Friday, 9 September 2016

A New Space Race?

China's space programme spends an estimated £6bn per year and has averaged 14 space launches per year since 2013.
Russia's average 31 launches cost £5bn per year but America, which has the largest budget of £40bn, has averaged five more successful launches than China at almost seven times the cost. 
Not sure why America's costs are so much more than Russia or China's but while Russia has always been one of the prominent Space nations but now China have manoeuvred themselves into a major player. 
Plans are being laid for the launch of an X-ray telescope to search out black holes and a crewed mission before the year is out, a moon mission in 2018 and a space station, Tiangong, to rival the International Space Station which they plan to have in orbit by 2020.
Joining forces with the European Space Agency, the Chinese Space Programme has been able to advance at an amazing rate with the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) stating that more partnerships with the ESA are on the cards as: 'International collaborations are the shortcut for China to catch up with the world'.
One nation that they won't be partnering up with is America, where there is a blanket ban on working with China that dates back years who suspect China's ambitions may be more military. 
The most obvious consequence of this has been the exclusion of China from the International Space
Station hence the plans to build their own which will be open to experiments and astronauts from all UN member states but specifically developing countries that have a fledgling space programme.
With the introduction of China as a space power, it could ignite a new space race, the same game of technological one-upmanship that the Soviets and Americans played out in the 50s and 60s which ended with the Apollo moon landings and hopefully it will propel us once again to an increase in space missions after a couple of decades of relative inaction.

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