China: August 2015 Archives

Keith's 11 Aug update: Sources report that the person (referenced below) who was told that they could not attend the JPL Planetary Science Summer School has now been told by NASA HQ that they can attend after all.

Keith's 7 Aug 10:11 am note: The following is posted in a Closed Facebook page "Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration". The group has 1,549 members. I was made aware of this issue last night in great detail before I asked to join the group. When my membership was approved just now I was confronted with a warning that I would be banned for life if I posted anything from this group. I was not aware of this restriction when I asked to join - only after the fact. This is an important issue that needs to be surfaced. I will not identify the individual who posted this. I expect to be banned momentarily. Oh well.

Keith's 7 Aug 8:11 pm note: I have been kicked out of the group (one would assume) for raising this issue. You're welcome. What is really odd is that Andy Rivkin, one of the people who run this Facebook group, violates their own rules with regard to publicly discussing content from within the group.

"I've been participating in this year's JPL Planetary Science Summer School for the past 9 weeks, and was told only today that I have been declined further participation in the program, and will be withdrawn from next week's session at JPL. The reason I was given was that my place of birth was in Hong Kong, regardless of the fact that my citizenship is Canadian. NASA regards all persons born in Hong Kong as Chinese Nationals, including those like myself who were born prior to the 1997 handover, were never granted Chinese citizenship, and have immigrated to other countries like Canada. After contacting some people to try to understand why I was informed of this so late, it has come to my attention that this is a NASA-wide issue (not just JPL or PSSS) that was enacted just today by the NASA HQ Security Branch."

- Hong Kong Policy Act Report, State Department
- Designated Countries List, NASA HQ Security

For the first time Chinese research to fly on NASA's space station, Houston Chronicle

"A Houston company has negotiated a historic agreement to fly a Chinese experiment on the International Space Station, a small but symbolic maneuver around a law that bans any scientific cooperation between NASA and the communist country. Over a conference table adorned with an American and a Chinese flag, Jeff Manber last week agreed to take a DNA experiment into space next year. Manber's Houston-based company, NanoRacks, helps scientists do research on board the station. Because of decades of suspicion about Chinese motives and the country's regime, Congress prohibits NASA from working with the country in any capacity. But the new deal, which is apparently legal, could begin to change that. "It's symbolic, and it's meaningful," Manber said Monday, after returning from Beijing. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Keith's note: According to a NanoRacks source, in crafting this agreement with Beijing Institute of Technology, NanoRacks worked to assure compliance with the 2011 spending bill Amendment offered by former Rep. Frank Wolf which places restrictions on formal NASA cooperation with China's space program. After consultation with NASA and the Obama Administration, NanoRacks approached Professor Feng of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) and invited him to continue his immune system research using NanoRacks' commercial hardware on the ISS.

NanoRacks notes that money flows from China to the U.S.; that no hardware or technology flows to China (just a return of data and experiment samples); that this experiment has intrinsic scientific value; and that the payload uses NanoRacks hardware and is a NanoRacks customer payload as part of their normal ISS payload allocation. This is NOT a NASA/Chinese research project. In addition, this project ("DNA Mismatching During PCR Reaction Exposed to Space Environment") reflies payload hardware that was flown on Shenzou 8. As such, the payload developer already has their own independent pathway to long-duration exposure in space. Lastly, The Beijing Institute of Technology Life Sciences Department publishes their scientific results in leading Western research publications thereby assuring a full dissemination of results in compliance with the spirit of ISS basic research.

NanoRacks was informed by the Obama Administration that it believes that this project is in compliance with the Wolf Amendment. Also, in accordance with ISS International Partners agreements, member nations of the ISS were informed of this project.


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This page is an archive of entries in the China category from August 2015.

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