In the past generation, scientists, politicians, businessmen and many others had been very curious with the life out of earth. Many have been asking about what the universe looks like, and all these questions that pertain to the outer space were always answered by speculations and hunches. With the advanced technology, people have explored the possibility of actually stepping out of the earth’s atmosphere to see how beautiful the universe is, thus, the birth of what we call space missions.
Space missions or space flights have become part of human achievement in the 20th century. The Soviet Union started sending space missions, which inspired other countries to explore the space as well. And in line with that, here are the top ten countries with the most space presence.
The Israel Space Agency is part of the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The agency coordinates all space research programs of the country and was established in 1983. Some of the resources of the space agency goes to one of their current projects called the Venus Project, with a budget of around $6 million. They have an annual budget of $70 million for their other programs.
Iran has been launching satellites and space flights since the year 2005. The country has been active in the Asian space race. Their first launch was the joint Iranian-Russian Sinah-1 project, which cost them $15 million. In the year 2008, Iran had a joint research with Thailand and China, launching a satellite named Long March 2C, which cost around $6.5 million. Iran’s second satellite was actually placed in an orbit in the year 2009. This satellite was designed for research and telecommunications.
8 South Korea
South Korea, together with China and Japan, is one of Asia’s leading countries when it comes to launching space missions. As of today, they have already launched three space flights. The first one was the Naro-1 and it was sent outside the planet three times. The total cost of the first three launches was over $450 million and the third launch was the most successful among the three.
Japan is one of Asia’s leading countries in terms of space flights and missions. Japan always has the latest satellite and rocket capabilities for different purposes. They have also conducted manned space activities and other science related missions and explorations. Their first launch was the Hayabusa that cost the country $138 million. Japan is planning to launch the Hayabusa 2 in the year 2014, which has an estimated cost of $150-400 million.
6 United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has also recently established their own space agency. It was inagurated in April 2010 and has taken over the responsibilities for government policy and budget for space explorations. The country, together with the European Space Agency, has already spent about $155 million for the delivery of astronomical data and the launch of sub-orbital rockets and the like. They are currently budgeting around $16 to $31 million for the development of their intermediate missions.
Although the ancient Indians were quite known for their knowledge about rocket science, it was only after their independence that they were able to practice it, especially in exploring more about the space. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory, which is a great leap that catapulted India into one of the leading countries in terms of space presence. India’s biggest success was the launching of its first satellite into space. As of the present, India has been providing a heftier budget for space programs to widen their knowledge on what the space really has to offer. They have already spent about $1.6 billion for the past launches and is planning to spend about $1.34 billion for 2013 for their other space programs.
Europe has their European Space Agency (ESA), which is dedicated to the exploration of natural occurrences outside the planet. The agency was established in 1975 and is now based in Paris, France. France’s space programs include human spaceflight and other unmanned exploration missions to other planets. The country will be launching a new space balloon, with which the agency would provide a budget of $10 million for the construction and the flight itself. The agency already spent about $5.3 billion for their space flight missions in the year 2012.
China’s space program is directed by the country’s National Space Administration called CNSA. China had a rudimentary ballistic missile program but their first crewed space program only began decades later. This achievement placed China as the third country to send humans into space independently. They are now planning to launch their fifth space flight costing about $6.27 billion. In the year 2020, CNSA have plans on putting a permanent space station and crewed expeditions to Mars and to the moon.
2 Russia (Soviet Union)
Russia was the first country to have ever launched a space mission. They actually had plenty of firsts: intercontinental ballistic missile, satellite launch, first man and woman in space and Earth orbit, first animal in space, moon impact and spacewalk, race rover, interplanetary probe, image of the side of the moon, space station, and unmanned lunar soft landing. Russia’s first space flight was the Vostok program. The flight made Yuri Gagarin one of the most famous people back then since he was the first man to have ever journeyed outside the planet. The government had a federal space budget of $2.4 billion in the year 2009. In 2011, the government spent about $3.8 billion for their space programs. Their proposed budget for the year 2013 is $5.6 billion.
1 United States of America
Although they were not the first country to explore the universe, they have the most number of space missions sent out of earth. Their first space flight was under the Mercury Program. Project Mercury spanned five years and it cost around $277 million. The second one was the Gemini program, which had a lifespan of six years and cost approximately $1.3 billion. The most famous space mission that the country has done was the Apollo. The program cost $20.4 billion, which had a lifespan of fifteen years. The United States has spent approximately $486 billion over the past 57 years on human space flights alone. On the average, the country spent $8.3 billion a year on space missions.