US Lunar Pull-Out Leaves China Shooting for Moon

From AFP:

China aims to land its first astronauts on the moonwithin a decade at the dawn of a new era of manned space exploration– a race it now leads thanks to the US decision to drop its lunar programme.

US President Barack Obama earlier this month said he planned to drop the costly Constellation space programme, a budget move that would kill off future moon exploration if it is approved by Congress.

In contrast, China has a fast-growing human spaceflight project that has notched one success after another, including a spacewalk by astronauts in 2008, with plans for a manned lunar mission by around 2020… “Overall, China is behind the US in technology and in actual presence in space — the US operates dozens of satellites, the Chinese only a few,” said James Lewis, of the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

“The real concern is the trend: China’s capacities are increasing while the US, despite spending billions of dollars, appears to be stuck in a rut.”

See also this CDT post about China’s plan for another moon landing in 2010.

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