China Tiangong-1 rocket launch a giant leap in space race

By Posted 30 Sep 2011, 21:16

With the recent retirement of the NASA space fleet of shuttles, it means a window has opened up giving other nations the opportunity to try to catch up in the space race, and one country that is seemingly taking full advantage of it is China, as they take a giant step with their Tiangong-1 rocket launch.

Neil Armstrong is among several concerned prominent figures in the space community who have expressed concern that NASA and the US, after being ahead in the space race for years, may find themselves left behind by other nations. According to The Guardian, the Chinese launch, which occurred on Thursday, marked the first step in what could be the start of a change in power between competing nations.

Ever since the US beat the Soviets to landing the first human on the moon back in 1969, they have remained relatively unchallenged when it comes to dominance for forty years. Now it looks like China is on the verge of becoming the third nation to possess a manned space station in outer space, although this achievement in itself is not really significant one considering NASA launched their space station Skylab in 1973.

China has only been carrying out space research for a short period of time but has already invested millions of dollars and now has hardware to show for it. NASA on the other hand currently has nothing available, though they did announce plans for future spacecraft, the Space Launch System, which is promised to be the most powerful rocket the world has ever seen.

What do you think of the progress that China has made with their space research?