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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.

Source: Yahoo News

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RE: Not even close
By Mathos on 6/20/2012 10:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
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
By 1prophet on 6/21/2012 8:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
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

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