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    BY PHILIP J CUNNINGHAM     Blazing towards touchdown at a smoking seven miles a second, the Chang’e 5 returner capsule separated from the service craft high above the coast of South Africa, entered a fiery skip zone off the Arabian Peninsula, transited India and the Himalayan range before parachuting from an altitude of six miles above Inner Mongolia.   The capsule hit ground on an isolated, snowy plain in the early hours of December 17, Beijing Time, completing a 23-day journey to the moon and back. Soon a helicopter retrieval crew and off-road vehicles raced to inspect the still-warm craft.   A quick brown fox nimbly trotted past the scorched spacecraft shortly after it dropped out of the sky into a pile of snow. Both the four-legged predator and gumdrop-shaped Chang’e 5 return capsule glowed in the infrared range as detected by night-vision cameras.    Soon, a bipedal recovery team surrounded the capsule, but it seems wholly fitting, thou
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November 23, 2020 launch of China’s Chang'e-5 from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan (published in the Asia-Pacific Journal, December 1, 2020) CHINA SHOOTS THE MOON BY PHIL CUNNINGHAM Abstract: With China’s Chang’e 5 rocket launch, which landed on the moon on December 1, the long US-Russian domination of space has a major challenger. The issues extend beyond national pride to a global leadership initiative in rocketry whose implications extend to military, economic and diverse scientific applications at a time of mounting US-China rivalry in all spheres. Keywords: China, US, Russia, Space Program, Great Power Conflict   China’s Challenge to US-Russia Space Exploration Hegemony China is taking aim at the moon, establishing itself as a space power to be reckoned with. While currently playing catch-up behind the space accomplishments of the US and Russia, it is rapidly gaining ground as a result of an ambitious Chinese space program coinciding with domestic


  (published as "Looking at Earth from Space" in China-US Focus, November 2020 ) Now is a good time for the US and China to get serious about a joint mission to Mars. Russia is a natural partner, too. The earth, currently embroiled in pandemic turmoil and political delirium, desperately needs to take a bracing look at itself from afar.  By looking at our globe from the heavens, we gain a perspective that puts petty nationalism in its place. Looking at the earth from afar, a beautiful, eye-catching blue-and-green ball cloaked in gossamer veneer of swirling white clouds, is a reminder that we all live on the same finite planet. The boundaries that men kill and die for are not indelibly etched, but barely scratch the surface. Even the Great Wall of China is invisible from space to the naked eye.  A small news item easily lost in the increasingly frantic, negative, and fanatic 24/7 news cycle concerns a call for US-China cooperation in space.  Going against the ge


  The unhinged mental state of the US commander in chief remains a clear and present danger and of global concern, even as he goes kicking and screaming in what is supposed to be a peaceful transition period. Let’s us not forget that this unreasonable man fired his Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, for opposing the deployment of US troops against US citizens. In his stead, he has appointed Christopher Miller, a counter-intelligence special operations man, skipping over the next in line, the Deputy Secretary of Defense.   Is it possible that Trump still has access to the “nuclear football?” Is it sensible to allow a man so inherently unstable and intemperate retain tactical control of the world’s deadliest arsenal?   The aftermath of a US presidential election is, in normal times, a moment to muse about possible new policy directions of the candidate who prevailed at the polling booth. But these are not normal times and instead the world watches with bated b