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Surprising Science

China’s Space-Based Solar Power Strategy

Compared with the Chinese who are developing space-based solar power, the United States does not have a long-range national space strategy or direction, and desperately needs one.

What’s the Latest Development?

While the U.S. sorely lacks a national space agenda, China has recognized the development of space-based solar energy as essential to the betterment of its place in the world. According to the China Academy of Space Technology (C.A.S.T.), “the state has decided that power from outside the earth, such as solar power and the development of other space energy resources is to be China’s future direction.” In space-based solar power, China sees a sustainable energy source capable of supplying its blossoming economic industries.

What’s the Big Idea?

Beyond feeding its economy, China sees the development of space-based energy technologies as important for “social development, disaster prevention and mitigation, and cultivating innovative talents through an increased space effort the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Apollo program.” In the list of technologies C.A.S.T. plans to develop, many can be used to benefit other kinds of space ambitions, suggesting that energy is but one of China’s missions for the development of space. 


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