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The Future Global Space Race

Me next to the first Chinese manned space capsule

In the past decade we have seen new players emerge in the global government space market. China and India have had recent success with manned spaceflight and a lunar lander, respectively, and other countries are hard at work getting space programs and technologies up and running.

As much as a global space market of purely international cooperation sounds like a dream, it is not.

Rewind a few decades - the Apollo program has been called a "technological mutation," a project that was abnormally ahead of its time. The Cold War rapidly accelerated development of technologies that would allow man to travel into space, a push that replaced decades of natural technological development. For every dollar that was invested in the Apollo program, the United States earned back almost $9 on its investment.

In the private industry, competition drives companies to develop the best products at the lowest prices. The private space industry is no different, and the global space industry doesn't have to be any different. As Virgin Galactic, XCOR, and Armadillo Aerospace compete to put tourists in space, NASA, ESA, JAXA, and CASC should be competing toward a common goal. Yes, cooperation is a good thing, but pure cooperation breeds complacency, creates delays, and does not drive innovation as well as competition can. Competition may not be driven by dollars like the private industry is, but great accomplishments inspire a nation like no war, TV program, or honorary government holiday can.

China and India, I wholeheartedly welcome to the global space race and congratulate you on your recent, amazing successes. Don't be afraid to make us afraid. The more you push yourselves, the more you'll push our politicians and citizens to remain one step ahead of you. If you pass us, it will only energize us more, which in turn will energize your populations. To my personal friends who I have met through the International Space University and the International Astronautical Congress, I wish you the absolute best of luck, and I promise I will do everything in my power to beat you. Let's make it the best competition in the history of mankind so that even the losers can be proud of what they accomplished.

Ben Corbin
US Citizen and Space Enthusiast

Me near a full scale model of an ISRO rocket

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