Why China Cares So Much About Space

This video is sponsored by Skillshare. The first 500 people to use the link in the
description get their first two months free. Earlier this month, China made history by
becoming the first country to land softlyon the far side of the moon. What makes this mission especially difficult
is that, unlike those on the near side, thisone never has a direct view of Earth. To communicate, the rover has to use a special
relay satellite, positioned between them. But for all that extra work, the Chang’e 4
gives China international recognition. It’s not just another landing among many. And this is just the beginning. In 2017, France spent two billion dollars
on space, Russia, three billion, the EuropeanSpace Agency, six, and China, eleven. And sure, that’s still far less than NASA,
at almost 20 billion,But the U. S. also spends three times more
on healthcare for the same life expectancy,so money isn’t everything. China is also opening up to private space
companies, which quietly compete with thosein America, like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Spacety, for example, specializes in micro-satellites
weighing as little as 3 pounds each, a previouslyunfilled, but profitable, niche. This rapid increase of Chinese investment
in space will generate thousands of jobs andcountless scientific discoveries. But it isn’t just about space,It’s also a calculated, military strategy
with global consequences. 30,000 feet in the air, moving 800 kilometers
per hour, you can watch this very video thanksto the $260 billion a year industry that is…
satellites. With them, we can predict the weather, snoop
on our neighbors, and, of course, watch TV. For free, by the way, if you live in Dish,
Texas, which legally changed its name in 2005in exchange for 200 free channels. Could be worse. But perhaps most important are the 31 satellites
which form the Global Positioning System. Cargo ships, carrying 90% of the world’s
goods, use it to navigate. Precision farming makes plowing, planting,
and fertilizing vastly more efficient. Pilots use it to fly, Surveyors to measure
boundaries, and you and I, to get deliveredthe finest Italian cuisine money can buy. But determining where you are is, arguably,
not even its most important function. It’s also the world’s clock – keeping
the time for everything from the New YorkStock Exchange, to credit card transactions,
and ATMs, with an accuracy of one billionthof a second. Its no exaggeration to call GPS one of the
foundations of the global economy. So, what does it cost?Absolutely nothing. If you’re an American taxpayer, it’s ”included”. But for everyone else, this $1. 4 billion a
year service is provided 100% free. There’s just one catch: GPS is owned and
operated by the United States Air Force. Like the internet, it was originally developed
by and only for, the military. But in 1983, Korean Air flight 007 from Anchorage
to Seoul made a very costly navigation mistake. Instead of flying around restricted Soviet
airspace, it unintentionally flew over theKamchatka peninsula, and on the same day as
a missile test at the same location. After tracking the aircraft for over an hour,
it was shot down, killing all 269 people onboard. To prevent this from happening again, President
Reagan made GPS freely available for civilianuse. And in 2000, President Clinton ended Selective
Availability, granting everyone, not justthe military, access the same level of accuracy. Officially, quote “It is not the intent
of the U. S. to ever use Selective Availabilityagain. ”,Which, notably, is not the same as “We can’t
deny access ever again”. During the war between India and Pakistan
in 1999, the U. S. refused to give India accessto GPS data. Much more recently, in 2012, a disabled GPS
satellite was blamed for a failed Russia-Indiamissile test. That uncertainty is enough to make foreign
countries nervous. And now consider that this hugely important,
economy-running technology can be interruptedwith a $10 spoofing device. Because GPS signals are weak by the time they
reach the ground, it’s remarkably easy toemit a stronger, competing signal. This device, for example, can trick nearby
cars into going the wrong way or crashinginto other vehicles. In 2008, Newark airport became the first in
America to use the FAA’s NextGen GPS systemfor tracking planes, which frequently, inexplicably
stopped working. A three-year investigation found a trucker
on the nearby New Jersey Turnpike using aGPS jammer to stop his employer from tracking
him. Like the drone which shut down the UK’s
second busiest airport in December, GPS jammingis so dangerous because it costs so little
to do so much damage. One, single drone, 100,000 passengers and
760 flights affected. For all these reasons, several countries are
launching their own alternatives to GPS. Russia has GLONASS, The EU has Galileo, and
China, Beidou. Technically, none of these systems are directly
competing. 60% of receivers use at least two of them
simultaneously. But it’s also in each country’s interest
to control as much navigation as possible. It’s also part of China’s goal to secure
its claim to the South China Sea. The problem is, just about everyone is watching,
including the U. S. , which routinely sendsships to patrol the region. In October, one of them nearly collided with
a Chinese destroyer. So, the challenge for China is asserting its
claim without risking conflict between 2 nuclearpowers. Its solution are nicknamed the “little blue
men” – local fishermen sponsored by thegovernment to work in the area and report
foreign activity to the military. This way, it asserts its claim, benefits economically,
and does so in a less-threatening way. But these fishermen have become a target for
nearby countries, like Indonesia. Which is where Beidou comes in. Unlike GPS, China’s version allows receivers
to send short messages and request militaryassistance. It gives fishermen the full power of the People’s
Liberation Army without carrying a singleweapon. This is the tension created by China’s ambitions
in space. Whether it’s purely motivated by research
and science or not, doesn’t really matter. Either way, it’s going to be interpreted
aggressively by established powers like theUnited States. Space technology is, at least for now, closely
tied to the military. It’s just one more way the world will have
to adapt to, or risk escalation with, themeteoric rise of China. Investing in space is about exploring the
unknown for the sake of discovering new things. And Skillshare offers that same kind of feeling
when you learn something new,Like solving a Rubik’s cube, taught by the
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how to be more productive. Whatever you want to learn – investing, design,
writing, or animation, Skillshare has high-qualityvideo courses that will help you. I’ll take a guess and say you enjoy watching
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this video, and to you for watching!

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