China’s official view of NASA’s Artemis program appears to be dismissive

Enlarge / NASA’s SLS rocket will propel the Artemis I mission to the Moon.

NASA’s impending launch of the Artemis I mission to the Moon – the first in a series of US space agency missions aimed at bringing humans back to deep space – will draw widespread attention in the United States and around the world. the stranger.

No human has launched beyond low Earth orbit in nearly five decades, and while this mission won’t have astronauts on board, the Artemis II mission will in a few years. Moreover, unlike the all-American Apollo program of the 1960s, the Artemis program will include a rich vein of international cooperation.

A Canadian astronaut will fly aboard the Artemis II mission around the Moon, and Japanese and European astronauts will likely join later missions to the lunar surface. Already, 20 nations have signed the Artemis Accords to be part of NASA’s lunar program, and this coalition is likely to grow.

Two countries that will not be part of the Artemis program are Russia and China. NASA officials approached Russia a few years ago to participate in the return to the Moon, and although some Roscosmos company officials were receptive, participation was rebuffed by senior Russian leaders, including the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine almost certainly precludes cooperation.

As for China, the US Congress prohibits NASA from cooperating with Chinese space activities. Moreover, China had already decided years ago to follow a separate path when it comes to spaceflight. He is working on his own tightly held lunar plans. As the United States sought to do in the 1960s with Apollo, China sees its increasingly robust space program as a means of increasing its prestige on the world stage and advancing geopolitical interests. China and Russia also recently signed a cooperation agreement on lunar efforts.

It is therefore interesting to observe the Chinese reaction to NASA’s Artemis mission. The official line seems to be disdain – at least that was the mood of an article that appeared over the weekend in a Chinese publication, the Global Times. As part of China’s state media that serves as propaganda, this publication often comments on international issues from a nationalist perspective and, therefore, provides a useful window for the Chinese state’s response to world events.

The article seeks to contrast the Artemis mission with China’s own lunar plans, which include developing the capability to land its own astronauts on the Moon by around 2030. strives to relive its Apollo glories, China is working on innovative plans to carry out its own crewed moon landing missions.”

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