Exploring the Final Frontier: An Empirical Analysis of Global Civil Space Proliferation

43 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2011

See all articles by Bryan R. Early

Bryan R. Early

State University of New York (SUNY), Albany

Date Written: September 22, 2011


While space capabilities were once concentrated among a handful of leading powers, an increasingly large number of states have gained access to them. As of 2007, 58 countries possessed dedicated civil space programs, 44 countries had placed nationally-owned satellites into orbit, and 9 countries had achieved domestic space launch capabilities. To date, however, no systematic inquiries have ever been conducted into which countries acquire space capabilities and why. Within this paper, I develop an explanatory account that explores both the capacity-based factors and political motivations that influence countries’ acquisition of space capabilities. I test my hypotheses via a quantitative analysis of the factors affecting 143 countries’ acquisition of civil space programs, satellite capabilities, and space launch capabilities from 1950-2002, which I augment with a case study of Israel’s space program. My findings shed new light on the primary causes of global space proliferation and have a number of important policy implications.

Keywords: Space, Proliferation, Rocketry, Science and Technology, Rivalry, Prestige

Suggested Citation

Early, Bryan R., Exploring the Final Frontier: An Empirical Analysis of Global Civil Space Proliferation (September 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1932254

Bryan R. Early (Contact Author)

State University of New York (SUNY), Albany ( email )

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