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Asia's Space Race: National Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks

by James Moltz Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 288 pages
AU$53.99 NZ$58.26
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In contrast to the close cooperation practiced among European states, space relations among Asian states have become increasingly tense. If current trends continue, the Asian civilian space competition could become a military race. To better understand these emerging dynamics, James Clay Moltz conducts the first in-depth policy analysis of Asia's fourteen leading space programs, concentrating especially on developments in China, Japan, India, and South Korea.Moltz isolates the domestic motivations driving Asia's space actors, revisiting critical events such as China's 2007 antisatellite weapons test and manned flights, Japan's successful Kaguya lunar mission and Kibo module for the International Space Station (ISS), India's Chandrayaan lunar mission, and South Korea's astronaut visit to the ISS, along with plans to establish independent space-launch capability. He investigates these nations' divergent space goals and their tendency to focus on national solutions and self-reliance rather than regionwide cooperation and multilateral initiatives. He concludes with recommendations for improved intra-Asian space cooperation and regional conflict prevention.Moltz also considers America's efforts to engage Asia's space programs in joint activities and the prospects for future U.S. space leadership. He extends his analysis to the relationship between space programs and economic development in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, making this a key text for international relations and Asian studies scholars.


Introduction. Asia's New Presence in Space

1. Asian Space Developments: Motivations and Trends

2. The Japanese Space Program: Moving Toward "Normalcy"

3. The Chinese Space Program: From Turbulent Past to Promising Future

4. The Indian Space Program: Rising to a Challenge

5. The South Korean Space Program: Emerging from Dependency

6. Emerging Asian Space Programs: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam

7. Asia's Space Race: Implications for Regional and Global Policy




Clay Moltz's masterful survey of rapidly developing Asian space programs sheds new light on the complex economic, military, and political forces driving them. The significance of Asian space efforts extends beyond immediate technical and scientific achievements and foreshadows the future of international cooperation and competition across the Asia-Pacific region. Scott Pace, director, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University

Asian states are latecomers to space, yet their collective choices will shape the space environment in the twenty-first century. Clay Moltz has written a theoretically informed, comparative book that expertly analyzes the strategic, economic, and domestic factors driving Asian states into space. He highlights the national and regional dynamics that are making space an increasingly 'congested, contested, and competitive environment,' but also identifies common interests and incentives that could support more cooperative outcomes. A must-read for space experts and Asia specialists alike. Phillip C. Saunders, National Defense University, coauthor of The Paradox of Power: Sino-American Strategic Restraint in an Era of Vulnerability

As humankind enters a new and more globalized spacefaring era, many hope outer space can become a commons for cooperation. Yet Asian space powers risk a more divisive and destabilizing prospect: an Asian space race. In this exceptional book, Clay Moltz provides the best read available to describe and explain the remarkably dynamic, increasingly crowded, and troublingly competitive field of Asian civil, commercial, and military space activity and presents a range of well-reasoned policy prescriptions for a stronger and more effective regime for space security among Asian powers and their neighbors, especially the United States. Bates Gill, director, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and coeditor of Governing the Bomb: Civilian Control and Democratic Accountability of Nuclear Weapons

Serious followers of space technology and politics will find his analysis invaluably informative. Booklist

Offering readers unfamiliar with international space politics an alarming picture of the hidden but turbulent developments in Asia, this book is recommended for serious readers in international relations and policymaking.Library Journal Library Journal

Moltz deftly melds technological expertise with history and political analysis. Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs

...the book should be on the 'must-read' list of senior and mid-level officer education programs...a highly useful primer on the nexus of space technology and geopolitics. Lieutenant Colonel Brian Hanley, U.S. Air Force (retired), Proceedings

This articulate, comprehensive book provides illuminating insight into a region on the space-power fast track. Col Richard B. Van Hook, USAF, Air Force Research Institute Book Reviews

Asia's Space Race gives readers a succinct overview of a substantial amount of consequential material, especially trends in space...Moltz's book is a must-read for those who need to quickly get smart on the subject of space. Joan Johnson-Freese, Nonproliferation Review

...a valuable resource both for readers new to the field of Asian space policy and to those seeking a comparative analysis of individual national programmes. Columba Peoples, Space Policy

His thoughtful examination exposes how economic and political competition among Asian nations has released new 'forces that have made space a very different and more complicated environment than it was during the cold war' James Matray, H-Diplo

...important analysis, well designed for classroom use and also for general readers. Roger D. Launius, Quest

This book is unique for telling the story of the race from a comparative perspective. Survival

James Clay Moltz holds a joint faculty appointment in the Department of National Security Affairs and in the Space Systems Academic Group at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of The Politics of Space Security: Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests and has served as a consultant to the NASA Ames Research Center.