The Next Space Race: China's Bid for Supremacy

Environmental Science


Space exploration has always been a topic of interest for several nations globally. After a successful landing on the moon in 1969, the United States became the world leader in space technology and exploration. However, in recent years, China has been making significant progress in the field of space exploration, and it is challenging the supremacy of the United States. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of China's bid for space supremacy and the factors that are fuelling its progress.

China's Ambitious Space Program

China's space program is ambitious and has been rapidly growing in recent years. In 2003, China became the third country in the world to send humans into space in a domestically-built spacecraft, after the United States and Russia. Since then, China has accelerated its efforts, and it is now looking to establish itself as a major player in space technology.

China's space program is administered by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), which is responsible for developing and launching a range of space missions. This includes unmanned missions to the Moon, Mars, and other planets, as well as manned missions to Earth's orbit and beyond. China has also been developing space stations and is planning to build its own space station in the coming years.

Manned Missions

China's manned space program began in October 2003 with the launch of the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft carrying astronaut Yang Liwei. Since then, China has launched several manned missions, including a successful docking in space between two spacecraft in 2011. In 2013, China became the third country in history to send a woman into space, and in 2019, it completed its first spacewalk.

China is currently planning to complete its first crewed mission to its own space station in 2022. This will involve launching three astronauts to the space station, where they will spend six months conducting experiments and other activities. The space station is expected to be operational by 2024 and will offer a platform for China's scientists to conduct experiments in microgravity.

Unmanned Missions

In addition to its manned missions, China has also been actively involved in unmanned missions to the Moon and Mars. In 2013, China landed its first robotic rover, Yutu, on the moon, making it the first country to land on the Moon in over 40 years. In 2019, China landed another robotic rover, Chang'e 4, on the far side of the Moon, making it the first country to do so.

China's Mars missions have also been highly successful. In 2020, China launched its first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, which included an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. The mission successfully entered Mars orbit in February 2021 and is expected to land on the Martian surface in May 2021.

Factors that are Fuelling China's Progress in Space

China's rapid progress in space can be attributed to several factors:

Government Support

The Chinese government has been heavily investing in its space program, providing substantial funding and support. The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is responsible for the development of China's space technology and has been receiving significant financial support from the government.

Scientific Research

China has been investing heavily in scientific research, and its space program offers a valuable platform for scientific experimentation. China's space program has enabled its scientists to conduct a range of experiments in microgravity that are not possible to conduct on Earth. This research has significant implications for space exploration, as well as several other fields, including medicine, materials science, and manufacturing.

International Collaborations

China has been heavily involved in international collaborations in the field of space exploration. It has been collaborating with other nations, including Russia, in several space missions, and it has also been partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA), providing them with rockets and expertise. These international collaborations have enabled China to access advanced space technologies and leverage the expertise and resources of other nations.


The next space race is already underway, and China is making significant progress in its bid for space supremacy. Its ambitious space program, government support, scientific research, and international collaborations are all contributing factors to its rapid progress in the field of space exploration. The question now is, how will the United States respond to this challenge? Will it be able to maintain its position as a world leader in space technology, or will China emerge as the new leader?