Aviation Week was able to talk to press-shy NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who says that NASA is taking a slow approach to cooperation with China and a list of proposed joint projects with the Russians:
Bolden suggested space cooperation has been subsumed in larger financial issues that will be addressed when Chinese President Hu Jintao visits the U.S. in January, with the Executive Office of the President, the White House science office and the National Security Council working to coordinate a bilateral space meeting through the State Department.
Similarly, [Roscosmos Head Anatoly] Permanovâ€™s [sic] list of possible new space ventures with NASA, including development of a nuclear propulsion system, joint missions to low lunar orbit and asteroids, and a robotic landing on Mercury, is going nowhere fast. The Russian space leader presented the list at a Nov. 18 meeting of the bilateral Space Cooperation Working Group, but Bolden says the most substantive work involved protocols for future meetings. The U.S. hopes to use the list of possible bilateral projects as a way to encourage Russia to take a more active role in the multilateral working group coordinating long-term space exploration plans.
â€œIf the international partners think itâ€™s worthwhile, we the United States would be more than happy to do a bilateral effort with the Russians, but we wanted that to be international instead of just the United States and Russia deciding something off on the side.â€
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