Recently in China Category

Head of China's space science reaches out, Nature

"Some think that the Chang'e-3 mission provides an opportunity for China and NASA to collaborate. How has that been going? It is indeed a wonderful opportunity. The landing of the Change'e-3 spacecraft on the Moon kicked up a lot of dust over a landscape that had already been carefully surveyed by NASA's two Moon orbiters, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. This is a perfect controlled experiment -- by coincidence rather than by design -- to study the composition of lunar dust and atmosphere, but it will require data exchange between the two countries. China is eager to collaborate, but nothing has come through from the US side because of the 2011 spending bill."

Keith's note: Our Congress goes out of its way to not cooperate with China in space because they do not like China's internal and foreign policies. Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. howls in protest, and yet we still operate the ISS together with Russia. Consistency? Of course not.

NASA: An lndependent Review of Foreign National Access Management

"Over the last year, security incidents involving foreign nationals at NASA research Centers have drawn the attention of the NASA Administrator and other agency leaders, Congress, and the media. Recognizing the growing threat of cyber-attacks and espionage aimed at government agencies by hostile nation-states and foreign adversaries, NASA asked the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to conduct this review of its foreign national management processes."

Rep. Frank Wolf Statement On Independent Report Critical Of NASA's Security Protocols

"Frankly, I was taken aback at the breadth and depth of security challenges identified across NASA and I am deeply disappointed the agency has restricted access to the report. The report should be made public as soon as possible, with any necessary redactions in the interest of national security, because it confirms not only the serious security challenges that need to be addressed, but a persistent organizational culture that fails to hold center leadership, employees and contractors accountable for security violations. This must change."

U.S. and Chinese Academies of Sciences Create Forum for Space Science Interchanges, SpacePolicyOnline

"The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) will hold two meetings in 2014 as part of the first CAS-NAS Forum for New Leaders in Space Science. The first will be in Beijing from May 8-9 and the second from November 3-4 in the Los Angeles area. The forum "is designed to provide opportunities for a highly select group of young space scientists from China and the United States to discuss their research activities in an intimate and collegial environment," according to an announcement on the Space Studies Board (SSB) website."

Keith's note: There is no prohibition on the official webpage. on U.S participants in terms of their employment with or receipt of funding from NASA.

Wolf and Rogers Want Answers from Clapper on Implications of China's Space Program, Space Policy Online

"Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) wrote to Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper today asking five questions about the implications for U.S. leadership in space and U.S. national security of China's recent accomplishments in space, including landing a rover on the Moon last weekend."

Lost in Space, John Logsdon, Politico

"After all, just under 18 months ago, NASA landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, a much more difficult feat than the Chang'e 3 mission by any measure. Curiosity is almost an order of magnitude heavier than Yutu and technologically much more advanced. So if there is a "planetary rover race," the United States is the clear leader. While China talks about a future space station, the United States is the managing partner of the multinational International Space Station, in full operation since 2011 and with six astronauts and cosmonauts in orbit today. The same holds true in almost every area of space activity--the United States has a clear technological and operational advantage over other countries. It's just not clear America has the determination to sustain that edge."

Earlier posts on China

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) won't seek reelection, Washington Post

"Longtime Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) announced Tuesday that he won't seek reelection in 2014. Wolf's departure gives Democrats a great pickup opportunity in 2014. Wolf has easily held down the Northern Virginia suburbs and exurbs for decades, despite their increasing purple tone."

- Frank Wolf Dumps on NASA For Doing What He Told Them To Do, earlier post

A New Site to Explore on the Moon, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"... we are poised to investigate a new site on the Moon of considerable interest and complexity, one that displays a variety of geological units and processes. The Chang'E 3 lander and Yutu rover can provide many answers to our questions regarding the geological history of this region of the Moon and about lunar history in general. That will be a lot to learn over 3 lunar days (one lunar day equals 14 Earth days of light, sandwiched between 14 days of dark)."

American Exceptionalism and Space Exploration, Paul Spudis

"China on the Moon is not the issue. The issue - and the problem - is that the United States is not on the Moon, nor planning to return there to harvest resources necessary to build and profit from the inevitable transportation system to be built in cislunar space (the area between the Earth and the Moon, where all of our commercial and national space assets reside). American exceptionalism must stay viable and be a strong presence along side China and other nations."

China Lands Chang'e-3 On The Moon, VOA (with CCTV Video)

"Chinese state media say China has successfully landed a space probe on the moon, in the first lunar "soft landing" in nearly four decades. The Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasted off earlier this month from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwestern Sichuan province. It carried with it a moon rover, known as "Jade Rabbit."

Keith's update: The Yutu rover has been deployed and is driving on the lunar surface.

China's Chang'e-3 Heads For The Moon (with video), SpaceRef

"China's Chang'e-3 lunar rover Yutu ("Jade rabbit") left Earth today aboard a Long March IIIB rocket today. Liftoff occurred at 12:30 pm EST from Xichang launch facility in in China's Sichuan province. Chang'e-3 will take approximately four days to reach the Moon and will enter orbit on or around 6 December. A week or so later Change'e-3's large landing stage will deliver the Yutu rover to a landing site in Sinus Iridum - The Bay of Rainbows. The current expected landing date is 14 December."

- Were You Wondering About China's Long-Term Moon Goals?
- China/U.S. Collaboration on LADEE/Chang'e 3? Not Likely

China aims for the Moon, Nature

"Space analysts expect that the lunar and crewed objectives of China's space-flight programme will merge, with Chinese astronauts (known as taikonauts) aiming to walk on the Moon some time in the 2020s."

- China will achieve first soft landing on the moon, CNTV (Video)
- Meet China's Jade Rabbit, the peace-loving moon rover, Quartz (Photos)
- NASA Exploration Ideas - With Added China Bashing (Update), earlier post

China's 1st Moon Lander May Cause Trouble for NASA Lunar Dust Mission, Space.com

"Conversely, with some sort of communication between the missions, including NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)," talk between countries could enhance both LADEE and Chang'e 3 investigations, [Clive] Neal said. "What we have here is a situation where politics is certainly inhibiting good scientific cooperation and discovery because the NASA mission people are not allowed to communicate bilaterally with their Chinese counterparts," Neal said."

Keith's note: The possibility that the U.S. and China might collaborate on Chang'e 3 and LADEE is certainly moot now that the U.S. just flew B-52's through China's new self-declared air defense zone. Add this to existing China prohibitions from the Frank Wolf contingent and ...

China Copied NASA's NTRS

Keith's note: Have a look at "The Lunar Orbiter Meteoroid Experiments -Description and Results from Five Spacecraft" online at Infoeach - in China. China has their own version of NTRS - just in case NASA shuts it down again to check and see if China is getting access that it should not have. This paper was not available on NTRS to Americans for months even though it deals with spacecraft that flew in the 1960s. Feel safer now?

- NASA Blocks Everyone From Access To Everything on NTRS, Earlier post
- Charlie Bolden's Gutted Version of NTRS is Back Online, Earlier post

Is China In Space To Win It?

As China's space program rises, will NASA rise again? , Houston Chronicle

"China has the opportunity in coming years to surpass the United States in space programs, forcing the government to step up NASA funding to retain a leadership position, partner with the Chinese or risk falling behind, according to space policy experts. Russia is the other country that presently has the capacity to launch humans into space. Its space program, however, reliant upon technology designed nearly five decades ago, is getting by on past momentum. China's space program, by contrast, is in ascendance."

China, America and the Moon: Boldness and Abdication, Paul Spudis

"Our retreat from the challenge of the Moon puzzles even Chinese observers. Wu Ji, director general of the China National Space Science Center, reportedly is "dismayed by recent changes." "I don't know if your listeners or people living in the U.S. understand these changes," he recently told NPR foreign correspondent Anthony Kuhn, "But as I observe them from the outside, I feel that America is gradually contracting and closing itself off. It's a very strange thing."

India lags China in space: ex-ISRO chief

"The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) may have sparked a debate on 'space race' between India and China, but former ISRO boss G Madhavan Nair says Beijing has already surged forward and is on course to have an upper hand in the field globally. "I think if somebody says that we can race with China and catch up with them. At the moment. We have lost the game very badly," he said here. According to him, India and China were "almost equal" five years ago and, except in the area of manned mission, "we had everything in place"."

- American Moonwalkers Suggest Cooperation With China's Moon Plans, earlier post
- Partnering With China in Space?, earlier post
- NASA Exploration Ideas - With Added China Bashing (Update), earlier post
- More posts on China

China's bold lunar plan, Craig Covault, Aerospace America

"Astronauts Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 and Eugene Cernan of Apollo 17 tell Aerospace America that engineering details emerging from China's first robotic Moon lander suggest it is a formal precursor to a manned lunar module that would carry Chinese astronauts to the surface of the Moon around 2030. In their view, the time may be right for NASA to begin direct cooperation with China on the return of humans--both Chinese and American--to the Moon as a prelude to international manned missions to Mars."

- More Chang'e 3 Images on Flickr
- earlier China posts

NASA OIG Report: Bo Jiang's Access to NASA's Langley Research Center

"On March 16, 2013, agents from the Department of Homeland Security conducted a border search of former NASA contractor Bo Jiang at Dulles International Airport as part of an investigation of potential export control violations. Jiang, a citizen of the Peoples Republic of China, was preparing to fly home to China. After questioning him about what electronic media he had in his possession and searching his belongings, agents took Jiang into custody and charged him with making a false statement to Federal authorities."

- Attn Frank Wolf: Bo Jiang Had Porn - Not Secrets - on His Laptop, earlier post
- Congress Vs NASA on China (Home Alone with Wolf and Bolden), earlier post

Earlier China posts

Is the US Yielding Spaceflight Leadership to China?, Op-Ed, Leroy Chiao, Space.com

"China is inviting international partners to work with them on their space station. They want international research, and they want to fly international astronauts. Many of the United States' ISS partners (at least eight space agencies have talked to the Chinese about partnering and cooperation) are finding a more attractive alternative with China, or at least hedging their bets. Who can blame them? Working with China would be much less expensive than continuing with ISS. This sets up the perfect baton pass. America, already on the decline after the retirement of the space shuttle (now only Russia and China can launch astronauts into space), will on the way down hand over the leadership position of human spaceflight to the Chinese."

Earlier posts on China

Keith's note: The following is being sent out by the Kepler SciCon organizers:

"We have just learned that the efforts of NASA's Ames Research Center to ensure that our Chinese astronomer colleagues will be able to attend the Second Kepler Science Conference have been halted by the fact these approvals must be entered into a computer system at NASA HQ in Washington DC. Because of the ongoing federal government shutdown, there is no one at NASA HQ who can complete the approval process. Of course, if the federal shutdown continues much longer, the conference will not be able to begin as scheduled on November 3, 2013. We fear that the meeting may have to be cancelled as a result, or delayed. The ability of scientists to attend an open scientific meeting about the spectacular results produced by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope is another likely fatality of the failure of the U.S. Congress to enact a federal budget for FY2014. Alan Boss, SOC Co-Chair, KSC II"

Keith's note: As I understand the situation all of the final arrangements for this meeting - including the processing of all foreign visitors (not just Chinese) - can only happen if the government is open. If the government does not open in time then there's a chance that the meeting simply will not happen. And of course, Frank Wolf voted for the shutdown ...

- Confusion Over NASA's Policies That Ban Certain People, earlier post
- Frank Wolf Dumps on NASA For Doing What He Told Them To Do, earlier post
- Astronomers Dump on NASA About China When Congress Is To Blame, earlier post

Email From NASA Administrator Bolden Regarding Chinese Attendance at NASA Meeting

"It is unfortunate that potential Chinese participants were refused attendance at the upcoming Kepler Conference at the Ames Research Park. Mid-level managers at Ames, in performing the due diligence they believed appropriate following a period of significant concern and scrutiny from Congress about our foreign access to NASA facilities, meetings and websites, acted without consulting NASA HQ. Upon learning of this exclusion, I directed that we review the requests for attendance from scientists of Chinese origin and determine if we can recontact them immediately upon the reopening of the government to allow them to reapply. Any of them applying and meeting the clearance requirements in place for foreign citizens will be accepted for participation in the Conference."

Why Has NASA Banned Access to its Partner Saudi Arabia?, (2013), earlier post

"Bolden: "I have ordered a moratorium on granting any new access to NASA facilities to individuals from specific designated countries. Specifically: China, Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. While this review is on going I have also ordered that any remote computer access to NASA resources be terminated for those from the same specific designated countries."

Wolf Letter to NASA's Bolden Correcting Record on Restrictions Involving Chinese Nationals

"I believe what Mr. Messersmith may have been referring to was a temporary restriction on Chinese nationals that you put in place earlier this year after serious security protocol flaws were brought to your attention by some in Congress, including me, specifically regarding violations at Ames and Langley Research Center. You indicated at the time that security policies for foreign nationals for particular countries of concern would be reevaluated and new accreditations would not be approved until the security process was vetted. However, any restriction against Chinese nationals on NASA centers is entirely an agency policy and not covered under the statutory restriction. Furthermore, it was my understanding that NASA's temporary restrictions had been lifted after a review of security protocols for foreign nationals at all NASA centers."

Keith's note: It certainly looks like Wolf and Bolden don't keep each other updated about trivial little things such as banning "individuals from specific designated countries". No mention of "government" affiliation as being a factor. So what do NASA people do? They follow what their management told them to do. Looks like the people in a position to make the routine decisions on this issue are the last ones to know what the rules actually are.

- Frank Wolf Dumps on NASA For Doing What He Told Them To Do, earlier post

NASA ban on Chinese scientists 'inaccurate': lawmaker (Update), PhysOrg

"However, Wolf's office issued a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday seeking to correct an article on the matter that first appeared Friday in The Guardian newspaper, as well as NASA's stance. "Unfortunately, the article is riddled with inaccuracies, as is, it appears, the guidance provided by NASA Ames staff to the attendees," said the letter. The law "primarily restricts bilateral, not multilateral, meetings and activities with the Communist Chinese government or Chinese-owned companies," it said. "It places no restrictions on activities involving individual Chinese nationals unless those nationals are acting as official representatives of the Chinese government." Wolf said NASA officials may have believed that the move was needed because of extra temporary restrictions on foreign nationals after a potential security breach by a Chinese citizen at a NASA facility in Virginia earlier this year."

Second Kepler Science Conference Statement from the Science Organizing Committee

"In late March, 2013, NASA, in response to Federal legislation, imposed a moratorium on visits to NASA facilities by citizens of several nations, including China. The legislation in question was initially crafted by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) to reflect national security concerns, with further modifications and restrictions added to the 2013 bill. The Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC) of the Second Kepler Science Conference (KSC2) learned about this moratorium in late September, as the final agenda was being constructed, when 6 of our Chinese colleagues who preregistered for the KSC2 had their registrations denied."

Keith's note: Given the relentless investigations, letters, and outright nasty badgering that Rep. Wolf has given NASA over this issue, it is small wonder that the agency made this decision. After all, Rep. Wolf had already ordered investigations into previous Chinese participation in NASA meetings and ordered NASA to do overhauls of various online servers and facility access procedures after a Chinese national was found with porn on his laptop. Now Wolf sends NASA a letter criticizing the agency for taking his rants and demands seriously. Its hard to figure out just what this guy does or does not want NASA to do.

In his letter to Bolden - supposedly sent about this meeting and Chinese nationals - Wolf veers from one topic to another - and does a copy/paste of text from earlier rants - clearly demonstrating that he has a vendetta against NASA - and Ames staff in particular. He will use whatever happens to be on his desk or in his waste basket to throw at them with the hope that something will stick.

Wolf Letter to NASA's Bolden Correcting Record on Restrictions Involving Chinese Nationals

"In one troubling example, last month, The Wall Street Journal reported on a Space Act Agreement between Ames and Google's executives to use taxpayer-subsidized airplane fuel intended for military aircraft for personal travel by Google's leadership. A dubious scientific data collection scheme appears to have been developed as an excuse for this preferential treatment for these executives."

- Astronomers Dump on NASA About China When Congress Is To Blame, earlier post
- Attn Frank Wolf: Bo Jiang Had Porn - Not Secrets - on His Laptop, earlier post
- Wolf Addresses Arrest at Dulles Airport of Chinese National Potentially Involved in NASA Langely Security Violations, earlier post
- Congress Vs NASA on China (Home Alone with Wolf and Bolden), earlier post
- Bad Research By Rep. Wolf's Staff
- Wolf to Bolden: Disinvite Those Chinese Visitors, earlier post
- Rep. Wolf's China Witch Hunt Resumes (Update), earlier post

US and China partner on small-scale space projects, South China Morning Post

"Bai expressed gratitude for US help on China's space programmes. Nasa, for instance, provided "enormous help" with the construction of satellite ground stations for remote sensing, he was quoted by the statement as saying. Bai said the two sides were co-operating on space geodesy, which dealt with the three-dimensional measurement of the earth. The co-operation had been going on for years and has produced encouraging results. China hoped the collaboration could continue. .. Bolden said Nasa was "highly serious" about working with the Chinese. He wished for more co-operation in fields such as space-to-earth observation. Representatives with several academy institutes, such as National Space Centre and Shanghai Astronomical Observation Centre, had attended the event. Neither Nasa nor the agency responded to the Post's inquiries about the meeting."

Earlier China posts

CNSA Chief Says China Would Gladly Join Global Space Roadmapping Group if Asked, Space News

"One non-Chinese government official said China is already an observer to the ISECG [International Space Exploration Coordination Group] work and that it was China, not ISECG, which in the past had resisted China's joining as a full member. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who regularly fields questions about the apparent U.S. government policy of hostility to China's space efforts during annual conferences like IAC, said nothing in U.S. policy would prevent China's becoming a full ISECG member. Bolden said that as far as he was concerned, China was already a part of the ISECG process."

International Partnership Releases Space Exploration Benefits Paper, NASA

"NASA and the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) released a white paper Friday outlining benefits of human exploration of space."

Keith's note: If you go to the last page of the August 2013 ISECG Global Exploration Roadmap you will see a graphic of Earth surrounded by space agency logos. CNSA's logo is included. However, the word "China" or acronym "CNSA" do not appear anywhere in this document. If you go to the USECG website CNSA is listed as a member. So apparently China is "observing" - but doing little else.

- Earlier posts on China

Bolden in China

Nasa chief Charles Bolden to visit Beijing, South China Morning Post

"In China we will be meeting with the heads of international partners of the International Space Station [ISS], as well as the heads of some space agencies that don't participate, but with whom we have partnership," he said. Bolden did not respond directly when the South China Morning Post in a media conference call asked about collaboration between US and China in such areas as manned space flights. "We also support any nation that seeks peaceful utilisation of space, and that goes to everyone," he said."

China's space station to open for foreign peers, China Daily

"China is willing to provide training and open the Chinese space station to foreign astronauts, senior space flight officials said. "We would like to train astronauts from other countries and organizations that have such a demand, and we would be glad to provide trips to foreign astronauts," said Yang Liwei, deputy director of China Manned Space Agency. "We will also welcome foreign astronauts who have received our training to work in our future space station." Yang, China's first astronaut, who went into space in 2003, said many countries submitted proposals to the Chinese government during the development of the space station, hoping China would help train their astronauts and then send them to the station to conduct scientific experiments. "The effect of including foreign participants in our space programs is not only that these nations can send their people to outer space, but also that we will enable them to develop their own space projects." Yang made the remarks during the five-day United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology, which opened in Beijing on Monday."

Keith's note: According to this Facebook post: "On September 21 the Space Generation Advisory Council is hosting its SGC Gala Dinner in Beijing, China. Enjoy a nice evening with young professionals, students, and current space leaders from around the world, as well as our featured speaker, Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator."

Isn't NASA supposed to be avoiding interactions with China? Or is Bolden just going to phone his speech in? I wonder if Frank Wolf knows about this.

Earlier China posts

Summary of Rules and Requirements, Google Lunar X Prize

"The competition's grand prize is worth $20 million. To provide an extra incentive for teams to work quickly, the grand prize value will change to $15 million whenever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface, currently projected to occur in 2013."

China sets course for lunar landing this year, CNN

"China set a bold new course in its ambitious space program Wednesday, when it announced plans to land its first probe on the moon by the end of the year."

- Google Lunar X Prize: Changing Rules - and Fewer Entrants?, earlier post
- Changes Coming to the Google Lunar X Prize, earlier post

John Kelly: In space, Chinese are still far behind, Florida Today

"But, don't let yourself get caught up in the idea that the Chinese are somehow gaining ground and soon to pass the United States, Russia or their partners in the International Space Station project. Also, don't get too concerned that the Chinese have their own system to launch an astronaut crew to space and the U.S. does not.

The Chinese achievements are interesting to watch, but they're decades behind veteran space-faring nations like the U.S. and Russia. Their flight is not to some sprawling orbiting laboratory like the ISS. Rather, they docked their 60s-era Shenzou spacecraft to a tiny, one-module space station that is a little over one-tenth of the size of the U.S. Skylab and Russian Salyut stations of decades past."

Mars'c note: The Chinese are definitely behind but those supposed "60's era Shenzhou" aren't using 60's era computers. I think Mr. Kelly went a little too far to make his point. One of those layered questions that still remains to be answered is, though some would argue that it has already been answered, will China be an international exploration partner for the moon and Mars going forward? Or go it alone?

Marc's update: Paul Spudis offers a counterpoint. While I don't agree with all of Paul's points he does offer some thoughts worth considering.

"It appears Kelly wants us to reach out and cooperate with the Chinese in space, even though they have not shown any particular desire for such a path. Kelly, the geopolitical sophisticate, seems to think that we should woo China with promises of space cooperation, like we won the hearts of the Russians. Yes, the Soviets were our one-time rivals, but I seem to recall that aside from one public relations "d├ętente" mission in the 1970s (Apollo-Soyuz), real cooperation with Russia in space began after the fall of communism there in the early 1990s."

Shenzhou-10 completes automated docking with space module, Xinhua

"China's Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at 1:18 p.m. Thursday, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The docking procedure was the fifth to take place between Shenzhou-type spacecraft and the space module. Previous dockings include two automated operations by the unmanned Shenzhou-8 in 2011 and both an automated and manual docking by the manned Shenzhou-9 in 2012."

China's latest 'sacred' manned space mission blasts off, Reuters

"A Chinese manned spacecraft blasted off with three astronauts on board on Tuesday on a 15-day mission to an experimental space lab in the latest step towards the development of a space station.

The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft was launched from a remote site in the Gobi desert in China's far west at 5:38 p.m. (0938 GMT) under warm, clear blue skies, in images carried live on state television."

Watch the launch:

China Reveals First Space-Based Quantum Communications Experiment, MIT Technology Review

"Today, the Chinese claim another small victory in this quantum space race. Jian-Wei Pan at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai and a few pals say they've bounced single photons off an orbiting satellite and detected them back on Earth. That's significant because it simulates a satellite sending single photons from orbit to the Surface, crossing off another proof-of-principle milestone in their quantum checklist.

"... Why publish it now? The answer may be a small but significant detail revealed in the final paragraph of the paper. Here Jian-Wei and co announce that they plan to launch the first quantum science experiment into space. The spacecraft is called the Chinese Quantum Science Satellite and it is scheduled for launch in 2016."

China to launch Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft on June 11, Xinhua

"The Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft will be launched at 5:38 p.m. Tuesday, said China's manned space program spokeswoman on Monday."

"The spacecraft will take three astronauts, two male and one female, into the space, said Wu Ping, the program's spokeswoman, at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

"The Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft will be launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 5:38 p.m. Beijing Time (0938 GMT - 5:38 a.m. ET) June 11"

Related: Images: China's Shenzhou-10 Poised For Launch Tuesday, SpaceRef

HASC Subcommittee Chairman Demands Answers on Alleged Chinese ASAT Test, Space Policy Online

"Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday demanding information on a Chinese rocket launch last month that some press reports alleged was a test of an antisatellite (ASAT) system."

Internal NASA GSFC memo: "Congress just passed a law that bars NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, and Department of Justice from buying IT systems that have been "produced, manufactured or assembled" by companies "owned, operated or subsidized" in any way by the Chinese. The only exceptions to this rule are for hardware that is deemed to be in the interests of national security, or if the FBI decides that a component's acquisition does not carry any risk of "cyber-espionage or sabotage." While Goddard is working out processes to handle this legislation, the direction from Goddard's Chief Information Officer is that no IT products shall be purchased at this time, via P-card of any other mechanism. This applies to hardware, software and maintenance, and to both civil servant and contractor purchases."

4 agencies get new rules on China IT sourcing, FCW

"Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee's Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, inserted a version of the measure in an appropriations bill for fiscal 2013 drafted last year. It was subsequently added to the Senate's version of the continuing resolution that covered full appropriations for several agencies, including Commerce, Justice, NASA and NSF."

Keith's note: This applies across the agency. There are Lenovo ThinkPad laptops on the ISS. Lenovo is owned by Chinese business interests. And these ThinkPads can't be replaced by Mac laptops or iPads because most (nearly all) of them are assembled in China. Larger image

U.S. Finds Porn Not Secrets on Suspected China Spy's Laptop, Business Week

"Bo Jiang, who was indicted March 20 for allegedly making false statements to the U.S., was charged yesterday in a separate criminal information in federal court in Newport News, Virginia. Jiang unlawfully downloaded copyrighted movies and sexually explicit films onto his NASA laptop, according to the court filing. A plea hearing is set for tomorrow."

NIA Statement On The Release Of Dr. Bo Jiang

"Dr. Douglas Stanley, president and executive director of NIA remarked, "From the beginning of this investigation, we have cooperated with federal authorities to ensure the facts came to light." He added, "We are very pleased that Dr. Jiang was exonerated on all charges and implications of export control violations, espionage and lying to federal officials. We were confident in his innocence and happy to see that our judicial system eventually reached the correct conclusion."

Chinese Spy Suspect Pleads Guilty to Violating NASA Rules

"None of the computer media that Jiang attempted to bring to the PRC on March 16, 2013, contained classified information, export controlled information, or NASA proprietary information," according to the statement of facts filed in Jiang's case. As part of the agreement, prosecutors dismissed the indictment and Jiang was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours."...

... "I remain concerned that neither the prosecutors nor NASA have addressed the original question of why a NASA laptop was inappropriately provided to a restricted foreign national associated with 'an entity of concern' and why he was allowed to take the laptop and all of its information back to China last December," Wolf said in an e-mailed statement."

Chinese "spy" caught with NASA laptop full of porn, not secrets, Ars Technica

"A press release issued by Wolf after the arrest and copy of Jiang's arrest warrant have since disappeared off the the congressman's website. In the release (cached by Google here), Wolf had said, "I am particularly concerned that (the) information (on Jiang's laptop) may pertain to the source code for high-tech imaging technology that Jiang has been working on with NASA. This information could have significant military applications for the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army."

Keith's note: Here is the press release Frank Wolf wants you to forget he never actually released. What sort of "imaging technology" was he referring to? Newsflash: you cannot make things disappear from the Internet by deleting them. What did we learn from this? Porn is being exported to China on a NASA laptop by some guy who got fired from NASA. Apparently the porn in question was unclassified. Frank Wolf now wants us to forget that he was ever concerned about this - for now.

Wolf Addresses Arrest at Dulles Airport of Chinese National Potentially Involved in NASA Langely Security Violations

Earlier posts

Judge: Chinese NASA contractor to be held till trial, Virginian Pilot

"Prosecutors argued that Jiang is a flight risk, saying he tried to leave the country abruptly after a Virginia congressman publicly identified him in connection with an investigation of NASA security procedures. Jiang worked for the National Institute of Aerospace, a Hampton-based NASA contractor. He was fired in January, two months after taking a NASA-owned laptop computer with him on a visit to China, an alleged violation of the space agency's security regulations. Jiang has admitted taking the laptop but says he had his supervisor's permission. Prosecutors acknowledged there is no evidence that Jiang possessed any sensitive, secret or classified material."

Earlier posts

Chinese ex-NASA worker to be released pending trial

"At a detention hearing today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard ordered Jiang released after a federal prosecutor acknowledged there is no evidence so far that he was in possession of any sensitive, secret or classified material. Jiang will be under supervision of the federal probation office, will be prohibited from traveling outside the Eastern District of Virginia, and will be tracked by an electronic monitoring system. He has surrendered his passport."

Ex-NASA Langley contractor released on bond, Daily Press

"Jiang's court-appointed attorney, Fernando Groene, said that Jiang didn't have access to sensitive or classified information when he worked at NIA. Groene says that Jiang did violate NASA's policy by taking the equipment out the country, but there was nothing classified on the laptop or hard drive. "NASA has looked at the computer up and down and can't find any information that violates the export control act," Groene said."

Former NASA Langley Research Center pleads not guilty to lying, judge OKs release on bond, Washington Post

"Groene has suggested that Jiang is only in jail and under investigation because U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has inferred that Jiang may be a spy. Wolf has targeted Jiang in news conferences and congressional hearings about NASA security, saying the space agency is using contractors to get around rules prohibiting citizens of certain countries from working for NASA."

Bo Jiang To Plead Not Guilty; Will Ask For Jury Trial, earlier post

Former Huntsville NASA center boss Robert Lightfoot will lead foreign security probe, Huntsville Times

"NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot will lead a new in-house probe of foreign access to NASA field centers in the wake of the arrest of a Chinese national allegedly attempting to smuggle data out of the U.S. to China. Lightfoot was director of the Marshall Space Flight Center before being promoted in 2012 to the top civil service position in the agency."

Wolf Threatens To Call NASA Security Whistleblowers To Testify, Aviation Week

"Career civil servants" have been coming out of the woodwork with reports of lax security practices at NASA since Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) raised the issue publicly, and the powerful committee chairman may call some of the whistleblowers to testify publicly about their charges."

Attorney: Former Chinese contractor at NASA's Langley Research Center to plead not guilty, Washington Post

"Jiang's attorney Fernando Groene said Jiang was unfairly targeted and is looking forward to being vindicated. He said he plans to ask for a jury trial and wants Jiang's side of the story coming out. Groene said Jiang was leaving the country because his work visa was about to expire and he had been unable to find other employment since losing his job in January."

Attorney: Former NASA contractor subject of 'witch hunt', Daily Press

"... But Jiang's lawyer, Fernando Groene -- a former federal prosecutor who now practices out of Williamsburg -- said he's not going to let Wolf misportray Jiang. ... Groene challenged Wolf to come to the trial in Newport News federal court to present his evidence against Jiang. If Congressman Wolf testifies as a government witness, Groene said, "We'll be glad to cross-examine him." Asked why Jiang was going to China, Groene said, "He was going home."

- Congress Vs NASA on China (Home Alone with Wolf and Bolden), earlier post
- NASA Technical Reports Server Mysteriously Taken Offline, earlier post
- Former NASA/NIA Employee Arrested by FBI Trying to Leave U.S., earlier post

NASA locks out foreigners, orders security review following concerns of Chinese spying, Fox News

"NASA has locked its facilities to foreigners, disabled online research databases and ordered a complete review of access by foreign nationals to its facilities, as allegations swirled of foreign spies within the space agency. In addition to the security review, Bolden announced that he had closed down a publicly available NASA technical reports database due to the risk of confidential information leaking out. A message on the site indicates that "until further notice, the NTRS system will be unavailable for public access. We ... anticipate that this site will return to service in the near future."

Congressman: NASA intentionally skirted rules, Daily Press

"Robert D. Wyman, a spokesman for NASA Langley, did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on Wolf's assertion that Langley officials intentionally circumvented the rules. Calls to NASA headquarters in Washington were routed to Allard Beutel, the chief of the NASA communications office there. Beutel did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday. Timothy Allen, a spokesman with the National Institute of Aerospace, declined to comment on Wolf's assertions that Langley conspired with NIA to get around the rules. "I can't comment on an ongoing investigation," he said."

Keith's 20 March note: I asked LaRC PAO the following questions:

"- Was this shutdown in response to a request from Rep. Wolf? If not, then who requested the shutdown of this website?
- Was there any technical material posted on the NTRS website that violated ITAR regulations or any other NASA/government security requirements?"

LaRC declined to answer these specific questions and would only say "As you know, the NTRS system is unavailable for public access. NASA is reviewing the sites content to make sure it's consistent with the U.S. export control laws, regulations and review processes that are in place."

Clearly the fact that NASA took the extreme action of pulling the entire website down - one that had been online for decades - means that they either found something on there that did not belong and/or could not affirm that all applicable rules were being followed. Someone had to make the decision to take this action. Either Rep. Wolf asked them or someone to do this or someone at NASA decided to do so on their own. LaRC PAO is unable or unwilling to admit that this is the case. Isn't it rather odd for NASA PAO not to respond with comments in support of what the agency's administrator said in open congressional hearings? Meanwhile, neither NASA or the House Appropriations Committee has bothered to post Bolden's prepared statement.

At today's hearing Rep. Wolf gave the NASA OIG and "F" grade for their ARC and LaRC investigations and suggested to Bolden that the agency needs a new IG. Wolf also lectured Bolden about blind dissidents and human organ trafficking in China. Wolf asked if Bolden would meet with various Chinese activists/dissidents at NASA HQ. Bolden said he would if he could ask them a question as to why Congress prohibits any interaction by NASA with China's space agency. When Bolden talked about the progress of moving the Arc Jet facility from JSC to ARC Wolf said "just make sure the spies are not involved out there" (i.e. at ARC).

Probably the most important thing to emerge from this hearing was the fact that both Wolf and Bolden liked the two "Home Alone" films.

Keith's 21 March update: here is the Prepared Statement by Charles Bolden Before House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. NASA still has not released it (but Congress has). Do a search for the word "China". Nothing. NASA really does not want to talk about this.

- NASA Technical Reports Server Mysteriously Taken Offline, earlier post
- Former NASA/NIA Employee Arrested by FBI Trying to Leave U.S., earlier post

Wolf: Chinese National Potentially Involved In NASA Langley Security Violations

"Even more troubling, the investigative report identified how Mr. Jiang was allowed by NASA and NIA supervisors to take his work and volumes of other NASA research back to China for a period of time, as documented in an investigative report I received."

Federal agents stop, arrest NASA Langley contractor on plane for China, Daily Press

"A former employee of a NASA Langley Research Center contractor was sitting on a Chinese-bound plane at Dulles International Airport on Saturday when federal agents came on board and asked to have a word with him. Federal prosecutors are now accusing that man, Bo Jiang, of lying to those federal investigators about what he had in his possession."

Affidavit in Support of an Application for Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant

Criminal Complaint

Bo Jiang, LinkedIn

Research Scientist - National Institute of Aerospace
October 2012 - Present (6 months)Visual Information Processing Lab, NASA Langley Research Center
- NASA Aviation Safety Program, External Hazards Sensing and Mitigation:
-- Developing a computational visual servo, which provides an active, automatic image enhancement,
-- Researching on generic pattern recognition combining computer vision and neuroscience.

Research Assistant - University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
July 2004 - June 2007 (3 years)Chengdu, China
- Adaptive median filter for multi-layer noise reduction,
- Image recognition based on Neural Network and Gabor filter,
- Speech recognition based on Neural Network and Hidden Markov Model.

Frank Wolf's Weekly Hearings on NASA and China, earlier post

Oversight Hearing - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"Wednesday, March 13, 2013: Witness: Paul Martin, NASA Inspector General"

Oversight of NASA - Statement of Paul K. Martin NASA Inspector General

Keith's note: For some reason today's hearing with the NASA OIG will not be webcast. So much for trying to be open and transparent.

Keith's update: According to someone present at the hearing, Rep. Wolf focused a lot of this attention on news reports of a Chinese national who had been hired by LaRC. Wolf also asked Martin about ARC. Rep. Fattah suggested that if there are Chinese nationals employed by NASA that there should be some Americans employeed at at Chinese space centers. Wolf and Fattah then asked NASA for a list of the NASA employees currently working at Chinese space centers.

Oversight Hearing - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"Wednesday, March 20, 2013: Witness: Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator"

Earlier posts on China

Wolf says NASA prompted hiring of person linked to Chinese espionage; may be dozens more in agency, Washington Examiner

"Today, Wolf said he has not received a response from Pete Worden, the retired Air Force general who is director of the Ames facility."

NASA ARC Centerwide Announcement: Ames and National Security (12 Feb 2013)

"I have offered to talk to the news reporter, meet with the US representatives and/or testify under oath regarding export control issues at Ames."

Keith's note: Worden has offered to testify on this issue - under oath - nearly a month ago. Apparently Rep. Wolf's staff didn't get that message. Or they forgot. Or they don't care. The NASA IG met with Rep. Wolf et al a few days ago to tell them all that there is nothing to the IG's knowledge to substantiate the reports about ITAR issues and espionage at ARC. Yet Rep. Wolf continues to link these claims about ARC to China even after the Justice Department and the NASA OIG state that there is no "there" there.

USW Condemns Chinese Spying; Urges U.S. Government to Thoroughly Review Security Procedures and Protocols at NASA

"Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today after House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) identified alleged security lapses at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration's (NASA) Langley Research Center at a press conference. "Space may be the final frontier, but it is apparently already a target for espionage by the People's Republic of China."

Wolf says NASA prompted hiring of person linked to Chinese espionage; may be dozens more in agency, Washington Examiner

"Wolf said during a Capitol Hill news conference today that "at least several dozen other Chinese nationals," are employed at Langley, and he charged that they are employed in a manner to "circumvent" congressional bans on Chinese involvement at NASA facilities."

Lawmaker: NASA broke law with visits by China officials, USA Today

"A congressman says NASA broke a national security law last year by failing to notify Congress about two visits Chinese officials made to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said the visits -- one in June and one in December -- were barred by a measure he authored in 2011 requiring NASA facilities such as Kennedy to give lawmakers at least 14 days notice before hosting "official Chinese visitors."

Wolf: More On Potential Security Violations At NASA Centers

"Even more troubling is that this Chinese national was allegedly employed by a Langley contractor allegedly at the direction of NASA officials in an apparent attempt to circumvent appropriations restrictions the Congress has in place to prevent the hiring of certain foreign nationals of concern. Additionally, it is my understanding that NASA spent several hundred thousand dollars to pay for this individual's contract."

Letter From Rep. Wolf to NASA Administrator Bolden Regarding Chinese Visitors to CEOS Strategic Implementation Team meeting

"It has come to my attention that NASA will be hosting the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Strategic Implementation Team meeting at the Langley Research Center from March 12-14, 2013, and that officials from the government of the People's Republic of China are currently planning to attend. ... Because it is now less than 14 days before the commencement of the CEOS meeting and no such certification has been provided, the hosting of any Chinese visitors would be in clear violation of the law. Accordingly, I expect any participation by official Chinese visitors will be promptly cancelled."

Earlier posts on China

Europe May Work With China on Space Station, Scientific American

"China aims to establish a large manned space station within the next decade, officials have said, and the latest reports suggest that this outpost could host not only Chinese astronauts, but European spaceflyers as well. A plan is afoot for China and Europe to cooperate on the venture, which might see the European Space Agency (ESA) building technologies, including a rendezvous and docking system, for the station, in exchange for opportunities for its astronauts to visit the facility."

GOP Chairmen Go After Pete Worden, Aviation Week

"The official in question, Ames Research Center Director Simon P. "Pete" Worden, vehemently denies he has been lax in protecting technology covered by International Trade in Armaments Regulations (ITAR), and says he has never been approached by federal law enforcement officials about the matter."

NASA ARC Centerwide Announcement: Ames and National Security

"I have offered to talk to the news reporter, meet with the US representatives and/or testify under oath regarding export control issues at Ames."

Rep. Wolf's China Witch Hunt Resumes (Update), previous post

House Chairmen Say NASA May Have Released DOD Secrets To China, Aviation Week

"According to sources at Ames and on Capitol Hill, the case involves Ames Center Director Simon P. "Pete" Worden and members of the center's staff who are not U.S. citizens. ... Among the charges mentioned in the congressional letters are allegations that the protected technology information has been disseminated in public conferences overseas "with Chinese and other foreign officials present," and that information-protection "safeguards may not have been used or may have explicitly been ignored on multiple occasions" at Ames."

Keith's 8 Feb note: Its is rather odd that Aviation Week would make this statement about Worden's personal "involvement" given that his name is not even contained in the letters (linked below). What is especially baffling is how Rep. Wolf, an avowed China hater, could think that a former Brigadier General - someone who worked throughout the Cold War to defend the U.S. against potential foes such as China, would suddenly - and knowingly - allow his employees to leak things to China or to condone such behavior.

- Letter from Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Lamar Smith to FBI Director Mueller, 8 Feb 2013
- Letter from Rep. Frank Wolf and Rep. Lamar Smith to Inspector General Horowitz, 8 Feb 2013

NASA ARC Centerwide Announcement: Ames and National Security

"Last week a news story appeared regarding national security and access to Ames by foreign national individuals. The article referenced letters written by US representatives. The article and the letters mentioned in it are littered with inaccuracies. I take very seriously our responsibility to safeguard sensitive information, so I wanted to let you--Ames employees--know the facts. To the best of our knowledge I am not, nor have I been, the subject of an International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) investigation. I have offered to talk to the news reporter, meet with the US representatives and/or testify under oath regarding export control issues at Ames."

NASA accused of technology transfers, Washington Times

"Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, released a statement to The Washington Times denying that her office had sought an indictment. "I am aware of allegations our office sought authority from [the Justice Department] in Washington, D.C., to bring charges in a particular matter and that our request was denied," Ms. Haag said. "Those allegations are untrue. No such request was made, and no such denial was received."

U.S. defense bill lifts barrier on satellite exports, Reuters

"Tucked into the annual U.S. defense budget bill making its way through Congress this week is a long-fought and potentially lucrative reprieve for U.S. satellite manufactures and suppliers to export their products, officials said on Wednesday. Since 1999, spacecraft and their components have been grouped with ammunitions, fighter jets and other defense technologies and subject to the nation's most stringent export controls. The restriction followed a 1996 Chinese rocket launch accident that claimed a U.S.-manufactured satellite. In the course of the investigation, the company was accused of inadvertently transferring restricted technology to China. Before 1999, the State Department had the option of processing satellite and spacecraft component export requests under more lenient commerce control guidelines. "We are going to give the president back that power," space attorney Michael Gold, who headed a Federal Aviation Administration export control advisory group, told Reuters."

China's Chang'e-2 Does Close Flyby of Asteroid Toutatis (with image), CNSA

New milestone for China: Probe snaps close-ups of asteroid Toutatis, MSNBC

"China's official news agency is reporting that the country's Chang'e 2 deep-space probe made an amazing flyby of the asteroid Toutatis this week, snapping a series of pictures as it passed just 2 miles away. The achievement signals China's entry into yet another exclusive space club. Only four of the world's space efforts have managed close encounters with asteroids: NASA (with NEAR Shoemaker and Dawn, for example), the European Space Agency (with Rosetta), Japan (with Hayabusa) -- and now China with Toutatis."

Time for the U.S. to Partner With China in Space?, opinion, George Abbey and Leroy Chiao, DIscovery News

"The U.S. is at a decision point. On its present course, the United States will lose at least the perceived leadership role in human space exploration. But there is an alternate path and one that would again provide for dual access to the Space Station. The U.S. could lead the way to bring China into the ISS program, and lead the work to adapt the Shenzhou spacecraft to be compatible with the ISS. The U.S. would continue funding the three commercial space endeavors to supplement and support the logistic needs of the Station."

Earlier posts on China in space

Summary of Rules and Requirements, Google Lunar X Prize

"The competition's grand prize is worth $20 million. To provide an extra incentive for teams to work quickly, the grand prize value will change to $15 million whenever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface, currently projected to occur in 2013."

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year, China Daily

"Ma said the Chang'e-3 would probe and explore the lunar surface, and carry out various environmental and space technology related tests. It will spend 15 days on the moon to lay the foundations of what he called, further deep space exploration."

Chang'e 3, Wikipedia

Keith's note: None of the Google Lunar X Prize competitors will be capable of landing on the Moon during 2013, so it is a foregone conclusion that the prize will drop in value. Add in the lack of real (existing) flight hardware, firm and fully-funded launch contracts, and all other funding required to cover other mission aspects of launch and operations, and it is becoming increasingly unlikely that any of the teams will be able to meet the Prize's requirements by 31 December 2015. I would most certainly like to be proven wrong when someone lands on the Moon.

Keith's note: I'll was on HuffPostLIve at 11:00am ET today, talking about China's space program.

Earlier post on China

China's Chang'e Missions - to the Moon and Beyond, SpaceRef

"For the 63rd International Astronautical Congress held in Naples, Italy, Meng Linzhi from the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) presented a paper for the Moon Exploration session held on Tuesday 2 October."

US Scientists to Use Chinese Moon Lander for Space Research, Space.com

"The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) of Kamuela, Hawaii has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing-based National Astronomical Observatories (NAOC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences ... [Steve] Durst said that the exchange in kind calls for China's NAOC to receive observing time on the ILO-X and ILO-1 mission instruments -- science gear that's part of the International Lunar Observatory Association's work with Moon Express, a Google Lunar X Prize enterprise based at NASA Research Park at Moffett Field, Calif."

IAF to receive back 300 unique space-flown flags at ILA 2012

"The flags, travelled in space for a total of 444 days, have been aboard Soyuz TMA-20, the International Space Station (ISS), Endeavour STS-134, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-9. Following their last flight, they will be handed over to IAF by a Chinese delegation including Ms Ping WU, Deputy Director-General of the China Manned Space Agency, and Mr Wang LIU, the taikonaut who performed Shenzhou-9's manual docking to the ISS earlier this year."

Keith's note: "Shenzhou-9's manual docking to the ISS earlier this year"? Wow. Who knew.

12 Sep 2012: Erratum: An error appeared in our press release dated 11 September 2012. Taikonaut Wang LIU performed a docking maneuver to Tiangong-1 earlier this year, and of course not to the ISS. Please find below the corrected press release.

A space pact with China could be the new 'SALT', opinion, Washington Post

"China's SALT moment with the United States will not involve nuclear arms control and reduction treaties. U.S. and Chinese nuclear arsenals are too dissimilar in size for negotiations, and Beijing is too sensitive about transparency to negotiate verifiable nuclear restraints, let alone arms reductions. Instead, it will focus on space, where the competition is heating up and the stakes are high. What happens in space will heavily influence whether relations between China and the United States become more dangerous or more cooperative."

Romney Taunts Chinese Moon Landing Plans, TPM (with video)

"On the campaign trail in Florida - home of the Space Coast - Monday, Romney taunted Chinese plans to land an unmanned probe on the on the moon in 2013. Romney: "This is still the greatest nation on earth. I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney. We just won more Olympic medals than any other nation on Earth. You also just saw we just landed on Mars and took a good look at what's going on there. And I know the Chinese are planning on going to the Moon and I hope they have a good experience doing that and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago."

Ex-NASA boss defends GW Bush "vision" (again...), Doctorlinda (Linda Billings)

"Griffin told the committee that he's grown "tired" of pronouncements that the United States is "the world's leader in space."* "We barely rank number 3.... Our vision today is mostly talk," he said ..."

Keith's note: Gee, it certainly sounds like Mitt Romney doesn't agree with his space advisor Mike Griffin when it comes to America Vs China in space.

Keith's note: It would seem that Mike Griffin has given up on becoming Mitt Romney's NASA Administrator. I guess that means that the way has been cleared for fellow Romney space advisor Scott Pace: "Schafer Corporation Appoints Michael Griffin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer"

NASA Letter from SARA: China FAQ and New Volunteer Reviewer Form, NASA SMD

"Dear Colleagues, If you collaborate with anyone in China you should read our new FAQ. Our appropriation (Public Law 112-55, SEC. 539) contained a brief statement, the bottom line if which is that NASA funds, including ROSES research grants, cannot be used "...to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China..."

NASA Solicitation: Intepretation Translation, Visa Processing, and Logistical Support, NASA

"Oral interpretation and written translation of official and technical/scientific/engineering documents ... China, Visa processing for ... and China ... Administrative coordination, advance preparation and support of conducting onsite overseas official meetings and high level visits; 8) Overseas logistics support primarily for the Former Soviet states and China, providing administrative, clerical and in-country ground transportation logistic services ..."

Keith's note: If NASA is prohibited by Public Law 112-55, SEC. 539 from interactions with China, why is NASA soliciting contractors to support NASA interactions (visits, translations) with China?

NASA Solicitation: Intepretation Translation, Visa Processing, and Logistical Support

"Oral interpretation and written translation of official and technical/scientific/engineering documents ... Former Soviet States (Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan), Russian Federation, and China, Visa processing for ... and China ... Administrative coordination, advance preparation and support of conducting onsite overseas official meetings and high level visits; 8) Overseas logistics support primarily for the Former Soviet states and China, providing administrative, clerical and in-country ground transportation logistic services ..."

Keith's note:With regard to mention of "China", I thought NASA was supposed to NOT be working with China on any space matters. As such, why is "China" and "onsite overseas official meetings and high level visits" mentioned in this (or any) NASA procurement?

U.S. Experts on China's Space Program Agree There Is No Race, Space Policy Online

"China's successful Shenzhou-9 mission seems to have stirred interest in what impact, if any, China's space program should have on the U.S. space program. Several experts on Chinese space activities have spoken at public meetings or published op-ed pieces in the past two weeks weighing in on the topic. One issue on which they all agree is that there is no U.S.-China space race."

Space, the Missing Frontier, opinion, NY Times

"During the transition period after he defeated John McCain, Obama contemplated combining the best of the space programs at the Pentagon and NASA to compete with the rapidly accelerating Chinese space program. For whatever reasons, he declined to follow through on that plan when he became president. The president should dust off those plans. Given the fact that during the height of the war in Iraq, our government was spending nearly a billion dollars a day, I suspect the American people would support spending a month's worth of that budget every year to ensure that our assets in space and our future on earth are more secure. But to support it, they first need to be convinced of its importance. So do our leaders."

China's space challenge to America, Opinion, Washington Times

"Beijing has used its space program, including its manned space efforts, to highlight its technological prowess and to build diplomatic bridges. But the program also serves to signal the PRC's growing military capabilities, and to raise its stature as a great power. Compared to China, the United States enjoys a far wider array of space capabilities, but Washington seems to employ them less effectively. Here are some things the U.S. can do to get the most out of its space programs."

- China's Success, earlier post
- NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas is Still Bashing China On The Job, earlier post
- NASA Exploration Ideas - With Added China Bashing, earlier post
- Other China postings

China's Success

China's giant, quiet step in space, Leroy Chiao, CNN

"I have seen China's space technology. It is impressive. What the Chinese lack is operational experience. In that, we are still far ahead. But we in the know hear footsteps. It's time not for another government space race, but for expanded space cooperation and collaboration -- an effort the United States would lead, as it does today with the International Space Station program. Bring China into the international fold. This is how we can retain the leadership position. Otherwise, we risk falling behind."

China Completes First Space Manned Docking Mission

"China is celebrating the safe return of three astronauts, who successfully completed a mission that included the country's first manual docking in space and the first Chinese woman astronaut. Live television images of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft's return were broadcast around China Friday."

Chinese Submarine Breaks Deepest-Dive Record In Mariana Trench

"A Chinese submarine descended to 6,908 meters (22,600 feet) in the Mariana Trench today, breaking the record for the nation's deepest dive a day after astronauts performed China's first manned space docking."

Chinese Astronauts Dock and Enter Tiangong 1 Mini-Spacelab (with video)

"Following on their successful launch on Saturday the Chinese Shenzhou-9 spacecraft docked today with the Tiangong-1 mini-spacelab and the three taikonauts lef by commander Jing Haipeng,followed by Liu Wang and then later Liu Yang, entered the small spacelab for the first time."

ESA, China Discuss Shenzhou Docking At ISS, Aviation Week

"European Space Agency Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain met with his Chinese counterpart March 22-23 to discuss future cooperation in manned spaceflight, including the potential for a Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). The two sides met at Dordain's request on the sidelines of the European Space Agency's third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) launch to the ISS March 23 to further establish a dialogue and lay the groundwork for potential Sino-European cooperation in manned spaceflight."

Some space station partners appear ready to welcome China into the group, CP

"Jean-Jacques Dordain, head of the European body, said he hopes the International Space Station partnership would be open, adding it would benefit from co-operation with China. "I am in favour of seeing how we can work together with China," he told reporters after the meeting in Quebec City. "It will take some steps, but it will come, I am sure. "This is not a closed partnership, it is an open partnership and anyone who can help support this partnership is more than welcome." ... Bolden has told The Canadian Press that NASA is an organization that looks at international co-operation, but it's prohibited by Congressional action from any bilateral activities with China."

Letter From Rep. Wolf to NASA Administrator Bolden Regarding China and the ISS

"As chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA - and the author of the statute banning bilateral cooperation with the Chinese - I believe that any effort to involve the Chinese in the space program would be misguided, and not in our national interest. The U.S. has no business cooperating with the PLA to help develop its space program."

DIA DIrector: China Preparing for Space Warefare, Washington Free Beacon

"Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, disclosed new details of China's space weapons programs last week, including information regarding China's anti-satellite missiles and cyber warfare capabilities. ... "China's successfully tested a direct ascent anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) missile and is developing jammers and directed-energy weapons for ASAT missions," he said. "A prerequisite for ASAT attacks, China's ability to track and identify satellites is enhanced by technologies from China's manned and lunar programs as well as technologies and methods developed to detect and track space debris."

Testimony (go to page 19)

Keith's note: Gee, I sure hope Tyson doesn't say things like this to the young people who visit the Rose Center to learn about the wonders of space. Talk about a quick way to deflate someone's career goals. Why study for a career that focuses on helping to send humans to Mars if its going to happen in China - not the U.S.?

My Twitter response to Tyson's original tweet: ".@neiltyson WRT bit.ly/zNcZTA You think that the first human on Mars will be Chinese? No faith in the U.S.? Defeatist. EPIC FAIL"

Bloopers in Space, Jim Oberg, IEEE Spectrum

"A horrendous error appears to have been made by a well-respected British spaceflight society, which reportedly is about to publish an article claiming that the X-37B, the secret Pentagon space plane, is shadowing the recently launched Chinese prototype space station, Tiangong-1, to spy on it in flight. But that's ridiculous. The American plane's orbit is at a steep angle with respect to that of the Chinese space station. When the two vehicles pass, they do so at speeds of up to 8000 meters per second, making it practically impossible for one to gather intelligence on the other."

Will China shame the US back to strong space program?, editorial, Youngstown Vindicator

"Indeed China cites the effect on national pride as well worth the cost of its massive investment. Its space program already has made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, and it is on track to replace the U.S. as the leader in space-station development. Will we care? To be sure, much has changed in the U.S. since the launch of Mercury I, not the least of which is decreasing awe over 60 years of almost routinized manned space travel. One thing that has not changed, however, is that fierce competitiveness and drive for achievement that energized millions of American schoolchildren of the '60s."

Beijing's space odyssey, editorial, Washington Times

"Today, America lacks that type of visionary leadership. If the United States somehow does reach Mars sometime in the 2030s, it will not be because of anything Mr. Obama has done. The way things are going, our astronauts on the red planet will be greeted by a Chinese welcoming party."

China Releases White Paper - China's Space Activities in 2011, SpaceRef

"Outer space is the common wealth of mankind. Exploration, development and utilization of outer space are an unremitting pursuit of mankind. Space activities around the world have been flourishing. Leading space-faring countries have formulated or modified their development strategies, plans and goals in this sphere. The position and role of space activities are becoming increasingly salient for each active country's overall development strategy, and their influence on human civilization and social progress is increasing."

Earlier posts

2011 Report to Congress of the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission

"... authoritative Chinese military writings advocate attacks on space-toground communications links and ground-based satellite control facilities in the event of a conflict. Such facilities may be vulnerable: in recent years, two U.S. government satellites have experienced interference apparently consistent with the cyber exploitation of their control facility."

Opportunity and Risk Ahead for Canada's Space Industry, SpaceRef Canada

"Maclean noted that Canada had signed two major treaties recently. The first in 2009 with United States and most recently a 10 year extension with the European Space Agency. He also mentioned that the Canadian Space Agency very recently got cabinet approval to go ahead and negotiate a treaty with Russia and that it should be signed shortly. This will facilitate Canadian industry access to Russia. He also said that Canada has begun talks about a treaty with China and hopes in the future to sign an agreement. No timetable for a signed treaty has been released though."

Keith's note: As you can see from this screen shot from the hearing's webcast (shown only on NASA TV) as John Holdren and Charlie Bolden were testifying, that virtually no one other than Rep. Rohrabacher, ranking member Rep. Carnahan, and their staffs even bothered to show up for this hearing. A few selected tweets:

- Rohrabacher: DOJ says that WH can do whatever it wants in terms of diplomacy. My colleagues and I will fight this overreach.
- Rep. Carnahan: I have a different view on how we can engage with China and push ahead with reforms.
- Rep. Wolf "NASA wants to work with the PLA who is killing people for their organs"
- Rep. Wolf is now showing posters and shouting.
- It is now clear why Rep. Wolf needed his own panel - he is taking up the time that 3 witnesses would normally take
- Rep. Wolf is showing more posters and shouting about China blocking UN missions
- Bolden: my predecessor travelled to China to talk about space cooperation while GW Bush was president. I travelled there in 2010.
- Rohrabacher: this came to you from DOJ? Holdren: DOJ's opinion represents the Administration's opinion on this matter & it is binding on me
- Holdren: WH asked DOJ lawyer to be present - that request not granted by the committee - Rohrabacher said he would have granted had he known
- Most absurd aspect of the China/OSTP/NASA hearing: Committee staff refused to allow a DOJ rep to explain its decision for WH to follow

Hearing: Efforts to Transfer America's Leading Edge Science to China

- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (subcommittee chair) - statement
- Rep. Carnahan (ranking minority member) - No prepared statement

Panel I
- Rep. Frank Wolf - statement/press release

Panel II (new)
- Thomas Armstrong, Managing Associate General Counsel, GAO - statement
- John Holdren, OSTP Director - statement
- Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator - statement

Panel III (new)
- Rick Fisher, Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center - statement
- Adam Segal, Ph. D., Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations - statement

Office of Science and Technology Policy--Bilateral Activities with China, October 11, 2011

"Section 1340 prohibits OSTP from engaging in bilateral activities with the government of the People's Republic of China or Chinese-owned companies unless specifically authorized. Because OSTP was prohibited from using appropriated funds to participate in the Innovation Dialogue and the S&ED, OSTP violated the Antideficiency Act."

Wolf Asks Justice Department to Hold White House Science Adviser Accountable for Breaking Law

"Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, today asked the Justice Department to hold the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) accountable for breaking the law for leading science policy discussions with China."

NASA Statement on Suspicious Terra Spacecraft Events

According to NASA PAO: "NASA experienced two suspicious events with the Terra spacecraft in the summer and fall of 2008. There was no manipulation of data, no commands successfully sent to the satellite, and no data captured. NASA notified the Department of Defense, which is responsible for investigating any attempted interference with satellite operations. While we cannot discuss additional details regarding the attempted interference, our satellite operations and associated systems and information are safe and secure. We are complying with the guidance in the National Space Policy to protect our critical space systems and have created a working group to establish and implement an agency-wide space protection program. NASA built Landsat-7 for the U.S. Geological Survey; all inquiries regarding Landsat-7 should be addressed there."

China key suspect in U.S. satellite hacks: commission, Reuters

"Larry Wortzel, one of the 12 commissioners, told Reuters on Friday. PLA is short for China's People's Liberation Army. Wortzel, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former military attache in China, cautioned that commissioners cannot be sure that the activity in question can be linked to China. But he said Beijing had conducted numerous tests on space warfare systems in 2007 and 2008. "I don't think it is a wild analytical leap to suggest that these hacks could have been part of that matrix of testing," Wortzel said in an email."

China denies it is behind hacking of U.S. satellites, Reuters

"Beijing on Monday denied a U.S. commission's claim that China may have been responsible for hacking incidents on U.S. environment-monitoring satellites, saying that the committee had "ulterior motives" in writing such a draft report."

Hearing: Efforts to Transfer America's Leading Edge Science to China

"Panel I
- Rep. Frank Wolf
- Thomas Armstrong, Managing Associate General Counsel, GAO
- John Holdren, OSTP Director
- Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator

Panel II
- Rick Fisher, Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center
- Elizabeth Economy, Ph. D., Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations"

Office of Science and Technology Policy--Bilateral Activities with China, October 11, 2011

"Section 1340 prohibits OSTP from engaging in bilateral activities with the government of the People's Republic of China or Chinese-owned companies unless specifically authorized. Because OSTP was prohibited from using appropriated funds to participate in the Innovation Dialogue and the S&ED, OSTP violated the Antideficiency Act."

GAO: With China dialogues, WH violated, Washington Examiner

"Rick Weiss, an OSTP senior analyst and director of Strategic Communications for OSTP, said that White House OLC opinions take precedence over those of the GAO."

Keith's note: No doubt, amidst all of his arm waving, full-time, chronic China hater Frank Wolf will come within an inch of hinting that Bolden, Holdren et al are somehow traitors for implementing official Administration policy when in fact they were conducting the same sort of official diplomatic and trade activities that countless other U.S. representatives do on a daily basis in a broad variety of areas. The title of this hearing is quite revealing: "Efforts to Transfer America's Leading Edge Science to China". Wolf has already made up his mind - he just wants to point his finger at someone. Newsflash: Two iPads made in China will be flying to the ISS on a Russian Progress cargo freighter soon. There are already Chinese-manufactured Lenovo laptops up there - maybe Rep. Wolf should order a halt to this too and order that these tainted goods be banned as well.

- NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas is Still Bashing China On The Job, earlier post
- Video: China Uses "America The Beautiful" on Their Space Station Propaganda, earlier post
- Bolden is "Rooting" For Chinese Success in Space, earlier post
- Frank Wolf Doesn't Like China, earlier post
- White House Was Against Bolden's China Trip Before They Were For It, earlier post

More stories

Keith's 14 Oct note: It would seem that NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas is rather comfortable with his China-bashing Powerpoint slide and that NASA JSC openly condones his use of it in official presentations he makes representing the agency. Check out this link - it points to the same presentation (Thomas_10-12-11.pptx) he gave a month ago - this time revised for use on 12 October 2011 on a NASA Future In Space Operations (FISO) telecon with that very same slide with Taikonauts trampling a U.S. flag on the Moon. Additional links (and audio) here.

Keith's 16 Oct note: He uses the same flag stomping picture with a slightly different caption i.e. "We must make sure this is not the metaphor of our future" vs "We must make this event inconsequential". In the audio file Thomas refers to this as the same picture he used in the earlier presentation - one that got "leaked to NASA Watch".

Bolden's rational comments are in stark contrast to the picture that astronaut Andy Thomas included in an official NASA presentation - one that showed Chinese astronauts trampling on a U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Bolden speaks of Chinese successes in space as motivations for us whereas Thomas uses overt, provocative images wherein China desecrates our flag as his motivation.

Top NASA official 'rooting for' China's success in space exploration, Daily Caller (with audio)

"We haven't talked about the Chinese," Bolden said. "We can't work with the Chinese right now. But I'm rooting for them. They're probably going to put a spacecraft called Shenzhou into orbit here, hopefully by the end of the year. It's going to be the first capsule of their space station. And the reason they are doing that is that we are not allowing them to be partners right now. So they're going alone. They need to be successful to drive us."

NASA Exploration Ideas - With Added China Bashing (Update), earlier post

Keith's 16 Sep note: This presentation "Towards Deep Space Exploration: Small Steps versus One Giant Leap" (download) was presented by astronaut Andrew Thomas on 6 September 2011. There is one problem I have with this document - and it has to do with one specific graphic (page 28 - larger view). Had the author noted that China's plans for the Moon should not spur us to do things out of fear or paranoia or something like that, I'd agree. But using an image that shows a Taikonaut on the lunar surface, planting the flag of the PRC while trampling an American flag is troubling. Are there really people inside NASA who think like this - enough that they go out of their way to create and use a provocative image like this? Alas, China-hater Rep. Frank Wolf will just love this chart.

Space Oddity? China Plays 'America the Beautiful' During Space Lab Launch, Spacecom

"State broadcaster CCTV and the Chinese space agency collaborated on a short video to mark the liftoff of China's unmanned Tiangong 1 space lab Thursday night (Sept. 29), The Guardian newspaper reports. The 98-second video gives an animated look at the launch and Tiangong 1's mission -- all set, puzzlingly, to an instrumental version of "America the Beautiful."

NASA Exploration Ideas - With Added China Bashing (Update)

Keith's note: Gee, the Chinese certainly seem to like the U.S. - quite a contrast from the chart that astronaut Andy Thomas used recently within an official NASA presentatino wherein several Chinese astronauts are shown having trampled an American flag left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts.

Top NASA official 'rooting for' China's success in space exploration, Daily Caller (with audio)

"We haven't talked about the Chinese," Bolden said. "We can't work with the Chinese right now. But I'm rooting for them. They're probably going to put a spacecraft called Shenzhou into orbit here, hopefully by the end of the year. It's going to be the first capsule of their space station. And the reason they are doing that is that we are not allowing them to be partners right now. So they're going alone. They need to be successful to drive us."

Keith's note: Bolden's comments are in stark contrast to the picture that astronaut Andy Thomas included in an official NASA presentation recently that showed Chinese astronauts trampling on a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.

Keith's 16 Sep note: This presentation "Towards Deep Space Exploration: Small Steps versus One Giant Leap" (download) was presented by astronaut Andrew Thomas on 6 September 2011. Inside you will find some interesting stuff regarding the use of existing ISS and Shuttle era plus international and commercial capabilities - all matrixed together allowing us to go to new places. It also mentions problems that occur with the public and Congress when things go over budget or seem to not show any real progress or benefit, and how to use smaller steps to incrementally achieve things in space that are relevant, affordable, and show visible progress within everyone's short attention span.

Of course this is all "notional" i.e. ideas that NASA won't connect officially with any actual project or budget anywhere. But that's OK since it shows that people are thinking outside the box, cognizant of limited budgets, and aren't afraid to use old stuff for new purposes. The ideas and approach contained in this document are summarized as follows: "This is not a Program, it is not a Destination; it is a series of activities that aggregate to a deep space capability with US Leadership".

There is one problem I have with this document - and it has to do with one specific graphic (page 28 - larger view). Had the author noted that China's plans for the Moon should not spur us to do things out of fear or paranoia or something like that, I'd agree. But using an image that shows a Taikonaut on the lunar surface, planting the flag of the PRC while trampling an American flag is troubling. Are there really people inside NASA who think like this - enough that they go out of their way to create and use a provocative image like this? Alas, China-hater Rep. Frank Wolf will just love this chart.

P.S. If some graphics do not work or load it is because the original Powerpoint file's format did not exactly work perfectly for me.

Keith's update: Neither Astronaut Andy Thomas, the Astronaut Office, JSC, or NASA PAO have commented on the use of this image. One would therefore have to assume that they are afraid to comment and/or that there is tacit approval of the use of this image in official NASA presentations. None of these assumptions are remotely acceptable. So much for transparency and openness at NASA. I guess its "Lets say nothing and hope this goes away ...".

It will not go away.

China's First Space Station Module Readies For Liftoff, space.com

"The unification of standards is the first problem to solve in the effort to carry out future space station cooperation, Yang said, according to China's Xinhua news agency. "This is the first time I am aware of that any high-profile official associated with the Chinese space program has made such a strong statement to the Chinese public on ISS participation," Gregory Kulacki, a senior analyst and China Project Manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program in Cambridge, Mass., told SPACE.com. "And, as far as I know, it is the first time I have heard a Chinese official confirm that the docking hardware they will be using in the upcoming mission is not compatible with the ISS."

Wolf Statement At U.S. - China Commission Hearing On Military and Civil Space Programs in China

"Most countries expanding their space programs are strong U.S. allies that are primarily interested in advancing science research or building a commercial space industry. The Chinese, however, do not fall into this category. Over the last decade, China has developed its space program at a surprising pace. In less than 10 years the Chinese have gone from launching their first manned spacecraft to unveiling plans last week for an advanced Chinese space station designed to rival the International Space Station."

More posts on NASA and China

Congress Prohibits OSTP from Chinese Cooperation, Forbes

"The clause prohibits the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from coordinating any joint scientific activity with China. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), a long-time critic of the Chinese government who chairs a House spending committee that oversees several science agencies, inserted the language into the spending legislation to prevent NASA or OSTP 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."

More posts on NASA and China

China unveils its space station, Nature

"The International Space Station (ISS) is just one space-shuttle flight away from completion, but the construction boom in low-Earth orbit looks set to continue for at least another decade. Last week, China offered the most revealing glimpse yet of its plans to deploy its own station by 2020. The project seems to be overcoming delays and internal resistance and is emerging as a key part of the nation's fledgling human space-flight programme. At a press briefing in Beijing, officials with the China Manned Space Engineering Office even announced a contest to name the station, a public-relations gesture more characteristic of space programmes in the United States, Europe and Japan."

Holdren's Response to Ban on China Science Partnerships Draws GOP Ire

"The Obama Administration has carved out a loophole in the recent congressional ban on scientific interactions with China that would permit most activities between the two countries to continue. But that interpretation doesn't sit well with Republicans in the House of Representatives who drafted the language, one of whom said today that ignoring the ban could imperil funding for NASA or other science agencies."

Why the US Can Beat China: The Facts About SpaceX Costs

"Whenever someone proposes to do something that has never been done before, there will always be skeptics. So when I started SpaceX, it was not surprising when people said we wouldn't succeed. But now that we've successfully proven Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon, there's been a steady stream of misinformation and doubt expressed about SpaceX's actual launch costs and prices. As noted last month by a Chinese government official, SpaceX currently has the best launch prices in the world and they don't believe they can beat them. This is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates."

China Great Wall Confounded By SpaceX Prices, Aviation Week

"Declining to speak for attribution, the Chinese officials say they find the published prices on the SpaceX website very low for the services offered, and concede they could not match them with the Long March series of launch vehicles even if it were possible for them to launch satellites with U.S. components in them."

China's Military Space Surge, Craig Covault, Aerospace America

"China's surging military space program is poised to challenge U.S. aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific, as Chinese military spacecraft already gather significant new radar, electrooptical imaging, and signal intelligence data globally. During 2010, China more than doubled its military satellite launch rate to 12. This compares with three to five military missions launched each year between 2006 and 2009. Since 2006, China has launched about 30 military related spacecraft. Its total of 15 launches in 2010 set a new record for China and for the first time equaled the U.S. flight rate for a given year."

House continuing resolution would bar NASA from China ties, Politico

"None of the funds made available by this division may be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this division," the bill's drafters wrote."

Mistrust stalls U.S.-China space cooperation, Washington Post

"Last fall, when NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. visited China to explore areas where the two countries could cooperate in space, two senior Republican members of Congress - Reps. Frank R. Wolf (Va.) and John Abney Culberson (Tex.) - wrote to Bolden beforehand to protest, saying they had "serious concerns about the nature and goals of China's space program" and warning that "China's intentions for its space program are questionable at best." Since Republicans won control of the House in November's elections, Wolf now chairs the House Appropriations Committee's commerce, justice and science subcommittee, which oversees NASA's budget, and Culberson is a senior subcommittee member."

U.S. China Statement, White House

"10. The United States and China agreed to take specific actions to deepen dialogue and exchanges in the field of space. The United States invited a Chinese delegation to visit NASA headquarters and other appropriate NASA facilities in 2011 to reciprocate for the productive visit of the U.S. NASA Administrator to China in 2010. The two sides agreed to continue discussions on opportunities for practical future cooperation in the space arena, based on principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit."

Keith's note: This is a little confusing. First, Bolden decides that he wants to go to China (and Indonesia and Vietnam) and the White House tries to talk him out of it saying that this is not the best time. Bolden then shortens his trip, and drops the Indonesia and Vietnam stops - but he still goes to China. A few days before his trip John Holdren leads a separate delegation to China (without Bolden). During after his trip, Bolden is absolutely silent about what happens on his trip and the White House continues to downplay it. Now, that trip shows up in this joint statement as a big accomplishment - with no mention of Holdren's trip. Is the White House trying to save face? Bolden still says nothing about his trip other than admitting that he went there. Is this "policy" development we're seeing, or just someone trying to make chaos look like it was planned all along?

Bolden's China Trip: Its His Idea, Not Obama's (Update), earlier post

Earlier China postings

Analysis: Space: a frontier too far for U.S.-China cooperation, Reuters

"The statement, marking a visit by Obama to China, also called for reciprocal visits in 2010 of NASA's chief and "the appropriate Chinese counterpart." Bolden, who went to China as head of a small team, said discussions there "did not include consideration of any specific proposals for future cooperation" -- a statement apparently designed to placate Wolf, who will have a big say in NASA's budget. The Chinese visit to NASA did not materialize in 2010 for reasons that have not been explained. NASA representatives did not reply to questions but a Chinese embassy spokesman, Wang Baodong, said he suspected it was "mainly a scheduling issue."

Related posts

China Launches Beidou-2 L2 the 7th Satellite in Compass Navigation Satellite System (with Video), SpaceRef

"This afternoon at 3:20 p.m. EST China launched the Beidou-2 L2 satellite he 7th satellite in their Compass Navigation Satellite System. The satellite was launched from the XiChang Satellite Launch Center in near Liangshan in Sichuan province on a Long March 3A rocket. This is the 15th successful Chinese launch this year."

Chang'e-2 Moon Photos

China Reveals First Chang'e-2 Photos!, Luna-C/I

"China has released the first photos from it's recently-launched Chang'e-2 lunar orbiter! Released with some fanfare, the images get more or less straight to the point: they're of the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium), which China has slated to be the potential landing location of it's Chang'e-3 rover mission."

- ""

Which Bablefish translates as "[National Space agency net news] on October 21, 2010, Chinese Country Space agency Bureau Chief Chen Qiu sent in Beijing met with NASA Bureau Chief Charles Bor ascends. Sino-US Space agency bureau chief reviewed both countries space agency cooperation course during the discussion, the US side indicated that hope with the Chinese side in the Moon and the planetary science field of activity development cooperation, the bilateral common consent will have the positive practical attitude, expanded and deepens two games in astronautics domain cooperation. (no matter what. Chen asks to ship to Bor to ascend the present "Chang E two" the dummy satellite (Li Jianzhong)"

CNSA Source

Keith's Note: Too bad we only have a CNSA picture to demonstrate what Bolden actually did in China in an official capacity. So far the White House refuses to allow him to have any interaction with the media or offer insight into his activities.

China to launch manned space lab around 2020: report, Reuters

"China said on Wednesday it would launch a space lab to be manned for long stretches within about 10 years, a move it believes would bring it closer to the United States and Russia as powers capable of reaching the moon. The official Xinhua news agency, quoting an unidentified space official, said a trial space lab would be launched before 2016 to test equipment and techniques. But it was not clear if that lab would be manned for long periods."

NASA chief visits China manned space launch site, AP

"The visit succeeded in boosting understanding between the sides about their programs and the "importance of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit as the underlying principles of any future interaction between our two nations in the area of human spaceflight," Bolden was quoted as saying. No specific proposals were discussed during the visit, he said."

Keith's update: Hmm ... Bolden goes to China and doesn't discuss anything of importance. Then a few days after he gets home China announces that it is going to build its own space station.

US drifting from China in space, Asia Times Online

"In fact, Bolden and other NASA personnel must be very careful about what they say to Chinese space officials. Any discussion of specific projects involving joint cooperation on human space flight activities in particular is tantamount to a powder keg in Washington, DC. This delicate state of affairs has now taken on added meaning given China's announcement in late October that its own manned space station project has commenced with a possible completion date of 2020."

Orbital Paths of U.S., China Set to Diverge, Wall Street Journal

"Gen. Charles Bolden became the first head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to tour China's highly sensitive manned space flight facilities during his visit last week--access that both sides might have portrayed as a major breakthrough in a different climate. China then underlined the scale of its manned space program when it announced Wednesday that it planned to launch the first part of a manned space station by 2016, and to complete a "relatively large" laboratory by around 2020."

China is on path to 'militarization of space', Christian Science Monitor

"Meanwhile, some have pointed out that China's moonshot, like all space programs, has valuable potential military offshoots. China's space program is controlled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is steadily gaining experience in remote communication and measurement, missile technology, and antisatellite warfare through missions like Chang'e 2."

China piecing together space station, Nature

"The Tiangong-2 space laboratory, which will be used for scientific experiments and to test living conditions, will be launched by 2016. The Tiangong-3 core cabin unit, which will extend the experimental facilities, will complete the ensemble in 2020. What this means for recent negotiations concerning China's participation in the International Space Station were not clear. "

China kicks off manned space station program, Xinhua

"China planned to launch two unmanned space modules, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8, in 2011, which were expected to accomplish the country's first space docking and were regarded as an essential step toward building a space station. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, would eventually be transformed into a manned space laboratory after experimental dockings with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, with the last two carrying two or three astronauts each."

Chinese Computer Trumps US One as World's Fastest, CNBC

"A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower. The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings."

Chinese Supercomputer Likely to Prompt Unease in U.S., WS Journal

"But Mr. Dongarra and other researchers said the machine should nevertheless serve as a wake-up call that China is threatening to take the lead in scientific computing--akin to a machine from Japan that took the No. 1 position early in the past decade and triggered increased U.S. investment in the field."

NASA Administrator Statement On China Visit

"Although my visit did not include consideration of any specific proposals for future cooperation, I believe that my delegation's visit to China increased mutual understanding on the issue of human spaceflight and space exploration, which can form the basis for further dialogue and cooperation in a manner that is consistent with the national interests of both of our countries."

U.S.-China Joint Statement

"The United States and China look forward to expanding discussions on space science cooperation and starting a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit. Both sides welcome reciprocal visits of the NASA Administrator and the appropriate Chinese counterpart in 2010."

Keith's note: That's it? No photos of what he saw, trip itineraries, speech transcripts, presentations? What about the taxpayer-funded stops in Viet Nam and Indonesia? No mention at all? Of course it would be too much to expect Bolden to have a Q&A with the media on this trip. Then again, even if he wanted to, the White House won't let him. Curiously, Lori Garver readily and comfortably interacts with the media, real people on the National Mall at education events ...

Keith's update: According to NASA PAO Charlie Bolden did not go to Viet Nam and Indonesia - as had been his original plan. Also, Bolden was walking around the National Mall last weekend but managed to avoid any media who might have been present.

China's space program: phantom menace or new hope?, GlobalTimes.cn

"It's the silly season in the US. So it's no surprise, just a disappointment, that some of the US legislators, especially the Republicans set to retake Congress, are again sharpening their sword and sticking it to China. I'm not talking about exchange rates, jobs, the environment or human rights, but something more deadly serious: the future of the final frontier. It's Star Wars season in Washington and the US empire is striking back. This silliness is only eclipsed by the stupidity of timing the visit this week to China of former astronaut and now National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) head, Charlie Bolden so close to election day. The visit was reportedly agreed by Chinese Presidents Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama when they met last November, but I can't believe that the visit had to be scheduled at a time that provides a clear opportunity for China-bashers in the US."

Three-legged space race for China and US?, Shangaiist

"That being said, space analyst, Morris Jones comments that nothing too exciting is going to be happening at these meetings. "Bolden is there basically just to shake a few hands. It's the first step in a very long process to get co-operation between the US and China in space flight... [r]elations between the US and China are very bad at the moment for all sorts of political and economic reasons." You don't say. Could it have to do with China callling the US a preening pig?"

Keith's note: While the semi- and quasi-official media in China attempt to spin an/or dissect the political undertones of Bolden's visit, NASA is utterly inert when it comes to any news whatsoever regarding Bolden's activities in China. No travel itineraries, no speech transcripts, photos - nothing. Its as if, once again, he has gone into overseas stealth mode.

Keith's update: According to Lori Garver Bolden is on his way home. Still no news.

US may outsource lightweight satellite launches to India, India Strategic

"Lockheed Martin's India Chief Executive Roger Rose told India Strategic that as the US was moving towards longer distance and more sophisticated probes, it made commercial sense to outsource launching of some satellites. There was a dearth of low-cost launching facilities in the world but ISRO and Antrix had a commendable track record in this regard. Lockheed Martin was also interested in cooperating with ISRO on India's manned space flights. The corporation had substantial technological inputs on many or most of the US space missions, and some of these could be shared with India. He said that senior executives from Lockheed Martin had visited Bangalore in August and held discussions with ISRO and Antrix. Some of the US satellites assigned to Lockheed Martin could be outsourced to India and they could "ride piggyback on Indian rockets."

US may outsource lightweight satellite launches to India, Economic Times

"The United States could outsource lightweight satellite launches to India. Lockheed Martin, the biggest US defence, aerospace and military technology corporation, broached the subject recently with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its export arm, Antrix."

Keith's note: While Charlie Bolden is in China looking for ways that America and China can cooperate in space - including human spaceflight - corporate America is looking to partner with China's arch-rival India on the very same things. Ouch - Bad timing.

Bolden: Fading From View?


Critics question Charlie Bolden's focus on NASA's new 'vision', Orlando Sentinel

"During a media conference call on the day of the signing, Bolden read a statement, thanked reporters and turned the call over to Garver -- a practice that has become routine. Two sources said Bolden continued to listen to the questions addressed to Garver but was barred from speaking. In fact, an Administration source said the White House originally planned to hold a public signing ceremony but canceled it when Bolden expressed interest in changing his travel plans and attending. Although the White House denies it, Administration sources said Bolden has been told to keep a low profile. He has all but disappeared from public view since the White House publicly reprimanded him last month. That reprimand came after NASA's inspector general found he acted "inappropriately" when he consulted with Marathon Oil Corp. about a proposed NASA biofuels program."


Stormy skies for NASA's chief, Houston Chronicle

"Obama's decision to sign NASA's hard-fought legislation into law alone and without Bolden by his side robbed the NASA chief of the high-profile White House signing ceremony and cherished White House photo that amount to symbolic presidential backing in the status-conscious capital. "I don't think Charlie has been treated very well by the White House," says space historian John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. "He has been faithful in his defense of the Obama strategy for space, but some seem to believe he has not been totally convincing." Bolden, in the job since July 2009, did not comment for this story. Instead of standing out front, Bolden has been relegated to reading prepared statements and taking no questions during telephone news conferences."

Bolden's World Tour Part II

NASA's Bolden walks tight rope on China trip, Christian Science Monitor

"The trip, at the invitation of Chinese space officials, comes at a time of upheaval in the US human spaceflight program, and amid growing ripples of doubt among observers in Washington about Bolden's future at the space agency's helm. "He's sort of viewing the trip as a victory lap," says Keith Cowing, editor of the website NASAWatch, as momentum appears to be building to replace him."

Nasa chief on visit to China, Al Jazeera

"Space programmes require a lot of technology, industry, and money but remain an international status symbol, Morris Jones, a space analyst, told Al Jazeera. But Morris said he did not think Bolden would be given much in the way of useful technical data during his visit. "Bolden is there basically just to shake a few hands. It's the first step in a very long process to get co-operation between the US and China in space flight," Morris said. "Relations between the US and China are very bad at the moment for all sorts of political and economic reasons."

Letter From Representatives Larsen, Boustany and Kirk (PDF)

"We are writing to congratulate you on your upcoming trip to China. U.S.-China space cooperation is an important piece of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship and we hope your trip proves successful. Specifically, we ask your support for the the U.S. and China to establish a joint-rescue capability in space that would enable the U.S., China, and Russia to rescue each other's space crews."

Marc's note: Well it would seem while some members of congress are upset with Bolden's trip to China others see the trip in a totally different light.

NASA Chief's Trip to China Sparks Controversy, space.com

"NASA chief Charles Bolden is preparing to visit Chinese space authorities. But the trip has met opposition from some lawmakers over its intent to continue a dialogue on human spaceflight cooperation between the U.S. and China."

NASA Administrator's China visit draws congressional ire, Nature

"I do not believe it is appropriate for the Administrator to meet with any Chinese officials until Congress is fully briefed on the nature and scope of Mr. Bolden's trip," said one of the congressmen, John Culberson (R-TX), in a 12 October letter addressed to President Obama."

NASA boss to land in China, Global Times

"Although it has been impossible for the two sides to work out any substantive agree-ments, the visit could pave the way for possible future cooperation," Hu Yumin, a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times Thursday. "The US, a leader in space technology, possibly conceives cooperation with China as helpful to addressing obstacles in future US space projects," he said. "Many scientists in both countries have longed for cooperation between China and the US. Bolden's trip will not only cement bilateral cooperation but also increase trust between the two countries," he added. In an exclusive interview with the Global Times in January, Bolden said that, as a former astronaut, he advocated international cooperation in space that could benefit humankind and that he preferred collaboration over conflict with China."

Letter From NASA Administrator Bolden to Rep. Wolf Regarding China

"Thank you for your letter regarding my planned travel to China later this month. As we discussed during our recent meeting, I greatly value your advice and direction on this matter, and I can assure you that I fully appreciate the concerns you have raised in your letter. In preparation for my visit, and in our planning for a subsequent reciprocal visit of senior Chinese officials to NASA, my staff and I are coordinating closely within the U.S. Government to ensure that agencies and departments with an interest in NASA's activities with China are fully informed and engaged, and I have personally met with the leadership of the national security and foreign affairs community to ensure the consistency of these exchanges with U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives."

Keith's update: Apparently OSTP Director John Holdren and his entourage leave today for China on a trip that will discuss a variety of science topics.

Metal From "Outer Space" Falls Down on Chinese Villages, Gizmodo

"The Chang'e II is the country's second-ever lunar orbiter--something that cost the country the equivalent of $134 million. It's taking five days to travel to the moon and will spend around six months observing it with its hi-res cameras, mapping it from a distance of around 15km so they can accurately land spacecraft in the future. Let's hope they're more accurate with shedding boosters in the future too, to keep the fatality rate at zero for rocket-based deaths."

NASA Chief Goes to Beijing In October, Aviation Week

"Plans are well along for NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to make a delayed trip to Beijing for what may be the opening round of talks leading to closer international cooperation in human spaceflight. NASA officials stressed that there has been no final invitation for Bolden to visit China at a specific time. However, officials in Beijing already are preparing for the visit, amid suggestions at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here that it could come in October."

Keith's note: Sources report that Bolden will also visit Indonesia on this trip, the largest Muslim nation on the planet.

Earlier postings on China

More Details on Space Discussions during the International Economical Forum in St. Petersburg, Roscosmos

"International Space Station partners have not received any response from China on a proposal to join the ISS program, Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov stated during the International Economical Forum in St. Petersburg. Speaking about Russian role in the program, Perminov reminded that US shuttles are to be retired soon, leaving Soyuz to maintain crew transportation services solely for the ISS, Interfax informs. "This is rather dangerous, any expert recognizes that. There must a backup for the Soyuz. We wish some country would have it, and we contacted China with its human spaceflight program mature enough to maintain crew transportation in the program, asking to join the ISS partnership. However there was no response", Perminov said."

Keith's note: The Roscosmos website is designed a little weird - you can't directly link to some things. To see the original source for this article, go to this page and then go to "all news" and click on "More Details on Space Discussions during the International Economical Forum in St. Petersburg"

Keith's 25 Jun update: According to NASA PAO, NASA issued the following statement this morning: "NASA has confirmed with the director of the Russian Federal Space Agency's human space flight program that Russia has not issued an invitation to China to join the International Space Station program."

Roscosmos: Chinese Space Vehicles Could Fly to the ISS, Roscosmos

"09.07.2010: Chinese space vehicles meet all safety requirements to provide redundancy for Soyuzes and Progresses during missions to the International Space Station, Anatoly Perminov, Roscosmos Head told RIA Novosti. According to him, the Chinese can support the program after shuttle retirement in 2011, when Russia remains the only country to maintain ISS crew rotation. "This is rather tough, so Russia is interested in backup Chinese vehicles", Perminov said. Five ISS partners have not received any answer from China for the proposal to join the program. "Administrator of the Chinese Space Administration has quit, and the new one has not been appointed yet. So, the issue is still open", Perminov concluded."

Keith's 8 Jul update: This story appeared on the Roscosmos website (again it is hard to link directly to their translated articles) dated 9 July 2010. Is this just more bad translation, a game the Russians like to play, or is there actually some truth to this?

Eating Dogs in Space

Dog on the menu for Chinese astronauts, Telegraph

"[Yang Liwei] added that the diet had been specially drawn up for the astronauts by Chinese nutritionists and that the food had been purchased from special suppliers in Beijing. Dog is widely eaten in northern China, where it is believed to help battle the winter cold. The menu was still in use last year, when Chinese astronauts conducted their first ever spacewalk. China has plans to land a man on the moon by 2020."

China's Lunar Ambitions

China space program shoots for moon, Washington Times

"Senior Chinese space officials have told their state media that China could be on the moon by 2022 at the outside. Other authoritative Chinese space engineers see a moon landing as a next step in the Tiangong program that will launch three Chinese space stations into Earth orbit between 2011 and 2015. In 2008, NASA scientists told the Bush White House that, with the technology currently available to the Chinese space program, Chinese cosmonauts could be on the moon by 2017."

The Boy Who Looked at the Moon, Homer Hickam

"The man stood watching the glowing television sets stacked in the storefront window. The window was dirty, the glass cracked and repaired with a strip of tape. A boy stood beside him. "What are you looking at, Dad?" "I'm watching the Chinese celebrate the completion of their moonlab, son. Look, there they are on the moon. See how happy they are?" "They always seem to be so happy. How come nobody around here is ever that happy, Dad?" The man looked at his son in surprise. "Well, I don't know. I guess I haven't thought much about that."

Viewpoint: Be Wary Of China Space Ties, editorial, Eric Sterner, Aviation Week

"Unfortunately, there are ample reasons for the U.S. to keep its distance. While the U.S. explicitly decided to separate its space exploration activities from the military, China's human spaceflight program is a subsidiary of the People's Liberation Army. In that context, the risks of illicit technology transfer are considerable."

LDRA Wins $1 Million Contract in China's Manned Spacecraft Program, LDRA

"The LDRA tool suite has been used within the China Manned Spacecraft Program since 2001. There are over one hundred licenses of the LDRA tool suite used by more than 30 individual research institutes or companies involved in this program. The LDRA tool suite helps CMSP software to achieve the necessary high levels of quality and safety. The CMSP's primary mission will be to carry out space rendezvous and docking experiments, to guarantee the working and living conditions of taikonauts ..."

Keith's note: Based on this press release, It would seem that LDRA, a UK firm, has partnered with Hughes Communications, a U.S. Canadian firm, to work on China's human space flight program.

NASA ready to work with China on space exploration, AFP

"NASA is ready to cooperate with China in space exploration, the head of the US agency said on Tuesday, as Beijing aims to send a manned mission to the moon by around 2020. "I am perfectly willing, if that's the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavour. I think they're a very capable nation," NASA chief Charles Bolden said."

China, U.S. to cooperate in space exploration, high-speed rail construction, Xinhua

"Chinese President Hu Jintao met here with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Both leaders agreed to start cooperation in new fields of space exploration and high-speed railway construction."

NASA Presidental Transition Action Item Log, earlier post

"2. Provide more information regarding international partnerships, particularly with the Asia-Pacific region countries. No new data, just pull existing information."

Joint Press Statement by President Obama and President Hu of China

"Both President Obama and I said that we are willing to act on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity to deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism, law enforcement, science, technology, outer space, civil aviation, and engage in cooperation in space exploration, high-speed railway infrastructure, in agriculture, health, and other fields. And we also agreed to work together to continue to promote even greater progress in the growth of military-to-military ties."

China's View on Space

China general sees military space race, Financial Times

"China's air force chief has called military competition in space "inevitable", a departure from Beijing's past insistence that it is not pursuing space programmes for military purposes."

China's PLA eyes future in space, air: air force commander, Xinhua

"Calling militarization in the space and in air "a threat to the mankind," Xu said China must develop a strong force in the two arenas in order to face challenges of that threat. "Only power could protect peace," the 59-year-old air force commander said in an interview with Xinhua, 10 days ahead of 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA air force. Superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans, Xu said."

China's Mir?

Keith's note: A NASA Watch reader attending the IAC in South Korea sent me this cellphone photo (with her apologies for its poor quality) of a proposed space station China is thinking about building. Looks a bit like Mir, yes?

You can watch China's IAC presentation here on YouTube.

Playing The China Card

Is It Time to Invite China to the Space Party?, Free Space, Discovery

"China has something we could use -- spaceships. Their Shenzhou capsules, based on the Russian Soyuz design, have successfully flown three times. (Another option, of course, is to add public funds to the development of the Dragon capsule, a project of privately funded Space Exploration Technologies of California. Under the terms of SpaceX's contract, they'll be no cost to the public if the company can't pull it off. Seems like a no-brainer.) Adding China to the station program could expand the cultural melding blossoming in orbit, give Obama a Kennedy-esque platform from which to flex his space muscles and maybe inspire common ground for solving a whole bunch of other troubling issues that divide the U.S. and China, such as human rights, free speech, copyright infringement, etc., etc. "

Keith's note: It is not widely known, but former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe had discussions with Dr. Sun from the China National Space Agency (CNSA) at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss broader cooperation between CNSA and NASA. Internally, NASA was even discussing how to bring China into the ISS program. That initiative hit a brick wall when Mike Griffin took over as NASA administrator and installed Michael O'Brien as head of NASA External Relations. Any thoughts? Should NASA (or the ISS partnership) invite China to join the ISS? Post your comments below.

NASA Presidental Transition Action Item Log, Nov 2008

"2. Provide more information regarding international partnerships, particularly with the Asia-Pacific region countries. No new data, just pull existing information."

Obama Opens Policy Talks With China, NY Times

[Obama] "If we advance those interests through cooperation," he said, "our people will be better off -- because our ability to partner with each other is a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges."

In Full Interview, John Holdren Eschews New Nukes, Hints at Space Flight Delays, Science Insider

"Speaking this morning with ScienceInsider, Holdren discussed why he thinks the United States doesn't need new nuclear weapons. He warned of likely delays beyond 2015 in replacing the space shuttle and the possibility that China would launch U.S. astronauts during the interim."

Obama looking at cooling air to fight warming, AP

"[Holdren] said the Bush administration's plan to return astronauts to the moon was underfunded so money was taken from science and aeronautics. Those areas, including climate change research, were "decimated," he said. The administration will "rebalance NASA's programs so that we have in space exploration, a suitable mix of manned activities and robotic activities," Holdren said. Doing that "will only get under way in earnest when a new administrator is in place." Holdren, who advises the president on such decisions, said he hopes Obama will pick a new NASA boss soon."

President Obama's science adviser talks about his new job, Nature

"Do we know when that is going to happen? I certainly hope we have a new [NASA] administrator in place in the next month that is a hope, and not a prediction."

China Space Update

China's lunar probe Chang'e-1 impacts moon, Xinhua

"Chang'e-1, China's first lunar probe, impacted the moon at 4:13 p.m. Beijing Time (0813 GMT) Sunday, said sources with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. The satellite ended its 16-month mission Sunday when it hit the lunar surface at 1.50 degrees south latitude and 52.36 degrees east longitude."

Unmanned space module to be launched in 2010, await space docking, Xinhua

"China plans to launch an unmanned space module into orbit as early as the end of 2010. It is expected to meet with another unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, which is scheduled to be launched in early 2011. It would be the country's first space docking. A spokesman with China's space program said Saturday that scientists on the ground would control the space docking between the orbiter and the unmanned spaceship. The module, named Tiangong-1, is designed to provide a "safe room" for Chinese astronauts to live and conduct scientific research in zero gravity. Weighing about 8.5 tonnes, Tiangong-1 is able to perform long-term unattended operation, which will be an essential step toward building a space station."

Editor's note: Just when I thought I could stay home and enjoy the snow CNN called and I have to shoot an interview on China's space program. Should air tonight.

Rohrabacher Condemns European Satellite Company's Use of Chinese Rockets Calls China "Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferator"

"Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued the following remarks during today's Science and Technology Full Committee hearing on the "Impacts of U.S. Export Control Policies on Science and Technology Activities and Competitiveness." Rep. Rohrabacher specifically addressed his concerns regarding the recent announcement of an agreement between European satellite operator Eutelstat and the Peoples Republic of China to use Chinese rockets to launch private communications satellites. Since 1998, U.S. export controls have prohibited the use of Chinese rockets to launch satellites containing American made parts."

Asia's Space Race

India approves 1.7bn plan to launch astronauts as Asian space race hots up, Times Online

"ISRO has also been lobbying for years to secure government funding for its plans to send an astronaut into space by 2014 - eleven years after China - and to the Moon by 2020, four years ahead of China's target date. Critics say ISRO's plans are a waste of money in a country where the 76 per cent of the population of 1.1 billion live on less than $2 a day, and child malnutrition levels are on a par with sub-Saharan Africa. But ISRO argues that India makes money from commercial satellite launches, and scientific research from the space programme has helped to develop its information technology industry. Indian officials, especially in the military, are also concerned that India lags far behind China, which shot down a satellite in 2007 and completed its first space walk last year."

Shenzhou VII, BX-1, and ISS

China microsat approaches the ISS, AGI

"The astronauts on board China's third manned space mission deployed a microsat (BX-1) from their Shenzhou VII spacecraft. After release, the BX-1 came within 23km of the International Space Station (ISS). To experience how this mission unfolded, please review one of the following resources ..."

Editor's note: Looking at the video, I guess you could say that Shenzhou VII "approached ISS too".

Bush Administration Nixed NASA's U.S.-China, Aviation Week

"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. But the new Obama administration may resurrect the idea."

NASA Response to Aviation Week and Space Technology Article

"Unfortunately, Aviation Week's recent article of Dec. 21, 2008, entitled "Bush 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."

China Space Spy Confesses

Physicist admits sending US space know-how to China, AFP

"A Chinese-born physicist Monday pleaded guilty before a US court to illegally exporting American military space know-how to China, US officials said. Naturalized US citizen Shu Quan-Sheng, admitted handing over to Beijing information on the design and development of a fueling system for space launch vehicles between 2003 and 2007, the Justice Department said. Shu, 68, pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act by helping Chinese officials based at the space facility on southern Hainan island to develop manned space flight and future missions to the Moon."

NASA corrects its fault for categorizing Taiwan under China, Taiwan News

"A database in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) categorized Taiwan as "Taiwan, Province of China". After blogger Su-bing exposed the news on his blog, groups of Taiwanese netizens sent protest letters to NASA. NASA changed the name back to Taiwan late at night on Oct 16."

The Moment, Time

"The spacewalk -- part of an ambitious manned space program that includes construction of a space lab and will likely feature a lunar landing -- was a reminder of the country's growing national might. "There are problems, yes, but the message of this is that the [Communist] Party has the right control policy because of all it has done," says Dean Cheng, China analyst with the CNA Corp., a U.S.-based think tank. Says Joan Johnson-Freese, a space expert at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.: "The Chinese have read the Apollo playbook. They understand everything the U.S. got from its lunar program."

NASA at 50, editorial, Toledo Blade

"America has no choice but to find the will - and the money - to design and build the next generation of spaceships, and it must do so even as it solves the current financial mess, reinvigorates the economy, and defends against terrorism. Otherwise, space will become the province of nations that have the will, nations - like China - whose self interest may not coincide with ours."

Shenzhou 7 Lands

China's spacewalk astronauts return as heroes, Reuters

"Three Chinese astronauts landed safely back on earth on Sunday after a 68-hour voyage and space walk that showcased the country's technological mastery and were hailed as a major victory by its leaders. Their Shenzhou ("sacred vessel") spacecraft parachuted down to the steppes of northern Inner Mongolia region at dusk. Doctors rushed to open the capsule and check the men as they readjusted to gravity and recovered from the punishing re-entry."

Chinese Astronaut Completes EVA

Chinese Astronaut Makes Nation's First Spacewalk, NY Times

"A Chinese astronaut orbiting the earth slipped out of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft Saturday afternoon and performed the nation's first spacewalk, establishing another milestone in China's space program. Zhai Zhigang, a 41-year-old astronaut, pulled himself out of the orbiting module at 4:40 p.m. Beijing time, latched himself to a handrail, and then waved to a national audience during a live broadcast of the country's third manned space mission."


Video below

Curious Timing

Scientist accused of bribery, aiding China, Daily Press

"An internationally recognized scientist based at the Applied Research Center in Newport News has been arrested and charged with violating federal arms controls by illegally exporting launch data to help China's space program."

U.S. man charged with exporting space data to China, Reuters

"A physicist from Virginia was arrested on Wednesday on charges of illegally exporting space launch technical data and services to China and offering bribes to Chinese government officials, the Justice Department said."

Virginia Physicist Arrested for Illegally Exporting Space Launch Data to China and Offering Bribes to Chinese Officials, Department of Justice

Shenzhou-7 Launched

China's manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 blasts off on space walk mission, Xinhua

"China launched its third manned spacecraft on Thursday with three astronauts on board to attempt the country's first-ever space walk. The spaceship Shenzhou-7 blasted off on a Long March II-F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gansu Province at 9:10 p.m. after a breathtaking countdown to another milestone on China's space journey."

Shenzhou 7 Coverage, ChinaView

CNSA PAO Outperforms NASA PAO

Oops, article on China space launch jumps the gun

"An article describing China's long-awaited space mission was launched Thursday hours before astronauts even left the launch pad. The country's official news agency Xinhua posted an article on its Web site Thursday written as if the three astronauts had already been launched into space. The Xinhua article is dated Sept. 27 -- two days from now -- and comes complete with an entire dialogue between the astronauts."

Editor's note: NASA PAO often struggles to keep pace with events. But in China they have found a way to be days ahead of events. Can NASA PAO ever catch up with this latest Chinese accomplishment? Meanwhile, poor right wing Patti at the Examiner clearly has no sense of humor.

And Then There Were Three

Live video of launch (does not seem to work on Macs)

Space Inspires Passion And Practicality in China, Washington Post

"Space experts outside China are generally at a loss to describe how its various space programs -- manned and unmanned, civil and military -- are organized and overseen, except that the vast bulk of its efforts are under the direction of the People's Liberation Army. No official from China's space agencies or government-owned space companies would be interviewed for this article."

NASA wishes China success on launch of Shenzhou-7 mission, Xinhua

"NASA wishes China success on the launch of Shenzhou-7 and the safe return of its crew," a spokesman for the U.S. space agency told Xinhua on the eve of the mission. China has announced that the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft will lift off on Thursday night. This will be the third Chinese manned space mission, but the first time Chinese astronauts perform a spacewalk."

China's 1st Space Walk Mission a Step Toward the Moon?, National Geographic

"We intend to send astronauts to the moon and ultimately to build a lunar outpost," said Zhang Qingwei, who was until recently a leader of China's manned space program.

Editor's 12 Sep note: The organizers of this widely promoted event on 24 Sep. wherein Mike Griffin will be "addressing China's space program" asked me to remove mention of the Congressional Space Power Caucus Breakfast because "these events are limited to Members of Congress, their staff, other US Govt officials and representatives from companies that are either corporate supporters of the Space Foundation or NDIA. These events are not open to the public or media."

How can the NASA Administrator address such an important topic - to an exclusive, hand-picked audience - and have it be off the record? More importantly, how can the organizers schedule - or NASA PAO agree to allow Griffin to participate in - such an event one day before the expected launch of Shenzhou VII and expect no one to be allowed to report what Griffin thinks about China's space program?

Editor's 24 Sep Update: According to NASA AA for Legislative Affairs, Bill Bruner's twitter posting at 10:36 am EDT: "Just listened to NASA official talk about China building capability to exploit cislunar space -- while our lunar capability sits in museums."

Hmm, I wonder if this "NASA official" he is talking about is NASA Administrator Mike Griffin speaking at this morning's closed door breakfast briefing on China? Hmm, so is this the strategy, for NASA folks and other attendees to start being clever and "leaking" non-attributable commentary about "government officials" saying things off the record that they are afraid to say on the record? Gee, how Watergate of you, Bill.

Earlier posts:

Editor's note: This video " " ("Shenzhou seven simulation situations") about the upcoming Shenzhou 7 mission appeared on YouTube yesterday. Among other things it shows an animation of the EVA that will be performed. The EVA suits worn by the taikonauts in this video are clearly inspired by Russian Orlan suits.

China's Space Station

"God 10" launching space laboratory built (Google translation of article in Chinese)

"Ming Pao - the Jiuquan Satellite Launch CUI Ji-jun, director of the Center recently revealed that this year the launch of manned spacecraft "God 7", "God 8" and "God 9" will be unmanned spacecraft, "God 10" would be a set People spacecraft, launched after the craft and the docking target, after the completion of docking will create space laboratory."

Editor's note: "Shenzhou" translates as "God". This concept of a small modular space station is not exactly new. Astronautix.com features a photo of some sort of Chinese space station and a history of its development. It would seem that Shenzhou 7 will leave its free-flying Orbital Module in orbit as has been the case recent flights. Then, over the next several years, two unmanned Shenzhou flights 8 and 9 will be launched and will dock with the Shenzhou 7 orbital module. After that Shenzhou 10 will be launched with a crew and dock with the mini-space station. This would be a human-tended facility - not one with permanent inhabitants.

NASA's Star Is Fading, Its Chief Says, Washington Post

"The heavy OMB edits of Griffin's comments on China were made in March after Griffin appeared before the House Science and Technology Committee and was asked to supply additional information. A copy of Griffin's comments with the OMB's changes and deletions, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that the version ultimately sent to Congress lost much of Griffin's sense of urgency, including his assessment of what a Chinese moon landing would mean to perceptions about the United States. ... The senior NASA official said the deleted comments about China's space ambitions would have increased pressure on the administration to speed up and better fund construction of the new spacecraft."

Editor's note: Hmm, maybe that is why Griffin chose this exclusive off the record briefing on China for Congressional folks and those who pay hefty dues to trade organizations (see Mike Griffin's Exclusive Off The Record China Briefing). I wonder if OMB's Paul Shawcross (or one of his staff) will be there?

Why is the White House afraid to let Griffin speak publicly? Why is Griffin afraid/unable to do so? Oh yes, Griffin has often been told by the White House to stay out of the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. But wait: leaked memos, "senior NASA officials" speaking under conditions of anonymity? Hmm, that's the same inside the beltway code language and games that the White House usually uses to float trial balloons and instill a growing sense of dissent - while denying any active participation. Everyone is talking past everyone else. No one takes an open stance any more.

How much more dysfunctional can this whole situation become?

Shenzhou VII in Two Weeks?

China to launch third manned space flight in September: report, AFP

"China has brought forward the launch date of its third manned space flight to late September, a report said Tuesday. The launch of Shenzhou VII is now expected to take place between September 17 -- the end of the Beijing Paralympics -- and China's National Day on October 1, Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said, citing unnamed sources."

Editor's note: This CCTV video segment shows preparations for the upcoming Shenzhou VII scheduled for launch in October 2008.

India takes on old rival China in new Asian space race, Times Online

"The world's two most populous countries -- and biggest emerging economies -- have fought one war on land and are rapidly modernising their air, naval and nuclear forces in case of another. Now India and China are taking their rivalry into orbit, with Delhi determined to catch up with Beijing in what is starting to look like an Asian version of the Cold War "space sace". General Deepak Kapoor, India's Chief of Army Staff, has spoken publicly for the first time of his fears about China's military space programme and the need for India to accelerate its own."

Editor's note: This short video includes shots taken at the China Astronaut Research and Training Center where EVA suits are tested in a large swimming pool much in the same way that Russia and America train their crews. The EVA suits seem to bear some resemblence to Russian ORLAN suits.

China Plans EVA

China to carry out first spacewalk in late 2008, China View

"China plans to carry out its first spacewalk in second half of the year, an official of the nation's manned space program said here on Thursday. The Shenzhou VII spacecraft will be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu latein the year and the astronauts will leave their spacecraft for the first time, the official told Xinhua."

Former Boeing Engineer Charged with Economic Espionage in Theft of Space Shuttle Secrets for China, DOJ

"A former Boeing engineer was arrested this morning after being indicted last week on charges of economic espionage and acting as an unregistered foreign agent of the People's Republic of China (PRC), for whom the engineer stole Boeing trade secrets related to several aerospace programs, including the Space Shuttle."

Indictment, DOJ

Did China spy on NASA?, Orlando Sentinel

Shuttle Battles In Space

. . .And Races Into Space, The Wall Street Journal Asia

"At a minimum, Washington should delay the planned 2010 retirement of the Space Shuttle until a new space plane can replace it, as a way to retain a deterring potential military capability. China's unwillingness to comment on its military space plans, coupled with the Shenlong space plane, confirms its larger aversion to military transparency. The U.S. and its allies have little choice but to develop the capabilities to defend their interests and assets in space."

China says moon pictures not faked from NASA, Reuters

"But some Chinese Internet users have questioned its originality after comparing it with an almost identical lunar image from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 2005."

Editor's note: More proof that China is gaining on the U.S. with regard to space technology. It took several decades before the fake Apollo image crowd got noticed in the U.S. In China it has taken only weeks.

China publishes first moon picture from Chang'e-1, CNSA

"This file photo released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Nov. 26, 2007 shows China's first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1, China's first lunar orbiter, marking the full success of its lunar probe project."

China to publish whole lunar 3D image in January, China.org.cn

"China's space experts have predicted that the country will publish the whole lunar 3D image in January next year. Wu Ji, director of the Center of Space Science and Applied Research under CAS, the China Academy of Sciences, explained that the released image is a 2D picture, and researchers are working on the data sent back to formulate a 3D image, hoping to publish the picture as soon as possible."

China's first lunar probe enters moon's orbit, Xinhua

"China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, successfully completed its first braking at perilune and entered the moon's orbit Monday morning, becoming China's first circumlunar satellite. Chang'e-1, following the instructions of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), started braking at 11:15 a.m. at a position around 300 km away from the moon and entered the moon's orbit at around 11:37 a.m. after completing the braking, according to the BACC."

Chang'e Heads For The Moon

China launches moon orbiter with patriotic blast, Reuters

"China launched its first moon orbiter on Wednesday amid a blaze of live-to-air patriotic propaganda celebrating the country's space ambitions and technological prowess. The Chang'e One orbiter lifted off from the southwestern province of Sichuan at 1005 GMT. Barring technical failure, it will reach its lunar orbit on Nov. 5 and spend more than a year scanning the lunar surface in preparation for an unmanned moon vehicle planned for 2012 and a manned landing in future decades."

1st lunar probe launch successful - official, China Daily

"The launch of the lunar probe "marks another milestone in China's aerospace program after man-made satellites and manned space flights", said Chinese vice-premier Zeng Peiyan, who was watching the launch at the Xichang launch center."

Editor's note: I will be on CNN Asia on Wednesday evening round 7:30 pm 7:45 pm EDT to discuss this launch.

Editor's update: Video of my Interview, CNN Asia - Ever wonder what would I say if I was the commander of an American lunar lander upon greeting some taikonauts who had already arrived on the Moon?

China's Long March to the Moon, WSJ

"Tomorrow evening, the China National Space Administration is scheduled to fire a "Long March" rocket from a launch site in the southwestern province of Sichuan. If all goes well, it will propel a satellite into lunar orbit, an important step toward China's goal of beating Japan to become the first Asian nation to put a man on the moon."

KAGUYA (SELENE) Placed in Science Orbit Around the Moon, JAXA

"The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) injected the KAGUYA main satellite in its scheduled orbit and shifted its operation mode to the regular control mode. Both the KAGUYA main satellite and its two baby satellites are in good health. The "KAGUYA" (SELENE) is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007, (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center."

A New Space Party

China Mulls Communist Branch for Space, AP

"China might not have a permanent presence in space yet, but the country's rocket men are already thinking about setting up a Communist Party branch in the outer reaches. Now 14-strong, the Chinese astronaut corps more than meets the party's minimum requirement of at least three members for a branch, the official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday."

China's astronaut outfitters design material for spacewalk suits, Xinhuanet

"Pang said the Shenzhou VII spacewalk suit was designed to be like a small aircraft with a propeller allowing astronauts to move freely in space, the newspaper report said. The suit would automatically supply nourishment, oxygen up to seven hours and about 1.9 kilolitres of water, it said, adding a drainage system would let out carbon dioxide and wastewater."

Editor's Note: Gee, 1.9 kiloliters (1,900 liters = 502.07 Gallons) of water. At 1kg/liter of water that's 4,188.8 pounds. That's quite a capable spacesuit - a great idea if you want to fly dolphins in space - they can even swim around (it might be a little crowded)! As for the propeller - I'm not sure how much good that will do if the suit is used in a vacuum (there's lots of that in outer space). And besides, dolphins have strong tails - they don't need propellers.

Snubbed by U.S., China Finds New Space Partners, NY Times

"Michael D. Griffin, NASA's administrator, did signal a thaw in relations when he visited China last fall. But critics say the American strategy has backfired. A recent critique of the Bush administration's space policy blamed Washington for alienating space allies with a "go it alone" philosophy."

U.S. Knew of Chinas Missile Test, but Kept Silent, NY Times

"What administration officials did not say is that as the Chinese were preparing to launch their antisatellite weapon, American intelligence agencies had issued reports about the preparations being made at the Songlin test facility. In high-level discussions, senior Bush administration officials debated how to respond and even began to draft a protest, but ultimately decided to say nothing to Beijing until after the test."

China's Moon Rover

Engineers unveil China moon rover, BBC

"Chinese scientists have shown off a prototype Moon rover that could lead to the country's first unmanned mission to the lunar surface in 2012. The 1.5m (5ft) high, 200kg (440lbs) rover should transmit video in real time, dig into and analyse soil, and produce 3D images of the lunar surface."

China details Mars exploration with Russia, Reuters

"China and Russia will mount a joint effort to explore Mars and one of its moons in 2009, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday following an agreement to boost cooperation between the two ambitious space powers. A Russian rocket will lift a Chinese satellite and Russian exploration vehicle to survey Mars and Phobos, the innermost and biggest of the red planet's moons, the China Daily reported, citing China's National Space Administration."


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