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China’s Space Operations: Assessing PLA Capabilities for a U.S. Strategy

Tue, Mar 12, 2024, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Featuring: Carlos Alatorre, MA candidate for Statecraft and National Security Affairs
Location: IWP Main Campus

You are cordially invited to attend an IN-PERSON event:

China’s Space Operations: Assessing PLA Capabilities for a U.S. Strategy


Carlos Alatorre
MA candidate for Statecraft and National Security Affairs


Tuesday, March 12, 2024
5:00 – 6:00 PM EST


The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036Commodore Barry Room – Marlatt MansionGetting to campus



Chinese space station over Earth

About the Lecture

This lecture is part of the Student Speaker Series

China’s advancements in space technology and orbital operations are second only to the U.S. Historically assisted by the Soviet Union, China’s space program has set an impressive timeline of space launch milestones, meeting every spacefaring goal for the past 30 years. Under the guise of scientific research, PLA documentation and dual-use technology has demonstrated that even commercial space activities serve military interests.

As investment in launch capabilities increases and China’s presence in cislunar space becomes more of a concern, what are the intentions, plans, and capabilities behind China’s interest and activities in space? With tensions rising in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, will China start utilizing space operations to support terrestrial military activity? Does China’s capacity to operate in space match its strategic interests? How does China’s advancing capabilities create more risk for U.S. space interests?

This lecture will discuss a brief history of China’s accomplishments in space and highlight PLA ambitions and operations in three areas: counterspace weapons in orbit, a permanent lunar presence, and interest in the future space economy. The lecture will also discuss the risk these three areas pose to U.S. interests and the proposed strategies for deterrence in what the DoD, NATO, and the PLA define as a new “warfighting domain.”

About the Speaker

Carlos Alatorre is an M.A. candidate for Statecraft and National Security Affairs at IWP with a specialization in Defense. Prior to joining IWP, he was a middle school teacher who spent five years teaching English in South Korea and China before deciding to make a transition to the national security and intelligence field. He brings his experience of Chinese political culture and East Asian geography (as well as his Mandarin skills) to complement his studies in Chinese military and geopolitical affairs in the Indo-Pacific. His research focuses on China’s usage of emerging technologies, specifically the PLA’s research in and implementation of AI, space/cislunar operations, and hypersonic missiles. Originally from Southern California, he earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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