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China promises to put more humans in space, less trash

Sharif Sakr
01.02.12
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China's recent Beidu GPS launches were mere firecrackers compared to its space ambitions for the next five years. These have been laid out in a 17-page government document, which fortunately reduces down to just a few key points once you filter out the abstract bluster. Top of the list is a pledge to prepare for the construction of more "space stations" -- plural -- to complement the Tiangong module and allow for "medium term" human habitation. Officials and scientists will also find time to plan for a "human lunar landing" as well as surveying the moon with rovers. Lastly, it seems that China wants to fix its nasty reputation as a space litterer, by moving "aging GEO satellites out of orbit" and "fully deactivating" used Long March rockets to reduce the risk of them exploding and scattering debris in the busiest lanes. Regardless of how these lofty goals pan out, the juxtaposition with America's own dwindling dream is obvious.

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