The United States made strong accusations against China by claiming that the communist regime has clear intentions to “conquer” the moon as part of a “military space program.”
The two powers engaged in a verbal battle over the issue of “conquering space.” It was inevitably reminiscent of the dispute over the race to the moon between the United States and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.
“There is a new race to space, this time with China,” NASA director Bill Nelson told the German newspaper Bild.
NASA has announced that it hopes to carry out a new manned visit to the moon in 2025. However, more and more versions emerge that Beijing’s intentions go much further. Among its space plans is its intention to create a military base on the moon and acquire sovereignty over the closest natural satellite to planet Earth.
“We should be very concerned that China is landing on the moon and claiming: now it’s ours and you stay out,” warned Nelson during the interview.
At the same time, the official also revealed that Chinese astronauts are being trained to destroy other countries’ satellites and that the regime’s intelligence apparatus has stolen ideas and technology from other countries to take advantage of their space projects.
According to Nelson, the Beijing authorities have been developing technology for several years to “trap” satellites with robotic arms, holding them in place with powerful nets or even destroying them. The regime’s excuse for developing these technologies is that it would allow them to “clean up” their space junk. Still, allegations indicate that the ultimate purpose is to take other countries’ satellites out of circulation.
Chinese regime seeks to dominate space
Earlier this year, the Chinese regime announced its plan to carry out more than 40 launches into space in 2022, confirming its intentions to carry out an actual space race in which it intends to surpass leading countries such as the United States.
China, meanwhile, continues to build its space station without giving further details to the international community about the targets it plans to explore and their scope. Currently, the station has a module in operation where three astronauts are already living permanently.
Among the launches planned for this year, China expects to be able to attach at least two more modules weighing approximately 66 tons, which is equivalent to a quarter of the International Space Station (ISS).
The Chinese space station is being developed in Earth orbit under the name Tiangong, meaning “heavenly place.” The first module was named Tianhe and was launched in May 2021. By the end of this year, they expect to finish the construction of Tiangong.
The Chinese space station could function as a springboard to their more ambitious goal: to form, together with Russia, a space station on the moon. The Chinese regime and the Russian government pledged further space cooperation in early February as part of a ‘no limits’ partnership when President Putin visited President Xi Jinping in Beijing shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Many security experts have warned that the Chinese regime’s space program is a direct military threat to the United States and the world.
In December 2021, Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force, sounded alarm bells when he publicly stated that China is developing its space capabilities at “twice the rate” of the United States.
“The fact, that in essence, on average, they are building and fielding and updating their space capabilities at twice the rate we are means that very soon, if we don’t start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us,” Gen. Thompson said, adding, “2030 is not an unreasonable estimate.”
Rep. Jim Cooper echoed Thompson’s remarks, noting that U.S. private industry is far more committed to the space race against China than the U.S. Air Force itself.
While he acknowledged that the federal government is investing a lot of money in the Space Force, he warned that it is not enough to tackle such a sensitive issue. Instead, he suggested that efforts must be concentrated to take advantage of the imagination and investment of billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and even exceed them.
NATO warns of possible space attacks
Earth’s orbit is no longer just a space of mystery and research. Over the last decades, hundreds of satellites have been sent up and comprise a vital element of the functioning of all technological systems on planet Earth.
Everything that happens on the Internet, telephone communications, security systems, financial systems, and so many other issues of the normal functioning of our daily lives depend on these satellites orbiting the Earth.
Organizations and world leaders have expressed concern about the lack of regulations in Earth orbit and the vulnerability in terms of security.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has taken action and, on January 17, published a series of measures defining its “general space policy.” It’s intended to protect its members from potential space attacks, citing specific threats that could lead to major catastrophes.
The document officially published by the NATO allies indicates that their collective defense principles will no longer be limited to the terrestrial plane but will also extend to outer space in response to several identified threats that could significantly impact society.
The UK Space Command, a major NATO ally, expressed its support for the policy via a statement on Twitter: “Space is a congested & competitive domain which is increasingly important for civilian and military activities.”
Currently, around two thousand satellites orbit the Earth, and more than half of these were launched and are operated by NATO members.
While NATO did not specifically name China, it is understood that part of the concern is the Chinese regime’s rapid growth in space, its history of information theft, and its explicit intention to compete with the United States for global and space leadership.
As expected, the authorities of the communist regime denied the accusations made by groups and officials during the last period, including the recent denunciation made by Bill Nelson, director of NAS. Instead, arguing that their incursions into space are entirely peaceful and with the sole purpose of generating knowledge.