Emerging National Space Launch Programs

Economics and Safeguards

by Brian G. Chow

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Most ballistic missile nonproliferation studies have focused on trends in the numbers and performance of missiles and the resulting security threats. This report concentrates on the economic viability and safeguard feasibility of Third World emerging space launch programs. The report finds that their costs cannot be recouped from space launch business. If the United States and other major launch providers give these programs technical assistance, the economic loss and technical difficulties will be reduced, enhancing their chances for continuing. This report also finds that it is not possible to safeguard space launch programs against technical transfers to ballistic missile development. Therefore, it concludes that if the United States and other nations wish to slow the proliferation of ballistic missiles, they should not assist these emerging launch programs. At the same time, if nations with only emerging launch programs at this time terminate their programs, they will not have missed an opportunity for lucrative profits.

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