Tiangong1 and Chinas space politics

Dr Bleddyn Bowen, a Lecturer at the School of History, Politics and International Relations, and expert in astropolitics and space security, has recently discussed the significance of China’s space station Tiangong-1 in the wider context of international relations in outer space.

Tiangong-1 was China’s first space station, and re-entered the atmosphere on Sunday night as planned. Tiangong-1 was a crucial step in China’s efforts to explore outer space with a bigger and more advanced space station planned, and eventually to place Chinese astronauts on the Moon.

Interviewed by Mark Mardell on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme, Dr Bowen noted that China’s space station is the most visible aspect of Beijing’s comprehensive space programme that aims to modernise and develop China’s economy, military, diplomatic, and infrastructural capabilities on Earth. Dr Bowen also discussed the increasingly globalised and commercial nature of space activities, and how space is not simply a story of American dominance and impressive Chinese achievements.

These events and the political and security drivers behind them will feature in Dr Bowen’s new 3rd year undergraduate module ‘Politics and War in Outer Space’ in the next academic year.