Bolden Heads for China, Indonesia for a Bit of Space Diplomacy

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is headed to China and Indonesia this week for talks that will include preliminary discussions on cooperation on human spaceflight between NASA and the Middle Kingdom.

The Chinese trip, which has raised some hackles in Congress, is “intended to be introductory in nature and will not include consideration of any specific proposals for human space flight cooperation or new cooperation in any other areas of NASA’s activities,” Bolden wrote in a letter to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Wolf had written to Bolden recently objecting to the trip, saying that Congress has placed limits on U.S. cooperation with China in space. The conservative Congressman, who is line for the chairmanship of NASA appropriations subcommittee if Republicans take control of Congress next year, has been very critical of China on human rights and military issues.

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Indonesia Launches Experimental Rocket

Space Agency Launches RX-420 Rocket
AFP

The country’s space agency successfully launched an unmanned rocket on Thursday, one small step in a plan to get a satellite into orbit by 2014, one of its executives said.

Toto Marnanto Kadri, the head of the Aerospace Electronics Technology Center at the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan), said the RX-420 rocket successfully blasted off into space on Thursday at around 8 a.m. from a launch pad in Pameungpeuk, several kilometers from the town of Garut, West Java.

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