China, last week, became the third country to guide a spacedraft onto the moon, and send the Jade Rabbit rover to a three-month long lunar exploration. The USA and Russia are the two other countries that have managed to accomplish similar “soft landings”.
Space exploration, for China, will be a key driver for enchancing technological expertise, military strength and country status.
Peter Schwartz , in his latest book (Learnings from the Long View, 2013) suggests that it is plausible to see, in the near future, a new space race, with China playing the role of the Soviet Union during the 60’s. We also might see a race to Mars or to stake claims to mineral rich Asteroids.
- In the satellite technology race, China hitched a ride from Europe :The Chinese Navigation System, called Beidou, came from a technology partnership between Beijing and the European Union. The Chinese essentially supported the European satellite-navigation initiative, called Galileo, that was meant to rival two existing networks: the dominant Global Positioning System of the United States, or GPS, and Russia’s GLONASS. Sixteen Beidou satellites are now in orbit, with the network scheduled to expand to 30 when fully deployed by 2020. Europe’s Galileo is expected to become operational next year with 18 satellites. When fully deployed by 2020, the EU constellation will also have 30 satellites. (Source: Reuters)