Launching Latin America: international and domestic factors in national space programs
Garvin, Matthew B.
Moltz, James Clay
Sotomayor, Arturo C.
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This thesis seeks to understand the internal motivations driving some Latin American countries to pursue space programs, how these programs interact at the regional level, and how countries with more developed space capabilities influence these efforts. This thesis also provides insight on the following questions: What obstacles have impeded the development of Latin American space capabilities thus far, and what are the prospects for future regional and international cooperation? This thesis finds that domestic politics matter most when determining the regional and international orientation of these space programs. Domestically, the desire to develop economically is the fundamental driver. While the era of military rule encouraged geopolitical competition among some of these programs, this faded after the return to democracy. Space now competes poorly with other social and developmental priorities due to a lack of electoral incentives for politicians. International collaboration is restricted by nuclear and missile nonproliferation regimes. U.S. export control regulations limit the scope of potential projects that might have otherwise been accommodated by domestic politics, driving Latin American space programs to seek other international partners. The thesis concludes with recommendations for increasing U.S. engagement with these programs.
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