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posted by janrinok on Saturday January 21, @02:41PM   Printer-friendly

Chinese Companies to Build Commercial Spaceport on the Horn of Africa

The Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) and a Shanghai-based Touchroad International Holdings Group have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Djibouti to build a $1 billion commercial spaceport with seven launch pads and three rocket engine test facilities.

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh met with company officials on Monday to discuss the planned Djiboutian Spaceport, which will be constructed in the northern Obock region near the entrance to the Red Sea. It would be the first orbital spaceport in Africa.

[...] HKATG and the Djiboutian government will manage the spaceport for a period of 30 years. The government will then take control over the facility.

Construction of the spaceport is expected to begin after the parties sign a formal agreement in March. The project is expected to take five years.

The Djiboutian government said the project will require the development of a port facility, a network of highways, and a power grid.

See also: Rocket Report: SpaceX reaches 'ludicrous' cadence; ABL explains RS1 failure

Previously:
    A Small Secret Airstrip in Africa is the Future of America's Way of War
    China Sends Troops to Djibouti Ahead of Establishment of its First Overseas Military Base
    U.S. Complains That Chinese Military Personnel Are Injuring American Pilots With Lasers in Africa


Original Submission

Related Stories

A Small Secret Airstrip in Africa is the Future of America's Way of War 16 comments

Reuters reports that the Pentagon is quietly building up a small airstrip in a remote region of east Africa that is a complex microcosm of how Washington runs military operations overseas — and how America's way of war will probably look for the foreseeable future. Chabelley Airfield is less than 10 miles from the capital of the small African nation of Djibouti but the small airport is the hub for America's drone operations in the nearby hotspots of Somalia and Yemen as part of its war against Islamic militants. "The U.S. military is being pressured into considering the adoption of more of a lily pad basing model in the wake of so much turbulence and warfare across the region," says Dr. Geoffrey Gresh. "Djibouti is a small, relatively safe ... ally that enables the U.S. special operators to carry out missions effectively across the continent."

In September 2013, the Pentagon announced it was moving the pilotless aircraft from its main base at Camp Lemonnier to Chabelley with almost no fanfare. Africom and the Pentagon jealously guard information about their outposts in Africa, making it impossible to ascertain even basic facts — like a simple count — let alone just how many are integral to JSOC operations, drone strikes, and other secret activities. However a map in a Pentagon report indicates that there were 10 MQ-1 Predator drones and four larger, more far-ranging MQ-9 Reapers based at Camp Lemonnier in June 2012 before the move to Chabelley.

The Pentagon does not list Chabelley in its annual Base Structure Report, the only official compendium of American military facilities around the world. "The Chebelley base ... [is] a reflection of the growing presence of the U.S. military in Africa," says Dr. David Vine, author of 'Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World". "The [U.S.] military has gone to great lengths to disguise and downplay its growing presence in Africa generally in the hopes of avoiding negative attention and protests both in the U.S. and in African countries wary of the colonial-esque presence of foreign troops."

American drones fly regular missions from Chabelley, an airstrip the French run with the approval of the Djiboutian government. Washington pays Djibouti for access to Paris' outpost. Part of the reason for this circuitous chain of responsibility could be the fact that the Pentagon's drone missions are often controversial.

Critics contend targeted strikes against militants are illegal under American and international law and tantamount to assassination. "The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don't like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It's a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war, without having to have the massive ground invasion mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan."


Original Submission

China Sends Troops to Djibouti Ahead of Establishment of its First Overseas Military Base 31 comments

China has sent two warships to the Republic of Djibouti in Africa, where it will open its first overseas naval base:

China has dispatched troops to Djibouti in advance of formally establishing the country's first overseas military base. Two Chinese Navy warships left the port of Zhanjiang on Tuesday, taking an undisclosed number of military personnel on the journey across the Indian Ocean.

An editorial Wednesday in the state-run Global Times stressed the importance of the new Djibouti facility -- in the strategically located Horn of Africa -- to the Chinese military. "Certainly this is the People's Liberation Army's first overseas base and we will base troops there. It's not a commercial resupply point... This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot," said the paper.

The Global Times said the main role of the base would be to support Chinese warships operating in the region in anti-piracy and humanitarian operations. "It's not about seeking to control the world," said the editorial.

Also at The Atlantic and Xinhua (newer article).

Related: A Small Secret Airstrip in Africa is the Future of America's Way of War


Original Submission

U.S. Complains That Chinese Military Personnel Are Injuring American Pilots With Lasers in Africa 59 comments

US warns China after lasers injure American pilots in Africa

The United States has issued a formal warning to China after personnel at the Asian country's military base in Djibouti used lasers to interfere with U.S. military aircraft, minorly injuring two pilots, according to the Pentagon.

Top Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday that the U.S. is confident the Chinese are behind the "very serious incidents," which have increased in the past few weeks.

"There have been two minor injuries. This activity poses a true threat to our airmen. We have formally demarched the Chinese government. And we've requested that that Chinese investigate these incidents," White said during a Pentagon briefing.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, has warned airmen to be cautious when flying in certain areas in Djibouti, in Africa, due to the recent incidents.

Also at CNN.

Related: A Small Secret Airstrip in Africa is the Future of America's Way of War
China Sends Troops to Djibouti Ahead of Establishment of its First Overseas Military Base


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Saturday January 21, @03:36PM (4 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday January 21, @03:36PM (#1287907)

    it's not on the west coast of Africa.

    --
    Why is tamales pronounced tamales but females is pronounced females instead of females?
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by GloomMower on Saturday January 21, @04:31PM (1 child)

      by GloomMower (17961) on Saturday January 21, @04:31PM (#1287918)

      What do you mean? It said Djibouti.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by khallow on Saturday January 21, @07:19PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 21, @07:19PM (#1287941) Journal
        The grandparent is probably referring to the dropping of rocket parts (at least one case of dropping a fueled rocket) over populated areas in China.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Saturday January 21, @05:51PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 21, @05:51PM (#1287922) Homepage Journal

      Try Google Maps. Djibouti is a small speck on the east coast of Africa. It's probably bigger than the state of Delaware, but not by much. It's a convenient port from which to fight piracy in the gulf. https://maps-africa.blogspot.com/2012/05/east-africa-map-pictures.html [blogspot.com] It's also a good port for the US Navy to take on fuel, and spend an afternoon on the beach, drinking a few beers. It's not a good liberty port though - there's nothing there but a refugee camp. https://www.unhcr.org/djibouti.html [unhcr.org] Depressing place, really.

      --
      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, @06:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, @06:36PM (#1287933)

        That refugee camp will become a company town of immigrants. I doubt the locals know much about running a space port.

  • (Score: 2) by Improbus on Saturday January 21, @07:09PM (2 children)

    by Improbus (6425) on Saturday January 21, @07:09PM (#1287939)

    Assuming they actually actually launch a rocket who are the boosters going to land on? India? That should be interesting.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, @07:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, @07:58PM (#1287951)

      The word you're looking for is Exciting. Death from above is the spice of life.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Sunday January 22, @06:39AM

      by driverless (4770) on Sunday January 22, @06:39AM (#1288024)

      I doubt they'll ever get that far. Chinese companies will bring in Chinese workers to build Chinese stuff for other Chinese companies, and then the work will slow down to a crawl as funds dry up and the Djibouti government suddenly finds out it owes China $1B that it has no hope of repaying.

      But which China is willing to forgive in exchange for monopoly mining rights, military bases, and unconditional voting support in the UN.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Saturday January 21, @11:45PM (1 child)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday January 21, @11:45PM (#1287969)

    That is the sound of my (bad) joke going over your heads.

    China has a history of launching rockets who's booster stages have a high probability of, and have, landed on inland villages.

    --
    Why is tamales pronounced tamales but females is pronounced females instead of females?
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday January 22, @02:25AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 22, @02:25AM (#1287993) Journal
      And this [youtube.com] is the launch failure I referred to in the same thread. After this, China got quite a reputation.
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