China became the fifth-largest exporter of major conventional arms worldwide during the five-year period ending in 2012, displacing Britain from that spot, announced the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on Monday, citing new data on international arms transfers. This marks the first time that China has been in the top five since the end of the Cold War and the first time that Britain has not been in the top five since at least 1950, according to the institute’s March 18 release. “China’s rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan,” said Paul Holtom, director of SIPRI’s arms transfers program. “However, a number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” he added. According to SIPRI, the top five suppliers from 2008 to 2012 were: the United States (30 percent of global arms exports), Russia (26 percent), Germany (7 percent), France (6 percent), and China (5 percent).
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.