A prominent talking point about the race for space domination is that China is poised to take over as the dominant global space power.
While NASA and private companies such as SpaceX continue their progress, China is watching. And learning.
In a CNN opinion piece, Eric Berger, author of “LIFTOFF: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days that Launched SpaceX,” says “communism is learning from capitalism.”
He cites a prominent example from 2019 in which a Chinese rocket was found – via close-up photos on social media – to have small grid fins virtually identical I design to those SpaceX uses on its Falcon 9 rocket.
So there you go, Elon Musk: Keep the train rolling because mighty China is copying your blueprints.
The Musk-type entreprenuers in China, too, are taking their swings; not just the government.
According to the CNN piece, semi-private Chinese firms LinkSpace and Galactic Energy have “released schematics that seem to mimic SpaceX technology.”
Last month, the Chinese government reached a deal with Russia to work together to build a Moon base.
And one of Musk’s favorite pursuits – Mars missions – is also in China’s planning phases.
But it’s not all bad.
From U.S. News and World Report: “China on Wednesday confirmed it has traded data with NASA regarding their respective Mars missions – a major advancement in cooperation … in a relationship that is otherwise becoming dangerously adversarial.”
In the coming months, China seeks to become the second country (behind the U.S.) to land and operate a rover on Mars.
From Berger: “For now, the U.S. and NASA have the advantage of a more robust space program … (but) unless Congress and NASA more closely embrace commercial space and follow a bold plan of exploration, China’s constancy of purpose and mimicking of Western strengths will overcome this head start.”