Key Asian Space Players

To understand what the future will unfold in the space arena is respect of Asia, it is important to examine whether Asian states will continue with the present pace of economic and technical growth or lose momentum. For any state, future growth in the technological area would be dictated by various nontechnical factors too. Apart from economics, the bilateral and multilateral arrangements undertaken by the state would play a greater role in the development of the space futures of the countries in the region. From this perspective, it would be important to know about the past and present of the space roadmaps of the states within the region.

To build up a broad scale understanding about the investments and achievements of the Asian states in the space arena, subsequent chapters mention the details about the space programmes of few of the states. In regard to certain states since their space programmes are still in nascent stages, there is nothing much to examine. Mostly this is because they have either hired the satellite services or have total dependence on other states to implement their space agenda. Few other Asian states which do not find mention in the above table (simply because they do not have satellites) are also attempting the develop space programmes. For example, states like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and few others that have established space agencies are in the process of developing the space roadmap for their countries.

The big three in Asia, Japan-China-India are in the business of space almost for four decades now. Their yearly space budgets range from approximately 1,000­2,000 million US$ (India has the lowest). It could even be argued that they view space as an important element of their comprehensive national power. Their investments in space are for the sake of national pride, growth of S&T and for the overall socioeconomic development. The strategic importance of these technologies particularly in the twenty-first century when the states in the region are facing both conventional and asymmetric challenges cannot be overlooked. States in the region are found investing or have plans to invest in space technology for both socioeconomical and geostrategic requirements.

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