Washington, Oct. 29 (ANI): China looks set to pull ahead of the United States in the race to militarise space.
An Indian expert on Asian space programs has said that China's decision to put a spacecraft into lunar orbit in a preparatory mission for an unmanned moon landing in two or three years, has been a slow and steady process, and adds that this development must not be lost sight of from a defence and security angle, as the Chinese space program is controlled by the powerful People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Chinese engineers will maneuver the craft into an extremely low orbit, 9.5 miles above the moon's surface, so it can take high-resolution photos of a possible landing site.
Ajey Lele, an expert on Asian space programs at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi, said: "They (the Chinese) understand the value of money and investment, and they are going as per the pace which they can go."
Lele said the most significant aspect of the Chang'e 2 mission was the attempt at a 9.5-mile-high orbit, a difficult feat.
A low orbit will allow for better scouting of future landing sites, said Lele.
As far as Asia is concerned, Beijing has taken the lead over rivals India and Japan with technology that could give it a military advantage over the US, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
Compared with the American and Soviet mad dashes into space in the late 1950s and '60s, Asia is taking its time - running a marathon, not a sprint.
Some have pointed out that China's moon-shot, like all space programs, has valuable potential military offshoots.
China's space program is controlled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is steadily gaining experience in remote communication and measurement, missile technology, and antisatellite warfare through missions like Chang'e 2.
The security implications of China's space program are not lost on India, Japan, or the United States. (ANI)