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China pushes for power in the space

XICHANG, CHINA – DECEMBER 08: A Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, including a lander and a rover blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on December 8, 2018 in Xichang, Sichuan Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

China is ready to realize an ambitious mission to the far side of the moon, the most direct of the many scheduled milestones in its efforts to meet the challenge of America for half a century the power in the room.

In a first for any country, the Chang’e-4 probe is set to touch on the “dark side” of the moon on or around Jan. 3, according to the media, and the dispatch of a rover in a massive crater to explore the moon’s interior. While impressive in itself, the mission is a step in the direction of far-reaching objectives: China is planning a manned moon base by 2030 to lead the world in a new century of space exploration.

For his part, the US is the revival of the manned space program after to let it languish in favor of unmanned exploration. A space policy directive signed in December 2017 by President Trump outlined plans for manned missions to the moon and Mars, and started the preparations for a new space force to fight against the Chinese army, the development of space weapons. These movements came after experts testified at a House Subcommittee on Space hearing in 2016 with the title “we’re losing the space race to China?” that the U.S. is threatened to be obscured in the field. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the budget, set at $21.5 billion in 2019, is still nearly double that of its Chinese counterpart.

All rivals on Earth, the US and China are now the main contenders in a race to determine “who will be in a position to obtain on the great resources in the room, turn off the routes of the trade and write the rules of space commerce,” said Namrata Goswami, an expert on China’s space program in Auburn University’s Futures Lab in Alabama.

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China, she added, “is best placed to win,” thanks to a methodical program that has mapped out clearly defined goals decades into the future.

A late entrant to the space race, China conducted its first manned flight in 2003, 42 years after the Soviet Union and the united states first achieved the feat.

Since then, Chinese leaders have portrayed the conquest of space as a key marker in the nation to stand up and back that ambition with lace-and-financing. China National Space Administration is the world’s best-funded space agency, NASA, and the development of military capabilities such as antisatellite weapons and the busy schedule of the missions have shaken the U.S.

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This is a contest with a high strategic interests,” said Dean Cheng, an expert on China from the space of possibilities in the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.

While the space business again to the American policy makers, the U.S. effort lost its focus, given the underfunded since the Reagan era, according to Mr Cheng. The US has to rely on other countries to send American astronauts into space since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. The schedule for astronauts on the moon by 2023, and on Mars by 2033 look difficult to achieve, some analysts said, and could easily be a victim of a changing political priorities.

To read more of this story, which originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal, click here.

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