Just a "food for thought" topic…feel free to contibute further insights, opinions, expectations, etc. regarding other countries' space programs. I've been curious lately about space programs other than those of the American, Russian, and European space agencies. It's interesting to see, given all the priorities and problems in the world, how important a space program remains and the hopes/desires that people invest into it. Certainly in the 50s/60s, space programs were a big political tool for the US/USSR...and the space programs from that timeframe continue to be inspirational to this day (re: technology & adventure). Some would say that it's human nature to chase this new frontier. Brazil - After 3 consecutive launch failures (0 for 3), the last of which left 21 dead and 20 injured, Brazil is determined to press on with their space program in hopes of becoming an international commercial satellite launch center and becoming the first Latin American country to have a successful space program. Locals are hoping that the space program will revitalize the economy of the region. China – This has been an exciting time for their program and they’re gearing up to send their first manned (Shenzhou) mission into orbit this year. ''Flying into space - and flying toward glory,'' they say. Shenzhou means “sacred vessel”. If they success, they would become the third country to launch manned missions (c’mon ESA!). Note that Brazil & China developed their interests in space back in the 1970s (thanks Apollo!) but are just getting things rolling more recently. India – In a space race with China, India announced this year that they intend to put a man on the moon sometime between 2005 and 2015. (Military applications of the rocket development is an obvious theme here.) Japan – Has had many successful missions despite funding troubles (economic recession, little military backing) and difficulties identifying economic benefits. Rocket technology has been a point of pride for their program (demonstrating technical skills and their membership in the space club). Japan's ongoing first-mission-to-Mars mission is called Nozomi, or "Hope". If successful, the ongoing “Muses-C” mission will be the first to retrieve rock samples from an asteroid. Japan promises to have a peaceful space program, but did recently launch spy satellites due to North Korea’s nuclear & missile programs.