According to a new study published on April 8 by the Office of the Director in charge of the National Intelligence, China would be the most important competitor to the United States in space by 2040, engaging on economic, civil, as well as military fronts. According to the study, many countries would have access to space technology, and on-orbit production and logistics facilities would become more popular.
Global Trends 2040 has been ranked as a quadrennial unclassified prediction which was written by the National Intelligence Council, the ODNI’s advisory group. It examines the patterns and factors that will affect the national security landscape across the next two decades.
In terms of space, the study makes the following predictions:
- By 2040, a growing number of nations will be involved in multinational mutual space exploration efforts.
- These countries would gain national recognition, scientific and technological growth prospects, and future economic benefits.
- While governments will continue to be the predominant financing source for large-scale space exploration programs, and private companies will play an increasingly important position.
- Commercial projects will further accelerate space technology by using government-funded space initiatives.
- International partners will play a larger role in Chinese-led space operations.
- Chinese space systems, like the Beidou satellite navigation system, can be seen as a backup to Western solutions around the globe.
According to the paper, a wider range of space technology would be usable for military, civil government, and commercial applications. Governments would be wary of private or international government satellite resources being withheld in the event of a crisis so that national space properties would be highly prized. Governments will regularly perform on-orbit maintenance, assembly, and processing operations by 2040, according to the report, thanks to enhanced autonomy as well as additive manufacturing. Commercial firms would provide On-orbit facilities such as maintenance, remote survey, evacuation, refueling, and debris disposal.
Satellites will be upgraded, their usable lives extended, and different kinds of space systems, such as incredibly large or complicated instruments, will be possible thanks to on-orbit facilities. On the other hand, the private sector would almost certainly need government assistance to develop the industry. According to the study, artificial intelligence would have a significant effect on the space industry. “By assisting with the operation of vast satellite constellations as well as space situational awareness abilities, AI would allow creative uses of space services.”
Artificial intelligence and deep learning are now allowing vast quantities of data to be analyzed quickly. According to the paper, this process would intensify, “driven in part by hyperconnected space as well as ground systems.”