“‘China, in a sense, is trying to catch up with capabilities that other space powers that have already done,’ says space analyst Laura Forczyk. ‘One of the things that helps China here is that their government is not democratic, so there isn’t the infighting that we have in the US about what the priorities are and how to fund them.’

“That has allowed the nation to develop this technology relatively quickly, but Charles Bolden, who served as NASA administrator under President Barack Obama, says China will struggle to match US capabilities in space. ‘Technologically, I don’t think they’re going to catch up as long as we keep up with the pace that we’re going in terms of human space flight…'”

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