China's space program has recently been moving forward faster than ever, pushing for new launches to Mars and the moon, and competing in the space race with Russia and the US for geopolitical power. The China National Space Administration, or the CNSA, released a report covering China's space plans for the next 5 years, the biggest mission of which is to successfully send a probe to Mars, a feat that has been tried by China and Russia in the past, but has only been achieved by the US in 1975. Another space mission that the CNSA had stated in the report was to launch China's first-ever cargo spacecraft to dock with the space laboratory, Tiangong-2, in 2017. And in 2018, the CNSA plans to land a rover, on the far side of the moon, a mission that has never been achieved by any country. The CNSA's also plans to send its newest lunar probe, Chang-e'5, into space this November. Although China's space plans for the next 5 years are very bold and may prove challenging, the CNSA has high hopes for the space program's future. “Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world," says Wu Yanhua, the deputy chief of the National Space Administration.
On November 3rd, 2016, this Long March 5 carrier rocket was launched from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province.
My issue, China's space policy, affects China's relations with other countries such as the US and Russia because the space race demonstrates different countries' power and abilities by its space exploration program. For example, in 2016, the US conducted 22 orbital-launch missions while China conducted 21 missions and Russia conducted 16. However, only China and Russia have the technology to send people into space, while the US is still testing NASA programs. These missions shows the current quality of the different countries, and as Dean Cheng (a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation) said, "When you are the first country to land a probe on the far side of the moon, that says something about your science and technology, that says something about your industry." Because of how a country's space program is doing, people can judge the political and economical status of the country, which may make China's relationships with other countries a little more tense.