Daily Review: China’s Moon Landing Heats Up the New Space Race

Daily Review: China’s Moon Landing Heats Up the New Space Race
A Long March-5 rocket lifts off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center, Wenchang, China, Nov. 24, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

The uncrewed Chinese lunar probe Chang’e 6 touched down on the far side of the moon yesterday, marking the second time China’s national space agency landed a mission in a lunar region no other country has reached. If it successfully returns to Earth, Chang’e 6 will also be the first mission to retrieve samples from the far side of the moon. (Washington Post)

Our Take

Chang’e 6’s landing yesterday marks yet another accomplishment for China’s space agency, which has over the past decade or so made remarkable progress and is quickly closing the gap with other space powers. In 2019, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, and in 2021 it launched its own manned space station.

These achievements, including yesterday’s landing of Chang’e 6, are even more remarkable given that China has essentially accomplished them without international assistance or cooperation. Not only has China been excluded from the International Space Station over U.S. security concerns, but the U.S. and EU both prevent dual-use technology that could be used for space exploration from being exported to China.

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