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Coordination Failure: Risks of US-China competition in space

The 2020s will see a flurry of space activity, with both national and commercial programs picking up pace. Both the United States and China hold strong ambitions in telecommunications, lunar exploration, and beyond. However, currently fraught relations between the superpowers are unlikely to improve and may yet deteriorate further. On the one hand, competition between both countries may drive space activities and foster technological innovation. On the other, as both superpowers expand their activities in space, geopolitical tensions may increase the risk of harmful dynamics that could endanger the sustainable rollout of future programs.

In this Strategic Update, Gidon Gautel seeks to outline and call attention to two high-risk flash points arising from the development of the US and China’s national space programmes and industries.

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Coordination Failure: Risks of US-China competition in space

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Coordination Failure: Risks of US-China competition in space

This was published on Thursday 29 April 2021.

About the author

Gidon Gautel is currently an Analyst in the space industry. He was previously the Project Coordinator of China Foresight and Project Manager of the Economic Diplomacy Commission at LSE IDEAS. Gidon holds a BSc in Government and Economics with first class honours from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and an MSc in Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management with distinction from Imperial College Business School.