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With Area Expertise, SSI Junior Fellows Brief US-Japan Space Forum on Space Policy Trajectories in Major Powers

March 14, 2016

As knowledgeable area experts, the Space Security Initiative (SSI) Junior Fellows briefed members of the US-Japan Space Forum on their policy-relevant findings for the major space powers below. The lively Q&A session also raised issues about the rise of Asia and its political and economic impact across the Pacific.

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  • China’s space industry will open up for private investors.
  • China will invest heavily in civil-use space infrastructure and encourage the transfer of military-use space technology to civil-use.
  • China will partially privatize state-owned space enterprises.


  • Over the last decade, India has been incorporating strategic components in its space program that has traditionally been about developing technological capabilities.
  • India’s space policies though, developed intermittently over four decades ago, address only goals of national development, and fail to incorporate emerging strategic and commercial aspects.
  • A comprehensive space policy assimilating strategic goals for the space program will ensure India’s inclusion in the global regime, attract talent, help develop better technology, and encourage participation of private players.

South Korea

  • South Korea’s space policy aims for security independence vis-a-vis North Korea.
  • South Korea’s space development is mostly driven by the government’s concern with national security issues.
  • South Korea’s space program has grown rapidly in developing and launching surveillance satellites.


  • Japan is aiming to develop small satellites into a viable new economic sector.
  • Current satellite databases indicate that Japan likely produces between 3~5% of the world’s small satellites, but the underlying data needs to be updated in light on new production realities.
  • Japan needs to move away from the mentality of experimentation with small satellites, and toward active commercialization if it hopes to succeed in this market niche.

United States

  • The US government has begun to focus more intently on small satellites for technological, financial, and strategic reasons.
  • Private firms have begun to develop and deploy both small satellites and launch capabilities.
  • The US government increasingly focuses on exploiting these private advancements for security reasons.


  • Israel uses space as an avenue for financial growth.
  • The investment in the civil space industry is part of Israel’s nation branding effort as a “start-up” nation.
  • Military needs dictate priorities and ultimately decide which project will be funded.

This publication was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.