“NASA tried and failed to obtain Bush administration approval of an overture to China for a cooperative U.S.-China space mission, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin tells Aviation Week & Space Technology. The White House believes that a higher level of cooperation is too great a reward to China for its human rights and arms-trafficking violations of international law.”
NASA’s Response to AvWeek Article
Unfortunately, Aviation Weekâ€™s recent article of Dec. 21, 2008, entitled â€œBush Administration Nixed NASA’s U.S.-China Cooperation Idea,” is inaccurate and misleading.
As an initial matter, NASA has never asked the White House for a cooperative mission such as the one described in the article. The fact is that the White House has been very supportive of a deliberate and careful establishment of relations between NASA and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) over the past two years. As a result, NASA commenced working group discussions with CNSA representatives on Earth and space science earlier this year. The discussions of potential areas of future cooperation were based on the principles of mutual benefit, reciprocity, and transparency, with the understanding that any proposal for specific projects would undergo careful review within the United States Government. Approval would, of course, be affected by the overall status of the U.S.-China government-to-government relationship. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), space shuttle flights, and International Space Station were never intended by either NASA or CNSA to be considered by the NASA-CNSA working group.
Regarding AMS, it is not an international project managed by NASA; the international aspects of AMS are managed by the Department of Energy (DOE). Currently, NASA is prepared to take necessary steps to fly one additional space shuttle flight to deliver AMS to the International Space Station before the scheduled retirement of the shuttle in 2010, provided that additional funding is provided to the agency for this additional flight. However, we anticipate this flight will be reviewed by the new administration.