Alarm is growing over China's space program

(To Vasco Monteforte)

During a recent US Department of Defense briefing, a report on China's military strength in 2023 was discussed1.

China's space program expands dramatically. China has a plan to double the modules of its space station (from 3 to 6) in the next few years, offering astronauts from other nations an alternative platform to the International Space Station.

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) recently announced that the operational life of the Chinese space station will be more than 15 years (5 more than the previously predicted 10 years).

Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) has been fully operational since the end of 2022. It hosts a maximum of three astronauts (compared to 7 on the ISS) at a maximum orbital altitude of 450 kilometers.

However, the ISS, which has spent over two decades in orbit, is expected to be "decommissioned" in 7 years (via a controlled re-entry into the atmosphere). Will this be the moment when China seeks to become the planet's new leading space power?

The program raises many concerns due to the military aspects hidden behind the "politically correct" propaganda. In fact, space has a disturbing background: it is the operational theater for which the superpowers prepare in the event of an armed confrontation.

In the meeting mentioned at the beginning it was highlighted how much they are expanding and investing in their land, sea and air nuclear launch platforms, as well as the infrastructure needed to support them, despite the large expansion of their nuclear forces... they will likely have more than 1.000 nuclear warheads by 2030.

The military satellite network would also be indispensable for the control of hypersonic weapons in which it appears to have gained an advantage over the United States.

While China has shown no (formal) signs of changing its "no-first-use" (NFU) policy, the report notes that there are indications in some military documents that there may be circumstances in which a "derogation".

The Dragon has for some time also been developing modern anti-satellite systems for the domination of space in the event of war and has started collaborations with countries, now under its direct influence, such as Russia and Pakistan.

Yes, and Russia? The Russian space program appears to be in trouble. The Washington Post added – citing a top secret US intelligence document – ​​that "will most likely decline over the next decade"2. International sanctions and the success of SpaceX have evidently reduced a large portion of the revenue deriving from Moscow's space launches.

It is therefore undeniable that, over the past two decades, China has made significant progress in space exploration with astronauts in orbit, space stations and rovers on both the Moon and Mars. However, many fears remain...

In an interview with Politico3 as of last January, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had already warned that if China were to win the space race, it could establish territory on the Moon and dominate areas rich in minerals and other resources or even prevent other countries from making a lunar trip. It's a fact: we are in a space race. It will be better to be careful that they do not arrive in an area on the Moon under the pretext of scientific research and then go beyond the scope of the same by warning: "Stay away, we are here, this is our territory!".

The space race between the United States and China is becoming increasingly fierce, and only one winner could emerge in the coming years.




Photo: Xinhua