March 30th, 2009 in Breaking News, Commentaries

Indication that space is already militarized?

The Space Review: Is the Chinese manned space program a military program?.

In recent weeks China has disclosed more details of its manned space plan. Tiangong 1, a small man-tended space station, is one of the hot topics in China now. It also got received some attention in the western media. Craig Covault’s article “China readies military space station” published on Spaceflight Now was one example. It is interesting that the article concluded the Tiangong 1 will be a military station. Of course, it’s not unusual that the Chinese manned space program is often described as a military program in the west. It seems quite reasonable, because:

* The Chinese manned space program is run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
* Chinese taikonauts are military pilots
* Previous Shenzhou spacecraft allegedly carried military payloads.
* Many Chinese experts claim that the manned space program has important military applications.

However, it conflicts with China’s official statements. What’s the truth?