Harding, Robert C. Space Policy in Developing Countries: The Search for Security and Development on the Final Frontier. New York: New York, 2016. X + 236 pages. Hardcover, $114.60.
Developing a space policy may seem an abstract task but as political scientist Robert Harding understands it, "efforts to establish a theory of space power...can be drawn from earlier terrestrial experiences in international politics...and predict...a similar trajectory in space" (p. 19). The author argues celestial international politics and regulations can be derived from international political theory as much of the issues guiding space are embedded in terrestrial politics.
Focusing mainly on developing countries, as the book title suggests, the author chronicles the ever-changing power structure of the international political system including key elements such as climate change and technological innovations. Tracing the historical development of space related programs, Harding argues the 1957 launching of Sputnik by the USSR forced other nations to consider space in terms of power, security, and the development of foreign policies relating to the final frontier. Space exploration since then has been seen not only as a sign of national power but also prestige, as countries continue to increase their national space budgets.
Developing countries are also investing in their space budgets. At the onset, space exploration was considered the sole domain of the wealthiest nations: The United States of America, the USSR, and the European Union, which dominated space after World War II. However, the twenty-first century has seen emerging economic powers like Brazil, China, and India, for example, engaging in active space programs. Other developing countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, and Malaysia have established space-related programs (satellites) through their national policies. The space programs for these countries, both developed and developing, have practical value, political significance, and international recognition. For example, the United
States National Space Policy states in part, "space is a medium... access and utilization is a vital national interest...and it's crucial to national security and social economic well-being" (p. 8). The space competition adds a positive dimension to international politics. Space is seen as an extension of terrestrial geopolitics, which has caught the attention of scholars who see developing a common space theory as...