China expanding Antarctic footprint with satellite bases
BEIJING is to expand its presence in Antarctica with a base to promote ‘‘the marine economy’’ and become an ocean power, according to state media.
China plans to build ground stations in Antarctica to host satellites that monitor the ocean. It says the project, a collaboration between the National Satellite Ocean Application Service and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation to create up to four stations, will be a milestone for the country’s ocean exploration satellite system.
Ground stations are necessary to fly spacecraft and transmit data, and China has been building them in several countries. A Chinese-built station in Patagonia, southern
Argentina has prompted concerns about its real purpose, despite Beijing’s assurance that the goal is peaceful space observation and spacecraft missions, rather than spying.
In 2020, citing ‘‘changes’’ in geopolitics, the Sweden Space Corporation refused to renew contracts to assist China with its ground stations.
Countries such as the United States and Japan have ground stations in Antarctica, and China’s new ones will be built at its Zhongshan science research station, located by Prydz Bay in eastern Antarctica.
An unnamed project worker told the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper, that the project would include a 12m antenna base and transmission rooms as well as power and communications cables. The worker admitted that
there were challenges with the project, including the hostile
polar environment, and limited theoretical research and methodology of existing engineering projects from which to learn.
The ground station project crew spent 47 days at the Zhongshan station in 2018 to survey the site and test insulation materials.
China has made huge strides in its space programme. It became the first country to land on the far side of the Moon, and is building its first permanent space station in Earth orbit.
Last year, it made more than 60 space launches, sending more than 180 satellites into orbit, compared with 19 orbital launches in 2015.
In addition, China is seeking to expand its footprint in polar regions, especially the Arctic, with expedition trips. President Xi Jinping has demanded that the country become a ‘‘polar great power’’ by 2030.
with the club after two gruelling seasons on the Covid road. ‘‘This changes everything,’’ thought McDowell-White at the time, and nothing he’s experienced since has altered his mind on that.
‘‘I knew this was the right call a long time ago,’’ the 1.96-metre playmaker said ahead of Saturday night’s regular season finale at
the Brisbane Bullets. ‘‘When
Mody called me in the off-season it changed the whole game of what I was going to do this season. After that phone call it was just a matter of when I was going to make the decision [to come back].’’
Score one for absentee owner Matt Walsh. He took a chance on Maor, whom McDowell-White rates one of the great developers of talent in the game, and it has come up a massive winner. The intense Israeli has guided the Breakers to their first playoff appearance in five years and, after Thursday’s comeback victory over Illawarra, likely their first home-advantage semifinal series since 2015.
Asked if Maor has been as influential as he thought, the Aussie smiles: ‘‘Probably more, honestly. I thought guys might take his passion and intensity maybe a bit to heart. But the guys have bought into it, we’re all on board and that speaks to the people we have.’’
It’s not lost on McDowell-White that after signing a one-year deal he will face a similar phone call again this off-season.
‘‘It will be fun,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m excited to see what he’s going to say this time around.’’
And after ’20-21 and ’21-22, where the Breakers struggled mightily on their permanent road trip, McDowell-White says he considers this campaign as ‘‘payback’’.
‘‘With everything that’s happened, it’s great for the guys who have been here through it all for it to be totally flipped on its head. It’s really special, and hopefully a home final will bring it all together.’’
With the Breakers whole again with all hands now back on deck, the starting point guard loves the depth and options at Maor’s disposal. Backup centre Rob Loe reckons it’s the ‘‘best team in the league top to bottom’’, and McDowell-White can see where his Kiwi mate is coming from, given the Breakers are now bringing both Barry Brown Jr and Izayah Le’afa off the bench.
‘‘You come off the court, you know someone just as good is coming on. There’s no slippage. We’ve got guys off the bench who can do as much as the guys starting. It’s special to have a group like that.
‘‘In the backcourt we’ve got guys like Barry and Izayah who can do everything. Then we’ve got Rupes (Rayan Rupert) who has a 7-foot-million wingspan who can do whatever he wants on defence. We’ve got multiple guys who can play down the stretch. I’d hate to be Mody in those situations, making those calls. But the best thing is he never really makes a wrong call, whoever he puts out there.’’
McDowell-White points to Brown, averaging just a tick under 20 points a game and hot favourite to be named the league’s best sixth man at this week’s awards, as a great example of the sort of sacrifices made in the group.
‘‘It tells you everything you need to know about him. There’s probably not another guy in the league who would average nearly 20 off the bench. It speaks to the kind of person he is and kind of people we have in this organisation from top to bottom.
‘With everything that’s happened, it’s great for the guys who have been here through it all for it to be totally flipped on its head.’
A lot of guys are sacrificing starting roles, minutes and shots, and it’s worked to our benefit.’’
At the heart of this turnaround season is the committed, physical defence which remains the calling card of this Breakers group.
Some, such as Kings coach Chase Buford, don’t like it. Others, like Melbourne mentor Dean Vickerman, admire it. But when they really defend, they are awfully hard to beat.
‘‘That’s what everybody knows us for this year, and I kind of like having that name for us. It’s pretty cool,’’ says this son of professional AFL player Darryl White who doesn’t mind a bit of contact himself.
McDowell-White has had a heck of a season, averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists as a sort of Swiss army knife for the Breakers. He’s big for a PG, but is slick off the dribble and sees the floor brilliantly. He points to his recent experience with the Boomers as instilling a confidence to make plays.
It’s why he wasn’t overly fussed by his recent oh-fer night against Melbourne United. He missed all 8 shots he took, but was as delighted as anyone with his first ever win against the Victorian club. ‘‘For me scoring is not the biggest thing I bring. It’s about making sure everybody is on the same page and getting the ball moving through the right hands, and just making plays. The scoring will come and go, but as long as everybody is organised I’ve done my job.’’