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NASA Willing To Team With China; Rumors of a Budget Cut 200

Posted by kdawson
from the let's-dance dept.
eldavojohn writes "2009 has been an interesting year for NASA — from a new strategy to even closer ties with an old enemy. So it's perhaps no surprise that NASA has publicly stated that they are ready to team up with China. NASA Chief Charles Bolden said, 'I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavor. I think they're a very capable nation. They have demonstrated their capability to do something that only two other nations that have done — that is, to put humans in space. And I think that is an achievement you cannot ignore. They are a nation that is trying to really lead. If we could cooperate we would probably be better off than if we would not.' While the budget of the China National Space Administration is a fraction of NASA's, partnering with them has been considered since 2008. In possibly related news, rumors are circulating of the Obama administration cutting NASA's budget by ten percent for fiscal year 2011 despite the success of Monday's Atlantis launch. Considering the Augustine panel's recommendations, such a cut could halt US human space flight for a decade."
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NASA Willing To Team With China; Rumors of a Budget Cut

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @03:45PM (#30134458) Homepage
    We need China as competitor, not a partner. We need some sort of 'gap' to get the ignorant hordes* all worked up so they'll pay for it.

    *Congress
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jimbolauski (882977)
      Considering China owns 10% of our debt ($800 billion) I wonder if Obama was made an offer he couldn't refuse.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        I wonder if Obama was made an offer he couldn't refuse.

        Somehow I don't think the Chinese are crazy enough to try and blackmail a nuclear armed state. It would hurt them as much as it would hurt us anyway. In the long run it might even be worse for them, as it would bring their economic growth to a screeching halt.

        What pisses me off is that we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have on health care "reform" that isn't and hundreds of billions more on invading countries that never attacked us but we can't find the money to fund NASA. The last r

      • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:33PM (#30135336)

        People make such a big deal out of China owning the US debt. They do so to act as a currency reserve because historically (meaning over of the last 50 years) the US has had significantly lower inflation and instability than most other nations. But the primary reason the Chinese have purchased US debt is identical to the reason the Japenesse continue to invest billions of Yen in the Debt, and that's to keep the US dollar artificially elevated.

        These governments are intervening and unbalancing currencies to artificially keep the dollar high and cause imports to be cheaper in the US to wipe out US industrial production. Eventually the market will correct, but because of the intervention the correction is going to be much sharper than had it been allowed to happen naturally. Once the dollar drops to reflect the actual real value of the dollar US exports will rise and the system will re-balance but the pain level for the US consumer is going to be very very high. But we can't compete when we allow foreign governments to manipulate the value of currency to keep it high. Currency manipulation is a serious issue with China, it should be the top priority of any negotiations with China.

        • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:45PM (#30135576) Journal
          The difference between Japan and China is that Japan DOES buy from us. Lots. China only buys resources. In fact, we have MANY things that they need. For starters, pollution control from most of the western nations. Yet, they are wanting us to GIVE THEM the tech. With China sitting on 4 TRILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS, they should be buying this and dropping their pollution and even CO2 emission. But, they do not. Japan wants to win at 2 way trade. China is in a cold war with western nations.
        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          I don't understand "natural" and "artificial" in this context. I mean, it makes sense to talk about an ecosystem's "natural" balance -- i.e. the balance it had/would attain without the influence of post-industrial humans. But the economy is nothing but the actions of modern humans... So I don't understand the distinction. If China buying up debt increases the agreed upon value of the dollar, then isn't that just the value of the dollar? I mean I understand your point that the coming devaluation of the

          • by lgw (121541)

            Eh, I think he's just talking about the value the dollar would have net of it's use as a reserve currency. The dollar fell significantly with the advent of the Euro, just becuase central banks replaced some of their dollar holdings with Euros, despite the fact it's "natural" value was unchanged. This year the dollar is falling because were printing so many of them - a fall in it's "natural" value. Perhaps a poor choice of words, but the meaning was apparant.

            • by Chris Burke (6130)

              Perhaps a poor choice of words, but the meaning was apparant.

              Maybe it should be but I still don't understand. How is banks divesting themselves of dollars and thus the value of the dollar decreasing unnatural, in any sense? And I don't mean why is that word being used, I mean please explain to me what the difference is? It sounds to me like one of the actions that should necessarily affect the value of a currency. When you flood the market with a commodity, whether by an institute selling their holdings

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I agree. And the statement that China is trying to be a leader is misleading. So what? They can try all they want. The real question is: do we want them to BE a "leader"?

      And, as long as their government is structured as it is and behaves as it does, I say the answer to that is no. In fact I think a space partnership with China would be disastrous for the United States.
      • by he-sk (103163)

        In fact I think a space partnership with China would be disastrous for the United States.

        And why would that be? Precedent says otherwise. The US-Soviet cooperation in space probably helped a bit to bring the cold war to an end--to the benefit of both sides.

        Also:

        They can try all they want. The real question is: do we want them to BE a "leader"?

        With that attitude you shouldn't be surprised when you wake up one day and are not asked anymore.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:35PM (#30135370)

      A political race is unsustainable. If we were to enter another 60s style space race, we would spend incredible amounts of money to do more flags and footprints and then sputter around for 40 or 50 years afterwards, again.

      While Apollo was an impressive feat, I can't help but wonder where we would be now if we had stuck to an Eisenhower-esque slow and steady approach, and not gotten drawn into the space race. It certainly would have taken longer to get to the moon -- we might just be getting there now. However, we would be doing so in an affordable way, with an eye towards long-term missions, science and development. I think slow and consistent is better than massive rushes followed by 40 years of sputtering about.

      The problem with Apollo is that it was run at a rate that history has shown is about 4 times higher than is politically sustainable without an external threat. Since this was the beginning of the Space Age, NASA assumed that the gravy train would go on forever, since there was no evidence otherwise. They never learned how to do things right within a small budget. This is why we're currently where we are. Vehicle design is always seeking an absolute perfection rather than a balance between cost and capability. The constant rallying cry is 'if only we had Apollo-level money again.' Perhaps most importantly, efforts to privatize the low-risk parts such as LEO transport is like pulling teeth, since the huge federal cost-plus contracts from the Apollo era are still massive employers.

      Personally, I welcome the idea of cooperation. Sharing money, technology and development is the best way to make use of limited budgets and speed up frontier development. Competition is a great short-term motivator for politics, and can encourage efficiency in the long term. However, cooperative ventures are much more sustainable in the long-term, and competition in the free market sense only makes sense for developed technologies such as LEO transport, not the "Lewis and Clark" role that the government should excel at.

      • Sharing money, technology and development is the best way to make use of limited budgets and speed up frontier development.

        Considering how much bigger NASA's budget is than China's space program, I'm not really sure where we'll get much, if any advantage from the deal. Yah, China gains a lot, since they get the benefits of our ten times large budget, but if they gave us their entire budget, it'd not be enough extra to get Orion/Ares finished on schedule, much less do anything worthwhile.

        • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

          Actually, most of our budget is devoted to the basic stuff, so each dollar added at this point is much more impressive than the money we already spend. The Augustine commission stated that adding $3B/year allows us to do a lot more than we do right now.

          Its hard to know exactly how much the Chinese are spending, but its estimated at around $1.5B -- not too bad. NASA accounts for approximately half of world-wide civilian space spending, so real international cooperation (not degrading and subordinating othe

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @07:04PM (#30137494)

        I disagree. A better way would be funding NASA at Apollo levels, continuously. We most certainly have the money, and always did. The problem was that we decided instead to waste it on other things, namely "defense".

        For instance, NASA had several other moon missions planned, which were cut even before the first one flew, because their budget got cut in the mid-60s. Why? The Vietnam war. Where would we be now if we hadn't wasted all that money in Vietnam, and kept NASA properly funded instead?

        Remember, one common figure is that for every $1 spent on Apollo, we got $7 back in our economy due to all the technological spin-offs, like GPS, printed circuit boards, etc. Spending on space exploration is an investment in the future, not a sinkhole for money like most wars (especially recent ones) are. If we want to stay ahead technologically, we need to invest a lot of money again. If we don't, we're going to be surpassed by those who do. You have to spend money to make money.

        Even now, we have far more money than we need to fully fund NASA. The problem is that we're wasting it all in Iraq, Afghanistan, on "cash for clunkers", on bailing out rich bankers who made bad real estate investments, etc. None of those things are going to get us any return on our investment. Space exploration will.

        We could easily fix our economic woes by ending all these money-wasting schemes and wars, downsizing our military (such as by closing the 100+ bases in foreign countries), quadrupling NASA's budget, ending the failed "war on drugs", and then returning the leftover money to the taxpayers in the form of reduced taxes, which will spur more economic activity. Heck, we could even create a healthcare system for not much money that would take care of everyone's health needs, but it would require many things that monied interests won't like: eliminating bad doctors, reducing malpractice insurance and litigation costs, eliminating health insurance companies, etc. The problem is that NONE of these things will be done, because the powers-that-be don't want it, since it would end the gravy train for many people who are living large off our corrupt and bloated system, and our politicians work for them, not for regular Americans.

    • The problem is that China is pretty much four and a half decades behind the US and the USSR. They're doing what Russia and the US did with the Vostok and Mercury missions. Now admittedly they should be able to progress at a far greater speed than either the US or the USSR did, because a lot of the groundwork has been laid, but still, even an optimistic estimate would, I think, put them at least ten to fifteen years away from being competitors.

  • by proslack (797189) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @03:50PM (#30134540) Journal
    Sounds like a fantastic way to supply China with even more classified advanced US technology.
    • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @03:58PM (#30134694) Homepage

      As if we have any classified advanced US technology China doesn't already have.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:01PM (#30134758) Journal

      Sounds like a fantastic way to supply China with even more classified advanced US technology.

      Space rocket technology has been around since the late 50's. It's not like there's any major secrets, and if there is, we simply don't include those in designs, doing it the older way. Plus, they probably already have Soviet designs, which have proved more reliable than our stuff. In fact, many of our satellite rockets use engines purchased from Russia.
         

      • by proslack (797189)
        It isn't just "space rocket technology". Radar, communications, avionics, tracking, gps, life support, $100 billion (today's dollars) of lessons learned from the Apollo program to say nothing of the Shuttle program. There's plenty of info they'd love to have. The point is: why not just NOT cut NASA's budget and do it in-house? Would you want to fly on a joint US-China spacecraft? Lost in Space Translation indeed.
        • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:20PM (#30135096)

          Just a slight clarification, in todays dollars the Apollo program cost $300 Billion. It also caused the microchip to be invented along with hundreds of other game changing inventions.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Tablizer (95088)

            in todays dollars Apollo program cost $300 Billion. It also caused the microchip to be invented along with hundreds of other game changing inventions.

            The microchip was invented before Apollo. Apollo did inject funds into the industry when few other manufacturers seemed interested, I will agree.

                 

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        Space rocket technology has been around since the late 50's. It's not like there's any major secrets

        Actually, there are. Not so much military type secrets, but trade secrets and proprietary processes. Rocketry is still very much an art, as everyone from Armadillo to SpaceX is discovering. We haven't had that many design generations, and total flight experience is pretty low overall.

        they probably already have Soviet designs, which have proved more reliable than our stuff.

        That's what the urban lege

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Comatose51 (687974)
      Compared to how we've helped them by deporting this supposed "Communist" rocket scientist [wikipedia.org], this is going to be peanuts.
    • Oh come on. China has missiles. China has advanced guidance systems. That's in part because of the Soviets and in part because they've done so well at stealing US secrets already.

      • by AndersOSU (873247)

        This is the second comment I've seen indicating that the Chinese have received substantial technological help from the soviets. If this is true, could some one point me towards a link that has some details. I was under the impression that Mao and Stalin really, really didn't like each other, and from about Nixon on, the US and China have had closer relations than USSR and China.

        I know, for instance, that a good percentage of the weaponry used against the Russians in Afghanistan was Chinese made - typicall

        • After Mao booted Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists off of Mainland China, the Soviets sent oodles of technicians to China. The Chinese atomic program, in particular, was pretty much imported. But by then end of the 1950s, the relationship heavily soured. The reasons are complex, but in large part seemed to be over border issues but in large part because of Khrushchev's de-Stalinification process, which Mao viewed as foolish (you'll note that China has never really did anything on that level with Mao,

    • When did we start inventing stuff again? I thought we ended that fad back in the 60's. Last I knew we bought our innovations from S. Korea, our cheap from China, and our government mandated U.S. goods from local companies that out-source to Mexico.
    • Communication with the space ships has to be filtered by the Great Firewall.
    • All flights are done with cheap Chinese copies of NASA rockets
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Actually, the Chinese are spending a lot of money on an (extremely interesting) adaption of the RUSSIAN Soyuz. The Soyuz missions have lost 4 Russian cosmonauts over 120 missions while the US has lost, what, 14 astronauts over 120 missions to the ISS? It's a little strange that NASA is suddenly saying this I admit, but I wouldn't be so quick to make fun.
      • Instead of de-orbiting the ISS, trade it tot he Chinese for some Debt write offs....

      • Maybe it's just marketing, but isn't the fact that the space shuttle can be reused advantageous? Better pre launch testing can make it safer, but AFAIK nothing can be done to the Soyuz to make it reusable. It seams to me that the space shuttle has more of a future to it than Soyuz, but that's just a fealing i can't really justify 10 more deaths just because the shuttle can land again.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          As far as I know, there's not REALLY such a thing as a reusable spacecraft - they CALL it that, but really what they mean is that they can keep replacing its parts and such, which is pretty costly anyway. If I remember right, NASA has spent way more on the ISS and such, anyway. It's actually kind of ridiculous when you think about it! Don't take my word for it though, I'm pretty much just a kid with a strong interest in this stuff - I'm not an expert (yet!).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      • All flights are done with cheap Chinese copies of NASA rockets

      Actually I think that is one of the main problems of today's space programs. Especially NASA's.

      They are so hung op on the quadrupal redundant, 99.9999999999% safe and fail-proof flights that the costs to achieve such goals are way out of balance with the goal that needs to be achieved.

      Fuck the almost 100% guarantee that nothing can go wrong
      I'll settle for 90% if that means 10x more exploration.
      Yes, rockets will explode, astronauts will die. So what? All in the day's job...

      "there is a small chance you might

  • by JoeSchmoe007 (1036128) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @03:53PM (#30134598)

    Not to diminish China's achievement, but Russia is definitely way ahead of them or anyone else. Plus AFAIK China's space technology is mostly licensed from Russia. Is politics getting in the way? Well then doesn't it make even more sense to team with Russia since they are now significantly "less communist" than China (even if mass media may not reflect that)?

    • Actually, much of China's Russian tech was NOT licensed. Much of it was out and out stolen according to Russia.

      However, we are already talking to all of the ISS partners on future space missions. That esp. includes Russia and ESA.

      Finally, neither USSR nor China have ever been communist. They were totalitarian states, with command economy. China remains a totalitarian state, but with about a mix of command and capitalist economies. For example, Chinese gov. still tells all of the major companies what th
      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        China remains a totalitarian state, but with about a mix of command and capitalist economies. For example, Chinese gov. still tells all of the major companies what they will do with regard to buying and selling lines of business

        That sounds a lot like the USA these days.

    • Well, it does really boil down to politics. NASA is willing to team with China because the Administration is bullish on China. NASA is unwilling to team with Russia because Congress doesn't want to because of Russia's violation of various technology transfer treaties. (Congress is currently making noises about not renewing or canceling the special dispensation that allows NASA astronauts to fly on Soyuz.)

      The basic technology for the Chinese program did originally come from Russia, but they've gone consi
  • The quiet truth is that China has the rare opportunity to leapfrog ahead of the US.

    Frankly, their rocket science is not up to our par. Instead of investing in rocket science they could ignore it and go right to Space Fountain. Cheaper in the long run.

    The scientific basics are sound, they have the tibetan plateau (great place to build most space industries as it is has huge flat areas that are 5,000 meters above sea level), and they don't have to deal with an entrenched existing industry that doesn't w

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      The only thing protecting the US's space advantage is the inherent conservativism that all dictatorships develop. Their government actively discourages independent thinking so instead of trying to build something new, they will most likely stick with the old style rocket technology that the US has already proven to work.

      Ironically, we actually needed that thinking before NASA selected the shuttle. If we extended Apollo instead of bolted for the weird shuttle, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. And pro

      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:39PM (#30135458)

        If we extended Apollo instead of bolted for the weird shuttle, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. And probably fewer dead astronauts.

        Apollo had one loss-of-crew accident in about 13 flights. That's about 7%.

        Shuttle had two loss-of-crew accidents in about 125 flights. That's about 1.6%.

        So, what's the basis for believing we'd probably have fewer dead astronauts if we'd stuck to Apollo?

  • We are going to give away technical knowledge with military and commercial value to China without them having to spend the high costs of research or espionage. Has anyone read, "The Asian Mind Game" by Chin Ning Chu? http://www.amazon.com/Asian-Mind-Game-Chin-ning-Chu/dp/0892563524 [amazon.com] This, and many similar books show the strategies that China and Japan have been using to create dominant positions internationally. China will never be a "full participant" but will always be glad to accept any knowledge we can g

  • we should team up with Canada and Mexico

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      Canadians are always prepared to give a helping hand in space programs.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      You've got to be kidding. Canada might be able to contribute some things, but Mexico can't contribute anything besides drug cartels. Teaming up with Mexico on a technological pursuit makes about as much sense as teaming up with Amazon jungle tribes or African bushmen. The country has no technological ability to speak of; their only technology is foreign owned and operated factories that they use Mexicans as manual labor for.

  • by downix (84795) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:10PM (#30134918) Homepage
    There are NASA engineers which have the solution, which can work even with a reduced budget. They call it DIRECT [directlauncher.com]. Rather than sink tens of billions into R&D, they adapt the existing Space Shuttles systems into a launch vehicle. The Shuttles R&D costs were paid for decades ago. The new systems are well within the realm of "relatively simple" as far as rockets go. It could be ready within a few years, and can operate within even a reduced budget realm.

    The alternative is to modify the Department of Defences EELV vehicles, Delta and Atlas, but we all know how much the DoD likes having their babies played with.
  • The problem with Chinese missions is that you feel like going back up just a few hours after landing.

  • If Obama cuts NASA's budget by ten percent. No matter where you stand on the issue, we're not even going to have anything to debate anymore if a budget cut goes through.

    While I understand those who advocate robotic-only exploration, a budget cut is truly a sad scenario for all concerned.

    • by stagg (1606187)
      Now while I agree that there MAY not be much direct benefit from a Mars mission, I don't see the reasoning behind cutting it. They should be funding institutions like NASA. If nothing else it's a massive make work project for the tech industry and creates an environment that's friendly toward the highly educated. It's a fairly harmless and uncontroversial project to center that on, unlike funding educational institutes or healthcare apparently. heh. It really seems like funding NASA would be a positive th
    • At this time, 10% cut is about a 5% cut of historical levels (which was about 1% of GDP). Right now, it is about .5%. The reason is that W/neo-cons effectively cut it 50% over the 8 years.

      Do not get me wrong. For the life of me, I do not see this as being the place to cut (like eating our grain seed in late April), BUT, I also do not thing that this particular cut would prevent us from going to Mars. I would place the blame for that on the last 9 years of spending and bad cuts.

      In the end, the real questi
      • by FleaPlus (6935)

        In the end, the real question is not the cut. The real question is, what will he replace this with? Will he push towards commercial space COMBINED with Direct (which COULD get by with less money)?

        Another major question is whether or not it's truly necessary for NASA to spend tens of billions of dollars developing a new heavy-lift vehicle. For example, this proposal by the ULA uses commercial launchers and propellant depots instead of heavy-lift to create an exploration architecture suitable for NEO, Lunar, and ultimately Martian exploration, at a fraction of the cost:

        http://ulalaunch.com/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf [ulalaunch.com]

        Abstract:

        A Commercially Based Lunar Architecture

        Frank Zegler1, Bernard F. Kutter2, Jon Barr3

        The present ESAS architecture for lunar exploration is dependent on a large launcher. It has
        been assumed that either the ARES V or something similar, such as the proposed Jupiter
        "Direct" lifters are mandatory for serious lunar exploration. These launch vehicles require
        extensive development with costs ranging into the tens of billions of dollars and with first
        flight likely most of a decade away. In the end they will mimic the Saturn V
        programmatically: a single-purpose lifter with a single user who must bear all costs. This
        programmatic structure has not been shown to be effective in the long term. It is
        characterized by low demonstrated reliability, ballooning costs and a glacial pace of
        improvements.

        The use of smaller, commercial launchers coupled with orbital depots eliminates the need for a
        large launch vehicle. Much is made of the need for more launches- this is perceived as a
        detriment. However since 75% of all the mass lifted to low earth orbit is merely propellant
        with no intrinsic value it represents the optimal cargo for low-cost, strictly commercial launch
        operations. These commercial launch vehicles, lifting a simple payload to a repeatable
        location, can be operated on regular, predictable schedules. Relieved of the burden of hauling
        propellants, the mass of the Altair and Orion vehicles for a lunar mission is very small and can
        also be easily carried on existing launch vehicles. This strategy leads to high infrastructure
        utilization, economic production rates, high demonstrated reliability and the lowest possible
        costs.

        This architecture encourages the exploration of the moon to be conducted not in single,
        disconnected missions, but in a continuous process which builds orbital and surface resources
        year by year. The architecture and vehicles themselves are directly applicable to Near Earth
        Object and Mars exploration and the establishment of a functioning depot at earth-moon L2
        provides a gateway for future high-mass spacecraft venturing to the rest of the solar system.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      If Obama cuts NASA's budget by ten percent. No matter where you stand on the issue, we're not even going to have anything to debate anymore if a budget cut goes through.

      Obama is giving us change we can believe in! A big budget cut for NASA, and more soldiers in Afghanistan. I'm so glad everyone voted for Obama instead of that warmonger McCain.

  • Perhaps it should say "Ending government paid for manned spaceflight for a decade".

    It would be really interesting to see the conservative reaction to this. Will they oppose simply for the sake of opposition, or will they applaud it and call out for the free market to provide for manned space flight.

    Personally, I think stopping goverment funded spaceflight is a bad idea, there is not enough economic benefit yet for corporations to go into space, beyond quick space tourism flights.
  • Sad truth is, there was only one candidate out there who liked the idea of NASA. Hillary. If you gave a damn about space, you voted for her. After she was out... NASA was screwed.

    Obama - said early on he'd cut NASA for education funds.
    McCain could care less one way or another if memory serves.

    Obama heralds the age of no more manned NASA. About the only hope for US manned ambition is Dragon, or a COTS contract.

    About the most optimistic thing I can say about this, is that maybe killing off manned space will f

  • It actually isn't just space the two countries are planning on cooperating on. Not sure how much beef is behind this statement, but here's a snippet of the joint statement by Presidents Obama and Hu during Obama's visit to China:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/joint-press-statement-president-obama-and-president-hu-china [whitehouse.gov]
    http://nasawatch.com/archives/2009/11/china-and-us-to.html [nasawatch.com]

    The complementing departments of China and the United States have already signed a number of cooperation agreements, including the MOU to enhanced cooperation on climate change, energy and environment. The two sides have also officially launched the initiative of developing a China-U.S. clean energy research center.

    Both President Obama and I said that we are willing to act on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity to deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement, science, technology, outer space, civil aviation, and engage in cooperation in space exploration, high-speed railway infrastructure, in agriculture, health, and other fields. And we also agreed to work together to continue to promote even greater progress in the growth of military-to-military ties.

  • Pinning a long term program on a single nation is a bad idea because some time during the program the administration changes and often changes the funding or program. Then things fall apart. When we teamed with Russia things went more slowly than they would otherwise but they kept going when they might have faltered.

    I've always been of the mind that space exploration should be an international endeavor. ESA is a good start. So is the US/Russia team. If we add China, we'll have a 3 country team. At that poin

  • One of my professors in college that used to work for Boeing explained to our spacecraft design class that Boeing stopped contracting launches with China because China launches their rockets over landmass rather than ocean. While this alone is a very dangerous practice, it important to note that a good amount of the crap pouring out of the back of some launch vehicles is poisonous....especially when hydrazine is added into the mix. As a result, the Chinese launch vehicles were dumping significant amounts of
    • Yeah, hell of a lot chance that will happen, if they do anything they will just tell the town residents and farmers to leave town the day of the launches....

  • At least China has already tested it for us and we won't need Ares....

  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @04:50PM (#30135654) Journal

    FYI, it's not a directed budget cut towards NASA -- every single non-military agency has been told by the Obama administration that they may see cuts of 5-10% in order to reduce the deficit.

    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/11/17/sharpening-the-budget-cleaver/ [spacepolitics.com]
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hBr0LFXMFF1HE6-n_ZTN1829QS1QD9BUTPVG0 [google.com]

    On the plus side, if there is in fact a budget cut, it'd hopefully be the cover NASA needs to shut down/reduce its politically well-guarded Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), which uses up a huge part of NASA's budget, but due to its chronically incompetent management has spectacularly failed [selenianboondocks.com] in basically all of its large projects over the past 30 years.

    • Actually, I am glad to see the 5-10% cut across the board. We need to get control of this deficit.

      Interesting about MSFC. BUT, that is the land of Dick Shelby. It will be interesting to see what will happen in congress.
    • The only science they want is the study of how to get more votes. Geeks cast by the wayside as soon as he had the keys, along with main street

  • with budget cuts, our space program will be on par with the UK.

    "Hello, Swindon."

  • by jwriney (16598)

    Until they stop relying on toxic, storable propellants for their manned launchers, and get a better handle on range safety (referring to the first LM-3B launch which took out a village - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qVaXFhu7NE [youtube.com])... how about *no*.

    The propellant issue alone ought to be a show-stopper. We knew storable propellants were a horrible idea during Gemini, but did it anyway for expediency. There was legitimate question whether, during an abort, the astronauts would manage to escape what was termed

  • They are very good at gathering all the information about a technology they can- both above board and below board. The more, the merrier to me.

    Their program is very low key with a test every three years. This is an order of magnitude less effort than the space shuttle or Soyez.
    • Yes, but the test really were not needed. Look, if you had plans (both bought and stolen) for a car, a bomb, or a rocket, could you not put it together if you had money? Absolutely. China's 3 year is time to refine and test approaches and fill in the gaps of knowledge that are missing and simply piece these things together. The hard part is that by obtaining tech from both countries and trying to mix them, they do not know what will work together well. What so many miss is that China has gotten in just 3 m
  • by bobvious (1331503) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @10:39AM (#30144206) Journal
    China will do exactly what they're doing with the rest of industry... they make deals provided they do some manufacturing in China. They lift every secret they can, then open their competing industry. Of course their competing industry is well on its way. Remember, they have more honor students than we have students, and they're outproducing us in engineers around 9 to 1.

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