Danger Room: China Analyst: U.S. Can’t Win in Space, So Why Bother Racing?

31.08.11

Categorie: AOL, China, David Axe, Space, Wired |
Tags: , ,

Chinese space agency photo.

Chinese space agency photo.

by DAVID AXE

With access to more than 400 satellites plus at least two tiny, maneuverable robotic shuttles, the U.S. military is the clear leader in military spacecraft. But with 70 orbiters of its own, China is catching up fast. Last year, Beijing matched Washington in space launches for the first time, boosting no fewer than 15 satellites into orbit. It was the first time any nation kept a celestial pace with the U.S. since the height of the Cold War.

The new space race is on. But in the view of one influential analyst, the race isn’t worth the prize. Space “is expensive to enter, hard to sustain assets in, contains no defensive ground, and — barring energy-intensive maneuvering  – forces assets into predictable orbits,” Andrew Erickson, a Naval War College professor and editor of the new book Chinese Aerospace Power, told me as part of a longer interview over at AOL Defense.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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3 Responses to “Danger Room: China Analyst: U.S. Can’t Win in Space, So Why Bother Racing?”

  1. Schwerpunk-t says:

    Space shouldn’t be a ‘race’, the US should just deploy whatever assets it needs to achieve its foreign and domestic policy objectives within the context of vulnerability of those assets to pay-off of having them there.

    No one gives a rats ass if there are 700 metal balls or 20 if it gets the job done. Folks like me that read blogs like this might a bit more than others, but at the end of the day numbers of balls in space isn’t as sexy as a mission to mars.

    Lastly, “[space] is expensive to enter, hard to sustain assets in, contains no defensive ground, and — barring energy-intensive maneuvering – forces assets into predictable orbits,” — that’s all fair and good points except the one about defensive ground. The ocean doesn’t have defensive ground either, its an ocean, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a navy.

  2. Jon says:

    The ocean has defensive ground, in that you can hide among islands, or underwater in a submarine, which are defensive strategies. In space, there is defensive ground, if one feels like hiding behind the moon, or going out to the asteroid belts, but there is nothing to guard out there, and nobody will come there to be ambushed. All the life is on Earth, and you can’t shoot at that life while hiding behind a moon, because the moon gets in the way, and staying behind that moon instead of orbiting it bears a horrifying energy cost. So, the defensive ground is space is worthless, and orbit is the only useful place for things until humans live on more than one world. And in orbit, anyone can find you, and any computer can plot a shot to hit you. No defense except dodging, which is almost as expensive as just replacing the satellite, since you have to fly the fuel up to do it, and it is heavy.

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