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Far East Space Race

While the commercialization of space begins to flourish, the militarization of LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) and beyond is accelerating exponentially.

South Korea/North Korea

South Korea is in the final stages of preparations, including a completed wet dress rehearsal, for the launch of its first homegrown space rocket, Nuri, at the Naro Space Center outside of Seoul. South Korea invested nearly $2 trillion in this project to date and is hoping to further its space-faring developments by conducting space-related research while creating its space development policies for the country as well as for private sector efforts. This comes just after North Korea’s third hypersonic missile launch, which is an advanced weapon that flies toward targets at lower altitudes at up to five times the speed of sound. In congruence with this event, the Koreas restored dormant communication hotlines which are phone and fax channels used to set up meetings, arrange border crossings and avoid accidental clashes. 

South Korea isn’t the only Asian country investing in the Space industry. 

China

Chinese Academy of Sciences Space, responsible for planning, developing, launching and operating China’s space science satellite missions, just announced that China is developing a reusable suborbital rocket for tourism purposes. The flight demo test is tentatively scheduled for 2022, with tourism services coming in 2024 where 7 passengers can enjoy views from approximately 62 miles above Earth.

But China’s focus goes far beyond commercial space, they are also focusing on their military efforts which were showcased during the annual Zhuhai Airshow.

During the airshow, the Chinese released their new replenishment aircraft to potentially refuel satellites and increase their operational lifespan. The Chinese also presented a manned heavy-lift launch vehicle that could potentially be used in their manned lunar missions.

Other items on display were the long-anticipated new warplane J-16D, which is equipped with multiple radar-jamming pods and conventional missiles, as well as two prototype combat drones: a larger unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV CH-6 drone with an alleged endurance time of 20 hours at 50,000 feet while carrying a 1,000-pound payload of air-to-ground and anti-radiation missiles as well as bombs serving reconnaissance, early warning, and anti-submarine warfare roles and a smaller CH-817 drone weighing 28 ounces with a flight time 15 minutes which could be operated by individual soldiers or launched from larger drones. 

As the Chinese continue their advancements, the US is keeping a close watch on the progress.

United States

At the annual Air Force Association Conference on September 20, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall claimed China is preparing for “global strikes from space” against US targets. 

Kendall stated that:

Far East Space Race
Frank Kendal

“There is a potential for weapons to be launched into space, then go through this old concept from the Cold War called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, which is a system that basically goes into orbit and then de-orbits to a target. If you use that kind of approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory. It’s a way to avoid defense systems and missile warning systems.” 

Stay with Space Channel as we continue to follow the developments regarding the concerns of the Chinese and the potential of war in space.

Addendum: Chinese AI

Oh, and by the way, China Liberal Education Holdings Limited announced its newly patented, self-developed, all-in-one teaching machine, AI-Space, which aims to replace the real-life teaching environment with a virtual environment by “adopting cloud platform management and other advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and smart sensors, to achieve resource interoperability and online merge offline teaching”.

A lot going on overseas and overhead, stay in the know, download the Space Channel app on your phone, and connected TV.

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