Chennai: India has improved its space competitiveness by 10 percent since 2008, says a study by the US-based Futron Corp.
Futron Thursday announced the publication of its "Futron`s 2012 Space Competitiveness Index: A Comparative Analysis of How Countries Invest in and Benefit from Space Industry".
According to an executive summary of the report, of the 10 traditional space faring nations, only the US has shown five straight years of competitivenes decline.
In contrast, China, Japan, Russia and India have improved their space competitiveness by 41 percent, 37, 11 and 10 percent respectively over their relative starting points from when Futron`s benchmarking process began in 2008.
In the 2012 study, Futron has added Argentina, Australia, Iran, South Africa and Ukraine to the 10-nation club, thereby taking the total to 15.
The Futron report concludes that India gained 1.26 basis points over Brazil while the US lost 1.63 basis points against Europe (counted as one integrated actor).
India was enhancing its space-related technical education while gradually progressing toward a completely self-reliant set of next generation launch vehicles, the report adds.
The US remains the overall leader in space competitiveness. But its relative position has fallen for the fifth straight year as other countries enhance their capabilities.
The US has undergone major transitions amid significant uncertainty, said Futron.
According to the report, of 640 successful orbital launches in 2002-11, Russia tops with 255 followed by the US 191, China 87, Europe 81, Japan 24, India 17, Israel 3 and Iran 2.
In respect of satellite manufacturing in 2002-11, the US with 388 satellites leads the club.
Russia is second with 216, Europe 187, China 99, Japan 60, India 32, Canada 12, Israel 10, South Korea 6, Ukraine 5, four each by Argentina, Australia and Iran, Brazil 2, South Africa 1 and rest of the world 56.
According to the report, international collaboration was increasingly taking shape as a concerted space competitiveness strategy, especially among smaller actors.
Ukraine has an enviable space industrial base, but limited domestic demand for its space hardware.
It is aggressively seeking partners overseas but has not yet engaged with key emerging markets.
Russia remains the launch leader, and promises to retain that role in the near term thanks to its vital role in transporting astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station as well as the introduction of Soyuz launches from the European spaceport at Kourou.
These strengths, however, are offset by weaknesses in retention of human capital talent.
The Futron report say Iran has made faster progress in psace plans.
The tenor of Iran`s space programme - civilian or military - will hinge on geopolitics. Other global actors have substantial power to influence the future focus of the Iranian space programme.
According to Futron, the space competitive index considers comparative space related strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the 15 leading space-participant nations: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Ukraine and the US.