Asia’s current space race could turn into an arms race akin to the Cold War, according to James Clay Moltz, a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He makes that argument in a recent Nature commentary.
The major Asian nations, including China, Japan, India, and South Korea, are all expanding their space programs with little-to-no cooperation. These efforts are driven by national prestige and geopolitical rivalries, similar to the US-Soviet space race of the 1960s. Like that period, this space race is stimulating technological advances, but competing agendas are leading to duplication of work and mistrust—in other words, a waste of resources. Even worse, this competition is undermining recent cooperation between the US, Russia, and Europe.