China’s Space Program: Options for U.S.-China Cooperation
Specialist in Energy Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
China has a determined, yet still modest, program of civilian space activities
planned for the next decade. The potential for U.S.-China cooperation in space — anissue of interest to Congress — has become more controversial since the January 2007 Chinese anti-satellite test. The test reinforced concerns about Chinese intentions in outer space and jeopardized space assets of more than two dozen countries by creating a large cloud of orbital space debris. Some argue that Chinese capabilities now threaten U.S. space assets in low earth orbit. Others stress the need to expand dialogue with China. This report outlines recent activities and future plans in China’s civilian space sector. It also discusses benefits and trade-offs of possible U.S.-China collaboration in space, as well as several options to improve space relations, including information exchange, policy dialogue, and joint activities. For more information, see CRS Report RS21641, China’s Space Program: An Overview. This report will not be updated.