Shortly after the Chinese publicly announced to the world that it had succeeded with an ambitious space launch that includes time spent in a small space station, an unmanned US Air Force space plane landed in California.
The U.S. military space plane known as X-37 OTV is an unmanned robot plane (with what looks like three windows down the side). This military robot space plane just spent a super-secret fifteen months circling the earth in low orbit with a super-secret package aboard, which could be anything.
The X-37 was built by Boeing Government Space Systems. It weighs 11,000 pounds, stands 9.5 feet tall and is just over 29 feet long. This robot space plane was a NASA project before it was turned over to DARPA in 2004. While NASA has seen its funds cut, the military has seen its funds increased dramatically (more than double what it was in 2001). The 2012 Department of Defense budget is $707.5 billion (oh, and interest incurred on debt from past wars runs between $109.1–$431.5 billion annually).
China’s 2012 defense budget, on the other hand, is US$106.4 billion with no interest incurred from past wars since China hasn’t fought any for decades.
In 2001, US Military Spending was $307.8 billion; in 2002 – $328.7 billion; 2003 - $404.9 billion; 2004 -$455.9 billion; 2005 – $495.3 billion; 2006 - $535.9 billion; 2007 – $527.4 billion; 2008 – $494.4 billion; 2009 – $494.3 billion; 2010 – $712.0 billion, and 2011 – $658.7 billion.
Since the X-37 is now a military project, there is no way to discover exactly how much was spent unless someone at Boeing leaks the information.
How about the Chinese? Well, their most recent space mission is no secret. The Chinese have often been criticized in the West for lack of transparency, but when the US spends years on a military space project wrapped in secrecy, the Western media does not complain about that lack of transparency.
On the other hand, I approve of both America’s X-37 space project and China building a space station. In addition, China plans to colonize the moon and visit Mars in the near future. Maybe this will motivate America to seriously get back into the space game. A little competition could be a good thing.
Meanwhile, Sebastien Blanc writing for AFP, reports, “This is China’s most ambitious space mission so far. It is longer and more complex than anything previously done,” said Morris Jones, an Australian space expert.
“It shows that China is serious about its long-term goals in space. …
“Beijing has long maintained that the rapid development of its space capabilities is peaceful in nature, and the white paper reiterated this, saying Beijing “opposes weaponisation or any arms race in outer space.”
“But concerns remain over China’s intentions.”
Is anyone questioning America’s intentions?
After all, what nation has the largest military budget in the world; what nation is waging several military conflicts around the globe; what nation has several hundred military bases spanning the globe; what nation has the largest prison population on the planet; what nation has more than half the world aircraft carriers (eleven with three under construction), while China only has one and it was picked up used from Russia; what nation has the largest global weapons industry ($37.8 billion in 2008– Italy is number two with $3.7 billion in sales) and what nation is the only nation on earth to have ever used nuclear weapons during a war—twice?
Discover more at Growing Great Honor in One Lunar Leap
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.