China has “already caught up with the US in space in several key metrics” and could “have boots on the moon permanently” before NASA gets there, warns Brandon Weichert.

China has “already caught up with the US in space in several key metrics” and could “have boots on the moon permanently” before NASA gets there, warns geopolitical analyst Brandon Weichert.

China is threatening to scupper the US’ control of the cosmos in an extremely concerning development for the American military, an analyst and space writer told Daily Express US.

“The Space Race might be a term you associated with the Cold War, when the US and the Soviet Union were duking it it out for galactic supremacy.”

But over the last few years, China and the US have reignited an old flame as the two powers go head-to-head on several key missions, including a return to the moon.

NASA has held the top spot for years, but Brandon Weichert, author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, warns that Beijing is making some serious ground.

He told Daily Express US: “I would dare say that China has already caught up with the US in space in several key metrics. In fact, in what I think is the most important aspect of a nation’s space program – its manned spaceflight program – the Chinese have surpassed the US.

“At this rate, I believe that China will have boots on the Moon permanently by the end of this decade while NASA is still debating what size spacesuits to use for a similar mission to the Moon.”

This comes after China sent its first civilian astronaut into orbit on Tuesday in the Shenzhou-16 mission to its space station for its second in-orbit crew rotation.

The move marked another major leap for Beijing’s space program, which is progressing at remarkable speed.

Meanwhile, NASA is scrambling to return astronauts to the Moon with its Artemis program by 2024.

According to Weichert, China will establish a strong presence on the lunar surface first, dealing a major blow to NASA and the US.

He said: “Once there, China will be able to lay claim to the most valuable bits of real estate in the moon’s southern pole, they will be able to dominate the Earth and the orbits around the Earth by using the moon as an anchor, and then be able to springboard from the lunar surface to the Martian surface.”

But this is not only an issue for NASA’s control of the cosmos, but Weichert warns will have drastic consequences back down on Earth too.

He warned: “Space is important because, for us on Earth, that is how the US military dominates the planet with its massive network of satellite constellations. It’s how the global economy runs, too, because those satellites are responsible for perfectly timed international transactions that can be disrupted if those satellites are attacked.

“Then beyond that, the quest for natural resources is moving from the dusty, underdeveloped places on Earth to the cosmos beyond. The world’s first trillionaire will come from the space mining sector and the Chinese government is obsessed with the prospect of space mining.

“From being able to render US forces on Earth deaf, dumb, and blind by crippling our satellites in a ‘Space Pearl Harbor’ attack to becoming the world’s greatest power by dominating space and the budding space economy before the Americans can, China is set to prove that, in fact, the universe is an ocean and it will become a Chinese lake.”

But for now, it appears as though NASA has a slight lead on China. The US currently has more active spaceports than China, with seven operational launch sites on both American and foreign soil.

There are also 13 additional ports under development in the US. Meanwhile, China has four operational spaceports and is planning to construct two more. These are all located on Chinese land.

And while Beijing’s progress in this domain has been impressive, the US’s space budget still outweighs China’s.

The US space budget in 2021 was roughly $59.8 billion. China has ramped up space spending, doubling it over the last five years, space expert Svetla Ben-Itzhak writes in The Conversation But China’s estimated $16.18billion budget in 2021 was still less than a third of the US budget.

Originally published at Daily Express US