China to launch Shenzhou-11: Longest manned space mission
On Monday, China is set to launch its longest manned space mission, Shenzhou-11. Pitched to be the country's sixth manned space program, the launch will propel China closer to its aims of becoming a space superpower. Set to be launched from a military pad in Mongolia, the program will see two astronauts conduct experiments for around a month from its space lab.
United States' space supremacy
Once touted to be distant and inaccessible, space has now become more crowded and commercialized with the multiple space missions guided by countries across the globe. After 1991, the United States focused largely on developing satellites and utilizing space missions to amplify their control and military capabilities. The country's dominance in the space spectrum has enabled its higher advantage here on the ground.
Other countries clamber to achieve space dominance
With the United States gaining a stronger foothold in space, other nations across the globe started investing millions of dollars in space technology. One such country attempting to gain prominence was China, which has launched an increasing number of satellites from 2003 and 2012. One of its space programs saw China launch anti-satellite weapons in 2007, destroying one of its own satellite.
Russia and China sign pact to counter US space dominance
Earlier this year, Russia and China signed a pact to counter the rise of United States' role in space activities. As part of the pact, Russia said it would release location-specific details about United States' military satellites. Although the Pentagon had released data on Russian military satellites long back, the country had withheld information regarding its own satellites.
China aims high for boosting space prominence
China has sketched plans that would help the country launch its very own space station, build and establish a colony on the moon and soon send a robot-guided mission to Mars.
China's record of space launches
China launched nearly nineteen space programs last year, leading over Unites States' eighteen space launches. China currently aims to launch over 20 space programs this year, creating a growing urgency amongst US space officials to counter China's sudden prominence in space.