From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October
On 29 September, the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the PRC, China launched an experimental module to lay the groundwork for a future space station.
The car-sized Tiangong-1 module was shot into space from a launch centre on the edge of the Gobi Desert aboard a Long March 2FT1 rocket. After moving it into orbit 217 miles above the Earth, China plans shortly to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practise remote-controlled docking manoeuvres.
Two more missions, at least one of them manned, are to meet up with it next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month.
The 8.5-ton module, whose name translates as Heavenly Palace-1, will stay in place for two years. Two other experimental modules will be launched after this, followed between 2020 and 2022 by the actual station in three sections.
China has succeeded in warning off US imperialism from supplying Taiwan with the 66 F-16 fighter jets that had been negotiated. China had announced it was cutting off all military cooperation with the US if that contract went ahead, and the US has bowed to the pressure.
Although the US will instead be helping Taiwan upgrade its existing forces, it is thought that Taiwan will no longer have the independent military power to ward off any attempt by China forcibly to reintegrate it into the mainland.