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Space rockets launched from China have more than quadrupled over the past decade, with more than 60 last year alone, according to a new survey.
In 2013, China accounted for less than a fifth of all rockets launched worldwide, ranking behind Russia and the United States. By 2018, China had launched to the top spot. The country was overtaken by the United States the following year but reclaimed the number 1 title in 2021.
FILE: A Long March-5B Y2 rocket carrying the core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on April 29, 2021 in Wenchang, Hainan Province of China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
In that year, China and the United States accounted for around 80% of worldwide space rocket launches, Kyodo News reported, citing a survey by Japan’s Cabinet Office.
Last year, the United States returned to the top spot. Of 177 rocket launches, the United States accounted for nearly half. More the 60 of those launches were attributed to SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk.
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As the survey demonstrates, China has been increasing investment in enhancing its space program in recent years, creating new threats to U.S. security in outer space.
A recent report from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on Challenges to Security in Space explains that of 541 satellites China has sent to space, most are used for reconnaissance or intelligence gathering.
FILE: This photo taken and released on August 20, 2021, by China Manned Space Engineering Office via CNS shows Chinese astronaut Tang Hongbo coordinating inside the Tianhe core module as his colleague Nie Haisheng conducts a spacewalk. (China Manned Space Engineering O/AFP via Getty Images)
The U.S. has maintained superiority in many aspects of space. It is the only country to land a man on the moon. The last landing was in 1972, and now the race to return to the moon is a central focus for China and Russia’s space programs.
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China and Russia have plans to construct an International Lunar Research Station by 2035. The base would primarily consist of robotic technology with the capability of supporting human visits.
Fox News’ Bret Baier and Amy Munneke contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more.