31 Dec '13, 8pm

China: The Next Space Superpower

For the opening ceremony of the 64th International Astronautical Congress in Beijing this past September, the Chinese hosts pulled out all the stops. Acrobats bounded against a backdrop of starry skies, dancers in bulky spacesuits lumbered across the stage, and opera singers sang songs of love under a glowing neon moon. Throughout the weeklong conference, Chinese officials spoke proudly of developing their lunar exploration program, building a heavy-lift rocket, constructing a spaceport, and planning an orbital space station. As 2014 dawns, China has the most active and ambitious space program in the world. “They are having launches, and in the United States we’re in gridlock,” says Joan Johnson-Freese , a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, in Newport, R.I. “The Chinese will have a rover onthe moon, and we’re still developing PowerPoints for programs that don’t get a...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/china-the...

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