China is launching its own space program, after years of getting a cold shoulder from NASA. Beijing is developing satellite technology for developing nations—the same nations it's looking to for resources to fuel its runaway economic growth, the New York Times notes. Last week saw the launch of a communications satellite for Nigeria, with another planned for Venezuela.
Both countries are huge oil producers. The US is grumbling about possible military applications for the satellite, but Nigeria sees the $300 million project (of which China bankrolled $200 million) as a stake in the digital economy. China aims to send out a Mars probe, and even a moon landing mission in the future.