TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s manual docking of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft may not be a giant leap for mankind. But the milestone, which occurred last weekend, is one solid step further in China’s race to catch the US space and technology program, not to mention its quest to build a space station.
China, a country run by technocrats, is busy pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into space, science and tech R&D. Meanwhile, government spending in those areas in the US appears to have plateaued.
The US still spends more than other countries. According to the National Science Foundation, the US is the largest single R&D-performing country, accounting for about 31 percent of the global total in 2009. But that figure is down from 38 percent in 1999.
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