It has been 31 years since a United States astronaut last walked on the moon, but China’s space ambitions may have prompted a possible American return to the lunar surface as part of a renewed space programme. Reports say US President George W. Bush is on the verge of calling for a return to the moon as part of a dramatic new mission for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). CNN, quoting sources, said yesterday that although a lunar date had not yet been embraced by the White House, China’s first manned space flight in October and its talk of a future landing on the moon within the next two decades may end up being the spark to reignite the US space programme.
Chinese rivalry may spur new US lunar missions The Straits Times
Japanese get the sinking feeling The Straits Times
China’s manned space mission has sparked fears in Japan, which has been Asia’s foremost space explorer for decades, that it is being overtaken by its giant neighbour. Tokyo, which has a well-established space programme, has dispatched a probe to Mars and bears the distinction of being only the third nation to send a mission to the moon. But the one thing Japan hasn’t done – send a human into space aboard one of its own rockets – China just did.
Commentary: China space programme makes US anxious The Straits Times
China is aiming to become the world’s next space power. However, in an effort to achieve domestic policy objectives and boost national pride, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is adding a new, unpredictable dimension to a stable and profitable Sino-American relationship. This month, Chinese astronauts will attempt to orbit the Earth, pushing expectations to heights unseen since the Soviet-American space race of the 1960s. The United States, which has grounded its space shuttle programme and whose citizens are still reeling from the Columbia tragedy, is awaiting the Chinese attempt with unease.