and Pakistan already have a reasonably well-developed missile infrastructure. Amongst them, China has proven ICBM capability (Dong Feng). There have been unconfirmed reports that India plans to develop the 8,000-km range ICBM called Surya. India has successfully tested 5,000-km range Agni-V (the strike envelope is whole of Asia, 70% of Europe

and other regions) missile during April 2012. North Korea has unsuccessfully test fired a missile called Taepodong-2 in 2006 with a range of around 4-4,500 kms. States like Japan have an active commercial space launch programme and hence have technology ‘available’ which could provide the basis for a long-range ballistic missile programme.

Currently, Iran and North Korea are being viewed as states using satellite programme as a frontage for their missile ambitions. North Korea has already conducted nuclear tests, and Iran could be on its way. Hence, the space programmes of these states are being viewed with suspicion. However, it could be inaccurate to dismiss their space programme only as a front end for missile testing.

In 1959, Tehran became a founding member of the United Nations’ Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). In initial years, Iranian political leadership viewed space technology as a tool to improve their political, social and economic standing. Leaders like Rafsanjani and Khatami wanted to modernise the country. Khatami issued various reforms to modernise the country to include reinvigorating efforts for the nation to become more active in space. He gave the country a vision of becoming a space power as a vehicle for modernity [9]. Its space programme began in 1998 [10] with a stated aim to use this technology for socioeconomic development. During February 2009, Iran successfully launched its first domestically produced satellite using indigenously built rocket launcher. They have also another satellite during February 2012. North Korea did a launch during April 2009. However, in spite their claims of success, there is no evidence available to corroborate their claim. Indonesia is also interested in launching its own satellite with own launcher. Its space agency Lapan, set up in 1964, is collaborating with the military to develop more efficient rockets. Few years back, they have inked a formal technology transfer agreement with China (2005) for the development of missiles [7]. Space programmes of these states are being viewed with some suspicion for their missile ambitions.

Another reason to doubt the intentions of Iran and North Korea is because undertaking unimpeded space launch is possible only if the state’s geography offers it that luxury and that is not the case with these states. Geography puts major compulsions on Iran to undertake any launches. It is surrounded by states both on its western and eastern border which are unlikely to grant over flight permissions to their launches. Even with friendly states in north, Iran cannot evade the issues of liability and public and environmental safety. Only possibility of undertaking safe launches (not 100%) could be from region close to Chah Bahar [11]. If this be the case then why is Iran interested in developing launch vehicle technology? Is it in support of their increasing nuclear ambitions? North Korea also faces similar challenges. The best option for both of them could be to have cordial relations with other states that can provide them launching facilities.

By and large, Iran and North Korea needs ‘fake’ satellite launches to develop their own missile programme. On the other hand, both the states understand that satellite technology in itself is important for socioeconomic development and also has military utility. Hence, these states are likely to continue investing in both satellite manufacturing as well as launcher technologies with more bias towards missile-specific technologies. China and Russia could help North Korea to satisfy its genuine requirement of having access to space. North Korea’s space ambitions could be used as a tool to engage that state in the post-Kim Jong-il era. A regime change in Iran could bring a possibility of third party interlocutors-under such scenario India could play a role towards helping Iran to launch its satellites (presently India is avoiding such requests from Iran).

Other States

Apart from Iran and Israel, few other states from West Asia have keen interest in space technologies. Many of them could be viewed as the beginners in this field. Some of them are making significant investments in the space arena by fully being appreciative of the potential of this technology in various fields. This segment analyses the developing space programmes of few more states from the region.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven states, has found steadily building a portfolio of space resources. It has put one satellite in orbit with a two more on order. DubaiSat-1, a remote sensing satellite with 5 m resolution built by South Korea and weighing in at 200 kg [12], was launched in 2009 by the Russian Dnepr-1 vehicle. Second satellite DubaiSat-2 is slated to be launched in 2012, and UAE expects a completely ‘made in the UAE’ satellite Dubai-Sat-3 to be launched in near future.

UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi is an advanced city in the region in regard to its infrastructure facilities. Virgin Galactic, a space enterprise of the Virgin Group, is interested in building a spaceport in Abu Dhabi (subject to approval from the US authorities). In fact Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments has already acquired 32% stake in Virgin Galactic by paying $280 million. Virgin Galactic is proposing to build a commercial space visit facility here after their spacecraft becomes operational in near future. It may cost $200,000 for a trip to space. The company envisages having six passengers and two pilots to fly up into suborbital space, stay there for 5 min and return. Six UAE residents have booked their seats for first suborbital flight [13]. Apart from commercial interests in the space field, the UAE administration is also keen to develop technical expertise in various disciplines of rocket science. They have an ongoing initiative to help train UAE’s aerospace engineers with NASA. They have organised few conferences on space issue to be in more awareness on the subject and also to establish associations with the other business and government organisations in this field. In short, the UAE is keen to develop Abu Dhabi as a major space port. UAE appears to have identified ‘space’ as a major sector for future investments and is found systematically making efforts in that direction.

On April 23,2011, a ‘built in’ UAE satellite Y1A was successfully launched from the European Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. It was built by Yahsat, the Emirates’ Al Yah Satellite Communications Co., and a wholly owned subsidiary of

Mubadala Development Company, the Abu Dhabi-based Investment and Develop­ment Company. Yahsat has commissioned two satellites to create regionally focused capacity to manage the expanding requirements for government, commercial and consumer satellite communication services. A second satellite, Y1B, is likely to be launched in 2012 to complete the $1.66 billion Yahsat programme. Y1A and Y1B will also provide commercial communications across the West Asia, Africa, Southwest Asia and Europe.[26]

Saudi Arabia is another country in the region having potential (and interest) for growth in space field. Their interest in this field goes back to early 1980s. Two in­teresting events of that period need a mention. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Salman Abdel Aziz Al-Saud was the first Arab to fly in space for 7 days in 1985 in shuttle Discovery (the second Arab was a Syrian cosmonaut who spent 8 days in 1987 at Mir station). The other incident is that Riyadh, the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia, is the headquarters of the Arab Satellite Communications Organization which operates the Arabsat GEO telecommunications system since 1985 with more than 20 member countries. Arabsat was created to deliver satellite-based, public and private telecommunications services to the Arab States, in accordance with international standards, and currently five satellite platforms (Arabsat-2B, BADR-4, BADR-5, BADR-6 and Arabsat-5A) are performing this task.[27]

The major investments by Saudi Arabia have been in the field of low orbit micro­communication satellites. SaudiComsat 1 to SaudiComsat7 satellites were launched with the help of a Russian launcher Dnepr-1 during 2004-2007.[28] Saudi Arabia has launched 12 satellites till date from the Baikonur site in Kazakhstan.22 Presently, Saudi Arabia is found keen in developing its own space agenda and make additional investments.

In 2010, they have signed agreements with India and Ukraine. With India, the agreement is of cooperation on peaceful use of outer space. Indian space agency is helping them to develop an indigenous space programme. Under commercial agree­ment, India is also expected to help Saudi Arabia to launch their satellites in near future. The agreement with Ukraine stipulates that Saudi Arabian and Ukrainian scientists will cooperate in fundamental space research and a range of applied sciences, particularly geophysics. The agreement offers broad opportunities for scientists from the both countries to hold joint symposiums and conferences, share results of experiments. Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan have signed an agreement

for bilateral cooperation in space exploration on November 20, 2011. They would be cooperating on satellite telecommunication research and space exploration for peaceful purposes.[29]

For a state like Turkey living in a geopolitically rough neighbourhood, the strategic utility of space systems is obvious. Turkey’s interests in satellite arena are mainly concentrated towards putting them in use for the communication purposes which has both civilian and military utility. Their various communication satellites belong to the Turksat series. Amongst Turksat 1A, Turksat 1B, Turksat 1C, Turksat 2A[30] and Turksat 3A satellites launched so far the first launch in 1994 of Turksat 1A had to witness failure because of the malfunction of the rocket. Turksat 1C had encountered some problems after a successful launch, but the agencies were successful in keeping it in operational conduction for 14 years but went of use in 2010. Turksat 3A was launched during June 2008 and is presently functioning well.

To cater for its imagery requirements, Turkey being a NATO member has some access to information from US satellites, and they can also buy imagery on the open market from Spot Image, DigitalGlobe, or others. However, Turkey understands that depending on allies has its own limitation. Theoretically, Turkey requires all-weather radar imaging system and multi – and hyperspectral capability [14]. Appreciating such type of needs and few other emerging strategic, social and commercial needs, Turkey has started making more investments into various satellite technologies.

Turkey’s first national earth observation satellite, RASAT, was launched success­fully on August 17,2011. This 100-kg satellite with a design life of 3 years has been designed and manufactured by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey—Space Technologies Research Institute (TUBITAK-UZAY).[31] The satellite was launched by Russian Dnepr space launch vehicle. Turkey has an ambitious plan for sending indigenous communication satellite in space by 2015. This launch also could be viewed as learning experience for various future satellite launches. Turkey has devised a 10-year satellite strategy and has plan for few launches during 2015 and 2017 period.[32]

Turkey during March 2011 has signed a US$571 million deal with Japanese firm Mitsubishi Electric Corporation to procure and launch two communications

satellites by 2014. Turkey plans to place Turksat 4A into orbit by the last quarter of 2013 and launch Turksat 4B in 2014, with the two satellites having a lifespan of 30 years. Turkish engineers are also starting to produce another satellite Turksat 5A in cooperation with the Japanese firm.[33]

Turkey’s plans of launching Gokturk satellites have raised concerns from their neighbour Israel. As per the available information Telespazio, a Finmecca – nica/Thales company, has won in December 2008 a tender as prime contractor, supported by Thales Alenia Space (a Thales/Finmeccanica company), from the Turkish Ministry of Defence for the Gokturk 1 satellite system. This agreement allows the supply of an Earth observation satellite equipped with a high-resolution (0.8 m) optical sensor, an integration and test centre for satellites to be built in Turkey. Telespazio will also provide all satellite launch and test services.[34] No further details about this mission are available. However, what is causing concerns in certain quarters is the proposal regarding the launch of Gokttirk-2 satellite.

It has been reported that China will launch Turkey’s first intelligence satellite, Gokttirk-2, for US$20 million. Goktlirk-2 is expected to detect the movements of objects smaller than even 1 m2, will help capture terrorists infiltrating Turkish borders. The optical camera for the satellite has been bought from South Korea, while all the other parts have been produced and manufactured in Turkey. Goktlirk-2 is expected to be launched in 2012. Its civilian uses include control of forestland, tracking illegal construction, rapid assessment of damage after natural disasters, determination of agricultural boundaries and geographical data gathering.[35] This satellite (technically a commercial satellite) is likely to become operational by 2012/2013 and would sell images of objects more detailed than 2 m (6 ft) across— currently the finest grain available when it comes to pictures of Israel. This capability is expected to become a bone of contention in future. All these years Israel had a support of the ‘shutter control’ policy adopted by the USA. A 1997 amendment to the US National Defence Authorisation Act bans dissemination of satellite images of Israel of a grain higher than that available from non-American commercial sources. The basic agreement was for 2-m resolution.[36] Unlike with other nations that have fielded commercial satellites which can make the imagery of Israel available with great accuracy, Israel has little leverage over Turkey. Turkey has frozen relations with Israel and has no intentions to exercise any form of ‘shutter control’ when their satellite becomes operational. The resolution of this satellite is expected to be less than a metre, and this proposed launch by Turkey is definitely making Israel uncomfortable.

Many states from West Asia are expected to confront challenges from domestic politics to socioeconomic issues to interventionist policies of the West in future. At the same time, states in the region are keen to develop economically and bring in social development in their respective countries. To put in a nutshell, the states with the region understand that space technologies have various utilities and also dual-use significance. Hence, West Asian states are found keenly working towards administering space in their development and security agenda.

Scientific Experiments and Interplanetary Missions

Japan is one state which has been involved in undertaking interplanetary missions for many years. These missions involve robotic trips to other planets. So far they have not attempted any manned 3 interplanetary missions.[126] Japan entered into the arena of deep space missions in mid-1980s. This was the period after the beginning of space age when for the first time spacefaring nations had an opportunity to study the characteristics of a comet of significant importance which was to make its presence felt in the inner solar system. It was the most famous Halley’s Comet.[127] Japan used this opportunity to organise its deep space mission by launching two probes for studying this comet: a path finder and a main probe (MS-T5 and Planet A). Very useful information was provided by this mission; however, these probes received very less publicity at global level.

Japan has focused on studying the characteristics of the Sun for the deeper understanding and also that of our planetary system. Studying Sun is technologically challenging and scientifically important endeavour. It is the only fixed star available for any study. The knowledge about its evolution and other properties is essential to know more about the mechanisms of various processes taking place in the universe. Japan puts a major emphasis on solar studies. Till date, they have launched two satellites to unravel some of the mysteries and mechanisms of the activities taking place in the solar corona. The first satellite was launched during end August 1991, and this was followed by second satellite during 2006. The second satellite is approximately at an altitude of 680 km. Countries like the US and UK have also contributed in these missions.[128]

Japan was the first country to launch a spacecraft towards the Moon since the erstwhile USSR (Luna 24—Aug 1976). Japan’s first Moon probe Muses A[129] (the mother craft was called Hiten) was launched on January 24, 1990. This experiment

had a major learning value for the Japanese scientists. The basic purpose behind launching this dual satellite was to practise for future interplanetary spaceflights (probes to mars and asteroids). Hiten was the Earth-Moon-orbiting spacecraft and had released a small orbiter called Hagoromo into lunar orbit. Hiten was not programmed for entering lunar orbit and was to act as a relay for Hagoromo. Both the crafts were not programmed for Moon landing. Unfortunately, Hagoromo developed a technical snag (probably radio failed), and its entry into Moon’s orbit was verified only based on the observations from the optical telescope.

Because of this failure, the Japanese scientists along with NASA scientists decided to salvage this mission. It was not possible to change the Hiten’s position form the Earth’s orbit to Moon’s orbit due to fuel shortages. Hence, the route to reach the moon’s orbit was changed, and low-energy lunar transfer was carried out (it took many months). To do this, first ever aerobraking manoeuvre in deep space was carried out. Finally, Hiten was made to hit the moon. The Muses-A[130] mission gave Japan precious experience in targeting orbits and in the use of swingbys[131] to guide future spacecraft travelling to distant planets. Japan’s Kaguya space mission (2007) has been discussed in detail in another chapter of this book.

Japan also had devised an ambitious deep space mission Akatsuki (Dawn/Venus Climate Orbiter) to Venus with the aim to analyse the planet’s atmosphere. This was the first interplanetary weather satellite with a lifetime of 2 years. This 1,058- lb robotic probe was launched aboard an H-2A rocket on May 21, 2010. It was expected to reach Venus by December 2010. It was to enter an equatorial orbit around Venus stretching from just above the planet’s blanketing atmosphere to an altitude of nearly 50,000 miles. Six experiments were planned to peer deep into the planet’s atmosphere and even study surface activity [16].

Unfortunately, this mission failed to reach Venus on December 7, 2010. It was to enter orbit around the planet (an elliptical orbit ranging from 300 to 80,000 km from Venus) but the planned attempt to initiate orbit insertion operations by igniting the orbital manoeuvring engine failed (the engines fired for 3 min only when they were required to fire for 12 min period). Now, JAXA is developing plans to attempt another orbital insertion burn when the probe returns to Venus in 6 years by keeping the probe into hibernation for the time in-between [17, 18].

This was Japan’s second interplanetary mission after the Nozomi spacecraft that twice missed entering orbit around Mars after launching in 1998. Nozomi was launched during 1998 to understand more about the atmosphere around the Mars; however, the mission failed because it could not gain sufficient velocity and achieve the required orbit.

Japan also has a significant interest in asteroid mining. They had launched Hayabusa (MUSES-C) capsule on May 9, 2003 which rendezvoused with a near­Earth asteroid[132] called 25143 Itokawa in mid-September 2005. Hayabusa surveyed the asteroid surface from a distance of about 20 km. Afterwards this spacecraft moved closer to the asteroid surface and further approached it for a series of soft landings and for the purposes of collection of samples. The capsule re-entered to the Earth’s atmosphere on June 13, 2010. By October 7, 2010, it was announced by JAXA that approximately 100 particles with a size smaller than 0.001 mm were collected by the sample canister, and some of them could even be cosmic materials.[133] Presently, scientists are researching on them and have also come out with some of initial findings.


India has designed an Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide itself and neighbouring countries with the position navigation and timing (PNT) service. This project has been approved by the government and may become operational by 2014. Initially, the system will have seven satellites, and the number will later go up to 11 [8]. It would be an independent seven satellite constellation built and operated by India with indigenous capability—three in GSO and four in non-GSO (inclined 29° with equatorial plane) [9]. India was expected to start launching satellites by end of 2011 with a frequency of one satellite every six months; however, it appears that some delay in happening. The IRNSS would provide an absolute position accuracy of approximately 20 m throughout India and within a 2,000-km region around it.[222]

India is developing the GPS-aided geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) system. GAGAN will be interoperable with GPS and provide greater reliability than GPS alone. GAGAN has been designed primarily for civil aviation over India and is expected to be completed in 2013. GAGAN would especially be useful in aircraft landing where a 6-m accuracy is desirable.[223] GPS services have some limitations in this regard which forced India to develop GAGAN. The IRNSS is expected to cater for the presence of GAGAN. It would be designed to maintain interoperability between GAGAN and other regional augmentations to the GPS for global navigation [9].

India had some setbacks because of the failure to launch the GSAT-4 satellite. The first GAGAN transmitter was integrated into the GSAT-4, which was part of the launch mission that failed on April 15, 2010.[224] Subsequently, the first GAGAN navigation payload was launched on May 21, 2011, on board the GSAT – 8 communications satellite. With this satellite in position now, the process of certification has begun for India’s Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) and is expected to get over by June 2013.[225]

Like many other states, India is also using GPS for various operations. India had taken a keen interest in the Galileo programme too. However, after an initial commitment for investing in the programme, India appears to have dissociated itself. The EU wanted to renegotiate with India in 2007,34 but nothing significant appears

to have emerged from the deliberations. On the other hand, India’s engagement with GLONASS appears to be progressing well.

Under various pacts signed in December 2004, and subsequently, India and Russia have agreed to closely cooperate in the development of new-generation GLONASS-K navigation satellites and launch them from the Indian space centre to speed up the completion of the GLONASS system amid growing competition.[226] On Feb 26, 2011, the first GLONASS-K satellite was launched by Russia but not with India’s help. India has its own pressing needs to launch its satellites, and hence it looks unlikely that any future GLONASS satellites would be launched by India.

India and Russia also signed an agreement (Dec 2010) to share high-precision signals from the GLONASS for defence as well as civilian use. As per the agreement, Russia will provide access to the GLONASS high-precision navigation signals to India. In 2010, India has also signed deal to set up a joint venture for providing navigation and information services on the GLONASS platform.[227] During Indian prime minister’s Dec 2011 Russia visit, both the sides have expressed mutual interest in the use of Russia’s global satellite navigation system GLONASS and have also expressed the intentions to promote cooperation in this area, including joint production of satellite navigation equipment and services to civilian users.[228]

However, overall there is a less amount of clarity with regard to how India intends to benefit from both IRNSS and GLONASS when both the systems will be available at the same time and capable of doing almost the same job.

Asia’s Security Milieu

Today, the contemporary Asia’s security environment is essentially different from that of the Cold War era when Asia was considered basically a mediocre security region dominated by the influence of either the US or the erstwhile Soviet Union. In twenty-first century Asia has emerged as a hub for various global activities. The dynamics of security in Asia is more dependent on the interaction of interests and priorities of states in the region than getting dominated by the interests of major powers [3]. Asia is encountering various security challenges which fall in realm of both military and non-military threats. The direction of any regional conflict and the process of conflict resolution are having their moorings largely in regional and local dynamics. Simultaneously, most extra-regional actors are found attempting to influence the conflicts in Asia. In various cases such powers are found unable to manage the conflict but at the same time are found continuing with their efforts and not ready to surrender their interests. Because of their bilateral and multilateral relationships with some Asian states, their position to influence the conflict and dependence of few Asian states on their military strengths is not allowing their influence to wither. Also, their interests in Asian affairs to support the sustenance and growth of defence industry back home should not be disregarded. However, over last few years with overall economic growth witnessed by Asia and with the rising power status of few states in Asia their relevance in conflict resolution is getting limited. Also, in certain cases their manipulative behavior to suit their interests is becoming too obvious, making Asian states to distance themselves.

The impact of globalisation on Asia’s security calculus has been noteworthy. The nature of this impact is complex. Few parts in the region have acquired immense benefits from this process and economic development has lessened the reasons for conflict. It has been observed that the interdependence enforced by globalisation compels states to cooperate with each other. Hence, globalisation has potential to bring in the shift in the balance of power. However, it is important to note that the conflicts in the region are for varying reasons from territory to governance. Also, there are certain interstate and intrastate conflicts. Communal violence and terrorism are the major threats the region is encountering for the last few years. The region also suffers widespread environmental degradation and resource scarcity. Other security challenges from human security, food security to energy security are dominating the existing security concerns. Hence, only economic prosperity is not the solution for conflict resolution in Asia.

Security dynamics of the region is significantly influenced by the nuclear realities. Existing nuclear powers like China, Israel, India, and Pakistan; a dwarf nuclear power like North Korea; a prospective nuclear power like Iran; and a state hinted to be interested to become a nuclear power like Myanmar (Burma) reside in Asia. Also, Japan is one country in the region probably with a ‘wild card’ credentials in nuclear weapons arena. Nuclear deterrence dictates the security scenario of certain parts in the region. Also, presence or likely presence of nuclear weapons with certain states in the region is dominating the global security discourse.

Asia has witnessed some of the significant revolutions of the twenty-first century. Such revolutions have occurred, owing to various reasons—autocratic leadership, military regimes, corruption, patronage, nepotism, etc. The Jasmine Revolution during 2010-2011 started outside Asia in Tunisia but ended up playing a ‘motivating’ role in altering the political landscape of West Asia (Middle East). A major upheaval beginning in Egypt on January 25, 2011 successfully uprooted the government in power for more than 30 years. The cries for democracy become dominant in the region after the uprising in Egypt. Presently, the entire region is witnessing the agitations against mostly the autocratic regimes in the power. Part of the region is witnessing leadership vacuum, and the lack of alternative political structures is a major cause of concern. Few military leaderships of the region had shown considerable amount of restrain during the phase of uprising. However, it cannot be guaranteed that few states in the near future would not witness the re­emergence of military rule.

The major security worry of Asia attracting global attention is the Israel – Palestine conflict. This conflict could be traced back to many years in the history. This essentially a Zionist versus Arab conflict is about the claims to the area called Palestine by two parties, the Palestinians and Israel. This is more of a unique conflict which could be viewed through the prisms of interstate or intrastate conflict. There are non-state actors involved in the conflict, and various acts carried out during the conflict have been viewed as acts of terrorism.

Part of Asia has been under intense global scrutiny post the September 11, 2001 attack on the might of the sole superpower in the world. Parts of West Asia and South Asia have been at the centre of the US global war on terror. Osama bin Laden, the

most wanted fugitive of the century, was found and killed in South Asia. Asia has witnessed/is witnessing one of the major military campaigns in the recent history. The 2001 and 2003 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are (were) being fought by the extra-regional powers, mainly by invading these countries. Almost one decade has gone by since the beginning of these military campaigns, but the security situation of this region has only shown only marginal improvements. The rise of the Taliban has not remained restricted to Afghanistan alone, and Pakistan also has a Taliban operative from their soil. These forces are found fighting intense and bloody battles.

India has fought four wars since its independence in 1947. The most recent war fought by India was the Kargil conflict (May to July 1999)—it was a full – scale war. Actually, it was the battle fought to stall the infiltration of militants and Pakistani soldiers acting as militias on the Indian side of the line of control (LOC-a de facto border in India and Pakistan in the Jammu and Kashmir region). Unresolved border disputes have been the main reason for the continuation of tension between India-Pakistan and India-China. There are few other issues of differences involved amongst these states like unresolved water dispute, etc. It is important to remember that all these three powers are nuclear powers. Both India and Pakistan are found to be the victims of terrorism. However, unfortunately, Pakistan itself is using terrorism as a covert state policy to wedge a war against India.

Korean peninsula is another region of active conflict volcano. One of the major conflicts fought during the early years of the Cold War was the 1950-1953 war which divided North and South Korea near the 38th parallel. This war actually ended with an armistice rather than any official formal peace treaty agreement. For many years, a number of skirmishes are happening; however, in recent past, acts of provocation against South Korea have increased significantly. Both the Koreas were and are supported by external powers. Unfortunately, while helping the process of conflict management and conflict resolution, these powers are found using this opportunity to gain geostrategic advantage for themselves too. No solution to the problem appears to be in site.

In parts of East Asia, Southeast Asia and South China Sea region, certain old disputes are continuing. A century-old border dispute between the Cambodian – Thai people has resurfaced again since June 2008. Indonesia is fighting terrorism while the US forces are involved in assisting Philippines to tackle insurgency and terrorism. China, Vietnam and few other states are yet to resolve their disputes over a number of small islets and reefs in the South China Sea. China is witnessing unrest in the region dominated by the Uighur Muslims and also in part of Tibet Autonomous Region. The major flashpoint in the region could be the issue of Taiwan. Currently, this issue is in the semi-dormant state. This one issue has potential to affect the Sino-US security dynamics totally.

Asian states are also facing various nontraditional security challenges. Cyber warfare is one area making states in the region more responsive. Certain parts of Asia are facing ever-increasing threats from transnational crime, money laundering, fake currency business and drug trafficking. Natural disasters associated with the issues related to climate change, and public health epidemics have potential to challenge the security apparatus of the states.

For centuries many Asian states have followed a tradition of non-interventionist and non-interfering powers. The present threat matrix of Asia could alter its security environment over the next few decades. The possibility of any full-scale war amongst the powers within the region is unlikely. However, maintaining and increasing the status of military preparedness by states would remain an important instrument of policy. To maintain regional stability, militaries will play an important role, and hence, their growing importance is eminent. The dependence of these militaries on technologies is obvious.

The purpose behind analysing the security milieu over Asia over here is not to get into the micro details of Asia’s security challenges but just to undertake delineation in order to contextualise the relevance of militarisation and weaponisation of space. This becomes important mainly because the European discourse of security including space security at times takes a very idealistic position without appreciating the differences between the European and Asian security milieu. Any form of military expansion and participation in arms race by a state is essentially its response to the security environment and the same could be true in respect of space. Hence, it is essential to appreciate the security connotations of the region before contextualising space in the military realm.

The states in the region are probably looking at space at two levels: one, as an instrument for intelligence collection and an aid in communication and navigation and two, a tool for political bargain brinkmanship. The challenges for Asian states particularly in geopolitical and geo-economic theatres are different than many other regions of the world. The overall military investments made by states in Asia are based on their own threat perceptions. It is important to appreciate that space assets are viewed (also) as an instrument to enhance the military potential of a state. Space technology is all pervasive, and its dual-use nature makes it more attractive for the militaries. This technology has potential to challenge the existing notion of deterrence. Hence, investment in space for military should not be viewed with a narrow prism only as additional equipment for the armed forces, but it has a potential to bring in a modern security paradigm. Space weaponisation could also lead to the space arms race. Asian ‘military’ investments in space need to be looked at the backdrop of various above discussed realities.

Deep Space Missions

Only three Asian states (Japan-China-India) have so far attempted deep space missions, and they have been discussed in detail elsewhere in this book. All these states have a definitive roadmap regarding their future Moon missions. They are preparing themselves for robotic and human landings on Moon/Mars. The USA and Russia are associating themselves with the deep space mission programmes of these states. However, the present approach of these states indicates that they are likely to pursue mostly an independent path for their Moon programme but are keen to undertake collaborative programmes for Mars missions.

The interests of these states regarding Moon range from pursuit of scientific activities, exploration of resources to establishment of human colonies. Moon missions offer them opportunities to test various technologies which could have strategic, technological and commercial relevance. Any significant success in the field of deep space could even play some role (in whatever limited form it may be) in changing the present unipolar world into one with multiple power centres.

South Korea also has plans to land a probe on Moon by 2025. However, the present scale of growth of their space programme does not offer much of confidence. By 2030, China may succeed in putting human on the Moon. Japan has plans of developing a Moon base for further planetary exploration missions. Any mission failures in this arena during next two decades could bring a significant technological setback to these states.