The recent launch of the SpaceX rocket Falcon Heavy is a good illustration of the entry of efficient and innovative private players into an arena long considered the preserve of national governments. But this does not mean that national competition in outer space is disappearing. If anything, it is actually accelerating in Asia. China’s growing space prowess is leading to a space race with India and Japan, which are beginning to pool their resources to better match Beijing.
The India-Japan strategic partnership has grown enormously in the last decade. Last September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recognized the salience of outer space in their bilateral relations and “welcomed the deepening of cooperation between the space agencies of the two countries in the field of Earth observation, satellite-based navigation, space sciences and lunar exploration.” And as the president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) proclaimed two months later: “India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Then in December, JAXA and the Indian Space Research Organization agreed to study a joint “lunar polar exploration” mission, to be completed this March.… Seguir leyendo »