There was a very interesting article in the most current Newsweek titled “The Real Space Race is in Asia“. I think the author is absolutely spot-on in his analysis. I have long argued that the space race between India and China could wind up to be a driving force behind developing the world’s first Space Elevator (I’ve blogged about this here and here and presented this conclusion at the last two Space Elevator conferences I’ve attended).
I think that the possibility of a Dubai-India connection to jointly develop a Space Elevator makes all sorts of sense. Dubai can fund this out of their ‘pocket change’ (only a slight exaggeration) – they certainly have the financial wherewithall and they are actively looking for projects to make money for them when their oil runs out. A Space Elevator would be PERFECT for this. The Indians have a real and growing space program. They have a real military, are a nuclear power and have direct sea lanes to two of the most favored potential sites for a Space Elevator. And, as the article points out, they are locked in an ever-increasing space race with the Chinese. A Space Elevator would be an outstanding way for them to leapfrog the Long March…
Some money quotes from the article:
“China sees its spacewalk as a way of proving that it belongs with the United States and Russia in the top tier of space-faring nations. But its true opponent in this space race is not the West so much as its Asian neighbors—India in particular. India has in recent years transformed its space program from a utilitarian affair of meteorological and communications satellites into a hyperactive project that seems designed to make a splash on the world stage. Its robotic-exploration program is scheduled to launch a probe on Oct. 22 that will orbit the moon for two years.”
“The United States and the Soviet Union were racing in the context of a cold war, but India and China are vying for leadership in a competitive marketplace of people and knowledge industries. It’s about developing technology, talent and markets.”
The article is highly recommended. And remember, you heard it here first (and at Newsweek, second) 🙂