Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas emphasized the risk the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to American international leadership in science and technology following the launch of the CCP’s Chang’e-5 mission to the Moon. 

“The launch of Chang’e-5 is a significant step by China towards their goal of establishing a long-term presence on the Moon. The nation that leads in space will dictate the rules of the road for future technological development and exploration, and the influence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the CCP’s space program makes China a particularly irresponsible and dangerous candidate. Advancements by the CCP also jeopardize American international competitiveness in science and technology. We can no longer take America’s leadership in space for granted and must continue supporting the men and women of the American space program aspiring to launch crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

The China Task Force Report, an actionable plan to respond to the Chinese Communist Party’s growing influence, discusses China’s plans for space exploration and recommends that the U.S. ensure its leadership in the commercial space sector and maintain its commitment to human exploration of space:

“While the U.S. views space exploration as a way to expand human knowledge, create new technologies, and discover new phenomena, the CCP seeks to establish leadership in space for the purpose of keeping the CCP in power and as a show of economic and national security strength,” the Report reads. “Unlike the U.S., which has a civilian agency (NASA) overseeing space exploration, the PLA manages the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) space program. The CCP dedicates high-level attention and funding for space while also aggressively attempting to acquire U.S. space startup companies and technology, both through legitimate means and coercion and theft.

“If the PRC succeeds in its efforts to launch its first long-term space station module in 2022, it will have matched the U.S.’ nearly 40-year progression from first human spaceflight to first space station module in less than 20 years,” the report continues. The CCP is vocal about plans to establish a human base on the Moon. The U.S. should be concerned about the technological innovations and leadership role for the CCP that could come from missions crewed by PRC-nationals to the Moon.”