30 June 2008. Today ESPI released a report on Russia’s space cooperation with China and India. The study investigates the possible evolution of Russia’s cooperation with those two rising space-faring nations and analyses the potential opportunities and challenges for European space activities and for European-Russian space cooperation.
Russia is historically and technologically a world leader in space. It is also a strategic partner for Europe. Since the nineties, Russia has changed and its partnerships have evolved. This transformation strongly impacts the space field and the country’s space cooperation. Russia and Europe have structured and increased their cooperation in the last decade. At the same time, Russia has reinforced its cooperation with the two fastest growing space-faring nations, India and China. The question therefore arises: to which extent could Russia’s stronger cooperation with India and China affect future Europe-Russia cooperation?
The study “Assessing Russia’s Space Cooperation with China and India - Opportunities and Challenges for Europe” , led by ESPI Research Fellow Charlotte Mathieu, first reviews the current situation of Russia and the evolution of the country’s space activities and cooperation. It then investigates the relations between Russia and the two largest Asian countries, India and China, the overall context of those relations as well as their space cooperation. It examines the possible consequences of the evolution of those relations for Europe and in particular evaluates the potential impact on its space activities and on its cooperation with the Russian partner. Finally, it concludes with recommended actions to be taken by European decision-makers in order to maximise opportunities and minimise risks.
Russia is launching ambitious programmes and upgrading its space capabilities, which creates many cooperation opportunities. Moreover, Russia remains very interested in working with Europe, but has now new alternatives, among which are India and China. New development activities, needed by the European industry, could be jointly undertaken with Russia. If Europe is interested, it should first act in a timely manner and address many challenges. In the field of launchers, Europe should make the best of the existing synergies in future developments and should seriously take into account in its future decisions the difference in the timeframe of the future European and Russian developments. For launch services, Europe and Russia are now interdependent and will be similarly affected by new competitors. In the long-term, the only viable option for Europe is to design incentives to encourage at least European companies to “buy European”. In the field of navigation, Europe could take the lead in political initiatives to further coordination among providers and cooperation with users in specific sectors. In science and exploration, Europe should position itself as an attractive partner and should use its advantage of having good relations with all the main players to become a bridge between them for future joint endeavors. Then, if Europe wants to move forward with its manned activities, it should include in its portfolio the only missing element, i.e. a manned transportation system. To achieve that goal, it has mainly two options, an independent system or an autonomous system jointly developed with the Russians, each of them with its own set of advantages and challenges.
ESPI Research Fellow Charlotte Mathieu
- "Assessing Russia’s Space Cooperation with China and India - Opportunities and
Challenges for Europe"