Dragon space (That is how Space Daily vividly parks its articles on China) seems to be upon us as perceptions of the credibility gaps of China’s $6b human spaceflight programme are beginning to be put paid with its recent space docking success. Dr Morris Jones takes a close look at the acceleration of China’s space program, a part the Chinese see as one vital cog in developing comprehensive national power.
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China’s Space Program Accelerates
by Morris Jones, Sydney, Australia
for SpaceDaily, published June 29, 2012
The success of the first crewed expedition to China’s first space laboratory represents a major step forward for China’s space program. China has made steady advances in spaceflight since its first astronaut was launched in 2003, but its space program has often been downplayed by international observers.
It was easy to point out the gap of several decades between China’s first astronaut launch and those of Russia and the USA. Gaps of years between successive human space missions further added to the perception that China was moving almost too slowly to notice.
The launch of the Tiangong 1 module and its successful operations with astronauts from the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft is more than just another steady step forward. It represents a substantial increase in China’s space capabilities, which are growing far more quickly than even some aerospace analysts are prepared to admit.