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When will a fifth nation be able to launch people into space?
On 12 Apr 1961 the first Soviet flies into space.
On 20 Feb 1962 the first American flies into space.
On 15 Oct 2003 the first Chinese flies into space.
That’s it. Currently there are only two nations capable of sending people into orbit on their own: Russia and China, with the US about to regain their ability.
Part of this can certainly be attributed to the Space Race pushing the envelope of what’s technologically doable, and one might justifiably argue that the accomplishments were made on an immature technology base. But it has been some time since then. With the US push of commercial space launches and the seeming growing international interest (partly spurred by the commercialisation) in space, one has to wonder:
When will another nation than the four mentioned launch a person into orbit on their own vehicle?
For the purposes of this question a nation (or group of nations like EU or UAE) has to have their own launch service provider (LSP), or have acquired the complete capabilities of a provider to such a degree the forked/copied LSP would be able to launch people.
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