Racing for Space

Staff Writer: Olivia E. Ruiz-Bernal

Aiming their sights towards the final frontier, the China National Space Administration  (CNSA) is making headway in their space program, already surpassing past goals. Recently releasing the outline of their five year plan in a  white paper (an official policy proposal), China will be bulking and speeding up their space program.

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CNSA logo. Photo Courtesy of CreativeCommmons.com

 

An earth-orbiting space station. Advancements and breakthroughs in human spaceflight. Acceleration in research for leading-edge technology. A probe on Mars by 2020. These are a few of the goals China has announced.

“Our overall goal is that, by 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world,” said Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of the CNSA.

Wu himself said that they are discussing the idea of sending humans to the moon. Right now, they are more focused on robotic lunar missions, including a soft landing on the moon by 2018.

Despite accusations of China planning a hostile take-over of the space race, Chinese officials have said on more than one occasion that their space program is committed to peaceful use of space and are against the possibility of a space-arms race. In the past, they have proposed national treaties banning “space weapons”.

“NASA was banned from bilateral relations with China as though that was going to thwart or slow down Chinese plans for space,” said Johnson Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, author of Heavenly Ambitions: America’s Quest to Dominate Spacc. “In fact, if anything, it has given them an impetus to work faster or more broadly.”

During President Obama’s two terms in office, Obama had NASA focused on Earth based issues rather than funding more space studies. NASA was banned from working with China during his term in office.

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NASA logo. Photo Courtesy of CreativeCommons.com

 

“I love NASA,” said Trump. The Presidential elect voiced his interest for space exploration briefly during the election. Believing it was an attempt to boost his votes, some people became more speculative of  Trump’s interest in space due to the president elect stating potholes were more important. “Right now we have bigger problems- you understand that? We’ve got to fix our potholes.”

With a new age of space exploration underway, China playing a surprising game of catch up, and NASA’s lack of funding and restrictions, the possibilities of outcomes are endless.

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