Space: China’s New Frontier

Written by: Suleman Sultan

With NASA being practically shut down and Russia worrying about other things (like internal political problems) , who’s left to venture out into space besides private companies. We recently saw Space X make a successful attempt into space and to the International Space Station, but does this mean the age of governments venturing into space is over?

Maybe the traditional nations yes!

China recently sent a shuttle into space with the nation’s first female astronaut. The Shenzhou-9 launched early this week carrying 3 astronauts into space.

While China is a very late comer into the space exploration industry, it has entered into it at a very important time. With NASA out of the way and private companies slowly working their way around inexperience, China has the whole universe to itself, to put it lightly!

In Spetember of 2011 China had put into orbit the Tiagong-1 space lab module. When it sent the Shenzhou-9 it’s was to see if they could both dock together. In the end the mission was a success.

Regarding China’s space program and their first female astronaut a spokesperson recently stated that, “It will also further expand the social impact on human space missions and showcase the positive image of Chinese women.”

The Chinese not only have technological reasons to start their own space program but social reasons as well. If the Chinese monopolize the space industry, China will; as America became when it started its space program, the world leader in the engineering and sciences. As China develops space ships and space stations with telescopes of their own they will be seen as the masters of above. More importantly if other nations do not venture out into space themselves, they will be forced to either turn to private companies for help or turn to China.

NASA already aids private companies when it needs supplies for the Space Station. If Russia cannot supply the Space Station then they too will have to turn to China. This will inevitably affect international politics as well as the sciences. Scientists and engineers will then travel to China to work if they choose to go into the space industry, that’s if China lets them.

Not only does China have the will to venture into space but it’s ever increasing economy and population will be looking towards something new. With space open above, the Chinese have no obstacles but time, an obstacle that will soon become obsolete when their economy becomes the largest in the world.

China buys Volvo

Now China-owned

China recently bought the Volvo brand from Ford Motor Co.  The country’s Vice-President, Xi Jinping, spent a weekend in Sweden, where he penned a deal with Ford to purchase Volvo for $1.8B.  The Chinese automaker Geely Automobile now controls the long-standing Swedish brand.

Last year, China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest car market.  They have a desire to move into the U.S. and European markets, but lacked both the technology and the brand notoriety to adequately penetrate these already competitive markets.  With the acquisition of Volvo, China can now gain considerable footing, since the Swedish brand is well established.

China also plans to integrate the Western brand into their home market as well.  A spokesman for Geely said that while the company plans on maintaining Volvo’s current sales in Western markets, they plan on expanding the brand into a Chinese automotive presence.  Part of the plan includes opening a Chinese Volvo factory, which would support the factories the company has in Sweden and Belgium.

The acquisition bodes well for China, whose recent attempt to buy Hummer from GM fell through.  While $1.8B is far less than the $4.9B Ford paid for Volvo 11 years ago, spokesmen for Ford have stated that they are satisfied with the purchase and feel the price is fair.  Both parties hope to complete the transaction by the third quarter this year.