Space rocket launches from China have more than quadrupled in the past decade, to more than 60 in the past year, according to a new survey.
In 2013, China was responsible for less than a fifth of all missiles launched worldwide, behind only Russia and the United States. By 2018, China has reached the top. The United States passed the country the following year but regained the top title in 2021.
FILE: A Long March-5B Y2 rocket carrying the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, lifts off from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site on April 29, 2021 in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
According to Kyodo News, citing a survey by the Japanese Cabinet Office, that year, China and the United States accounted for about 80% of global space rocket launches.
The United States returned to the top last year. Of the 177 missile launches, nearly half were launched by the United States. More than 60 of these launches have been attributed to SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk.
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As the survey shows, China has increased investment in recent years to expand its space program, creating new threats to US security in space.
A recent Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report on security challenges in space shows that China has sent 541 satellites into space, most of which are used for reconnaissance or intelligence gathering.
FILE: This photo captured and released by the China Aerospace Engineering Bureau via CNS on Aug. 20, 2021, shows Chinese astronaut Tang Hongbo making adjustments inside the Tianhe core module while his colleague Ni Haisheng performs a spacewalk. (China Manned Space Engineering O/AFP via Getty Images)
The United States maintains superiority in many areas of space. It is the only country that has landed a man on the moon. The last landing was in 1972, and now the race to return to the Moon is pivotal to the Chinese and Russian space programs.
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China and Russia plan to build an international lunar research station by 2035. The base will consist primarily of robotic technology with the capacity to support human inspections.
Fox News’ Brett Baer and Amy Monnick contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is Fox News’ digital breaking correspondent covering crime, political issues, and more.
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