Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Liam Anderson (Committee Member), Alex Elkins (Committee Member), Laura Luehrmann (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


China signed its first turn-key communication satellite contract with Nigeria in 2004. The contract stipulated that China would design, build, integrate, launch, and complete in-orbit checkout for the Nigcomsat-1 communication satellite and then transfer control over to Nigeria. By 2018, China had contracted and launched another six communication satellites for various foreign customers. The customers, who are foreign governments, are geographically dispersed throughout South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The satellite sales have occurred during China's unprecedented economic growth, a time in which China has been granted additional foreign policy options as its power increases relative to others. This thesis utilizes lateral pressure theory to suggest that China has strategically signed contracts with foreign governments for the sale of communication satellites to further its foreign policy objectives. Examination of China's space history, its foreign policy goals, and key variables shed light on China's intentions and possible future actions.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded