China's space ambitions shift into higher orbit.
China, after its successful and world-best voyage to the other side of the moon, is preparing to build a solar power plant in space as the world's number two economy is trying to improve its superpower skills. With an annual budget of US $ 8 billion for the space program, which ranks second only to the US, China seeks to compete with its rival for economic, military and technological hegemony.
Scientists have already begun to build an experimental base in the western Chinese city Chongqing Initially, they plan to build a smaller power plant in the stratosphere between 2021
Here's what China has done in space:
The nation's space explorers had successfully landed a lunar probe on the other side of the moon on January 3, marking a series of limited missions and China's Strengthen ambitions. Landing in the unexplored region will allow Chang & # 39; e-4, the Rover named after the mythical moon goddess, to better study the moon due to the Earth's lack of electromagnetic interference. The vehicle is equipped with a low-frequency radio spectrometer so that scientists can understand "how the first stars were detonated and how our cosmos emerged from the darkness after the Big Bang," the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said.
] Inspired by 2015's science fiction film "The Martian" starring Matt Damon, China's moon mission also tests whether the barren moon can sustain life. Images returned by Chang & # 39; e-4 last month showed the first green leaf of cottonseed nine days after the experiment began, according to Chongqing University, which led the biological project. The test cargo on the mission carried cotton, oilseed rape, potatoes, yeast and fruit fly.
China has more such missions in the pipeline. Four more versions of the Chang'e probe are in the pipeline, at least two of which are planned to land at the South Pole of the Moon, said Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration. The agency will also explore the establishment of a research base on the moon. A Mars probe is expected to take place at the end of this decade.
China plans to build its own space station around 2022. Tiangong or Heavenly Palace will have a core module and two additional experiments modules that together weigh 66 tons and can carry three people, with a planned lifecycle of at least 10 years. The facility would be used for scientific research in a dozen areas such as biology, physics and materials science.
President Xi Jinping has eased the government's monopoly on the space launch and fueled the creation of small domestic companies with dreams such as Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Jeff Bezos & # 39; Blue Origin and Richard Bransons Virgin galactic. The startups receive funding from China-based venture capitalists and private equity investors and can also rely on the expertise of rocket scientists from China's space program.
China is a rivalry with the US At least $ 9 billion must be spent on building a navigation system to reduce the dependency on GPS, whose satellites are those of smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in the throat Your dog and guided missiles used to transmit position data. All of these satellites are controlled by the US Air Force, which makes the Chinese government uncomfortable. Therefore, an alternative called the Beidou Navigation System has been developed, which, with the aid of a ground support system, allows positioning accuracy of no more than 1 meter.
Asian power continues to evolve in space capabilities such as "satellite inspection and repair" and cleanup of surrounding rubbish – "at least some of them could act as weapons against US satellites," said US Defense Intelligence this month. China's Foreign Ministry said the US allegations are "groundless."