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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora