A Chinese spaceship blasted off Tuesday from a launch center in the Gobi Desert, carrying three astronauts on what is expected to be the Asian giant's longest crewed mission yet…
The U.S. closed its space shuttle program in 2011 and is no longer aggressively pursuing manned space exploration, leaving Russia and China as the only two countries in the world capable of independently sending humans into space.
Chinese spaceship blasts off from Gobi Desert - CNN.com
The contrast between China’s and the United States’ perspective on space is striking. It is almost an illustration of how rising powers seek to expand their opportunities, while status quo powers seek to harvest the fruits of their past legacy, sometimes putting them on a path of long retreat. Both paths are not compatible in the long-run.
Ultimately, the nation that seeks to expand its frontiers gains valuable experience and insights. That experience and insights increase the prospects of their achieving qualitative, even potentially disruptive, breakthroughs. Whether such breakthroughs could have commercial and/or military applications remains to be seen, but space is an area rich with both kinds of possibilities.