After a long lull, great power competition in outer space is back. The last two administrations in the United States have left deep imprints on the U.S. space program in their own ways. While the Obama administration recognized the importance of private commercial actors for space, the Trump administration’s emphasis on the military and economic dimensions of space exploration is likely to outlive Trump’s time in office. Other Asia-Pacific countries, most notably China but also India, have also enthusiastically embraced space activities, and sought new capabilities for national security as well as geopolitical leverage. The cumulative effect of national plans around space is heightening rivalry, raising both prospects of conflict but also the possibility of like-minded powers cooperating on space ventures.
Watch our recorded discussion of the future of space competition and cooperation, with Dr. David Burbach, an associate professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College,; Dr. Namrata Goswami, a senior analyst and author specializing in space policy, geopolitics and great powers; and Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, a distinguished fellow and head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, at India’s Observer Research Foundation.