Am I the only one even a little unnerved about China's plans in space?

So the Chinese sent a man into space. Article here.

What does this mean? What are they doing up there? I read in the NY Times today they have plans to colonize the Moon. If that’s true, and they do, I might be inclined to be more than a little angry at the U.S. for not doing this thirty years ago. What do you people think?

Bah, what China is “planning” and they’ll actually do are two completely different things. I don’t think we have much to worry about.

Bah, what China is “planning” and what they’ll actually do are two completely different things. I don’t think we have much to worry about.

Well we clearly can’t let those damn chinks take over space and/or the moon which both obviously belong to America.

What exactly is there to worry about?

I would say that in the short term you should worry far more about what the US really does want to do in space than anything China might realistically have in mind at this point. This was basically a “we can do it too” exercise.

Here are the current US administration’s plans [pdf] for space:

I can see why the Chinese might want to flex their muscles spacewards, though I suspect you have little to worry about: they’re way behind, and their technology will let them down.

I don’t get it… what exactly is so unnerving about the Chinese sending a man into space? I too believe that this is not much more than a “we can do it too” exercise.

At worst, this might be a cover for military research… hmmm, reason to invade China :smiley:

China just demonstrated that they have a reliable launch platform - in fact, reliable enough that they’ll risk their astronaut as well as worldwide humiliation if anything goes wrong. What better way to announce to the world that you’re a serious player in the commercial spacelaunch market ?

I could be dead wrong about this, naturally, but I doubt that the Chinese would use their launch vehicle for comercial purposes. My doubt stems from the Chinese obsession with secrecy, something that borders on paranioa, IMO.

Besides, you don’t really need to send a man into space to make an effective marketing pitch for a commercial launch vehicle. India has been using one of it’s launch vehicles (I don’t remember the name) for commercial purposes for a couple of years now, sending up satellites from all over the world… didn’t need to send a man up - all we did was send a rocket up and then publish a price-list that would put Discount Dan to shame!

They already have world domination through the crap made in their country and sent to Dollar Stores, so, all I can think of is making the Solar Systems first Lunar Chinese Restaurant.

The fortune cookies would be interesting to read:

You have traveled many miles…

…until I read more about this. I really believe thaT the Chinese will actually offer rides into space, to the millionaires of the world, at a discount price! They have a cheap. pretty reliable launch vehicle, and have no compunction about selling their launch capabilities. Just think…Justin Timberlake can rockhis way in space, at a fraction of what the Russians charge!
The only problem…the chinese have yet todemonstarte the ability to dock in space…but who knows, maybe they plan to have their own space station?

According to the report on NPR this morning, it’s prestige. A Chinese official was quoted as saying that this puts Cjhina’s capabilities on a par with the US and Russia. Regardless of the technological significance or the economic importance, it’s a major PR boost – We can put a man into space! How many other countries can do this?. It’s like when Maoist China put up the satellite that played “The East is Red” all those years ago – at the time, hardly anybody could put a recording into space.
As for the overall significance, who knows? The US and the USSR used their space programs for PR and for developing spaceflight capabilities, almost certainly for the military applications as well as for commercial applications. (You can’t build an ICBM unless you know the details. And how else are you gonna launch recon satellites?) So I think that there’s justification for a little paranoia. Although I think that their space program will mostly be used for lofting weather, communications, and spy satellites into orbit, along with the occasional astronaut. The biggest problem with spaceflight is that it’s damned expensive.

On reconsideration, arguably the biggest problem with another entry in the space race is the addition of still more orbiting garbage to the existing array of potential impact objects. But that’s another thread.

You said it, not me. My fear is that the Chinese would claim the Moon as their own, and not cooperate with the U.S. or any other nation. And without any other nation up there with them, who knows what they might do on the Moon? Unlike the U.S., China is not a Democracy subject to the desires of its people. The Chinese space program will not be cancelled due to lack of interest like it was in the U.S. With unlimited funding, and huge interest in it as a propaganda weapon, China’s space program has the potential to eclipse ours and I am not sure that their intentions are completely benign. That’s my fear. Not that “the damned chinks are gonna take over something that is America’s to begin with.”

As for the Air Force’s intentions in space, no Congress will approve any sort of program like that. We are done in space. The space race is over…wait a minute…

To me the only thing that a space launch does is prove that you now have ICBM capability, without being a signatory on any of the anti ballistic missle treatys that the rest of the world has. I just don’t get the hype. North Korea shoots off bottle rockets and the world poops it’s collective pants but China proves that they can send a nuke anywhere in the world within 30 minutes and CNN is doing backflips. I just don’t get it.

It’s obvious to me they’re going up to alter the man in the moon’s eyes.

China just put a man in space. Even if they have intentions of building a base for evil operations on the moon, that’s quite a ways off. They haven’t demonstrated they can DO ANYTHING in space, they simply got a manned rocket out there for about 20 hours. And who knows if the Chinese government will seem so frightening by that time.

Weren’t people afraid of Sputnik, too?

The US never went into space for good reasons. It was to beat the Russians.

Maybe you have an excessive need to be #1?

Knave of Spades

China’s orbiting craft probably makes the Mercury capsule look like an Apollo lunar lander. Has anyone bothered to look at images of the orbiter? The thing is most definitely “spam in a can.”

This does not abate any of my concerns about misplaced priorities. Here is China, still ravaged by famine and disease, while they spend upwards of one billion dollars for this little showpiece. Yes, launch fees will help their program, but I do not see where the launch fees will even help them to break even.

Their fixation on “me too” participation in a program that can only be enacted through their people’s starvation and hardship completely neutralizes any prestige China might have sought by entering space.

One factual correction, China has been launching commercial space satellites from Xichang Sichuan province in the late 1980’s. I know that circa 1989 China had the safest satellite launch program at that time. I haven’t looked into it since then.

Ravaged by famine??? Last serious famine that hit China was IIRC in 1959.

China has reserves in excess of USD200 billion and GDPof USD1.3 trillion. A single trophy office tower in Shanghai can cost a billion dollars, which is the estimate for this spam in a can exercise. Sure there is extreme poverty in China, but one way to alleviate that poverty is by moving up the value added chain of industry.

Even if we all agreed that this is a misplaced priority, I can sure think of some other examples closer to home…

This just in, China safely lands their first man from space.

OK, now they can start celebrating.