In the battle for space supremacy, China has been NASA’s most worthy competitor. Earlier this year, the Chinese launched into orbit the Shenzhou 11. Although it doesn’t seem like much, this is one of the country’s most important steps, bringing the Chinese space program closer to sending human crews to the moon. The ultimate goal is to ultimately send manned units to Mars.
By the end of 2036, China plans to land its space explorers on the moon and shortly after on Mars. However, there are other reasons for NASA’s competitors to win this race. The most important one is that the president, Xi Jinping relies on the space program to pay some impressive economic dividends. He hopes that the future space missions will boost a string of innovations in artificial intelligence, robotics, and aviation departments.
According to the director-general of the National Space Science Center, Wu Ji, China is currently reviewing a proposal to invest threefold into scientific and space missions forwarded by the country’s top researchers. The ultimate goal is to improve the building quality and performance of future telescopes or upgrade the satellite’s navigation systems. Moreover, the state officials also look to give birth to new private companies that will develop the technology required to conquer space or revive the enterprises already owned by the state.
As a result, landing manned spacecrafts on the moon and eventually Mars will significantly boost China’s economy. Wu Ji is looking forward to Chinese scientists and researchers developing groundbreaking technologies in order to rejuvenate the economy. The state officials have put into place a five-year plan that focuses primarily on original discoveries and achievements. Mainly in the space technology department and fundamental sciences.
Hence, the economic strategy presented in the plan will require that as much as 70 percent of the key components will be manufactured within China’s borders. Such pieces of equipment mainly consist of software and semiconductors.
In order to achieve this goal, Wu Ji has requested a substantial boost in government funding. Between 2011 and 2015, the space program had a budget of approximately $695 million. Now, Wu Ji has requested the Chinese government to fund the space program with roughly $2.3 billion between 2016 and 2030.
Even though the NASA budget is still considerably larger, the Chinese officials didn’t even invest in their space program one decade ago, according to Wu. Instead, China only focused on political projects or military equipment and consequently invested into building military satellites, rockets, or aircrafts.
Image Source: Pixabay