HomeScienceIs the United States in a space race against China?

Is the United States in a space race against China?

Both the US and China have plans to establish bases on the Moon in the near future. (Image credit: Caspar Benson/fStop via Getty Images)

This article was originally published on The conversation. (opens in a new tab) The publication contributed the article to’s Expert Voices: Opinion Article and Perspectives.

Headlines that herald the rise of a new “space race” between the US and China have become common (opens in a new tab) in the news coverage after many of the exciting releases of the last few years. Experts have pointed out that China rapid advances in space as evidence of an emerging landscape where China is competing directly with the US for supremacy.

This idea of ​​a US-China space race sounds compelling given the larger narrative of China’s rise, but how accurate is it? as a teacher who studies space and international relations (opens in a new tab), my research aims to quantify the power and capabilities of different nations in space. When I look at various capabilities, the data paints a much more complex picture than a hard-fought space race between the US and China. At least for now, the reality looks more like what I call a complex hegemony: one state, US. mastering key spatial capabilities (opens in a new tab)and this advantage is further amplified by a strong partner network (opens in a new tab).

SpaceX rockets carry hundreds of private satellites into orbit each year from the seven active US spaceports. (Image credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A clear leader makes the race boring

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