U.S. Rethinks Possible Competition with China in Space
June 20, 2012 6:01 PM
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China's recent successful manned mission has started a space race debate
Now that China has successfully completed its
first manned mission
, the United States is worried that it may be left behind when it comes to space-related endeavors.
China initially launched its Tiangong 1 prototype space station module in September 2011 and linked its Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to it in November. Earlier this month, China completed its first manned mission to Tiangong 1 using its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, which contained the country's first female astronaut.
With so many firsts under China's belt, the U.S. is getting a little worried. Some scientists, such as lunar geologist Paul Spudis say that China could renounce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which states that no one can claim national sovereignty in space. Spudis believes that potential resources on the moon, such as water, could tempt the country into renouncing the treaty.
There are also worries about the U.S. government's space program. While the U.S. has the private sector (SpaceX) taking care of space-related business for now, there are concerns regarding the private sector's ability to uphold the American space effort without the government's support. The U.S.' funding for the space program has been quite low, even to the point where NASA
urged Congress to provide the full $850 million
for commercial crew vehicle development last October.
However, the private sector has made strong contributions so far with SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule making its
first successful trip
to the International Space Station (ISS) last month.
Others aren't quite as worried about China's position in the space race. According to Jeff Foust, an aerospace analyst, journalist and publisher, China's space program could potentially face some issues with coordination because it is ran by many different government agencies instead of just one.
Regardless, China is now a member of the space race and the U.S. may be taking the new potential competitor into consideration.
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Not even close
6/20/2012 8:04:46 PM
The U.S. sent 3 men onto the moon almost 40 years ago. Russia followed after that. China just now recently sent 1 woman into space. Yes you heard that word, space, not moon, or Mars. Now this article is saying the U.S. has to face compeition from China in space technology? Give me a break, they are 40 years behind, tell them to send men on the moon, mabye in 10 to 20 more years? That will make them 50 to 60 years behind the U.S. and Russia.
Next time, learn U.S. history first before making senseless article.
China economy is growing, yes that is fact. But lets not forget the primary force driven that economic growth in China is from U.S. investments. Without U.S investments, China would still be a 3rd world country.
One more thing, China still has 1.1 billion population to feed and their economy is still less than half of the U.S. economy. So in reality, their population is still very much in poverty due to the GDP being very low.
RE: Not even close
6/20/2012 10:52:39 PM
Actually, we may have sent men to the moon 40 years ago. But, How long ago was it that we did our initial docking tests at the ISS or, when was it first put there? Now I know we had skylab in orbit in orbit from 1973 to 1979, but, that ended up failing due to lack of support, or a usable support vehicle (space shuttle hadn't been developed on time). Freedom station never happened/got cancelled.
Salyut 1-7, and Mir, were all Russian Stations which is basically 1971-1998. When Mir was scrapped and its modules became the russian section of the ISS. The US/Nasa didn't start working with orbital stations again until 1998 when the ISS assembly started. And the only thing that allowed us to do that, was a launch vehicle that no longer flies, the space shuttle. We the US currently doesn't have a suitable launch vehicle to continue being able to support or expand the ISS, or Start construction of a new station.
Going by that I'd say that puts the chinese within 15 years of our current space program. Remember, computers and other things exist now, that we had to wait for to develop. Where as, they will already have ready access to much of what we didn't have at the time. Add in to that, their manufacturing advantage, and available manpower advantages. Plus, we were pioneering things back then. They are building off of what others have done, with a set plan and goals as to when and how, things we don't currently have.
And the territorial thing, I don't think it's the moon they're worried about. I think it would be china laying claim to said orbital range from earth, and shooting down any none chinese satellite, station or spacecraft that passed through it.
RE: Not even close
6/21/2012 8:24:05 PM
Actually, we may have sent men to the moon 40 years ago.
Actually NASA sent astronauts six times to the moon's surface and returned them back to earth safely.
Apollo 11 July 16, 1969
Apollo 12 November 14, 1969
Apollo 14 January 31, 1971
Apollo 15 July 26, 1971
Apollo 16 April 16, 1972
Apollo 17 December 7, 1972
RE: Not even close
6/20/2012 11:00:15 PM
By some measures, we're still catching up to the Roman Empire. Whats the point in looking at the past?
In current capacity, China's already beat us. The Chinese state has the capacity to put men in to orbit. We do not.
The Chinese having a project underway to put men on the lunar surface. We did, but Obama cancelled it.
As for relative size of our economies, PPP is the relevant measure, by which it's roughly 11.3 trillion to 15.1. They're also outgrowing us by about 6% a year, which means that they'll overtake us by the end of this decade without breaking a sweat, unless we undertake profound government and regulatory reform, or unless they implode (not likely).
Furthermore, most of China's investment comes from its high domestic savings rate, which is recycled through banks; FDI (foreign direct investment) has been a boon, but FDI could fall to zero and China would still humm along just dandy. Don't underestimate the role of other countries investments there too, Europe is heavily invested in China. Germany's high-end manufacturing sector survives off selling China the machinery necessary to build us all of our... crap.
Not that China doesn't have a long way to go in per-capita income, you're right, but China is no little economy we can ignore. It could be the worlds largest within 5 years, easily, and by virtue of having a larger population, we'll probably never catch up.
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