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NASA head Nelson says China hiding military presence in space

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Shillong, April 18: The chief of US space agency NASA has told lawmakers in Washington that China is using civilian programmes to hide military objectives in space.

“China has made extraordinary strides [in space] especially in the last 10 years, but they are very, very secretive,” Bill Nelson told the appropriations committee of the US House of Representatives as he testified on the US space agency’s 2025 budget request.

“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 also stressed that it was “incumbent on us” get to the moon, first as he warned: “my concern is if China got there first and suddenly said ‘ok this is our territory, you stay out’.”

The NASA chief said that the US was not going to lose its “global edge” in space, “but you got to be realistic that China is really throwing a lot of money at it and they’ve got a lot of room in their budget to grow.”

“I think that we just better not let down our guard,” Nelson added.

The NASA chief said he hoped “the Chinese space programme would come to its senses and understand that civilian space is for peaceful uses,” but added: “We have not seen that demonstrated by China.”

With the Artemis programme NASA wants to put humans on the moon again after more than 50 years. The moon landing mission Artemis 3 was recently postponed to September 2026.

The long-term goal of Artemis is to establish a permanent lunar base as a foundation for missions to Mars. (IANS)

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