In the second half of the 20th century, the Cold war led to the extension of the Space Race, that would allow the successor to claim its superiority in spaceflight capability (Ben-Itzhak, 2022). As a result, an economic crisis occurred due to the escalation of hostility between the participants. Yet, aerospace technologies not only have strengthened intercontinental relationships, but also brought world peace.
According to the geopolitics of space, NASA had wanted a 100-person space station called Space Base in low Earth orbit, although the cost of the supplies outweighed the cost of building the station itself. While there had been geopolitical tension, the USA realized that contributing to international collaboration was the most practical way of implementing the project. Thus, the conflict of the last century has shaped the International Space Station (ISS), the architecture of which includes two powerful stations – Russian and American (Garcia, 2018).
Consequently, the project of The International Space Station required multinational work. On 29 January 1998, the Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) was signed by the USA, Russia, Japan, Canada, and eleven member states of the European Space Agency. The new IGA represents the partnership of participant countries to develop and establish the most sophisticated project in history. The main purpose of the agreement is to achieve understanding between NASA, European and Canadian Space Agencies, and the Japanese government. Twenty years later, the document continues to advocate for cooperation towards a common goal.
International cooperation is a tool that provides significant benefits in space exploration. According to Scott Kelly (2017), there’s a potential for conflict while working with foreign astronauts; however, in space, they set it all aside, because cosmonauts have to rely on each other. Even in a poor relationship, astronauts can work together for something that they believe or have mutual benefits in. In fact, the participation of other nations in space-related programs increases the diplomatic influence of countries and establishes political sustainability. For instance, once the intercontinental agreement has been signed, cancellation of the programme would cause issues associated with the loss of diplomatic benefits. The partnership between these nations would drastically increase its utility to those countries that support friendly relationships.
Therefore, maintaining cooperation is a crucial part of expanding the interplanetary industry and preventing negative effects on reputation. The development of diplomatic relations will be required to make new discoveries in outer space in the future. Moreover, space exploration can change the position of institutions in relation to partnership in order to gain political benefits.