Outer Space Breakthrough of the U.S. and Its Impact on Russia and the World

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-9-130-138
P. Koshkin (pasha.koshkin@gmail.com), 
Institute for US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN), 2/3, Khlebnyi Per., Moscow, 121069, Russia Federation

Received 16.09.2020.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783). 

Abstract. The article is dedicated to the United States’ achievements in space rivalry, its economic, geopolitical, scientific and technological aspects. Given the fact that the U.S. are faced with a difficult period in their history, they will try to restore the positive image of American democracy not only through traditional political methods, but also via scientific and technological leadership, including in the field of outer space exploration. The author focuses on NASA’s modern space programs, among which are initiatives that deal with landing on asteroids, exploring deep space, the Moon and Mars as well as attempts to commercialize outer space through space tourism. The author also compares the space program budgets of the U.S., Russia, China and some European countries. The article presents all these aspects in the current context, with paying attention to the STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The goal is to understand why America still leads in space exploration and sets the bar. In conclusion, the author argues that Washington will keep prioritizing space industry and involve private companies in this field through allocating additional funding and granting tenders to those who are most competitive. In addition, achievements in the U.S. space program is a matter of international prestige and American leadership, given the fact that the image of the country has suffered a lot, especially amidst Trump’s bygone, yet controversial presidency. A successful implementation of Washington’s ambitions in outer space will strengthen both its leadership and its ties with Europe, which is strategically important for America in the times of political confrontation with Russia and China. In the article, the author primarily relies on descriptive and narrative scientific approaches, comparative and historical methods as well as systematic approach by analyzing NASA documents and publications, speeches of the U.S. presidents and specialized media outlets. The novelty of the article adds up to the fundamental analysis of the American space program through the lens of history and current times while focusing on its political, economic and technological aspects. 

Keywords: outer space, space race, international relations, Russian-American relations, political science, commercialization of space, NASA, Lunar program, Martian program


  1. Markovich S.J., Chatzky A., Siripurapu A. Space Exploration and U.S. Competitiveness. Council on Foreign Relations, 23.02.2021. Available at: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/space-exploration-and-us-competitiveness (accessed 03.03.2021).
  2. Euroconsult’s flagship research shows government space program budgets have maintained growth trajectories. Geospatial World, 15.12.2020. Available at: https://www.geospatialworld.net/news/euroconsults-flagship-research-shows-government-space-program-budgets-have-maintained-growth-trajectories/ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  3. Berger E. Russia’s space leader blusters about Mars in the face of stiff budget cuts. Arstechnica, 10.08.2020. Available at: https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/08/russias-space-leader-blusters-about-mars-in-the-face-of-stiff-budget-cuts/ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  4. Vidal F. Russia’s Space Policy: The Path of Decline? French Institute of International Relations. January 2021. Available at: https://www.ifri.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/vidal_russia_space_policy_2021_.pdf (accessed 03.03.2021).
  5. Malik T. NASA’s Space Shuttle by the Numbers: 30 Years of a Spaceflight Icon. Scientific American, 21.07.2011. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nasas-space-shuttle-numbers/ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  6. Russia slashes space funding by 30 percent as crisis weighs. Reuters, 17.03.2016. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-space-idUSKCN0WJ1YJ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  7. Buchholz K. The Countries with the Most Satellites in Space. Statista, 14.07.2020. Available at: https://www.statista.com/chart/17107/countries-with-the-most-satellites-in-space/ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  8. Remarks by President Biden at the 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference. White House. February 19, 2021. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/02/19/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-2021-virtual-munich-security-conference/ (accessed 03.03.2021).
  9. Remarks by the President on Space Exploration in the 21st Century. White House. April 15, 2010. Available at: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-space-exploration-21st-century (accessed 04.03.2021).
  10. Malik T. President Obama Signs New Vision for U.S. Space Exploration into Law. Space.com, 11.10.2010. Available at: https://www.space.com/9305-president-obama-signs-vision-space-exploration-law.html (accessed 04.03.2021).
  11. President Bush Delivers Remarks on U.S. Space Policy. NASA Facts, January 14, 2004. Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/54868main_bush_trans.pdf (accessed 04.03.2021).
  12. Mann A. NASA’s Artemis Program. Space.com, 03.07.2019. Available at: https://www.space.com/artemis-program.html (accessed 04.03.2021).
  13. Rincon P. Artemis: Biden administration backs US Moon shot. BBC News, 05.02.2021. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55949250 (accessed 04.03.2021).
  14. Bartels M. NASA Chief Says Returning Astronauts to the Moon Could Cost $30 Billion. Space.com, 14.06.2019. Available at: https://www.space.com/nasa-moon-2024-return-cost-revealed.html (accessed 04.03.2021).
  15. Knapp A. Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary. Forbes, 20.07.2019. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2019/07/20/apollo-11-facts-figures-business/ (accessed 04.03.2021).
  16. Donald Trump Speech Transcript at Kennedy Space Center After SpaceX NASA Launch. Rev.com, 30.05.2020. Available at: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-transcript-at-kennedy-space-center-after-spacex-nasa-launch (accessed 05.03.2021).
  17. Billings L. Perseverance Has Landed! Mars Rover Begins a New Era of Exploration. Scientific American, 18.02.2021. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/perseverance-has-landed-mars-rover-begins-a-new-era-of-exploration/ (accessed 05.03.2021).
  18. McCarthy N. Chart: This is how much each of NASA’s Mars missions have cost. World Economic Forum, February 26, 2021. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/02/mars-nasa-space-exploration-cost-perseverance-viking-curiosity (accessed 05.03.2021).
  19. Wall M. Space Tourism Pioneer: Q & A with Private Spaceflyer Dennis Tito. Space.com, 27.04.2011. Available at: https://www.space.com/11493-space-tourist-flight-dennis-tito-qanda.html (accessed 05.03.2021).
  20. Carter J. Despite SpaceX Success NASA Will Pay Russia $90 Million to Take U. S. Astronaut to the ISS. Forbes, 03.06.2020. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2020/06/03/despite-spacex-success-nasa-will-pay-russia-90-million-to-take-us-astronaut-to-the-iss/ (accessed 06.03.2021).
  21. Bodner M. Can SpaceX and Blue Origin best a decades-old Russian rocket engine design? MIT Technology Review, 26.06.2019. Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/06/26/134490/spacex-blue-origin-russian-rd180-rocket-engine-design/ (accessed 06.03.2021).
  22. Sheetz M. How NASA is evolving through partnerships with private space companies. CNBC, 30.11.2019. Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/30/how-nasa-is-evolving-through-partnerships-with-private-space-companies.html (accessed 07.03.2021).
  23. Rogozin D. “This war is theirs – not ours”: Dmitry Rogozin on Elon Musk’s Crew Dragon launch. Forbes, 08.06.2020. (In Russ.) Available at: https://www.forbes.ru/tehnologii/402477-eto-ih-voyna-ne-nasha-dmitriy-rogozin-otvetil-na-zapusk-crew-dragon-ilona-maska (accessed 15.02.2021).
  24. Sheetz M. How SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and others compete in the growing space tourism market. CNBC, 26.09.2020. Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/26/space-tourism-how-spacex-virgin-galactic-blue-origin-axiom-compete.html (accessed 07.03.2021).
  25. 5 Space Tourism Companies That Will Make You an Astronaut. Revfine.com. Available at: https://www.revfine.com/space-tourism/ (accessed 07.03.2021).
  26. Chow D. SpaceX announces first mission to space with all-civilian crew. NBC News, 02.02.2021. Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/spacex-announces-first-mission-space-all-civilian-crew-n1256390 (accessed 09.03.2021).
  27. STEM dégrées: Top 5 universities in the world according to latest QS rankings. Study International, 06.03.2020. Available at: https://www.studyinternational.com/news/top-universities-stem-2020/ (accessed 09.03.2021).
  28. Does the US need to step up its efforts in STEM education? Study International, 03.01.2020. Available at: https://www.studyinternational.com/news/stem-education/ (accessed 09.03.2021).
  29. Junod T. Elon Musk: Triumph of His Will. Esquire, 15.11.2012. Available at: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a16681/elon-musk-interview-1212/ (accessed 09.03.2021).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Koshkin P. Outer Space Breakthrough of the U.S. and Its Impact on Russia and the World. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 9, pp. 130-138. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-9-130-138

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.