(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

 

A new document outlines China’s five-year plan for spacefaring. The white paper, published Friday, outlines the country’s goals for the final frontier. CNN tells us what they are.

 

“China is officially on a mission to send a man to the moon. The plan includes the development of new satellites, spacecraft, even a space station. The Chinese successfully docked two unmanned spacecraft in orbit last month. They hope to have construction of a space lab completed by 2016. But any moon landing -- not expected until at least 2020.”

 

A 2020 moon landing isn’t a hard deadline in the new document. But the paper does lay a lot of the groundwork. China has consistently made slow and steady progress in manned spaceflight, and the New York Times says their new goals are most likely achievable.

 

“China has consistently stuck to a development timeline for its program and met the realistic goals set out in its five-year plans. … In 2003, China became the third country to send a human into space, behind the United States and the Soviet Union ... It launched a lunar probe in 2007 that orbited the moon and took pictures, and the next year completed its first spacewalk...”

 

U.S. media reacted to the news by asking -- How does this reflect on us? The U.S. is still a leader in space exploration. But the fact that American astronauts have to hitch rides with the Russians to even low orbits had analysts debating who was going to lead in the 21st century.

 

A panelist told MSNBC --  China’s announcement of its space plans is a symbolic moment.

 

“There’s something a little bit comical about the Chinese striving to achieve something America achieved in 1969 in the first term of the Nixon administration. But there is some symbolism here. Just as the Chinese are expressing their ambition, their belief that they own the future... the United States is really examining whether its on the forefront of these issues or not.”

 

No human being has walked on the moon since 1972. The last one was Gene Cernan of the Apollo 17 mission.

 

Cernan spoke to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and said it feels like the U.S. hasn’t taken any clear steps forward in manned spaceflight since his moonwalk.

 

“I know it happened, I know it was important. But I feel there’s something missing, because what did we do? What does that 13 years of my life mean to future generations? And I haven’t been able to answer that yet. And the answer to that question is now more in jeopardy than it’s ever been.”

 

Some U.S. analysts are also worried about the military implications of China’s space efforts. In 2007, China upset foreign governments by testing a missile on one of its own satellites. It was seen as an aggressive move and drastically increased the amount of space junk in orbit.

 

The Wall Street Journal reports the new paper addresses the incident, though a little indirectly.

 

“Though the tone of the report is celebratory, it’s clear that China realizes that its rapid ascent as a space power requires explanation to outsiders. … It reaffirms China’s commitment to the peaceful use of space and mentions its plans to help reduce and monitor space debris. Without elaborating, the report states that China will ‘build a system to protect spacecraft from space debris.’”

 

The U.S. has tentative plans to put an astronaut on an asteroid by 2025.

China Shoots for the Moon

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Jan 1, 2012

China Shoots for the Moon

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

 

A new document outlines China’s five-year plan for spacefaring. The white paper, published Friday, outlines the country’s goals for the final frontier. CNN tells us what they are.

 

“China is officially on a mission to send a man to the moon. The plan includes the development of new satellites, spacecraft, even a space station. The Chinese successfully docked two unmanned spacecraft in orbit last month. They hope to have construction of a space lab completed by 2016. But any moon landing -- not expected until at least 2020.”

 

A 2020 moon landing isn’t a hard deadline in the new document. But the paper does lay a lot of the groundwork. China has consistently made slow and steady progress in manned spaceflight, and the New York Times says their new goals are most likely achievable.

 

“China has consistently stuck to a development timeline for its program and met the realistic goals set out in its five-year plans. … In 2003, China became the third country to send a human into space, behind the United States and the Soviet Union ... It launched a lunar probe in 2007 that orbited the moon and took pictures, and the next year completed its first spacewalk...”

 

U.S. media reacted to the news by asking -- How does this reflect on us? The U.S. is still a leader in space exploration. But the fact that American astronauts have to hitch rides with the Russians to even low orbits had analysts debating who was going to lead in the 21st century.

 

A panelist told MSNBC --  China’s announcement of its space plans is a symbolic moment.

 

“There’s something a little bit comical about the Chinese striving to achieve something America achieved in 1969 in the first term of the Nixon administration. But there is some symbolism here. Just as the Chinese are expressing their ambition, their belief that they own the future... the United States is really examining whether its on the forefront of these issues or not.”

 

No human being has walked on the moon since 1972. The last one was Gene Cernan of the Apollo 17 mission.

 

Cernan spoke to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and said it feels like the U.S. hasn’t taken any clear steps forward in manned spaceflight since his moonwalk.

 

“I know it happened, I know it was important. But I feel there’s something missing, because what did we do? What does that 13 years of my life mean to future generations? And I haven’t been able to answer that yet. And the answer to that question is now more in jeopardy than it’s ever been.”

 

Some U.S. analysts are also worried about the military implications of China’s space efforts. In 2007, China upset foreign governments by testing a missile on one of its own satellites. It was seen as an aggressive move and drastically increased the amount of space junk in orbit.

 

The Wall Street Journal reports the new paper addresses the incident, though a little indirectly.

 

“Though the tone of the report is celebratory, it’s clear that China realizes that its rapid ascent as a space power requires explanation to outsiders. … It reaffirms China’s commitment to the peaceful use of space and mentions its plans to help reduce and monitor space debris. Without elaborating, the report states that China will ‘build a system to protect spacecraft from space debris.’”

 

The U.S. has tentative plans to put an astronaut on an asteroid by 2025.

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