China in perspective
If we define a space power as a country or group of countries with its own rocket able to put its own satellite into orbit, then the world has twelve space powers: Russia, the United States, France, Britain, Europe, China, Japan, India, Israel, Iran and the two Korean states. Of these, Britain and France no longer have a national satellite launching program, so the current relevant number is really ten (Britain cancelled its launcher program before its first, successful mission, while France merged its launcher program with the European one). Table 9.1 sets the Chinese space program in a comparable international perspective, first for the period 1957–2011 and, for contemporaneity, the past seven years when China eventually rose to top the leaderboard.
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