Space Stories: Chinese Space Partnerships, Approaching Comet, and European Rocket Shortage

Image (Credit): Chinese space program poster. (Asia Times)

Here are some recent stories of interest. “China Looks to Build Space Partnerships with Gulf Nations

China is aiming to grow cooperation with emerging space nations including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Space was named as one of a number of priority areas for the next three to five years during the first China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit held in Riyadh earlier this month. “China stands ready to work with GCC countries on remote sensing and communications satellite, space utilization, aerospace infrastructure, and the selection and training of astronauts,” according to the text of the keynote speech made by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit, Dec. 9. The GCC intergovernmental group comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Newsweek: “Once-in-a-Lifetime Cosmic Event Could Be Visible to the Naked Eye

A comet zooming through the solar system could soon be visible to the naked eye from Earth in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. And some astronomical predictions indicate that the object may never return to our cosmic neighborhood. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is currently located around 100 million miles away from Earth and will make a close approach to our planet in early February 2023. Europe Runs out of Rockets for Autonomous Access to Space

Overnight, the European Space Agency (ESA) headed by Austrian Josef Aschbacher has been left without any capacity to position its own satellites in outer space. Neither Aschbacher nor his director of space transport, the Swiss Daniel Neuenschwander, have any space vector model to fulfil their commitments to the European Union to renew the Copernicus constellation and place their Sentinel environmental monitoring satellites in orbit. Much less is ESA in a position to meet the growing global demand for launch services that is knocking on its doors, those of the United States, China and India.