In 2003 China became the third country after the United States and Russia to launch a human into space. Yang Liwei’s successful mission on Shenzhou 5 was possible due to the accelerated program of technological development under the supervision of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). China’s space program has existed since 1956 when the first Twelve-Year Plan for Chinese aerospace was adopted. However, it is only in the last two decades that the country’s extraordinary success in building space capacity has been revealed. Future plans for the CNSA include a permanent Chinese Space Station (CSS), projected to be operational in 2022, and expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

Although China’s ambitions have been widely recognized among western nations, there has been a tendency to underestimate the country’s space capacity. The China Policy Institute has invited number of academic experts and policy analysts to reflect on the achievements, goals and future projections of China’s space program.

Contributors include:

Joan Johnson-Freese, Naval War College, “China’s Big Gamble in Space”

Kevin Pollpeter, University of California, “China’s National Security Space Ambitions”

James A. Lewis, Center for Strategic and International Studies, “China in Space: Carrying Forward the Spirit of Two Bombs and One Satellite”

Larry M. Wortzel, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, “A Look at China’s Space Program”

Roger Handberg, University of Central Florida, “Space Station Politics: the International Space Station and China’s Space Station”

Alex Calvo, Nagoya University, “China’s anti-satellite (ASAT) program: Art of War meets 21st Century technology”

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Observer Research Foundation, “International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities:  Major Asian Perspectives”

Dean Cheng, The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, “China’s Space Program Promotes Comprehensive National Power”

Image credit: CC by NASA/Flickr.