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China’s Role in Making Outer Space More Congested, Contested, and Competitive

This paper addresses how China’s rapidly expanding space program challenges U.S. access to space. In 2011, the U.S. National Security Space Strategy described outer space as “congested, contested, and competitive.” As more countries operate in space, the United States has raised concerns over the sustainability of the space environment, the proliferation of space weapons, and its ability to remain commercially competitive in space. One of the most important countries contributing to the congested, contested, and competitive nature of space is China.

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