Beijing's Fight For the Final Frontier

Greg Autry

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While the eyes of the world were focused on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander this January, Beijing was also quietly establishing a beachhead in America’s booming commercial space sector. Chinese attempts to steal U.S. space tech go back to the space shuttle, but their systematic efforts to infiltrate California’s commercial space firms beat anything I’ve seen in my 17 years of researching the new space industries. Attending a recent launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base, I asked a highly regarded new space executive if he had noticed China’s predatory behavior. He looked straight at me and said, “Absolutely. We could lose this industry in 18 to 36 months.”