China Accelerating Space Presence ‘Twice the Rate’ of US, Official Warns

China Accelerating Space Presence 'Twice the Rate' of US, Official Warns China Accelerating Space Presence 'Twice the Rate' of US, Official Warns (Mark Ralson/AFP via Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Sunday, 05 December 2021 09:54 AM

A top Space Force official is warning the Chinese are developing space capabilities at "twice the rate" of the United States under President Joe Biden, which could make China the most dominant presence in space by the end of the decade.

"The fact, that in essence, on average, they are building and fielding and updating their space capabilities at twice the rate we are means that very soon, if we don't start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us," Space Force Vice Chief Gen. David Thompson said, according to CNN, saying "2030 is not an unreasonable estimate."

The U.S.-China rivalry is extending into space, even Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., admitted this week.

"Hell yes," Cooper, the House Armed Services Committee's strategic forces subcommittee chairman, said.

Cooper is urging the U.S. to spend to "keep up" with China's space buildup, pushing for the government to pump more money into Space Force.

"It's great that the private sector is so much more innovative than our Air Force was, and we need to get the Space Force to be much more innovative and try to keep up with the private sector," Cooper said, CNN reported.

"To really be superior, we've got to go beyond Elon Musk's imagination, Jeff Bezos' imagination, beyond their pocketbooks. (The) budget right now is $17 billion – that's a lot of money, but considering how crucial space is, are we doing enough?"

Gen. Thompson is on board with Cooper's calls for more taxpayer funding in space.

"As Congressman Cooper noted, every time we meet, Congressman Cooper asks what he can continue to do to help, and my request of him is always the same: continue to be our strongest supporter and our toughest critic, and I can say this morning he continues to perform effectively in both of those roles," Thompson said this week, CNN reported.