NASA Chief: China Is Hiding Its Military Goals in Space

'We believe that a lot of their so-called civilian space program is a military program'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2024 5:32 AM CDT
NASA Chief Warns Lawmakers About China's Space Program
Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, announces the four astronauts who have been chosen for the Artemis II mission in Houston, on Monday, April 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson warned lawmakers about China's space program as he made his pitch for the agency's 2025 budget Wednesday. Nelson said China was using its civilian program to mask its military presence in space, AFP reports. "We believe that a lot of their so-called civilian space program is a military program. And I think, in effect, we are in a race," he said. China, he said, "has made extraordinary strides especially in the last 10 years, but they are very, very secretive."

Nelson, who is seeking a $25.6 billion NASA budget for fiscal 2025, told the House Appropriations Committee that keeping ahead of China was of geopolitical importance, WESH reports. "We are not going to lose that global edge," he said. "But you have to be realistic that China is throwing a lot of money at it. And they have a lot of room in their budget to grow. I think that we just better not let down our guard."

China plans to have astronauts on the moon by 2030 and Nelson said that if American astronauts don't get there first, Beijing might say, "OK, this is our territory, you stay out." He told lawmakers: "I would hope that China, the Chinese space program, would come to its senses and understand that civilian space is for peaceful uses. But we have not seen that demonstrated by China." (More NASA stories.)

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