back to article New Chinese space plans are all about security and strategy on Earth

Chinese officials have published a new white paper detailing China's aspirations in space for coming years. Most media have chosen to focus on Beijing's vague aspirations toward deep-space and manned exploration, but in fact the concrete details given all point toward a primary emphasis on strategic advantage for China here on …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      My care-o-meter is at zero your "Hurr Amurrica" attitude is obnoxious.

  2. leeeeeb

    The Long March 5 is LOX/Kerosene not Hydrogen. This is considered non polluting, because unlike the current generation of UDMH/N204 based rockets, the fuel won't kill you on contact or contaminate a large area of land if it explodes.

    UDMH/N204 is the favoured liquid fuel for dual use (military) roles as it's storable without refrigeration and the engines are mechanically simpler.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Nitric Acid + Hydrazine, basically?

      Gives people living under the shadow of Baikonour liver failure. Definitely not good stuff.

  3. frank ly

    About not being noticed.....

    "...umbrella of warplanes prevents normal aerial reconnaissance from locating it."

    Anybody who goes around with an umbrella of warplanes is asking to be noticed and the centre of the umbrella is probably where they are.

    1. IglooDude


      but "the centre of the umbrella" really isn't a targeting solution for any ordnance short of a larger nuclear-tipped missle.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        You guys are both right in your own ways

        The thing is you're overthinking it. All they have to do is see the Aircraft on radar and then either get a submarine inside the battle group to get a position on the carrier, or target it with a recon aircraft's laser rangefinder. Its a hell of alot cheaper than Satellites.

        Not to say Recon Satellites don't have their uses, but as far as targeting a carrier goes, its a waste of money when you can do it with other tools with the same degree of efficiency and actually more flexibility than a sat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          All they have to do...

          Forgive my ignorance on these matters but I thought a sizeable part of my tax contributions was spent on making sure other people's submarines didn't get inside battle groups. Has all that money been wasted?

  4. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Once upon a time

    British governments had enough pride to ensure that we had space capability, latest gadgetry and so forth to defend our realm. Now we have 3 rowing boats, an old Spitfire and a couple of soldiers with imported plastic guns and a hundredweight of rules on when they can point them at someone (never).

  5. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    Propaganda ?

    So how much of that can they really deliver ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another typicall sino - phobic trash !

    surely you can do better !,

    you have had enough practice by now !

    1. John 62
      Black Helicopters

      I didn't detect any sino-phobia

      Mr Page merely said that the Chinese are planning to have similar capabilities to those of the USA.

      Even friendly nations should have plans for how to defeat their allies' 'defence' systems.

      Ostensibly we in the UK want big carriers because we want to feel important in the world, that we can do things on our own and that we can also pull our weight in NATO, but really, you want a big carrier because no matter how friendly the US is now, some day they might not be your friend.

  7. FrankAlphaXII


    "US Admirals are much worried these days by Chinese plans to develop missiles capable of knocking out a carrier far out at sea, but in order to launch such a missile successfully you must first find your carrier - which is by no means a simple business without satellites as its umbrella of warplanes prevents normal aerial reconnaissance from locating it"

    Excuse me if I dont follow the logic here though with the disclaimer, Im former US Army, I dont know much about the Navy. Generally, the aircraft that carriers fly can be detected by radar, giving away its location, and finding a carrier battle group with submarines isn't exactly a difficult task. China has had reconnaissance aircraft since the 1970's which could definitely spot a carrier group.

    While they tend to be intercepted and escorted away from the group, but they can still see all of the escort ships as well as the carrier. And if something goes hot, the Aegis cruisers will more than likely knock down pretty much whatever coming in, it gives away where the cruiser, and therefore the carrier, is located. It seems to me that you're implying that a carrier gets deployed by itsself, which is never the case.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Broader surveillance.

      I think the satellites would be more useful for general intelligence gathering. So answering questions like 'Where is the USPACFLT?' China can't answer that with long range patrol aircraft but could with 'scientific research vessels' or trawlers working around the US harbours. With satellites it can watch fleet movements from the comfort of their intel centre. It could watch and time movement and responses to a snap exercise of China's new carriers somewhere in the general direction of Taiwan. But it's already done that with it's Yaogan 6-9 satellites giving China Pacific surveillance and supporting targetting for it's DF-21 missiles. Additional satellites just give China expanded coverage and intelligence gathering capability.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Additional Strategic useage

        Crazy idea but hear me out:

        Optical Tracking of stealth aircraft.


        1 Sat with sufficiently highres imaging

        1 Dedicated rota of monitoring staff or a tracking algorithm

        per airforce base which has the airstrip capabilities for, say, the B2 Spirit Bomber, suddenly Jun Nii Chinaman has 7-10 second old information on stealth aircraft flight paths. The airstrip thing isn't exactly top secret, you could probably find it in an issue of Janes.

        Sure it would only work during the day and maybe have problems with cloud cover, but all of a sudden the $1.2b/plane investment suddenly has (some) limitations on when and where it can deliver total surprise.

  8. Grant 5

    What a surprise

    "But the truth is that - just as with the USA and Russia, and to a significant extent with Europe - China's space programme is all about increasing its security and influence here on Earth, and very little to do with expanding humanity's frontiers out into space"

    Things just never change, all those naive youngers years wishing for change wasted. Bring on the new cold war :(



    With all that equipment in orbit they could search for intelligent life here on Earth?

  10. Randall Shimizu

    At this point it's hard to tell just how much of a threat China's space plans pose to the US. China wants to reach the moon by 2020. By this time the US will have developed a space plane and other scramjet technologies.

    1. Kharkov

      @Randall Shimizu

      A US spaceplane by 2020? No, nope, never, no way, no how, not gonna happen.

      Mini-spaceplanes launched on a rocket don't count and aren't any use anyway.

      Scramjets? Yes but probably only on a range of surface-to-surface missiles. Nothing much involved in getting to orbit. Scramjet tech will be classified, I think, so there will be few, if any, civilian applications that give us low-cost, high-capability to orbit.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      "By this time the US will have broken apart into a loose confederation of sometimes warring states"


    3. MrXavia

      @Randall Shimizu

      "At this point it's hard to tell just how much of a threat China's space plans pose to the US. China wants to reach the moon by 2020. By this time the US will have developed a space plane and other scramjet technologies."

      You Really think that??? the US gov will be lucky to be able to get to the ISS without hitching a lift from Russia, China or a private taxi service...

      Us Brits have a much better chance of having a working space plane by 2020 than the US of A does.. At least we have boffins (private company tho) working on a space plane, NASA just retired its rusting (metaphorically) space truck..

      1. Joe Cooper

        If private companies count, you should now we have -several- spacecraft projects going, one having recently orbited and another (small spaceplane) in orbit now along with two inflatable station prototypes in orbit right now and (FWIW) a few suborbitals.

        Skylon? Is not funded.

        Good luck.

        1. Kharkov

          @Joe Cooper

          If private companies count, you should know we have -several- spacecraft projects going, one having recently orbited and another (small spaceplane) in orbit now along with two inflatable station prototypes in orbit right now and (FWIW) a few suborbitals.

          Skylon? Is not funded.

          You have SpaceX's Dragon CAPSULE with Boeing's CST-100 CAPSULE coming along afterwards. It's nice to have capsules but they're hardly revolutionary (but Dragon is pretty nifty if they can get the onboard re-entry/landing engines to work right).

          Kudos to SpaceX and Boeing for working to lower the cost of access-to-orbit but theirs is an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary step like Skylon.

          The small spaceplane to which you refer is the X-37B (with the larger X-37C coming in a year or so) but that's the province of the Air Force and it still needs a rocket to get it up there. I've mentioned in other posts how useless (and worse than useless) it is from a civilian/commerical POV.

          Skylon is privately funded and currently has as much money as it needs. Come the end of April, assuming the pre-cooler/frost control test goes well, Reaction Engines will receive more money and will start to negotiate with an Aerospace consortium (BAE, Airbus etc) to discuss manufacturing & flight testing.

          In summary, Skylon's doing ok and is expected to keep doing ok.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Glad to know someone else likes Skylon's chances!

            Wouldn't it be great to get a British Space program going so many years after giving up launch capabilities, odd claim to fame Britain has, the only country to develop space flight (unmanned) and then give it up

        2. MrXavia

          Skylon may not be fully funded, but they have a good chance of getting more funding once they prove the Sabre engine. I was mainly saying that they (a British company) has a better chance of a space plane than the USA government does, (and that is a slim chance funding wise so I doubt Skylon will see the light of day until way beyond 2020).

          I agree totally that the US Private companies are much more likely to get into space next with a manned vessel, and I bet at a fraction of NASA's costs and complexity.

          I'm looking forward to the next few years developments in US private space flight.

  11. johnwerneken
    Thumb Up

    of course BUT

    China has every right and reason to match others in doing things to protect itself and its interests. BUT.

    China has greater reasons to push farther...more people, enormous reasons to try to distract them OR to grow their collective pie...a chance here to be FIRST not just Me Too. Maybe THEY will start, or scare others into starting, the investments to make space (where the energy resources and room are to be found) profitable to Earth...the basic step before either serious exploration or colonization is possible.

  12. Keith T

    The French and Chinese are right to refuse to be vassal states

    The French and Chinese are right to refuse to be vassal states to a vast aggressive war-mongering empire.

    Shame on us (and David Cameron) for accepting the legacy Tony Blair gave us.

  13. Keith T

    Worst case China follows the USA into bankruptcy driven by military spending

    The good news is that if China goes further and fully follows the US lead into mega spending on an aggressive warrior culture it will follow the USA into bankruptcy.

    I suspect the Chinese see that and will only go half way.

    If they go half-way they'll overtake the USA anyways, because the US's military will be forced into cutbacks by the US civilian economy which is being killed by taxes to support imperialist aggression, and to support mega millionaire investment dealer hucksters.

    Ron Paul is probably the USA's only hope.

    1. ChrisM

      I'd rather vote for Ron Jeremy myself

  14. Local Group

    Sauce for the gander a la Peking

    "New Chinese space plans are all about security and strategy on Earth."

    "Nothing much to do with manned or deep space exploring"

    Don't you think the same thing can be said about the West's 'manned or deep space exploring'?

    Except that the once affluent US and EU know how to put on a more more convincing dumb show than the parvenu Chinese and used to have the money to mount very elaborate productions.

  15. Knochen Brittle

    Shock + Horror, more Revelations of the Foreign-Devils' Perfidy by-Jingo SeaLord Page

    I mean, can you fellow loyal drones fathom the absolutely unmitigated gall of these bloody Chinko ingrates, after all we've done to instruct them in the LORD's Way, actually being more interested in living well and free in their current time on Earth than in some heavenly fantasy future? How the imperialism-blinkered brain must righteously bridle at such preposterous impertinence from those who should in an orderly fashion still be suckling on our East-Indian opium teat, too crack-addled to very sensibly prepare a check-mate for the run-amok 'Western' Great Game of power politics [a.k.a. warcriminal rape and pillage]?

    But, of course, that CANNOT ever happen, because we are the Chosen Mafia MasterRace, having 'Gott-mit-Uns' stamped on mind, money, monarch, marching in harmonious Gleichschaltung ever onwards, beating a snare-drum and tooting a tin trumpet towards our Manifest Destiny of Full-Spectrum-Domination or -Bankruptcy, whichever may be the firster.

    However, if, Betsy forfend, the unthinkable DID happen ... that would logically mean Gott hat not actually been mit Uns at all and the whole Xtian-supremacist-chauvanist-racist ideology to which we forlornly cling had in fact been carelessly constructed upon some rather crumbly medieval myths ... NO! OH NO! And thrice times NOES! therein lieth Weltanschauungskollaps ... thus Denkverbot! Must remember the preachings of RAND Corp., resist Beelzebub's temptations and keep mentally circling the drain as we circle the waggons to slaughter the incalcitrant savages in one glorious last hurrah ... dutifully dry-humping the White Man's Burden til the Seven Seals bust wide, for behold, lest not the CFR hath prophesied in vain.

    Meanwhile, back in the world of political sanity unihabited by the surrealist Dead-Enders of Imperialist Yesteryear, everyone knows that NASA's moonshots and Trekkie blather of 'expanding humanity's frontiers out into space' was never more than a convenient PR-cover for an inter-generational budget-milking operation to develop the technology necessary for the US militarization of space. With the GPS now in place, the pretense has largely been dumped along with most staff. Nevertheless, we Dead-Enders must insist the Chinese adhere to our time-honoured tradition of hypocrisy, otherwise lesser lights may also penetrate our tattered propaganda, which simply won't do because ... GOTO Godly recursive loop.


    PS: In a related interesting case of tech-overreliance becoming an unintended playing-field leveller, since it has gotten to the stage that the US Army [entry reqmt: IQ>=60 or ability to shout HOO-AHR!] cannot find its own grossly proportioned ass in daylight without a GPaSs tracker, the fear of losing this crucial space-crutch cum mental stent is an increasingly significant impediment to the Pentagon's reflexive aggression against any selected 'foe' sufficiently competent to cripple the system in retaliation. e.g. if the Yankee Generalissimos decide to ape out their fantasies on Iran, can they be sure their precious addictive GPaSs would survive the first 48hrs of battle ... if not, what is the immediate military effect of its disablement, plus time and cost to replacement, including economic knock-on? A rather cold and caustic cud for our foam-flecked warmonglers to chow down upon, methinks. SeaLord, quick and sternly cajole the wavering minions bowed afore ye, 'ere the first one lifts his head in Schönster aller Zweifel*!

    PPS: SeaLord, mush on with that 'Victory Parade' article crowing over the 'democratic' WMD-free dungheap your type of genius deposited in Iraq ~ some of the usual sheep are starting to mince nervously and mutter mutiny when, instead of the promised Sugarcandy Mountain, they are presented with the more hefty interim bill for the warcriminal misadventure offwhich you've grated your rocks this many's the year.

    * from the poem 'Lob des Zweifels' by Bertolt Brecht, 1938

    Schönster aller Zweifel aber

    Wenn die Verzagten, Geschwächten den Kopf heben und

    An die Stärke ihrer Unterdrücker

    Nicht mehr glauben.


    But the fairest doubt of all

    when the timid, weakened the head araise and

    in their oppressor's strength

    no longer believe.

    1. Local Group
      Thumb Up

      A Daniel come to judgement

      I'll try to upvote you again.

    2. Local Group
      Thumb Down

      “The actions of your past determine the reality of your future."

      "The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901 between the Qing Empire of China and the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) plus Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands after China's defeat in the intervention to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the hands of the Eight-Power Expeditionary Force. It is often regarded as one of the Unequal Treaties.

      Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan. The term is also applied to treaties imposed during the same time frame on late Joseon Dynasty Korea by the post-Meiji Restoration Empire of Japan.

      The treaties were often signed by these Asian states after suffering military defeat in various skirmishes or wars with the foreign powers or when there was a threat of military action by those powers.

      The term "unequal treaty" did not come into use until early in the 20th century. These treaties were considered unequal in China "because they were not negotiated by nations treating each other as equals but were imposed on China after a war, and because they encroached upon China's sovereign rights ... which reduced her to semicolonial status".[1] In many cases China was effectively forced to pay large amounts of reparations, open up ports for trade, cede or lease territories (such as Hong Kong to Great Britain and Macau to Portugal), and make various other concessions of sovereignty to foreign "spheres of influence", following military defeats.

      In Western countries, it was also known as the Treaty of 1901, Peace Agreement between the Great Powers and China. The full name of the protocol is Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, United States and China—Final Protocol for the Settlement of the Disturbances of 1900, reflecting its nature as a diplomatic protocol rather than a peace treaty at the time of signature.

      450 million taels of silver were to be paid as indemnity over a course of 39 years to the eight nations involved. Under the exchange rates at the time, 450 million taels was equal to US$ 335 million gold dollars or £67 million, approximately equal to US$6.653 billion today.

      The Chinese paid the indemnity in gold on a rising scale with a 4% interest charge until the debt was amortized on December 31, 1940. After 39 years, the amount was almost 1 billion taels (precisely US$ 982,238,150).

      The sum was to be distributed as follows: Russia 28.97%, Germany 20.02%, France 15.75%, United Kingdom 11.25%, Japan 7.73%, United States 7.32%, Italy 7.32%, Belgium 1.89%, Austria-Hungary 0.89%, Netherlands 0.17%, and Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Norway 0.025%。 Also, additional 16,886,708 taels was paid at local level in 17 provinces. By 1938, 652.37 million taels had been paid. The interest rate (of 4% per annum) was to be paid semi-annually with the first payment being the July 1, 1902.

      The Qing government was also to allow the foreign countries to base their troops in Beijing. In addition, the foreign powers had placed the Empress Cixi on their list of war criminals, although provincial officers such as Li Hongzhang and Yuan Shikai defended her, claiming that she had no control whatsoever over the whole escapade. She was later removed from the list, though she was to step down from power and discontinue any participation in the affairs of state." (From Wikipedia. Citations advised)

  16. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    Ah, Lewis-Little, the Sky Is Falling

    and it's all the fault of THOSE DASTARDLY CHINESE !...

    With the demise of the Soviet Union, whatever would we do to keep those enormous military budgets intact, without a plethora of Emmanuel Goldsteins sporting an epicanthal fold ( those «Aryan» Iranians don't really cut the mustard) ?!!...


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lewis bashing ...

    ... is no bad thing in itself (one good kick for every unnecessarily derogatory remark about the RAF should see him in intensive care for a while) but what exactly is anti Chinese in his article. He concentrates on the military / intel aspects of the Chinese space program with commendable reality. Does anyone seriously believe the main impact of the plan to be any different?

    The Chinese government is looking after its own interests, so should we. Lessons from history notwithstanding, it is not anti-Chinese to consider how best to act in today's world.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021