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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RE: The problem is leadership?
6/21/2012 1:30:18 PM
They knew what they wanted, and they knew what they needed get there, and worst yet, they knew we had all the knowledge figured out for them. So, instead of protecting one of the greatest assets any country has, infomation and technology, out government sat there with a wide open door and let them just snatch it. And then our government did nothing about it.
Now we see them prospering off of what they gleaned from us. How should we respond? With a "fine, be that way" and then race off to invent greater, better things. For when it comes to that capacity, we are still on top. And yet we ignore our research and engineering strong points, forcing small, under resourced private companies like SpaceX to try to live our vision for us. They are doing an incredibly marvelous job, but have next to no power compared to what our government could wield if it chose to.
Instead our government chooses to fund all sorts of random crap that the states should be dealing and competing with each other over. States have a role too, for the local people, and the federal government can never serve their interests as well as they themselves can. The Fed should work on bigger issues no one state could focus on itself, like defense and getting us back into space; not welfare.
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