Space

Astronauts (from left) Ye Guangfu, Wang Yaping and Zhai Zhigang wave during a ceremony ahead of the launch of the Long March-2F Y13 rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft and them in China's second crewed mission to build its own space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 15 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can commercial space programmes take off in China?

EAI academic Qian Jiwei notes that as China’s space capabilities increase, the field is being opened up to private companies. This move is likely to spark off greater innovation and efficiency for the industry and give China a leg up in the space race, but challenges exist in offering targeted policies and managing innovative outputs.
A child stands near a giant screen showing the image of the Tianhe space station at China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, 24 April 2021. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

India-China space race: The role of the private sector

As geopolitical competition among global powers extends into outer space, major players are looking at how the private sector can play a bigger part in the space race and boost national space venturing capabilities. Yogesh Joshi and Ashmita Rana note that while India's space expenditure stands at only one-sixth of China's, and the latter seems to be leading the way in working with its private space firms, India's great ambitions and edge over China in working with global partners may give it a greater push to catch up.
A staff member walks near a poster with an illustration of China's space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 14 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

In a US-China war, will the first blow be struck in space?

Recent Chinese animosity against Elon Musk and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites attests to the understanding that information systems will be key in future warfare. If there comes a day when SpaceX’s envisioned 42,000 Starlink satellites are deployed and positioned, it would technically be feasible to put up a “space blockade” against the enemy. Evidently, both China and the US see the strategic implications and are stepping up the space race.
SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks on a screen during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, 29 June 2021. (Nacho Doce/File Photo/Reuters)

Elon Musk and the new China-US space race

A Chinese space station’s near-collision with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites has Chinese internet pundits wondering if this is another ploy by the US to contain China’s space progress and steal China’s space technologies. Is a new China-US space race in the offing? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
Western media has reported that China has sent hypersonic weapons into orbit. (Internet/CNS/SPH)

What’s real (and not) about China’s hypersonic weapons tests

China’s recent tests of hypersonic weapons has attracted the attention of the West, which is wary about what this rapid progress might mean. On its part, China is downplaying these tests as “routine”, and emphasising that they are helpful to eventually reduce the costs of space technology. Is the US overreacting and playing the “victim”, while having its own agenda?
Visitors look at models of military equipment displayed at the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) booth at Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, 28 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Taiwan and Indo-Pacific are the primary targets of China’s hypersonic glide vehicle

Recent news that China had launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle sounded an alarm. Mastery of such technology would mean that China would gain speed, manoeuvrability and surprise in their response, and the fine balance among nuclear-armed states could be upset. From China’s perspective, their nuclear deterrent would be more credible and they would be better able to defend their interests vis-à-vis Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. No matter the intentions, this might mean rattled nerves and an increased presence of US missile defence systems in the Indo-Pacific.
US President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor chip as he speaks prior to signing an executive order, aimed at addressing a global semiconductor chip shortage, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, US, 24 February 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

America turning to state intervention to win US-China tech war

Analyst Zheng Weibin notes that heightened US-China competition means a technological edge will be key. To safeguard that advantage, the US may rely on state intervention in the science and technology sector, while tapping on its alliance network. How will this approach affect China and the world?
A giant screen shows a view of earth from the Tianhe core module of China's space station, at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, 18 June 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Will the US be left out of China’s space station projects?

When the US started the International Space Station (ISS) in the 1990s, China was not part of the programme. While many think that China was left out, others say that China spearheaded its own spaceflight programme and never asked to be included in the ISS. Now, with China’s Tiangong space station project well underway, it could push ahead and lead the space exploration race when the ISS expires in 2024. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explores the implications.
Staff members examine the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

China’s strides in technology good for US and the world

Adherence to IP protection and the rule of law are common and valid concerns of US and Western practitioners doing business in China. Commentator Deng Qingbo says that in that light, China’s recent stated focus on technological innovation should be cheered, as science, rational thinking, abiding by the rules, and even democracy often go together. At the same time, the Chinese need to better communicate their desire to share the fruits of their technological advancements with the rest of the world.