China may expand space launching pad into Pacific
A top British commander says it's feasible China could use the Pacific as a space launch pad as Beijing pushes to become a dominant player in the sector.
Space Commander Paul Godfrey says China's space launching infrastructure, including either a launch pad or complex, could be the next step as Beijing increases its involvement in the Pacific.
"The simple answer is yes, that could absolutely be something that they're doing as they move into a number of these different countries," the air vice marshal told AAP.
"There is the possibility of that - look at what they do in terms of the rapid build of deepwater ports in various countries, the rapid build of airfields."
The space commander said the fact China conducted more space launches than the US last year for the first time highlights how prolific its development in the sector had become.
"China is definitely on the rise. If you look at their space capabilities over the last few years, it's eye watering," Air Vice-Marshal Godfrey said.
"The US is essentially the de facto lead in the space coalition. It's incredibly important all of us collaborate because we've all got different strengths."
One of these strengths includes geography, with Australia providing prime position for space launches due to its proximity to the equator and land far south.
Air Vice-Marshal Godfrey said while China had a large geography in itself, there were strategic opportunities by launching further south.
"There's a lot of technical issues as to what latitude you want your launch, depending on what orbits you want to try and get your spacecraft into," he said.
"That's what makes Australia really interesting with an awful lot of geography."
The space commander will meet with his Australian counterpart Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts while in Avalon for the annual air show.