The world is facing a crippling economic crisis and the US is responding by reorganising its space exploration programme.
Barack Obama, the US president, is expected to unveil his vision for Nasa on Thursday. The move would scrap a number of the agency's space operations.
Space has always been the domain of the US and Russia. Today, though, it is developing economies like China and India blasting off.
India is expected to join the space club when it launches its Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) on Thursday - a technology previously denied to them.
After two decades of research it is a landmark mission for India, pegged to make the country completely self-reliant in space travel.
So, are we seeing the start of a new kind of space race? And who will win it?
Inside Story, with presenter Hamish McDonald, discusses with Don Eyles, a former Nasa engineer who worked on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Pallav Bagla, the science editor at India's NDTV, and Lord Christopher Monckton, the chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Institute in Washington. He is also the former science advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, April 14, 2010.