With lots of cash and no where to put it, China is investing heavily into its space exploration mission. This has left NASA look eerily at advancing Chinese progress while many Americans look upon a national pride folding up and giving away.
Don't count the US just out yet, now instead of a space program financed by the government through NASA, space exploration would be moving into the hands of private companies like Boeing, Space X and Virgin Galactic. These companies are scrambling to take over the mantle from a field that has been widely dominated by sovereign nations.
China sees its multi-billion dollar space exploration program as a way to raise national prestige internationally and domestically. On Tuesday, China blasted three astronauts out of a launch center in the Gobi Desert in a spaceship. This will be China's longest mission to space.
The Shenzou 10 craft is expected to dock the Tiangon-1 space module sothecrew will provide more supplies to China's space lab put into orbit in September 2011. The spaceshipis propelled by a Long March-2F rocket. China is running its space lab alone and is not part of the international project that currently maintains the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is jointly coordinated by Russia's RKA space agency, the European Space Agency, Canadian CSA and NASSA. The ISS orbits the Earth conducting experiments from astronomy, physics to geography.
The Chinese space crew is expected to spend 15 days in orbit where they will carry out test experiments related to the construction of a space station. China is looking forward to establishing a significant presence in space exploration. The crew would also master the entry and docking requirements essential for a space station.
China is speeding up its space exploration with much concern from Washington.In 2012, China conducted 18 space launches according to Pentagon reports. This mission would be China's fifth manned exploration.
Last year, China sent its first female into space. The Tuesday mission is made up of one woman Wang Yaping and two men Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang.
China's strong economic finances and growing trade dominance have empowered it to develop good space capabilities with military dimensions. These have raised some eyebrows in the Western Hemisphere.
China contends it is not competing with the west in space exploration or militarily, but rather working to bolster it's economy, develop and promote science for its people.
In other news, Iran is also aggressively pursuing a space program although there is still a deep divide whether its last mission successful put a mouse or a monkey into space. Ahmadinejad has vowed he would offer himself to Iran's space program so he would be sent into space to prove the country's space capabilities are formidable and strong enough to deter western countries from blasting its mountain-deep nuclear programs out of the ground.