A new space race? China adds urgency to US return to moon | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  36 comments

By:   ELLEN KNICKMEYER (AP NEWS)

A new space race? China adds urgency to US return to moon | AP News
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just rocket fuel propelling America's first moonshot after a half-century lull.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just rocket fuel propelling America's first moonshot after a half-century lull. Rivalry with China's flourishing space program is helping drive NASA's effort to get back into space in a bigger way, as both nations push to put people back on the moon and establish the first lunar bases.

American intelligence, military and political leaders make clear they see a host of strategic challenges to the U.S. in China's space program, in an echo of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry that prompted the 1960s' race to the moon. That's as China is quickly matching U.S. civil and military space accomplishments and notching new ones of its own.

On the military side, the U.S. and China trade accusations of weaponizing space. Senior U.S. defense officials warn that China and Russia are building capabilities to take out the satellite systems that underpin U.S. intelligence, military communications and early warning networks.

There's also a civilian side to the space race. The U.S. is wary of China taking the lead in space exploration and commercial exploitation, and pioneering the technological and scientific advances that would put China ahead in power in space and in prestige down on Earth.

"In a decade, the United States has gone from the unquestioned leader in space to merely one of two peers in a competition," Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, declared this week at a Senate Armed Services hearing. "Everything our military does relies on space."

At another hearing last year, NASA administrator Bill Nelson brandished an image transmitted by a Chinese rover that had just plunked down on Mars. "The Chinese government ... they're going to be landing humans on the moon" soon, he said. "That should tell us something about our need to get off our duff."

NASA, the U.S. civilian space agency, is awaiting a new launch date this month or in October for its Artemis 1 uncrewed test moonshot. Technical problems scrubbed the first two launch attempts in recent weeks.

China likewise aims to send astronauts to the moon this decade, as well as establish a robotic research station there. Both the U.S. and China intend to establish bases for intermittent crews on the moon's south pole after that.

Russia has aligned with China's moon program, while 21 nations have joined a U.S.-initiated effort meant to bring guidelines and order to the civil exploration and development of space.

The parallel efforts come 50 years after U.S. astronauts last pulled shut the doors on an Apollo module and blasted away from the moon, in December 1972.

Some space policy experts bat down talk of a new space race, seeing big differences from John F. Kennedy's Cold War drive to outdo the Soviet Union's Sputnik and be the first to get people on the moon. This time, both the U.S. and China see moon programs as a stepping stone in phased programs toward exploring, settling and potentially exploiting the resources and other untapped economic and strategic opportunities offered by the moon, Mars and space at large.

Beyond the gains in technology, science and jobs that accompany space programs, Artemis promoters point to the potential of mining minerals and frozen water on the moon, or using the moon as a base to go prospecting on asteroids — the Trump administration in particular emphasized the mining prospects. There's potential in tourism and other commercial efforts.

And for space more broadly, Americans alone have tens of thousands of satellites overhead in what the Space Force says is a half-trillion dollar global space economy. Satellites guide GPS, process credit card purchases, help keep TV, radio and cell phone feeds going, and predict weather. They ensure the military and intelligence community's ability to keep track of perceived threats.

And in a world where China and Russia are collaborating to try to surpass the U.S. in space, and where some point to private space efforts led by U.S. billionaires as rendering costly NASA rocket launches unnecessary, the U.S. would regret leaving the glory and strategic advantages from developing the moon and space solely to the likes of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Tesla magnate Elon Musk, Artemis proponents say.

The moon programs signal that "space is going to be an arena of competition on the prestige front, demonstrating advanced technical expertise and know-how, and then also on the military front as well," said Aaron Bateman, a professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University and a member of the Space Policy Institute.

"People who are supportive of Artemis and people who see it as a tool of competition, they want the United States to be at the table in shaping the future of exploration on other celestial bodies," Bateman said.

There's no shortage of such warnings as the Artemis program moves toward lift-off. "Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership," the U.S. intelligence community warned this year in its annual threat assessment.

A Pentagon-commissioned study group contended last month that "China appears to be on track to surpass the U.S. as the dominant space power by 2045." It called that part of a Chinese plan to promote authoritarianism and communism down here on Earth.

It's sparked occasional heated words between Chinese and U.S. officials.

China's space program was guided by peaceable principles, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in July. "Some U.S. officials are constantly smearing China's normal and reasonable outer space undertakings," Zhao said.

Flying on the mightiest rocket ever built by NASA, Artemis 1 aims for a five-week demo flight that would put test dummies into lunar orbit.

If all goes well with that, U.S. astronauts could fly around the moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025, culminating a program that will have cost $93 billion over more than a decade of work.

NASA intends that a woman and a person of color will be on the first U.S. crew touching foot on the moon again.

Lessons learned in getting back to the moon will aid in the next step in crewed flights, to Mars, the space agency says.

China's ambitious space program, meanwhile, is a generation behind that of the United States. But its secretive, military-linked program is developing fast and creating distinctive missions that could put Beijing on the leading edge of space flight.

Already, China has that rover on Mars, joining a U.S. one already there. China carved out a first with its landing on the far side of the moon.

Chinese astronauts are overhead now, putting the finishing touches on a permanent orbiting space station.

A 1967 U.N. space treaty meant to start shaping the guardrails for space exploration bans anyone from claiming sovereignty over a celestial body, putting a military base on it, or putting weapons of mass destruction into space.

"I don't think it's at all by coincidence or happenstance that it is now in this period of what people are claiming is renewed great-power competition that the United States is actually investing the resources to go back," said Bateman, the scholar on space and national security. "Time will tell if this turns into a sustained program."

Competition isn't necessarily a bad thing, said Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Does rivalry with the Chinese "ensure greater sustained interest in our space program? Sure," Coons said. "But I don't think that's necessarily a competition that leads to conflict.

"I think it can be a competition — like the Olympics — that simply means that each team and each side is going to push higher and faster. And as a result, humanity is likely to benefit," he said.

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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago
Does rivalry with the Chinese "ensure greater sustained interest in our space program? Sure," Coons said. "But I don't think that's necessarily a competition that leads to conflict.
"I think it can be a competition — like the Olympics — that simply means that each team and each side is going to push higher and faster. And as a result, humanity is likely to benefit," he said.

It didn't even have to be a competition, it could have been a joint cooperative effort bound to benefit everyone if the Chinese had not been banned from NASA and the ISS.  

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

There is absolutely no value or good reason for the US to return to the moon.

 
 
 
evilgenius
PhD Guide
2.1  evilgenius  replied to  Greg Jones @2    2 weeks ago
There is absolutely no value or good reason for the US to return to the moon.

That's pretty short sited. Exploration spurs innovation to use in other areas of society. It inspires young people to participate in STEM courses making our society smarter and better to go on to even more innovation. Lastly it provides jobs for many people in many areas.

EDIT:

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  evilgenius @2.1    2 weeks ago

What's left to explore on the moon? I have fully supported the space program....the first moon landing, all the space probes and planetary visits, the Shuttle, and the Hubble and Webb telescopes. Let private money continue the exploration from here on

 And the results coming out our public schools would seem to indicate the leftist led US educational system gives short shrift to STEM courses and high achievement  

 
 
 
evilgenius
PhD Guide
2.1.2  evilgenius  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.1    2 weeks ago
What's left to explore on the moon?

A plan to set up a manufacturing base to build craft to go further out.

And the results coming out our public schools would seem to indicate the leftist led US educational system gives short shrift to STEM courses and high achievement  

You need to get out more and stop watching bullshit partisan propaganda. Most schools are neither left nor right, but you wouldn't know that without looking past the partisan divides.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  evilgenius @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

Sending people to Mars would be prohibitively costly and serve no scientific purpose.

Most public schools here have liberal administrations and radical left teachers unions.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  Vic Eldred    2 weeks ago

The question is: do we want to spend what we used to on this?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 weeks ago

I hope not.

Let private enterprise carry the exploration forward

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1    2 weeks ago

I agree. NASA can't even launch the Artemis rocket without the same problem reoccurring. The program is also way over budget.

The promised cost savings have yet to appear: NASA’s own auditors recently estimated that a single launch of the rocket will cost $ 4.1 billion - eight times greater than what the agency estimated in 2013.

Meanwhile, overall costs are tipping $23 billion. That’s a far cry from what NASA promised Congress, and Congress promised the American people, when the program was conceived. “If we can’t do a rocket for $11.5 billion, we ought to close up shop,” said Senator Bill Nelson of Florida in 2010, when he was a major sponsor of the program. These days, he serves as NASA’s administrator.

It’s possible to do better. For example, the fully reusable engines that power SpaceX’s Falcon 9 cost around $1 million. In 2019, SpaceX Chairman and CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he hopes that the company’s Raptor engine, which will power its in-development Starship rocket, will eventually run $250,000. Even if that’s wildly optimistic (as Musk tends to be), it’s worth noting that the RS-25’s redevelopers have never promised cost reductions that approach those discounts, nor has Congress provided incentives for them to do it.

Obama closed the lid on NASA's casket when he canceled the space shuttle program. But he refused to nail it shut. NASA has lost their best and brightest. Now they are just another money wasting branch of government.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
4  Hal A. Lujah    2 weeks ago

This is an important first step to finding another planet to ruin.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
4.1  Ronin2  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @4    2 weeks ago

You give NASA far too much credit. We will have ruined this one (one way or another) long before they figure out how to allow people to live in space for any real length of time.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
5  Revillug    2 weeks ago

Our national security here on earth depends upon our network of GPS, communications and spy satellites. 

Space is about starting to looking like a tense scene from a Tarantino movie with someone about to fire the first shot.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
6  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

Correct-o  They need to find a way to clean up some the space junk and keep an eye on the activities of rogue nations like China.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Greg Jones @6    2 weeks ago

LOL.  Your comment follows the fold, Greg, it follows the fold.   China being called a "rogue nation" is a matter of American political necessity  Which party can outdo the other in damning China? 

Malyarov-PastPredictFuture4.jpg

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.1  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1    2 weeks ago
Which party can outdo the other in damning China? 

Which party has sold out our economy more to China?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.1    2 weeks ago

You tell me.  Seems to me that the American people prefer to pay less for their needs, so blame them.  But never mind, America has already started trying to isolate itself - we'll see how high inflation can go in the upward spiraling wage-expense cycle. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
6.1.3  Ronin2  replied to  Revillug @6.1.1    2 weeks ago

If you are asking that question you are missing the point. Both have; and will continue to do so as long as they profit from it.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.4  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.2    2 weeks ago
Seems to me that the American people prefer to pay less for their needs, so blame them.

That would be a variety of blaming the victim.

The trade arrangement with China was a bipartisan effort. The GOP started it under George Bush (the senior) and Democrat Bill Clinton delivered the goods. Every American politician has a price and these days a lot of them seem to be taking money from the darnedest of foreign agents . A congress member in the pocket of China here and an FBI agent with ties to Russia there. You really have to ask who is running this joint.

 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.5  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.2    2 weeks ago
we'll see how high inflation can go in the upward spiraling wage-expense cycle. 

Also, China isn't exactly helping the inflation problems in the world with the way it has gone about "handling" the Covid crisis.

With all the intellectual property they have helped themselves to over the decades you would think an mRNA vaccine would be at the top of the list.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6.1.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @6.1.5    2 weeks ago
With all the intellectual property they have helped themselves to over the decades you would think an mRNA vaccine would be at the top of the list.

Apparently, that have more pressing issues:

The human rights situation across China continued to deteriorate. Human rights lawyers and activists reported harassment and intimidation; unfair trials; arbitrary, incommunicado and lengthy detention; and torture and other ill-treatment for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and other human rights.
 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.5    2 weeks ago

Personally, I'm very happy with the manner in which they are handling the Covid crisis here in China.  A home-grown rMNA vaccine is presently in third stage testing and will soon be available.  When I look at how many deaths there were (and continuing) from it in America, I'd say it wasn't handled too well there.  Interesting enough, inflation is quite limited here. 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.8  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.7    2 weeks ago
home-grown rMNA vaccine is presently in third stage testing and will soon be available.

Better late than never.

I'm very happy with the manner in which they are handling the Covid crisis here in China.

Well, how could you possibly even know? It's not like they are actually going to tell you.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.9  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.8    2 weeks ago

LOL.  CGTN (China Global Television Network) is an English language news and commentary TV station in China that I watch every day (in between movies) and I also read the China Daily every day, even if its news might be censored (but don't think your American media isn't very biased) I think I get advised about what's happening here.  As well, my best Chinese friend here is a hospital doctor and I believe what he tells me.  The surges and lockdowns and massive testing are all reported here whether or not you believe it.  As well, my wife has a large extended family and they all have multiple connections so I get the picture through the people themselves.  NOBODY in my wife's large extended family has been infected.  Seems strange, doesn't it?  While in Toronto, my daughter recently got infected.  

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.10  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.9    2 weeks ago
LOL.

Dude. You can't complain one minute that The Great Firewall won't let you read anything and then tell us all is hunky dory.

NOBODY in my wife's large extended family has been infected. 

But colds? They sure are nasty this year.

And those suddenly missing people in the neighborhood? Dissidents. At least it isn't Covid!

Nobody believes a thing China has to say about Covid. China lied about the initial outbreak and has never stopped lying.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.11  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.10    2 weeks ago
"The Great Firewall"???

I don't have a VPN or any special way to get around the blocks and censorship here, but then how come I can read and watch every day CTV (Canada Television News web site), npr world news and npr American news, USA Today, Microsoft Bing news, even FOXnews if I want to be misled, and every day I enjoy a good laugh reading Crooks & Liars.  I can open lots more American news sites as well.  Can you explain that to me?  

Nobody I know of, or that anybody I know knows of, is "missing" - My God, your comments display such extreme gullibility.  Sure there are some dissidents in China, doesn't every country have them?  Seems to me that about half of America is unhappy no matter what party governs.  The people in China are generally happy, and one reason for that is that abject poverty has been eradicated, and everyone has a decent roof over their head, decent food on the table, free education up to grade 12 for their kids, and competent medical care.  The people here have been given 'bread and circuses', and so you won't see another Tianenmen Square. 

I believe what China has to say about covid because I'm here and you're not.  As I've explained, nobody in my wife's family or anyone THEY know has been infected, and that's a lot of people.  Of course Chongqing has been very safe, and out of 32 million population there have been less than 700 cases and only 6 deaths, and I know that what's reported is true because my doctor friend and another doctor have verified it, and they would not have lied to me.  But where do you get YOUR information that you consider reliable? 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.12  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.11    2 weeks ago
Sure there are some dissidents in China

Like 12.8 million Uyghurs and anyone who mentions Tiananmen Square.

Go easy on me dude; I don't want to get another ticket for taunting.

I believe what China has to say about covid because I'm here and you're not. 

Well, you got that right!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.13  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.12    2 weeks ago

Just one thing.  The problem is that you get wrong information.  there are about 12 million Uyghurs and about 11 million of them live ordinary lives like all other Chinese people and they are not dissidents, because if they were, you and some others would believe that they have ALL "disappeared".  There are members here who say that China persecutes Muslims because of their religion.  There are about 32 million Muslims in China including the Uyghurs and they live their lives no different than any other Chinese people, and are NOT persecuted. 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.14  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.13    2 weeks ago
there are about 12 million Uyghurs and about 11 million of them live ordinary lives

Only a million persecuted Uyghurs?

That changes everything!

If only Hitler had stopped at the first million Jews...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.15  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.14    2 weeks ago

I never said that they were persecuted, you did, and don't you live in a country that boasts the highest rate of incarceration in the world?  

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6.1.16  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @6.1.14    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.17  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.15    2 weeks ago
I never said that they were persecuted

You said that out of 12 million Uyghurs 11 million live their lives normally. What exactly is "not living one's life normally" while living in a concentration/re-education/forced-labor camp or being forcefully relocated if not being persecuted? 

and don't you live in a country that boasts the highest rate of incarceration in the world?  

I think the kids these days would call that a "whataboutism."

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6.1.18  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @6.1.17    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.19  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.17    2 weeks ago
"You said that out of 12 million Uyghurs 11 million live their lives normally. What exactly is "not living one's life normally" while living in a concentration/re-education/forced-labor camp or being forcefully relocated if not being persecuted?" 

And you have proof to show me, right?  So where is it?  Sure, some are imprisoned, some are re-educated, but I don't believe in forced labour any more than American prisons don't require labour with no or meager pay.  And who's to say they don't deserve it?

"I think the kids these days would call that a "whataboutism.""

And I would call it pointing out hypocrisy.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.1.20  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.19    2 weeks ago
Sure, some are imprisoned, some are re-educated, but I don't believe in forced labour

Believe what you want.

Or get a VPN.

Against Their Will: The Situation in Xinjiang

EDIT: These comments I write here on NT come off a little on the sharp side, for brevity's sake. I hope that isn't lost on you or anyone else. You, Buzz of the Orient, are one of my favorite people here on NT. 

Just to be clear.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.21  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.20    2 weeks ago

Why do I need to pay for a VPN?  I get to read all the Western news sources I want as I stated above.  The only thing I miss is YouTube, but at least there are alternatives here, unfortunately not so complete, such as bilibili and Yukou. 

RE:  Against Their Will: The Situation in Xinjiang

When I see language like this:  "... may be... " and "... may experience... " I do not rely on what they say to be actual fact. 

RE: EDIT:  Don't worry, you've not said anything that deserves my ire or a flag, but presented without malice your feelings and beliefs while questioning mine.  You have not insulted me as others do when debating such topics, in which case I would have declared an IMPASSE.  You might have noticed that there are others who post malicious comments that display an intention to insult or taunt me, and those I do flag, or stop. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.22  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @6.1.20    2 weeks ago

With your "Zionist propaganda" comment still ringing through my head I realize that I spoke a little too soon.  I'm sure that now that you know that I'm a Zionist Jew who has spent time in Israel more than once, supported Israel, and raised money for an Israeli hospital in Netanya, your feelings about me are most likely different as well.  So, referencing the movies as I do all the time, perhaps we should just have a "Gentleman's Agreement" and not connect again. 

 
 

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