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Chinese space ambitions benefit its military

24th May 2021 - 06:40 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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China recently successfully launched into space a module of the Tianhe space station. (Xinhua)

China talks often of its peaceful intentions for and use of space, but military purposes are key to its heavy investment in space.

On 29 April, a Chinese Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island, its payload consisting of a module of the nascent Tianhe space station. Ten more launch missions will complete the station by 2022, a facility that is to be used exclusively by China.

Media attention seemed more focused on the possibility of the rocket’s upper stage splashing down in the ocean or hitting a population centre on 9 May, with it eventually landing west of the Maldives.

Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, complained: ‘Spacefaring nations must minimise the risks to people …

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