China and Africa cooperate in space for different reasons

Experts say China and African nations are increasingly cooperating in space to develop different ideas for the future.

Chinese astronauts are known as taikonauts. They conducted space diplomacy during a six-month mission on the Tiangong space station. The space structure is under construction.

Three taikonauts spoke to students from eight African countries via video link this month. The Chinese Mission to the African Union supported the event.

Temidayo Oniosun is a Nigerian rocket scientist. He also oversees the Space in Africa website. “This event is a reflection classes Cooperation between China and African countries,” he told VOA about the event.

During the talk, a young Ethiopian man asked what astronauts eat in space and how they wash themselves. A Somali student wanted to know more about the future of space. sightseeing and an Egyptian student wanted to know if it is difficult for women to become astronauts.

The three taikonauts answered his questions in detail. They showed the students the foods they eat in cycles. It contained “a delicious purple rice pudding, flavorful jumped up sweet corn with pine nuts and pieces of beef sautéed in black pepper sauce. The Taikonauts explained that because there is almost no gravity in space, it is impossible to take one shower.

China’s interests in Africa

Oniosun said the joint effort “is not necessarily because China and the rest are attractive to help Africa, they do it because they get economic, social and cultural benefits from it. capital city In exchange. »

China controls more satellites than any other country except the U.S. A Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 2020 is operational paper says that China ” Remove satellite network sensors” in Africa is helping to support their Belt and Road (BRI) development programme. Connecting “partner states” is one of the uses of cooperation in space, he said.

At an event in Addis Ababa, the head of China’s mission to the AU, Hu Changchun, says space is an important part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Its goal is to quickly build large projects in developing countries for roads, bridges, ports, railways and similar structures.

Hu said that “under the leadership of the Belt and Road Initiative, space cooperation has become a highlight of China-Africa cooperation.”

Africa’s interests in space

Oniosun said the African space economy by 2021 was valued at about $19.5 billion. He said it is expected to grow by 16% over the next four years. By 2022, 13 African countries will have 48 satellites. Six of them were built by China and one by the United States Experts say that satellite communication is extremely important for communication in Africa.

China launched the first Nigerian communications satellite in 2007 and the second in 2011. China also launched the first Algerian communications satellite in 2017. Experts say Tunisia has become the seat of the first ground receiver station outside of China for its Beidou Navigation Satellite System in 2018.

China also helped Ethiopia and Sudan launch their first satellites in 2019.

More than 20 African countries now have space programs. The recent AU-China astronaut event was meant to spark excitement among young Africans, said Julie Klinger. She is an assistant professor at the University of Delaware and spoke to VOA.

Klinger said African nations are not interested in participating in a space race, military use or even manned space flight.

They are more interested in the “socio-economic development” space. Klinger added that climate change, environmental observation and disaster control measures are important parts of China-Africa space cooperation.

However, Klinger said China must enter the competition offer for space technology contracts with African governments.

“Honestly, they don’t always win, that’s most of the satellite activity, especially in Africa based of African governments,” he said. France wins the most contracts. China is second. And the United States is fourth.

Students who participated in the question and answer discussion with taikonauts may not be concerned about which countries African nations associate with. But some of them may one day become astronauts who will go into space.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Kate Bartlett reported this story for VOANEWS. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

reflection -Nerd. something that shows the qualities, effects, or existence of something else

Cooperation -Nerd. the act of working with others or together, especially in an intellectual enterprise

sightseeing -Nerd. practice of leisure travel

skip -v. fry (food, such as small pieces of meat or vegetables) in a small amount of fat

shower -Nerd. a bath where water is poured over the body

become involved-v. to participate or cause to participate in something

capital city -Nerd. money and property

Remove -adj. to be, relate to, or imply a means of doing or using something indirectly or at a distance

offer -Nerd. an opportunity to make an offer to buy or provide a service for money

link -v. pay something, support with money

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