China Space Station: A space station deal between Kenya and China has put Kenya in the middle of the latest contest between the United States and China.
This is after the US raised alarm that the multi-billion dollar China space programme, of which Kenya is set to be involved in, will put its dominance at risk.
The US space agency NASA has warned that China is using the space deal with Kenya and a few other countries to undercut the US and other foreign launch and satellite providers in the international space market.
NASA chief Jim Bridenstine warned that it was vital for the US not to “ultimately not cede that territory to another country that doesn’t have our interests at heart.”
The Chinese large modular space station is a planned space station to be placed in Low Earth orbit. The planned Chinese Space Station will be roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station.
The International Space Station (ISS) is the only one of its kind that is used for orbital explorations. The first parts of the ISS were launched in 1998 and it has been continuously lived in since 2000. The station, which serves as a space science lab and is a partnership between the US, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada, is currently expected to be operated until 2030.
The China space station is named Tiangong, meaning Heavenly Palace, and in June Chinese state media announced it was partnering with 23 entities from 17 countries to carry out scientific experiments on board.
These countries included both developed and developing countries, such as France, Germany and Japan, as well as Kenya and Peru, according to Xinhua news agency.
“China is rapidly building what they call the ‘Chinese International Space Station,’ and they’re rapidly marketing that space station to all of our international partners,” said Bridenstine. “It would be a tragedy, if, after all of his time, and all of this effort, we were to abandon low Earth orbit and cede that territory.”