Party’s over! Space travel turns tribalistic as nations race for glory
Alliances are forming as the US tries to fend off competition from China and Russia
Last month, astronauts from Japan, Russia, the US and Europe held a pizza party in orbit aboard the International Space Station, celebrating the birthday of one of their number.
But the era of multinational cooperation in orbit is fast drawing to a close – replaced by a new spirit of international rivalry and “great power” competition.
Summer 2021 has seen a significant worsening in relations between US space agency Nasa and Russian counterpart Roscosmos, increasingly conducted through the media. On August 12, Russian state news agency TASS carried a report accusing a US astronaut of deliberately sabotaging the International Space Station, a story swiftly denied by Nasa...