China Caucus Blog

China Announces New Plan for Space, Broadens Challenge to U.S.
Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | January 05, 2012
The Chinese government revealed in a white paper a new five-year plan for space exploration that expands the nation’s goals for challenging U.S. space superiority by creating new spacecrafts, satellites and a space lab by 2016.

China’s white paper specifically says that “China will strengthen its basic capacities of the space industry, accelerate research on leading-edge technology and continue to implement important space scientific and technological projects, including human spaceflight, lunar exploration, high-resolution Earth observation system, satellite navigation and positioning system, new-generation launch vehicles and other priority projects in key fields.”

The New York Times reports that “Under the new space plan, it would vastly expand its version of a Global Positioning System, which would have military as well as civilian uses. The plan shows how the government intends to draw on military and civilian resources to meet the goals, which the government is betting will also produce benefits for the Chinese economy.”

I am concerned that China is looking for ways to exert its strength through space exploration, while the United States is scaling back on our own program. This is especially true as China has failed to reassure the U.S. and other nations of its peaceful intentions in space, beginning in 2007 when it destroyed an orbiting weather satellite signaling to the world that it had the capability to intentionally destroy our communications networks and certainly had the capability to unintentionally damage our assets in space with the considerable debris left behind.

What kind of implications do you think China’s five-year plan will have for the United States? Weigh in below.
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