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Cooperation with BRICS Countries in Space: From Partnership to Technological Alliance

Cooperation with BRICS Countries in Space: From Partnership to Technological Alliance

KEY CONCLUSIONS

The BRICS nations need to become a technological alliance focusing on space, which will also help bolster their economies

“The BRICS <...> nations are home to almost 40% of the world’s population, and many countries aspire to become members. This makes one think that we could share <...> expertise [in space exploration and the provision of space services – ed.] and start thinking through projects on the basis of a technological alliance. That is better than going it alone, as we are talking about expensive, large-scale global systems. It is about developing multi-satellite constellations to provide space services <...> and the development and ongoing study of human spaceflight, let alone the scientific side of space. By that, I mean exploring the moon, Venus, and Mars. These are very costly projects which require the pooling of expertise. <...> We need to develop and turn all these thoughts into real, tangible projects which promote the sovereignty of individual countries, and of the BRICS alliance as a whole,” Yury Borisov, Director General, ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation. 

“Today, the priority is definitely to boost space-related cooperation under the BRICS umbrella. <...> I see this cooperation as holding a great deal of promise, and not only in scientific and humanitarian terms – it will have a major impact on economic growth, both as a whole, and for individual member states,” Denis Kravchenko, Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

 

BRICS member states and other countries are ready to enter into joint ventures in the space sector 

“On behalf of the Chinese side, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely invite as many emerging economies as possible to join us in sharing knowledge and working together across a range of areas. These include lunar and deep-space exploration, developing satellite communications, and so on. That way, we can fully leverage the role of space technology in the socioeconomic development of our countries,” Zhang Kejian, Administrator, China National Space Administration.

“We <...> want to take active steps to boost cooperation with all our partners on various space-related initiatives. Our country will host a meeting with the heads of all the BRICS space agencies, as you are all invited,” Humbulani Mudau, Chief Executive Officer, South African National Space Agency.

“We are greatly looking forward to the opportunity [to work with the BRICS countries – ed.]. <...> We have already worked with Roscosmos at previous stages, and it has greatly helped with our development,” Azlikamil Napiah, Director General, Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA).

“In terms of the BRICS nations, we would also like to play a key role in projects with these countries <...> and first of all with Russia, China, or India,” Azzedine Oussedik, General Director, Algerian Space Agency (ASAL).

 

The private sector has shown increasing interest in the space sector, and the state should forge partnerships with these companies

“The private sector’s interest in the rocket and space industry has grown severalfold, and this is a crucial development,” Vladimir Evtushenkov, Founder, AFK Sistema.

“The development of multi-satellite constellations and the provision of a wide range of services has become a well-established global trend. However, <...> no amount of public funds will be enough to implement the full range of services. Of course, in order to implement our projects, [we need – ed.] a policy of openness and of attracting private companies which are becoming actively interested in space, and which are building design bureaus and recruiting the best, leading specialists. We must protect this area of things and foster it. <...> That is why a policy of openness and proper partnership with these companies is key to success,” Yury Borisov, Director General, ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation. 

 

PROBLEMS

Unilateral sanctions are hindering the development of space initiatives

“We are against the imposition of unilateral sanctions in the space sector. The Chinese side intends to work with other parties in the interests of global space management, and to discuss broader and more mutually beneficial forms of cooperation. Areas of focus in this regard include monitoring and responding to near‑Earth small objects, planetary protection, space traffic management, and so on. We wish to foster a community that shares a common future for mankind in space,” Zhang Kejian, Administrator, China National Space Administration.

“Venezuela is keen to play an active role in space-related activities. However, we are hindered by the US, which has imposed sanctions on our country. <...> Joining the BRICS space programme will help us strengthen our technology. The will of our <...> people is to continue working with our allies such as China, Russia, and all countries that are at the forefront of the space race,” Ramon Celestino Velasquez Araguayan, Minister of People’s Power for Transport, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

 

Government assistance is required in order to maintain private-sector interest in space

“There are areas in which the private sector can only get involved if they have government support. <...> We hope that the mechanisms [to support innovative projects – ed.] that are currently emerging in large numbers in Russia <...> will take on key significance so as to promote faster development in these areas of cutting-edge technology,” Vladimir Evtushenkov, Founder, AFK Sistema.

 

SOLUTIONS

Promoting space-related partnerships between the BRICS nations, developing joint ventures, and involving other emerging economies 

“We should capitalize on the BRICS nations’ existing space infrastructure and continually improve the capabilities of the remote-sensing satellite constellation. Pilot schemes should serve as a way of constantly improving the data exchange mechanism. <...> We must capitalize on the <...> advantages offered by the satellite constellation to consistently improve the quality of data. We must develop joint ventures that meet our shared development goals and which serve our common national interests. Chinese lunar and planetary exploration projects (the programme for which was initiated by China and Russia) provide wide-ranging opportunities to serve the interests of the BRICS countries and other emerging economies,” Zhang Kejian, Administrator, China National Space Administration.

 

Fostering stable demand for space-related services and forging public-private partnerships

“In order for businesses to fulfil their plans, it is vital to foster stable demand for space-related services over the long term. <...> We currently have no law on the commercialization of services. How can businesses operate today if there is no fundamental law of this kind? This is the priority we are working on, and which will open up a completely different set of prospects for businesses. We are at the startup stage. <...> The government should always help prop up these high-tech seedlings. <...> We have the experience, and play an active role in the development of the electronics industry. Why not extend all those incentives and additional forms of support for a high-tech sector such as space,” Yury Borisov, Director General, ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation.

“The rocket and space industry is very capital-intensive. In order for businesses to enter it, the rules of the game need to be put in place. We are therefore drafting the relevant legislation which will enable private entrepreneurs and private capital to enter this sector. <...> In addition, it is also important for us to harmonize our countries’ legislation. That way we will be able to build clearer and better-defined partnerships,” Denis Kravchenko, Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

 

For more information, visit the Roscongress Foundation’s Information and Analytical System at roscongress.org/en

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