Space Cooperation: The China Factor

Reports from inside and outside China suggest that this October — timed to salute the anniversary of the Communist revolution — a piloted Shenzhou spaceship may roar out of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert. China’s ability to launch astronauts — often tagged “Taikonauts” — into orbit would make that country the third nation capable of independently placing humans into space. For now, only Russia and the United States can make the claim.