The country will also explore ways for taking out asteroids that endanger the planet, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said in a TV interview, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. To test the system, China intends to send a spacecraft toward an asteroid in 2025 or 2026 to study it and then change its course, Wu added, without providing details on how that would work. The Asian nation has pushed forward with plans for its space program in recent years. In January, Wu said Beijing signed an agreement with Russia to build a base on the moon, and last year a Chinese moon mission returned to earth with lunar samples.
China's aspirations for its space program have ramped up tensions with the U.S. The two sides have sparred over SpaceX satellites that Beijing said came dangerously close to its space station, prompting the government of the Asian nation to criticize SpaceX in a memo to a United Nations committee that oversees operations in space.