Space exploration makes up a significant chunk in the budgets of some of the world’s developed countries today. Read on below to learn more about who’s spending the most when it comes to international space spending.
10 Iran – $500 million
The Iran Space Agency runs the country’s space exploration programs, and is also a participant in the Asian space race. The Iran Space Agency was created in 2004, with the mandate to support all space-related activities in the country governed by the country’s president. Iran was responsible for creating satellite launch vehicle after 2000 when they had the necessary training and preparation to begin production. Iranian satellite launch vehicles include the Shahab 3, Safir SLV, Safir-1B, Simorgh LV, and Qoqnoos SLV.
9 Italy – $1 billion
Italy’s space exploration projects are headed by the Italian Space Agency, a government agency created with the mandate to regulate, coordinate, and fund the country’s space exploration activities. Early projects were carried out in cooperation with NASA, which eventually led to the conceptualization and development of Italy’s first satellite. Since Italy is one of the key countries involved in space exploration early on, it has been a founder and played an important role in the European Launcher Development Program, as well as the European Space Research Organization. In March of 2013, Italy and the United States signed a bilateral agreement to celebrate both countries’ 50 year partnership in working with space exploration projects. The bilateral agreement is poised to lead the way for new opportunities in technological, economical, and scientific sectors.
8 China – $1.3 billion
The China National Space Administration directs the country’s space programs, together with the China Aerospace Corporation. China has some ongoing projects in space exploration, including the Tiangong 1 space laboratory module in 2011, and the Change 3 lunar-lander and rover exploration as well as the Shenzhou 10 in 2013.
7 India – $1.3 billion
Space exploration in India is carried out by the Indian Space Research Organization, which is among the largest space agencies in the world. The ISRO works to find developments in space technology for the benefit of the country. Since it was first established in 1969, the ISRO has had significant contributions to space exploration including the development of India’s first satellite called the Aryabhatta. In 1980, the ISRO also developed the first satellite in orbit, Rohini. Today, the ISRO is also responsible for the operation of earth observation satellites including the INSAT Series, IRS Series, Radar Imaging Satellites, as well as other satellites.
6 Germany – $2 billion
The German Aerospace Center operates the energy, aerospace, and transport center for Germany. The agency is involved in various space projects, operated both locally and internationally with other alliances abroad and they are also responsible for planning and carrying out German space related programs for the government. The agency is also mandated to explore the earth, solar system, and conduct research that will benefit the environment, while helping develop space technology that is environmentally-friendly. One of the most significant contributions of the German Aerospace Center to the Mars Express Mission of the ESA is the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), which was the first digital stereo camera which also utilized extremely high resolution lenses.
5 Japan – $ 2.5 billion
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was founded in October 2003, designed to help with the research, development, and technology for space exploration as well as launching satellites into orbit. The agency is also involved in other advanced missions who haven’t been partaken by other countries yet, such as asteroid exploration. They are also looking into sending manned expeditions to the moon. Japan has been successful in carrying out various aerospace projects in the past, such as in X-ray astronomy, VLBI (Very Long Base Interferometry), solar observation, and magnetosphere research.
4 France – $2.8 billion
The French space agency Centre national d'études spatiales has been commissioned to work on access to space, sustainable development, security, defense, civil applications of space, and science and technology research. The agency is currently working on projects where they are experimenting with microgravity, and they are also currently collaborating with other international agencies for other projects. France is also the only country with paid UFO investigators, and they have also published their UFO findings on the website and in publications.
3 European Space Agency – $5.3 billion
The European Space Agency is comprised of 20 members states of the European Union. With headquarters in Paris, the ESA is solely dedicated to space exploration. The agency’s space flight program also includes human space flight in their participation in the International Space Station program. The ESA is also responsible for unmanned launches to the Moon, and have contributed significantly to science and telecommunications projects. Each of the 20 member states participate in varying degrees to both the agency’s mandatory and optional space programs.
2 Russia – $5.6 billion
The Russian Federal Space Agency, also known as Roscosmos, carries out Russia’s aerospace programs and research. The Russian space programs are currently focused around the Angara rockets, and development of new tools for communications and navigation. Paying passengers can also avail of the agency’s space tourism project, where space tourists pay a fee of $20 million to be flown into space.
1 U.S.A. – $18 billion
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for developing and operating space programs of the United States. Since the NASA began operations in 1958, they have been at the frontier of many space exploration projects, including the Space Shuttle, the Apollo program, and the Skylab space station. Current programs include the Commercial Crew Program, Beyond Low Earth Orbit Program, and a number of unmanned projects which have been created with the purpose of exploring the earth as well as the solar system. NASA also has existing investigations to learn more about Mars and Saturn. Ongoing spacecraft missions also include the Messenger Program, the first spacecraft to ever orbit Mercury; New Horizons which has been orbiting Jupiter and Pluto; and the Dawn, a space probe designed to explore Vesta and Ceres, two massive objects found within the asteroid belt.
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