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Reflecting on China’s space capabilities and what it means for the US

5 Jul 2012, 21:00 UTC
Reflecting on China’s space capabilities and what it means for the US Xinhua
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While the recent Shenzhou-9 flight was a major accomplishment for China’s space program, featuring the first crewed docking by a Chinese spacecraft and also the first flight of a female Chinese astronaut, the flight did not get that much attention—or reaction—in the US, as previously noted here. Some, though, are finding ways to use the mission to make a point about US space policy, or to warn China not to follow in the footsteps of the US in human spaceflight.
Last Friday the Marshall Institute and the Techamerica Space Enterprise Council held a forum on China’s space program and its implications for the US; I summarized the forum in an article in The Space Review earlier this week. The panelists noted that while the public focus has been on Chinese human spaceflight program, the bigger issue is the growing capabilities of China’s space program overall and its doctrine of “information superiority”.
They also played down the idea of space race between the two countries: “China is not racing with the United States, whether it’s manned space or unmanned space,” said Den Cheng of The Heritage Foundation. “The Chinese have their own program, their own objectives, their own timeline.” One reason ...

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