Manber: More Cooperation With Chinese Likely

A taikonaut emerges from China\'s Shenzhou 7 spacecraft after a successful orbital flight

Republican Support for China Cooperation
Jeffrey Manber
Aviation Week’s On Space Blog

Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama told a recent editorial meeting at the Huntsville Times that the United States should engage China on space cooperation. Though acknowledging the concerns, the highly partisan Senator, who is also a fierce defender of Marshall Spaceflight Center, said the opportunities were too great to just “push them in the corner.”

What would have once been an impossible comment from a southern Republican politician is yet another sign of the emerging new world order for NASA. Or what should be a new opportunity for NASA. We have entered a period where politicians are now most engaged on issues of trade and jobs. It is a balancing act where trade considerations have far more weight than the once triumphed political symbolism of our space program. And with each new program triumph from India and China, the concerns of technology transfer also lessen.

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  • Frank Glover

    But are the Chinese at all interested?

    With the possible exception of a flight to ISS with their own people, mostly for the appearance of technological parity with the US and Russia, they may have their own agenda. including a small station of their own, that could require all their manned spacecraft production.

    Just being able to do orbital missions isn’t enough (though they do demonstrate signifigantly more capability each time). It’s not clear that they can (or are willing to) bring anything to the table…