China in Space Ambitions and Possible Conflict

Namrata Gasrami


Major powers like China are viewing space less concerned with “securing the high ground” for espionage and nuclear deterrence and more for access to the vast material and energy resources of the inner solar system. China aims to establish a manned space station by 2020–22 and a space-based solar power station by 2050 to meet its burgeoning economic and energy needs, develop space science and technology, explore outer space, and land on Mars. This article examines China’s vision and the end it foresees for its contemporary space activities (grand visions), which might lead to and determine the imagined shape of governance in space. It identifies strains of nationalism and internationalism and specifically discusses Chinese policy attitudes and aspirations related to space-based solar power (SBSP), lunar and asteroid mining, space settlement, and planetary defense