posted on Oct, 18 2003 @ 09:08 PM
hina's successful launching of a man into space last week was a technological triumph for a still-developing nation. The flight came more than four
decades after the pioneering orbital flights of the Soviet Union and the United States and relied heavily on Russian technologies. Although Chinese
space leaders are talking grandly of trips to the moon and Mars, this modest first step should not reignite the global space race that died out with
the end of the cold war.
China's first step into low Earth orbit was a brief 21-hour flight in which Yang Liwei circled the globe 14 times and then landed safely in the
grasslands of Inner Mongolia. His spacecraft was based on the Russian Soyuz design but had been enlarged and upgraded by the Chinese themselves.
Chinese officials now talk of establishing a small space laboratory in coming years, followed by exploration of the moon and a mission to Mars several
decades from now. But whether they can develop pioneering technologies, not just adapt old Russian designs, is yet to be determined.
China's space program seems fueled by the same factors that propelled the American and Russian programs, namely a desire to enhance national
prestige, awe rival powers, spur technological advances and promote high-tech exports. The feat is already having some impact in Asia, where a Tokyo
newspaper greeted the flight with a headline: "Japan Shocked at Being Placed Way Behind." That ignores the fact that Japan and the European powers
could clearly have done the same thing years ago but chose instead to concentrate on other space activities.
Fears have been expressed that China's manned space program may have military implications. The program could indeed spur development of materials,
robotic systems and other technologies that could be used for military purposes, and conceivably even lead to manned reconnaissance vehicles in orbit.
But orbiting battle fleets seem more nightmarish than real. Instead of fearing the nascent Chinese program, we should welcome it as another way to get
crews and cargo into space at a time of crisis, like that which has grounded the entire American shuttle fleet.
So now china has become the third nation to join the elite space club ...how is it going to affect the way we live and how American influence in asia
China is now scraping its way towards superpower status so it can be economically and technologically on par with the united states. This launch
achieved nothing but a publicity coup for the commies on an unimaginable scale.
Slowly but surely they're scraping their way towards us.