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China has military presence in space, warns Nasa chief

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The chief of Nasa has flagged China’s military presence in space and said Beijing was using its civilian space programmes to hide military objectives.

“China has made extraordinary strides, especially in the last 10 years, but they are very, very secretive,” Bill Nelson, Nasa administrator, told US lawmakers at Capitol Hill.

“We believe that a lot of their so-called civilian space programme is a military programme. And I think, in effect, we are in a race,” Nelson was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

While informing about the threat, the Nasa chief also cautioned Washington to stay vigilant.

He added that China would “come to its senses and understand that civilian space is for peaceful uses”.

“We have not seen that demonstrated by China,” added Nelson.

Nelson made these remarks while giving testimony before the House appropriations committee regarding Nasa’s budget for the year 2025.

He also added that the US needs to land on the Moon again before China does.

However, he voiced apprehension that if Beijing were to reach the moon first, they might say, “‘Alright, this belongs to us, keep out.'”

Nelson had earlier said the US was engaged “in a space race” with China and had cautioned that China could eventually assert its claim to “own” the moon’s resource-rich region.

China set an Earth-orbiting space station, mounting several lunar orbiting and sample-retrieving missions in 2022.

Subsequently, the US has been strategising to send astronauts back to the moon in 2026 on its Artemis III mission.

China, on the other hand, aims to land humans on the moon by 2030.

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