I have realized something interesting by reading the news lately. China’s Shenzhou VI carrying two astronauts returned to earth after 5 days in orbit last Sunday. This is not something new for China, its first manned mission was in 2003. At that time, I was shocked by the technological development of the Chinese.
Ok, China is the 3rd nation to put a man into space, but I do not think they are more technological advanced than European Union or Japan. Why? Not only because they went to space 10+ years earlier than China but I also always see their missions in the news. For examples, the latest one was the European Space Agency's Cryosat spacecraft was lost minutes after lift-off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on 8 october 2005. For the Japanese, it would be the H-2A rocket, with the word Nippon painted on its side, blasted off and placed a satellite in orbit in February 2005. Although they don't seem doing so well lately but they involved in advanced missions like collecting a sample from an asteroid or studying the comets and etc…
The question I asked myself 2 years ago was “Why I can’t see any Japanese or European manned mission?” Here is my answer (my opinion, might not be right). US wanted to stop China from joining the International Space Station last time, invited Japan and Europe to join. Perhaps Japan and Europe thought joining US can save lots of money instead of individual development. So they joined and eventually they cancelled manned missions and concentrated on satellites and rockets, which means unmanned missions. US’s intention was clear, to delay China’s space development. But they didn’t relax on the European and Japanese as well. Why do I say so? Yes, European and Japanese have great rockets and their astronauts went to space decade earlier than Chinese. For them, space is just something they “see” and “know”, that’s it.
If European and Japanese want to go to space, well, they will have to see what’s the ‘mood’ of the American not to even mention to use the space station for their own purposes. As I mentioned in my previous articles, the world military is heading to ‘Star Wars’. Space forces for the European and Japanese partially exists, depending on the mood of the American. Without the support of the space today, even the most powerful military equipments you have on earth are rubbish.
I think that’s why the US and Japan are spreading China’s military buildup is a threat. What about Europe? I will highlight some lines from an article about what the British Physicists think in bbcnews, this article came 2 days after the 2nd Chinese manned mission was over. It seems that they woke up by the Chinese's alarm clock finally...
Title: UK should ‘reverse astronaut ban’
“The Royal Astronomical Society’s report warns Britain risks being isolated on the international stage if it continues its longstanding refusal to fund the human exploration of space.”
"Recent developments across the world strongly suggest that, after a 30-year lull, space-faring nations are gearing up for a return to the Moon and then to Mars," said panel member, Professor Ken Pounds, of the University of Leicester.
"It is hard to imagine that the UK, one of the world's leading economies, would not be fully involved in a global scientific and technology endeavour with such strong potential to inspire. We therefore recommend that the government re-evaluates its longstanding opposition to British involvement in human space exploration."