News / Science & Technology

Could US Work with China on Space Issues?

The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.
The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.
As China's space program rapidly advances, many are debating whether the United States should consider unprecedented cooperation with Beijing on space science and exploration missions.

The topic is controversial in Washington, where many fear the rise of China's space program, which is controlled by the People's Liberation Army, may eventually pose a military threat.

China's space program has made remarkable progress in a relatively short period. Just 10 years after launching its first manned space mission, it has already begun preparations for building its own space station, which it plans to complete by 2020.

It has also made quick progress on a homegrown satellite navigation system, known as Beidu, that could challenge the U.S.-created Global Positioning System (GPS) and become crucial to the overall modernization of China's armed forces.

Despite the progress, analysts say Beijing's space program is still decades behind that of the United States, as well as Russia, in terms of technology and experience. Ken Dewoskin is with Deloitte's China Research and Insight Center in Beijing. He said NASA may be reluctant to help China make up that gap by sharing American technology and know-how.

"[U.S. cooperation] would accelerate their technology tremendously, it would pull them ahead decades, which is one reason possibly that it's very difficult to negotiate," said Dewoskin.

Dewoskin said while China is relatively straightforward about its grand space ambitions, it has been very opaque about the military aspect of those goals. "Lurking behind the visible and very widely celebrated space achievements [are] the military issues and capabilities, especially surveillance and possibly even space-based weaponry," he stated.

Mike Wall, a senior writer at Space said in an interview that much of the technology that would be shared under such a partnership could have military, not only civilian uses. "The United States' leadership on the battlefield for so many decades has been primarily the result of our space supremacy. We have so many good space assets, satellite networks and so on," said Wall.

Wall said another problem holding back U.S.-China cooperation on space is the U.S. Congress, which has placed tough restrictions on cooperation between NASA and China's space program. "There are more than a few people in Congress who are a little bit worried that if the U.S. cooperates with China, what they will do with that information," he added.

But others point out there may be benefits to U.S.-China space cooperation. One of those people is NASA chief Charles Bolden, who has said that "some level of engagement" could be helpful to both countries.

Even though the United States may not agree to large-scale cooperation, such as bringing China into the International Space Station program, some say more limited projects, such as space debris cleanup, could be a good start.

Wall said there will always be room for Beijing and Washington to work together in space. "Space is a big place and it's expensive to explore it. And if we're going to actually explore space as a species and push out into the solar system, it's not like there's just one country that's going to be able to do it effectively," he said.

Victor Beattie also contributed to this report.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael D. Campbell from: Houston, Texas
June 19, 2013 11:18 AM
China has been and continues to be involved in energy and mineral acquisitions throughout the world. China also has a strong interest in the Moon for resources and other objectives.


by: Frank from: O. County, USA
June 12, 2013 2:19 AM
It is more than joke that US and China collaborate with each other in the space issues. Chinese are stealing US's technology through cyber attack. They never respect International Laws. No trust should be put on Chinese!

In Response

by: Intrepid from: LA
June 12, 2013 3:53 PM
The NSA has a department called the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) whose sole purpose is to break into foreign computers and steal secrets. All this media reporting about Chinese espionage is making Americans forget that it happens the other way too.

U.S. accusations about China breaking international law is the pot calling the kettle black.


by: Intrepid from: LA
June 11, 2013 1:28 PM
The U.S. excluded China from contributing to the International Space Station. This forced the Chinese to go it alone. Their money and resources could have been used to further humanity's united effort in space, but instead distrust and paranoia couldn't let it happen.

In Response

by: ChasL from: Seattle
June 12, 2013 1:24 PM
Exactly, why should China do us any favor, after we’ve snuffed them on ISS? But knowing China and how Chinese people just love us, they probably will let us tag along. If we don’t have any pride that is. I mean the Pentagon is already using Chinese satellite already.

In Response

by: mary from: sunnyvale
June 12, 2013 2:14 AM
China is one of the most sneaky, untrustful country, they are very good at stealing and copy technology and every other stuff, why you think America at that time will not worry about take them in for the space program? now the things America need to really focus on is how to improve yourself and stay on the top. you China want to beat America up the let's compete. I know how exactly Chinese thinking and behaving because I am a Chinese but a different Chinese.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid