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America is Losing the New Space Race – and this Time the Stakes are Even Higher

AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Kliegman


On Monday, Russia successfully hit a Soviet-era satellite, demonstrating for the first time that the Russian military has the capability to target satellites with missiles launched from Earth. The explosion sent more than 1,500 pieces of debris hurtling through orbit, potentially endangering other satellites and even astronauts aboard the International Space Station. While State Department spokesman Ned Price called the move “reckless” and “destructive,” the test was just the latest in a series of aggressive actions in space by America’s two chief adversaries, Russia and China, setting the stage for a new battle for supremacy beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Space isn’t just crucial to modern life; it’s absolutely essential. Banking, GPS, the internet, the electric grid, even military operations — all of it and more relies on space-based technologies. Compromising some of these systems would be at best devastating and at worst apocalyptic for a nation — particularly for the United States.

The U.S. is more dependent than most countries on data coming from infrastructure set up in space. America’s space assets have certainly helped the nation achieve economic and military dominance on earth. But this fact also makes the U.S. especially vulnerable should an adversary target its satellites. Any threat to the U.S. network of satellites would undoubtedly constitute a threat to America’s position atop the global economic ladder, not to mention the country’s military capabilities.

China and Russia know all this and are trying to outcompete the U.S. in space. While the Russian missile test earlier this week was troubling, it has primarily been Chinese developments and Chinese-led joint ventures with Russia that should have American leaders concerned.

Just last week, China launched three more reconnaissance satellites into orbit. Chinese state media says the satellites are for scientific experiments and agricultural production, but many observers believe they actually have a military purpose to carry out various surveillance and national security missions.

This was China’s 43rd orbital launch of the year, extending a national record for a calendar year.

About a week earlier, China launched a new robotic satellite, the Shijian 21. Its purpose is ostensibly to test new “technologies to neutralize space debris.” That’s at least according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, China’s state-run space company. Analysts believe, however, that the satellite can be used as a weapon capable of grabbing and crushing American satellites.

Back in April, the commander of U.S. Space Command, Air Force Gen. James Dickinson, warned Congress that technology like the Shijian-21 is part of an effort by China to seek “space superiority through space and space-attack systems.”

“One notable object is the Shijian-17, a Chinese satellite with a robotic arm,” Dickinson testified to lawmakers. “Space-based robotic arm technology could be used in a future system for grappling other satellites.”

China says it uses the Shijian-17 satellite for communications and to monitor space debris.

Two days before the Shijian-21 launch, the core module of China’s space station, the Shenzhou-13, blasted off for a six-month journey in space — the longest ever spaceflight for China. The crew of three onboard is supposed to help complete the space station’s construction by the end of next year. Even more concerningly, China also announced plans in March to build a lunar space station with Russia, hardly a welcome development for the United States.

This launch of Shijian-21 also followed a suspected Chinese test of a new hypersonic missile that was faster and more accurate than Western analysts expected. According to reports, the missile is capable of evading U.S. defense systems by orbiting the Earth. Of course, China says the test was a peaceful space experiment.

Perhaps NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had these recent developments in mind when he said recently that “we have every reason to believe that we have a competitor, a very aggressive competitor, in the Chinese” in space.

Nelson warned that the U.S. is slipping behind China in the new Space Race as he announced NASA’s planned moon landings will likely take place “no earlier than 2025.” Washington had hoped to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 — a setback painfully symbolic of the recent trajectory of America’s space program compared to China’s.

The bottom line is this: China is aggressively pushing for dominance in space to achieve dominance on earth, and Russia seems to be along for the ride, perhaps eager to avenge their defeat in the last Space Race. But while Moscow seems to be focused on the military advantages of a reinvigorated space program, China’s ambitions aren’t just about economic and military power. Beijing is also leveraging its advancements in space to strengthen its diplomatic clout, gaining global influence in the process.

In the West, however, leaders have been slow to recognize this reality, resting on their laurels from winning the first space race against the Soviet Union. They, like most of us, didn’t even conceive of a second space race. After all, didn’t America win? Plus, with joint projects, such as the International Space Station, the final frontier seemed to have become a place of global cooperation, not competition.

Washington can no longer afford to be stuck in this way of thinking. The situation in space is now far more complicated, with technology advancing every day and private companies playing a major role in space advancement. But the core of the issue is still simple: either free, democratic America or brutal, autocratic regimes will be the key player in space. Which vision prevails will determine what kind of a place the world will be in the years to come.

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Michael Waltrip
10 months ago

But you don’t teally know that. Everything in this article is true. The next major war starts with satellite blackout. Space Force must be funded (now) as a co-equal branch of the military or the United States will lose.

10 months ago

I don’t think we are as behind as much as the media says. Most of all our technology is in secret.

10 months ago

So Joey…..what are you going to do about this? It’s not good and if China or Russia decides to show their muscles, you will be included…..don’t forget that. Get your commie Dems to get off their fat butts and start doing the right thing and forget about mandates, TRUMP, climate change (which is a farce), and all the rest of your “tom foolery” crap.

Nick Patriot
10 months ago
Reply to  Karen

It’s all part of the plan to destroy America, Karen. They follow the same Obama and his band of commie devils playbook. Make America weak and vulnerable. Open boarders, Afghanistan, riots, climate change to bankrupt the USA, are just a few of their evil plans.

10 months ago

While we strive for pretty uniforms and gender sensitive soldiers China and Russia are kicking our ass in military preparedness. Nobody is incompetent as Millie and Biden appear. This has to be done intentionally to sabotage the USA.

Stephen Russell
10 months ago

Biden wont lead, take charge& also China has a hypersonic missile
We do nothing
No plans, no actions taken
Use Space Force
Space is the nest battlefield Today.
& rare ores on the Moon or asteroids for $$$

10 months ago

I’m more worried about what’s going on here with the vaccine mandates and inflation. I could care less about space. We’re broke.

Tim Toroian
10 months ago

Bumble Brian and the Cackler aren’t the least concerned.

Philip Hammersley
10 months ago

Remember that it was Bill and Hillary’s buddy who sold US missile technology to the ChiComs when Billy Boy was POTUS! And then they stole a lot more from our incompetent “intelligence” agents!

10 months ago

The Russians and the Chinese Realize the Joe DEMENTIA SCUZBALL BIDEN is in the WHITE HOUSE// When is the USA going to remove this useless old man before the USA gets run over by both os these power hungry communist territories/ Remember all you ladies who voted for this pathetic loser Biden that if TRUMP was in the same position NONE of this garbbage would be happening/WAKE UP and get some guts in your female systems and realize TRUMP was the winner we needed and not this useless old ag of bones/////

10 months ago
Reply to  GKP

All you gentlemen should have voted for Trump, if that were so, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today

Eddie Van Halen
10 months ago

Bull – just an excuse to spend more money that we don’t have. I’m not buying into this crap at all.

Gene Lombardo
10 months ago

Our feckless Marxist government will do nothing. China and Russia have become increasingly aggressive since the January 20 inauguration of our useless president. Their first hard evidence came with the surrender in Afghanistan. Just as Obama allowed the growth of ISIS in 2012 so to will China and Russia grow in power and influence as Biden fiddles.

John Hunt
10 months ago

How much further along might we be if the Democrats had let D J Trump be President and worry about things like this, helping drive us to the forefront…rather than spending so much time fighting off false, fake and damaging lies and allegations about the Russia Collusion, which actually WAS Russian Collusion, but involving Bill & Hillary Clinton and possibly Biden. The DEMS used sleight of hand…calling attention over to the false story hand all the while doing the vile deeds themselves with the other hand. And they did it again during the elections.

10 months ago

You could hear the crickets over the dead silence coming out of both the Biden WH and the Democrat controlled Congress over the latest Russian missile test. Another non-event in the minds of the Democrat Party as both Russia and China both openly flaunt their growing military capability to destroy our vital space-based assets.

Of course behind closed doors, I’m sure the Democrat Party is cheering on these developments as yet another sign that soon the United States will be defeated militarily and world-wide socialism can be achieved unopposed. Meanwhile our glorious leader is pondering what flavor of ice cream he’ll have this afternoon. Decisions, decisions.

Max J
10 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

The Biden administration and the Congress still asleep at the wheel. Their vehicle continues to skid, scrape and bump along the roadside waiting for that ultimate crash that will bring this nation to its knees and the downfall.

10 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

I remember a short story about space debris causing the total collapse of all satellite assets world wide….with the end result that no one had any of the benefits we all think are necessary today, GPS, cell phones, internet, satellite TV, …all gone….and the military is back to morse code and semifore flags….in the end a group of ham radio operators take over……silly story, but imagine just how lost so many people will be when space assets are gone, or taken over by our enemies.

Nick patriot
10 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

And the Republicans do nothing!! America last!!

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