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Who’s Got the Right Stuff?

How the world's space programs match up.

Photo by NASA/Liason; OFF/AFP/Getty Images; AFP/AFP/Getty Images; AFP/Getty Images
Photo by NASA/Liason; OFF/AFP/Getty Images; AFP/AFP/Getty Images; AFP/Getty Images

United States (NASA)
Budget: $18.7 billion (2010)
High points: Apollo program/moon landing, Mars exploration rovers, International Space Station (ISS)
Trademark spacecraft: Space shuttle


 

Europe (ESA)
Budget: $4.8 billion (2010)
High Points: European Astronaut Corps, ISS
Trademark spacecraft: Ariane 5 launcher

Russia (RKA)
Budget: $2.4 billion (2009)
High points: First satellite (Sputnik), first manned spaceflight, Mir space station, ISS
Trademark spacecraft: Soyuz

China (CNSA)
Budget: $1.3 billion (2008)
High point: Shenzhou 5 — China’s first manned spaceflight in 2003
Trademark spacecraft: Shenzhou space rocket

India (ISRO)
Budget: $1.3 billion (2010)
High point: Chandrayaan-1 — India’s first unmanned moon exploration mission in 2008
Trademark spacecraft: Geosynchronous and polar satellite launch vehicles

 

Iran (ISA)
Budget: $100 million (2005)
High point: Launched rocket with one rat, two turtles, and several worms into suborbital space this February
Trademark spacecraft: Safir and Simorgh launchers

United States (NASA)
Budget: $18.7 billion (2010)
High points: Apollo program/moon landing, Mars exploration rovers, International Space Station (ISS)
Trademark spacecraft: Space shuttle


 

Europe (ESA)
Budget: $4.8 billion (2010)
High Points: European Astronaut Corps, ISS
Trademark spacecraft: Ariane 5 launcher

Russia (RKA)
Budget: $2.4 billion (2009)
High points: First satellite (Sputnik), first manned spaceflight, Mir space station, ISS
Trademark spacecraft: Soyuz

China (CNSA)
Budget: $1.3 billion (2008)
High point: Shenzhou 5 — China’s first manned spaceflight in 2003
Trademark spacecraft: Shenzhou space rocket

India (ISRO)
Budget: $1.3 billion (2010)
High point: Chandrayaan-1 — India’s first unmanned moon exploration mission in 2008
Trademark spacecraft: Geosynchronous and polar satellite launch vehicles

 

Iran (ISA)
Budget: $100 million (2005)
High point: Launched rocket with one rat, two turtles, and several worms into suborbital space this February
Trademark spacecraft: Safir and Simorgh launchers

Andrew Swift is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.

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