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Year of the Rocket

The Chinese have developed an impressive booster capability--but how?

18 min read
Year of the Rocket

The Chinese have the space capabilities of the most advanced industrialized countries. They build and launch long-range missiles, put satellites in orbit, and, as of late 2000, plan a national strategy for manned space flight. But detractors, suspicious of China's rapid progress, allege it leap-frogged years of R&D by spying on the West. Is there anything to these charges, or has China achieved success all on its own? The truth, it seems, is more complex than either extreme.

Perhaps the most sensational charges were in a May 1999 report by a Congressional commission headed by Representative Christopher Cox (R-Calif.). "The PRC [People's Republic of China] has stolen U.S. missile guidance technology that has direct applicability to the [Chinese army's] ballistic missiles," it stated. The commission had been organized the year before specifically to look into issues of possible espionage by China. But making charges is one thing, and proving them conclusively is another. In fact, the Cox Report also noted that China may have come by its knowledge in part the old-fashioned, dare it be said, cooperative way: through joint projects with other nations, by reading open publications and attending conferences, and through personal contacts. Indeed, China does appear to be hunting energetically for foreign space and missile secrets, but not only in the way the charges first read.

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Video Friday: ReachBot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

Robotics Summit & Expo: 10–11 May 2023, BOSTON
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON
RoboCup 2023: 4–10 July 2023, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
RSS 2023: 10–14 July 2023, DAEGU, KOREA
IEEE RO-MAN 2023: 28–31 August 2023, BUSAN, KOREA
CLAWAR 2023: 2–4 October 2023, FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

Additive manufacturing processes can provide rapid and customizable production of high-quality components

7 min read
Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

An example of a part produced through the metal powder bed fusion process.

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

History teaches that the Industrial Revolution began in England in the mid-18th century. While that era of sooty foundries and mills is long past, manufacturing remains essential — and challenging. One promising way to meet modern industrial challenges is by using additive manufacturing (AM) processes, such as powder bed fusion and other emerging techniques. To fulfill its promise of rapid, precise, and customizable production, AM demands more than just a retooling of factory equipment; it also calls for new approaches to factory operation and management.

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