China: October 2010 Archives

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."


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This page is an archive of entries in the China category from October 2010.

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