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  • Morning Bell: China Threatening U.S. Space Superiority

    Yesterday in New York City, NASA’s last space shuttle astronauts visited a World War II aircraft carrier-turned-museum docked on the west side of Manhattan. The carrier is one of four museums where retired NASA shuttles will go to rest now that the historic shuttle program has ended.

    But as NASA sends its shuttles to museums, China is making great strides in its space program—with preparations under way for the launch of a Chinese spacelab in the next few weeks. These advances are beginning to threaten U.S. space superiority and America’s ability to support its friends and allies and to deter aggression.

    In a new paper, China’s Space Program: A Growing Factor in U.S. Security Planning, The Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng explains the advances in China’s space program and how America must respond.

    In the past several years, China’s space efforts have become increasingly prominent. Recent Chinese achievements have included the third manned Shenzhou mission and a space walk, expansion of the indigenous Chinese Compass satellite navigation system, and deployment of a range of new remote sensing satellites, such as the Yaogan series . . .

    China’s space efforts are not simply the actions of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or efforts at political signaling to obtain a space arms control treaty, as some have posited. Rather, these actions occur within a particular strategic and military context.

    The PLA has concluded that the high ground of space is essential to the information gathering, transmission, and exploitation necessary to fight and win future wars. And China’s efforts to secure space dominance will entail hard-kill and soft-kill measures aimed at satellites, ground facilities, and data links and will incorporate active and passive defenses for its own space facilities. Cheng also explains that it remains unclear how the Chinese look at military space operations during a crisis, particularly given the poor Chinese track record in crisis management. But the potential for inadvertent escalation is real.

    All of those factors point to a need for the United States to increase its understanding of China’s space capabilities and space decision-making system, while maintaining a robust military space capability. Cheng writes:

    An increasingly important part of national security, including deterrence, depends on space capabilities. For the United States, the ability to secure space superiority, which has not been an issue since the end of the Cold War, is integral to its ability to fight wars in the American way. For the PRC, the ability to secure space dominance and to deny it to an opponent will likely become an increasingly important part of their national security planning.

    As Beijing expands its space program, the United States must maintain and expand robust space capabilities, develop alternatives to space-based systems to reduce American vulnerability, and increase U.S. knowledge and understanding of Chinese space capabilities. Only then will the United States be able to maintain its superiority in space so that it can defend itself, its friends, and allies.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    50 Responses to Morning Bell: China Threatening U.S. Space Superiority

    1. RUKIDDIN says:

      OBAMA! Had enough?

      • Joyce Clark says:

        Could it be..am I crazy or did we just donate another plane as we did in Kosovo..we will see in a couple of years, wont we. Right after the HELICOPTER…I dont believe we could do much more..our debt to China should be PAID IN FULL.

    2. twister says:

      Thanks to Obama, America has lost it's space superiority. We can no longer put astronauts into space but must now rely on the Russians and soon the Chinese. Scientifically, we have retrogressed to a non-entity. Sad but true.

    3. James Reese says:

      I'm sorry but I am disgusted by the United States in Space. Bunch of useless people who can''t figure out that Space is the next logical step for the whole of humanity but now we have these loser people in charge who continue to look inward instead of outward. Disgusted pure an simple.

    4. Robert, TX says:

      Yes, we should not have given up our advantage in space, but how are we going to PAY for it? Our "making government smaller" republican House could only manage to cut $350 million in spending, we have 100 million welfare recipients (and growing daily) combined with a growing senior population with social security and medicare needs. It is time for us to send THEM a message by FIRING CONGRESS!!!

      • Busapha says:

        Robert, we could cut welfare cost by an estimated 50% by drug testing recipients and where does it say that non-citizens get social security? People who have paid into SS all their lives should get a return but, in the case of financially comfortable individuals, they could be paid with an insurance type program that would be paid out to their heirs over time. The problem is that Liberals think they want to live under communism and have no idea what it would be like. China, North Korea, Cuba have no welfare programs nor do they have an EPA. We Americans, who have the right to that title, have been asleep too long and let the creeping crud get ahead of us. I am pushing Rick Perry as hard as I can and my decisions are not going to be watered down by people who start their sentences with "it may be".

    5. cagintx says:

      Given that we can't pay for much of anything without borrowing money from China this seems like another wasted daily on Heritage's part. Please stick to problems that we can solve.

    6. Donald McGovern says:

      In a manner of speaking we already "owe our soul to the company store." I am referring to our national debt to China. I wouldn't want to see China get the jump on us as far as our space defense is concerned.

    7. sdfultz says:

      American paranoid illusions of why we should deficiet spend, Remember we're broke.

    8. Mortal Coil says:

      Energy is also a subject for the Space Program – Solar Energy harnessed via Space/Satellites where Japan leads in terms of investment and China close behind. U.S. Investment in this space is a non-starter. The investment and requirements in terms of space capabilities would assist in job creation but failure to venture in this arena will continue to impact Chinese influence over our future and economics.

    9. Larry Klassen says:

      It isn't China that threatens our space superiority, it is the irresponsible spending of Congress and the President.

    10. Emily Armstrong says:

      With China seeming to become the World's leading nation and the way our President is handling our economy, I believe that if it does not stop our nation will become totally impotent.

    11. Jerry Bateman, FL says:

      Thank you Mike for framing the discussion regarding our perceived weakness to China and other countries that would like to see our American way of life compromised. Space exploration is just one area of our defense system that has become vulnerable. Our country is expected to be strong not only by our citizens, but the citizens of other peaceful countries across the world. We must fight for space superiority to maintain our safety in the world just like we must maintain military superiority to deter attacks from countries that want to harm us or dominate us. I believe that our country is more at risk of attack now than ever before. Our vulnerability is directly related to our weak leadership in Washington, DC! This situation must change or our citizens will pay the price of our government's complacentcy. It is my prayer that our leaders will wake up and make the changes necessary to secure our superiority.

      • William Alford says:

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. We not only have weak leadership in DC we have a group of entrenched elected officials there that are nothing but goddamned crooks and outlaws posing as statesmen.

    12. Jerry Bateman, FL says:

      Thank you Mike for framing the discussion regarding our perceived weakness to China and other countries that would like to see our American way of life compromised. Space exploration is just one area of our defense system that has become vulnerable. Our country is expected to be strong not only by our citizens, but the citizens of other peaceful countries across the world. We must fight for space superiority to maintain our safety in the world just like we must maintain military superiority to deter attacks from countries that want to harm us or dominate us. I believe that our country is more at risk of attack now than ever before. Our vulnerability is directly related to our weak leadership in Washington, DC! This situation must change or our citizens will pay the price of our government's complacency. It is my prayer that our leaders will wake up and make the changes necessary to secure our superiority.

    13. Clearhead says:

      Dear useful idiots —

      You didn't listen to Ronald Reagan, and now there is no one to listen to.

      • Joseph Tan says:

        Ronald Reagan was the colossal beginning of American deficit mess. With Bush cutting tax on the rich only increased the cause for the empty kitty.

    14. Frank says:

      "China Threatening U.S. Space Superiority"

      This is a perfect example of our misplaced spending priorities. We continue to fund & have massive borrowing for our welfare/warfare state, but fail to invest in the future critical programs. The Chinese are 100% correct in going for the "high ground" & are smartly investing strategically in dominating outer space.

      Obama & his advisors are steering this nation into oblivion.

    15. Paul says:

      Let's face it, we never have a real long range for anything in this country. We always need a crisis to work under because this is the best way for the U.S. Congress to spend in a reckless manner as we have in Iraq. Now that China is feeling growing pains and we are in serious deep debt to them, they are in a position to over take us in many areas starting with industrial growth, military growth and Space. We are taking a back seat in all of these areas. Thanks to the U.S. Congress, we are paying for China's overall growth with one-trillion dollars of debt interest. Our 2-party system is a failure. Believe in the Tea Party.

    16. Powdermonkey says:

      Brings back memories of Hitler's buildup prior to WWII. We knew what he was doing, yet we just sat back and let him do it. The results were….well…..anyone who didn't fall asleep in his/her World History classes know the results. Won't it be nice when China has the capability of sending satellites over the U.S. to spy. As usual, Washington has its collective head up its arse on this one. China is serious about its defense buildup, we aren't, and we have learned nothing about history….as usual. We shouldn't blame the Chinese though; we gave them the technology in the first place.

    17. freedom says:

      Look how the world has changed, chiefly in America's self image and how we do so little to protect it.
      When Sputnik happened it was expected that we would compete and come out ahead of a rival. Now we don't even know about the space advancements going on elsewhere and if we do, we don't think about them, let alone try to best them.

    18. Lee says:

      Can anyone outside the true Christian world imagine what the world would be like if all peoples believed in a loving God that cherishes all. And, what this people could do with the monies, now dedicated by nations to gaining superiority over others, in eliminating sufferings throughout the world?

    19. ThomNJ says:

      With obama throwing Taiwan under the bus the other day to China – one can bet that NOTHING will be done while obama is president.

    20. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The ONLY way we can remain #1 in space is to build a true spaceship. No more rockets. Rockets are so 20th

    21. Robert H. Davidson says:

      Learn to speak Mandarin, smile and bow. We're too deep in debt to do anything else! Thank all Congress members and Presidents for their stupidship.

    22. DEAN says:

      Obama has basically “decapatated” the U.S. in future ventures into space. Now we get to pay China or Russia to send our astronayts on their space shuttles. HOW SPECIAL. Just another way for Obama to make us a third world country that he us wants to be.

    23. Ben C. says:

      Thank you Mike for discussing the Chinese threat. Here in Ann Arbor we discuss "Chicom's" almost daily given the U of M north campus area is mostly Chinese graduate students in U of M's engineering school. There is plenty of evidence of theft of military secrets by these graduate students on behalf of the Chinese government. Slowly but surely we will be backed into a corner and will concede defeat. We will be defeated both militarily and financially unless we reverse the trends. Not a pretty picture.

    24. Kay says:

      While we have out-of-control debt and spending, we must not throw our national defense to the wolves in the name of political correctness. We must consider the changing nature of real and potential threats to our national security. We need “boots on the ground” to protect us from lower-tech but deadly terrorists bent on destroying America and our way of life, and we need to keep an eye on what others are doing; e.g. North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons development. But there is a real probability that space based programs will play a major role in future warfare. As we have pulled back and cancelled the shuttle program, others are taking on stronger roles in space. We must not allow ourselves to be become vulnerable to others who could dramatically increase their spying and offensive warfare capabilities. From space it would be much easier to cripple our communications and infrastructure networks leaving us helpless to respond and react. If we dramatically reduce our debt and the huge interest payments to China, we could make a big dent in their ability to fund their space and military and keep the USA dominant in the field.

    25. Emily Armstrong says:

      Why are we all just sitting by and watching this man destroy our economy totally so that he can rebuild us into a Socialist state. I wish election day was tomorrow.

    26. Texas Tom says:

      The benefits from Space Exploration that our nation has enjoyed are great indeed! The miniaturization required to get a man on the moon led to advances that include the Personal Computer and advanced integrated circuits as well as advances in medicine.

    27. toledofan says:

      As time goes on we continue to fall futher behind not only in space exploration but in military strength and technology in general. It's obvious that we lack vision and the leadership to bridge the future as we continue to squander our nations wealth and knowledge. It's odd that we would cancel the shuttle missions and throw away the possibilites of finding other discoveries that may benefit us all, yet we continue to throw money into the education system and get about a 30 -40% rate of people who are illiterate; can't read or write or pay people to sit at home, not working, living off of the system forever just so they can vote for the party line. Sure seems convoluted to me.

    28. freedom says:

      Look how the world has changed, chiefly in America's self image and how we do so little to protect it.

    29. captainvideo says:

      who cares, according to the gw bush and o acts, we do not have a space program. the big space station, that we have jointly been working on, will soon be let to crash through our atmosphere and burn up.

      is our govt going to dismantle nasa now ? (lol)

      • Ruralsis says:

        Stop blaming Bush for this you idiot!! We all know the Dems had total control of the Senate his last two years. We are tired of this inane response all the time!!

    30. The Farmer says:

      America's most dangerous enemies operate out of DC!!! The left Democrats & Republicans have destroyed our land from within!!!! They have followed our apostated churches into surrendering to evil.
      They destroyed our Court by stacking it with the foolish.
      They destroyed our morality through these foolish judges.
      They destroyed our schools by every means at their dispolsol.
      They have been destroying our defence by every means at their disposal.
      In fact they have destroyed everything they have touched and unless folks wise up and start calling it like it is there is no way back! They serve the Distroyer
      Those in charge are the most foolish!
      For atleast the last two decadeseverything DC has done has been to destroy America!!!

    31. get-a-gig says:

      Let not forget that Fast Willie literally gave the technology to launch something into space during his reign.

    32. Kupe says:

      While the retirement of the shuttle program seems like a setback, it's hardly as if the US is sitting still regarding space. As we speak, SpaceX corporation is completing construction of its west coast launch pad at Vandenberg AFB (yep, that's right, a military base) to step up as a commercial provider to the space launch business for the DoD. While not yet as robust as the Shuttle program, SpaceX has already proven itself to be a far better value when it comes to $/pound of payload.

      China, on the other hand, now has a manned program almost as good as the Unites States' was in 1966 and a satellite program that's ~30 years behind us – hardly a significant competitor. And while China has proven they can damage a portion of our space constellation with their rudimentary ASAT capabiity (at significant risk to the safety of their own constellation due to space debris issues), the entire US GDP wouldn't be enough to guarantee the safety of our satellites anyway.

    33. Doug Nicholson says:

      "China Threatening U.S. Space Superiority". What U.S. space superiority? Obama gave up any superiority we had by ending the shuttle program. To get an American into space today, we must hitch a paid ride on a Russian taxi. Good job, Mr. President. You are well on the way to your goal of making the U.S. a third world country.

    34. Ron W. Smith says:

      It must be nice to be able to build a new bridge, the world's largest, and to be gaining rapidly on the U.S. and Russia and their long domination of space. Having the wherewithal describes China and its rapidly growing economy, but it certainly no longer describes Russia fiscal situation or the economy in the U.S. ever since 2007. We're broke, $14.5 trillion in debt and running annual deficits exceeding $1.5 trillion. We can't afford new bridges and are showing ugly signs of not investing enough in the updating of infrastructure, which everywhere is looking less than space age snazzy.
      China, remember has been fortunate to have excess funds to underwrite at least some of our debt. While we borrow $4 billion a day, China deposits money for our use. China also shows another side of the overall picture by getting by on national defense expenditures annually that are only about 18% of ours, something not hard to do since we outspend the rest of the world combined on National Security at $1 trillion a year–an expense necessitated by the projection of our power everywhere on earth and endless intervention after intervention, war after war and all the corollary costs that go with the projection.
      No one wants a great space program more than I do. Now is just not the time unless we're willing to take the cost out of the hides of our poor, elderly, and otherwise needy, out of monies greatly needed for infrastructure upgrading and renewal, out of down-to-earth domestic programs. First things first.

    35. RennyG says:

      Why do we need a house and senate when there is the big "O" and his legal staff?? Now we have the gang of "12!!!!!"

    36. Ron Wells says:

      Excellent article, Mike! May I refer you to Sen. Jack Schmitt's view on American Space Policy, which you and your readers might find useful? As the last American and only scientist to set foot on the Moon, he knows government and space policy. His blog at americasuncommonsense.com periodically posts current events in relation to the U.S. Constitution. The downloads page has a booklet "Space Policy and the Constitution" in which he treats many aspects where the current Administration has erred. In the Preface, he proposes the dismantling of NASA and the creation of a new agency, the National Space Exploration Administration (NSEA) charged with deep space human missions to the Moon and Mars. The Foreword was written by the previous NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin, whose leadership with the Constellation Program would have solidified our global presence as a dominating space faring nation. This book and others are freely available from http://americasuncommonsense.com/blog/downloads/.

    37. Ron Wells says:

      Incidentally, according to the 2010 GSA estimate of Constellation costs through 2020 and the total IRS realizable revenues for 2009, the program would have cost each American taxpayer less than 0.4 of a cent per year for the 10 years. Even with cost overruns, this amount is trivial compared to what the Obama Administration has spent since taking office. The returns for this small personal expenditure would have been incalculable in terms of our national (read "jobs") and global (read "partnerships and prestige") economy!

    38. Joseph Mullins says:

      Let's get our economic house in order. Reduce our military presence around the world. Close our military bases and bring troops home from Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, etc.
      Why have our naval fleet sailing the South China Sea just to have a show of "force" in the waters off North Korea?
      We already have three wars going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Do we really think that we can entertain another military confrontation?
      Let's get real and reorder our priorities. We have a foreign operation focus. That must change or we will never be able to solve our internal problems.
      We owe that to our own citizens. We are a great country but we have an international burden as Policeman for the World.
      Our government is too bloated and out of control. American people are awakening to this fact. So stay tuned for more and more citizen participation in national affairs. Many current politicians are about to lose their jobs!!!

    39. Chris in Texas says:

      This Dean Cheng fellow sure seems to think it's still 1983. China has no interest in attacking us with lasers from space, and we shouldn't spend trillions to attack them. And here is a list of current NASA projects: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/current/index.html. China is nowhere near this and not catching up fast.

    40. Busapha says:

      Just more of the Obama/Soros/Cloward & Pivens/Van Jones plan to wreck and take over America. We have been betrayed by a host of politicians who, for the most part, need to be sent to prison, life without parole. I am putting my trust in Rick Perry and only hope it is not too late.

    41. Olrik says:

      Red Chinee gots lots of monies, you yankee brokee, can no fixee everyting…

    42. Dennis Sidwell says:

      George W. Bush signed the end to the shuttle program. Since then no program or better yet "VISION" for the future of space has been proposed by any politician. We have no money, no plan and a citizenry who could care less.

      I think we lack leadership which espouses freedom. A free economy, free leaders and people able to succeed or fail.

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