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Former chief of NASA urges lifting China ban [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2019-1-14 16:04:05 |Display all floors
There is both optimism and a need for the United States to resume cooperation with China in space exploration, a veteran astronaut and former NASA administrator said days after the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 4 made a historic soft-landing on the far side of the moon on Jan 2.

File photo of Charles F. Bolden. [Photo: AP]

"China should feel very proud of having accomplished this. Anytime you can do something that has not been done before, it's a reason for excitement and celebration," said Charles F. Bolden, chief of the space agency from July 2009 to January 2017.

Congressional prohibitions on space cooperation with Chinaas stipulated by the 2011 Wolf Amendment to NASA appropriations billsis a "significant legal constraint" and "hindrance" that should be relaxed or reversed, Bolden said.

"I'm incredibly optimistic. I just think cooler heads will prevail," Bolden said in an exclusive interview.

Bolden was only the second astronaut in NASA's history to hold the position of administrator.

During his career as a NASA astronaut, he flew four space shuttle missions, including one that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope.

"If this administration went to the Congress and said, 'Look, we want to relax the stipulations on the Wolf Amendment' or 'We want to eliminate the Wolf Amendment', it could get passed in a heartbeat, and that would remove the restriction and we'd be able to collaborate in human spaceflight," he said.

Asked why he had such confidence, Bolden said, "Who thought Nixon would ever go to China?" referring to US President Richard Nixon's 1972 historic visit.

Bolden also gave an example of cooperation between Russia and the US, which some people think are "like two different worlds".

"There is no better partnership with Russia than NASA and Roscosmos, because we have a common mission," he said. Roscosmos is the Russian state corporation in charge of space activities.

However, early last month, US Representative John Culberson, who then chaired the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees NASA and other science agencies, said he was "hopeful" Congress would continue to prohibit NASA from engaging in bilateral cooperation with China unless certain conditions are met, reported on Dec 7.

Culberson, a Republican from Texas, lost his re-election race. After Democrats took control of the House on Jan 3, the subcommittee chairmanship changed parties.

Bolden said that many international partners are working collaboratively with the Chinese space agency. For example, Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, who had a highly successful mission on the International Space Station, and other European astronauts are training with Chinese astronauts. "My fear is that the US may be left out," he said.

There have been signs of cooperation and goodwill between the space authorities of the two countries in recent months. Immediately after Chang'e 4 made the first soft-landing on the far side of the moon, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sent the team a message of congratulations.

Bridenstine met his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Kejian, chief of the China National Space Administration, on the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, in October.

"I think it's really important for the NASA administrator to speak for the United States, in reaching out to other nations of the world to say, you know, we are with you, we look at this (Chang'e 4 landing) as an achievement of humanity. And we really want to remain partners in this effort," Bolden said.

"Because if we decide we're going to fracture and break it up, (and) everybody tries to do what's only good for me, none of us are going to succeed," he said.

Bolden, who has met with most of the Chinese astronauts who have flown to space, said when he talked to his colleagues in the Chinese space agency and everywhere else, they still would love to be able to work cooperatively with the US in human spaceflight. "Both nations have the financial wherewithal and the technical expertise to further advance this quest for humanity to go deeper and deeper into space," he said.

In addition to removing legal constraints, another requirement for US-China space cooperation is for the administration of US President Donald Trump to reinvigorate the US-China space dialogue, Bolden said.

For China, one of their first steps must be reciprocity and transparency, Bolden said. The US had engaged in cooperation with China in Earth science, aeronautic research and air traffic management before and during his tenure as NASA chief.

The US also signed an agreement with the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2016 to help smooth the flow of traffic through major Chinese airports, according to Bolden.

"My firm belief is that we should integrate China into the International Space Station program. It doesn't have a lot of time left," Bolden said, referring to the planned retirement of the ISS in a few years. That would help China "avoid some of the mistakes that were made with building the International Space Station", he said.

China is developing its own space station, named Tiangong or Heavenly Palace, which officials said is expected to be fully operational around 2022. It's likely to become the world's only space station if the US-led International Space Station is retired as planned.

Bolden said he expected Tiangong to become a "nice follow-on" to the ISS, where nations of the world can go to do research, "in addition to being on some of the commercial platforms that NASA is really trying to push, to facilitate the development of, today".

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Post time 2019-1-15 12:30:51 |Display all floors
US will never allow any nation to participate in its space programme.
Those allowed are sterilized puppets!
Please grow up!

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Post time 2019-1-15 14:07:45 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2019-1-15 12:30
US will never allow any nation to participate in its space programme.
Those allowed are sterilized p ...

re:  Those allowed are sterilized puppets!

  Well said ohh ghost
it always lost for words how such a simple sentence  like  'Those allowed are sterilized puppets!'  can so accurately pinpoint a situation which politician are unable to grasp...   

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Post time 2019-1-16 13:41:25 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2019-1-15 12:30
US will never allow any nation to participate in its space programme.
Those allowed are sterilized p ...

As an example of counting puppets, feel free to count the countries that USA bans NASA from collaborating with. It's not a big number, you can do it with fingers.

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Post time 2019-1-22 21:52:58 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2019-1-14 23:30
US will never allow any nation to participate in its space programme.
Those allowed are sterilized p ...

NASA and China collaborate on Moon exploration
January 18, 2019 by Ivan Couronne

The space agencies of the United States and China are coordinating efforts on Moon exploration, NASA said Friday, as it navigates a strict legal framework aimed at protecting national security and preventing technology transfer to China.

"With the required approval from Congress, NASA has been in discussions with China to explore the possibility of observing a signature of the landing plume of their lunar lander, Chang'e 4, using our @NASAMoon spacecraft's instrument," NASA's associate administrator for the science mission directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, wrote on Twitter.

Zurbuchen's tweet confirmed a similar statement made Monday by the deputy chief commander of China Lunar Exploration Program, Wu Yanhua.

NASA shared information from a US satellite while China told the Americans about the latitude, longitude and time of the landing "in a timely manner," he said.

The hope was that NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) could observe the historic touchdown of the Chinese lander on January 3.

NASA provided the planned orbit path of LRO to China, but it turned out the spacecraft was not in the right place at the right time.

"For a number of reasons, NASA was not able to phase LRO's orbit to be at the optimal location during the landing, however NASA was still interested in possibly detecting the plume well after the landing," the agency said in a statement.

"Science gathered about how lunar dust is ejected upwards during a spacecraft's landing could inform future missions and how they arrive on the lunar surface."

Such observations could help astronauts prepare for future missions to the Moon.

NASA's lunar orbiter will pass over the Chang'e 4 landing site on January 31 and will snap pictures, as it did for the Chang'e 3 in 2013.

The agency said significant findings resulting from the cooperation would be shared with the global research community in February at a United Nations space gathering in Austria.

Risk of 'technology transfer'

Since 2011, the US Congress has barred NASA or the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from using federal funds "to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company."

Exceptions are possible, but NASA must convince Congress and the FBI that the activity would "pose no risk of resulting in the transfer of technology, data, or other information with national security or economic security implications to China or a Chinese-owned company."

The clause was inserted in a US spending bill after a wave of cyber-attacks that was traced to sources in China.

NASA said in its Friday statement that "all NASA data associated with this activity are publicly available," and that NASA's cooperation with China "is transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial."

Sino-US cooperation could extend beyond the current lunar project, according to Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's Lunar Exploration Program.

In an interview broadcast by state television CCTV on Sunday, he said NASA scientists had discussed a possible collaboration at an international conference "a few years ago," and that US scientists had asked to extend the lifespan of China's Queqiao relay satellite from three to five years to facilitate the planning of an American moon mission.

And why?

"Later, they said, feeling somewhat embarrassed, that they wanted to land on the far side of the moon too, so if we let (our relay satellite) operate longer they can also use it," he said.

The satellite in question aids in communications with a lander on the far side of the Moon.

NASA scientists had also discussed possibly placing a beacon on the Chang'e 4 probe, he added.

"If we put a beacon there, they also know where to land. I told them our Chang'e 4 can be used as a beacon for you in future," Wu said.

However the US restrictions "might be a much higher barrier to overcome" in ambitious cooperation projects such as a lunar research base that "might involve sharing of technological information," said Henry Hertzfeld, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain

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Post time 2019-1-22 21:54:27 |Display all floors
China says it exchanged data with NASA on far side of moon
January 14, 2019

The state-run China Daily said this was the first such collaboration since an American law banned joint space projects with China that do not have prior congressional approval.

The deputy director of the national space agency, Wu Yanhua, said Monday that NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang'e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

Wu said China in turn shared the time and coordinates of Chang'e 4's scheduled landing. He said NASA's satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, but took photographs of the area afterward.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain

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Post time 2019-1-23 14:26:54 |Display all floors
Never trust the Five Eyes!

They have not lifted a finger to help our space exploration , we definitely don't need their meddling hands now.
Just say "No thank you, we are just doing fine!"

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