The US Air Force has successfully launched Atlas V rocket, carrying X-37B, a reusable robotic spacecraft, for a ‘secretive mission’. It will deploy a satellite into orbit and also test ‘power-beaming technology’. The Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, has said that the X-37B mission will conduct experiments more than any other prior mission.
Courtesy : defensenews.com
However, the launch by the United States is seen as a reply to China’s first test launch of its heavy-lift ‘Long March 5B’ rocket, which is the foundation of China’s space exploration plans. It will carry China’s Mars mission that is scheduled to launch soon and will also launch modules of the new space station that China plans to build.
Further, in the space race, China has also launched two communication satellites for its new space-based Internet-of-Things (IoT) project.
In addition to spacecraft and satellites, the race for supremacy has also heated with respect to missiles. US President Donald Trump unveiled the flag of US Space Force. During the event, Trump also announced that the United States is developing a ‘super-duper’ missile which is around 17 times faster than sound. It is learnt that the missile is in reply to China developing a hypersonic missile which can travel six times faster than sound.
Besides, the space race is not just restricted to space. Taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak, China is already on an equity buying spree globally. With the pandemic leading to erosion of venture capital from the space sector, the US Department of Defense is working with the White House and the US Congress to prevent China from moving in to acquire distressed private space companies that have technologies with national security implications.
Interesting to note are some facts stated in the ‘Third World War’ book. It has a chapter dedicated to ‘Space Warfare’. Some parts of it read:
“The equipment of space warfare developed until today allows man to participate in it from the ground, the earth. However, attempts are being made to place scientist soldiers in space laboratories to effect better control over a war of this kind. Thanks to movies and serials, the ordinary man is well-acquainted with the concept of ‘star wars’. These movies and serials portray attacks launched by beings that resemble humans from planets like the earth. Scientists are becoming convinced that these are not mere concepts. Do any such beings exist at all in outer space? And if they do, will they be involved in any way, in the Third World War….?”
Recently, an alliance of 120-plus nations have come together to back a draft put forth jointly by EU-Australia demanding an independent probe into finding the origin of Coronavirus outbreak. China has responded punitively by threatening to impose tariffs of up to 80% on barley and suspend meat imports from Australia. Now, the course of the on-going Third World War depends on the decisiveness of the action that the alliance of nations opposed to China pursues.