For years, NASA was only rivalled by Russia’s space agency ROSCOSMOS. But during the last decade, NASA has suffered a series of setbacks despite its successful landing of rover Curiosity on Mars in 2012. Since the end of its Space Shuttle program in July 2011, NASA has had to rely on ROSCOSMOS to send its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). But ROSCOSMOS has also had its own share of problems. Earlier this month, an unmanned Russian rocket carrying three navigation satellites crashed at a launch facility in Kazakhstan shortly after taking off. China, on the other hand, has made inroads into the space industry in the last decade. Last month, it completed its longest manned space mission, with the return of the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft to Earth. But one of its biggest successes came in September 2011 when it launched Tiangong-1, a space station with a manned laboratory and the possibility to test docking capabilities. NASA currently has to share the ISS for which funding runs out in 2020 with the Russian, Japanese, Canadian and European space agencies. China has plans to significantly expand Tiangong-1 from 2020. Compensating for cuts To compensate for significant cuts to its space program,… Read full this story
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