China opens up military space programme

Nov 04, 2011 by Boris Cambreleng

China is opening up its military-run manned space programme to foreign nations, seeking its own alliances as US concerns see it excluded from the international space station project, analysts say.

The Asian country this week successfully carried out its first docking in orbit, and the Shenzhou VIII spacecraft involved in the delicate manoeuvre carried German life science and microgravity experiments on board.

It is just one small step, but it is the first time any other country has been given access to China's flagship manned spaceflight programme since it began 20 years ago.

In contrast, Beijing readily co-operates internationally in other fields such as astrophysics and .

Isabelle Sourbes-Verger, a China programme expert at France's National Centre for Scientific Research, said the internationalisation of its manned flights showed China was no longer playing catch-up with other nations.

Germany had an interest in broadening its choice of launchers for its regular microgravity experiments, she said, adding that "nothing was forcing the Chinese to open up their programme to external partners".

The implication, she said, is that Beijing no longer sees the field as primarily the domain of the military.

The final frontier has long been an arena of competition between global superpowers, as evidenced in the 1950s and 60s by the race between Moscow and Washington to be first in orbit, to put a man into space and go to the Moon.

Asia's new superpower began its manned exploration of space in 1990, on the back of bought-up Russian technology as the Soviet Union broke up, and placed the project under the purview of the People's Liberation Army.

It now sees the programme as a symbol of its own global stature and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

China is only the third country to send humans into space and has announced plans to build a space laboratory by 2016 and a permanent by 2020.

A Chinese astronaut trainer is among six volunteers who will emerge Friday into the outside world after spending almost 18 months in isolation at a Russian centre to test the effects on humans of a flight to Mars.

But unlike the Russians, Europeans and Japanese, China is not part of the multi-billion-dollar project, which began before Beijing had developed an advanced space programme of its own.

It still remains excluded because of American concerns over its intentions, experts say.

"It's all because of resistance from the USA," said Morris Jones, an Australian based expert on the Chinese space programme. "This is mainly due to security reasons, but it also involves politics."

Dean Cheng, a research fellow at the Asian Studies Center of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation think-tank added: "There are a variety of concerns, not just security in the military sense, but also issues of technology transfer and information access."

Illustrating these concerns, two US congressmen blasted the White House and NASA this week for "dangerous" cooperation with , saying technology transfer had greatly enhanced Beijing's missile and rocket capability.

Undaunted, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned spaceflight programme, said Beijing would seek "concrete co-operation and active exchanges with all the countries of the world on the basis of openness and transparency".

How far that co-operation will extend remains unclear, however, and in space it can be a long march to the future.

Cheng pointed out that extensive preparations were needed before a Cold War-era rendezvous between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts took place in 1975.

"The Apollo-Soyuz mission required years of careful negotiation between the US and the USSR," he said.

Explore further: Planetary Society hopes tiny satellite sets sail above Earth

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Nerdyguy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2011
Major, major fail for the United States. We have really missed the boat by snubbing China on the ISS and overall cooperation. Of course their our rivals. What better way to both keep an on them and work towards a better relationship than to develop some projects jointly.
210
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
Major, major fail for the United States. We have really missed the boat by snubbing China on the ISS and overall cooperation. Of course their our rivals. What better way to both keep an on them and work towards a better relationship than to develop some projects jointly.

Indeed, Chinese space effort is where America's was in the mid to late 1960s. Even with their known success at pillaging the computer nets of major defense and technology firms in the west/US, they have not achieved parity, in ANY technology needed for the conquest of space. U C they also need the scientific, technical, AND business environment to capitalize and manufacture the stuff they need. Cheap labor..they have..smart people, they have many people, but the culture both business and first world manufacturing skill for space they do not have. They may buy it from the US firms that move there only if those firms cease to have any US roots and live/exist in China for such tech is illegal to export and..

210
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
Must be made/built. The Germans are ingenous and first world and can help, Germany will have to use that pilfered information taken by the chinese to help them get to the moon and beyond because Germany has never been to the moon either! In the light of the article even America's misfortunes in space Apollo 13, the early failed rocket launches, the Gemini and Agena accidents and the Space Shuttle loses, place the US in a more mature profile than Germany and China combined and multiplied: mistakes are humans MOVING. Theft is not experience, to steal robs the thief when it comes to advancing anything intellectual. The US could work with the Chinese, after the Chinese have their internal revolution/Tianamen Square - part two. Then you have partner with whom U can set some relationship rules. Meanwhile, Germany, Russia will be the best thing China should expect since the relationships would be 'closer.' The US has much, 2 much 2 risk & lose 2 trust China as an equal.
word-to-ya-muthas
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (13) Nov 04, 2011
Major, major fail for the United States. We have really missed the boat by snubbing China on the ISS and overall cooperation. Of course their our rivals. What better way to both keep an on them and work towards a better relationship than to develop some projects jointly.
Haha that's funny. Chinas belligerence is our fault. Just like it's our fault islamists flew planes into our buildings.

Heads up - NASA has always been a military organization. It has never generated a profit and its projects consistently go over budget as it is developing cutting edge miltech of vital strategic importance.

Recon is primarily military in nature. Before the frontier is settled it must first be secured. Sputnik was launched on an ICBM. so were the mercury missions. The shuttle had it's own hardened and secured launch facilities at vanderburg afb. It was sized to carry spy satellites. The first soviet space stations were armed with anti-Apollo cannons and missiles. Etc.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (13) Nov 04, 2011
Oh yeah and the Enterprise was always armed wasn't it? Good thing eh?
Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Nov 04, 2011
Otto needs to stop posting while drunk.

NerdGuy, you do realize don't you that about 30 percent of Republicans staunchly believe that Clinton gave China missile technology in exchange for campaign contributions, and that China is an evil Communist enemy.

The reasoning is as follows. The head of Loral was a good friend of the Clintons and raised considerable money for Clinton's election. His company attempted to launch a communications satellite on a Chinese built Long March booster.

The booster failed, and the LORAL satellite crashed into the ground.

For insurance reasons, Loral was asked to assist in determining the reason for the crash. The Chinese concluded that it was a broken wire, but Loral engineers determined that it was more probably a malfunction in an amplifier.

And that is how Clinton gave all of America's top secret missile technology to the Chinese.

According to Republicans.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2011
And VD needs to stop posting while infected.
http://www.fourmi...aceguns/

-And if and when nukes return to space they may well contain uranium originating in Ontario. Just like the stuff which fried Hiroshima. Bro.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2011
Let me just address your post here...

The Reason that this sort of tech is shared among superpowers is that they all work together to subdue the world. That, and the fact that close competition is the best reason to continue developing cutting edge tech.

This has always been the case. Soviets and Germans practiced with their armor in secret on the steppes in the 30s. Germans had access to all major US weapons system designs prior to the war.

Brits gave the soviets jet engines. The US gave them heavy bomber tech, not to mention the info needed to build their own bomb c/o Oppenheimer himself. Etc. A long list.

Spy networks are the very best way of sharing sensitive information. They are staffed by skilled pros, they are secure, and they can maintain plausible deniability.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
"Haha that's funny. Chinas belligerence is our fault. Just like it's our fault islamists flew planes into our buildings." - Ghost

Missed my point entirely. I'm extraordinarily concerned about China's buildup in multiple areas, space exploration being one.

I believe our snub of them over the ISS has given them "extra" incentive that they wouldn't have had otherwise.

And, I believe it would have been wiser to let them have a piece of the ISS. You may be unaware of this, but that stands for "International Space Station". Do NOT be afraid of the big words. That first one primarily means that it is developed by a group of multiple nations. Also, in case you missed it, we are at the present beholden to this little place called "Russia" for our transportation. Remember them? Not exactly our best pals.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
"Heads up - NASA has always been a military organization. It has never generated a profit and its projects consistently go over budget as it is developing cutting edge miltech of vital strategic importance.

Recon is primarily military in nature. Before the frontier is settled it must first be secured. Sputnik was launched on an ICBM. so were the mercury missions. The shuttle had it's own hardened and secured launch facilities at vanderburg afb. It was sized to carry spy satellites. The first soviet space stations were armed with anti-Apollo cannons and missiles. Etc." - Ghost

No idea why you brought this up. Do you believe you are enlightening anyone?
Nerdyguy
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
@Vendicar:

Your rants, as usual, boil down to:

a) You hate your country.
b) You hate a specific political party.
c) You hate lots of other individuals and groups.

Hate, hate, hate. It is sad. And essentially negates anything you may say that has value.
omatumr
1 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2011
If the writers of history are less influenced by political pressure than writers of cosmology, AGW, SSM and economics, then remarkable similarities will be discovered (when the history of nations and space science is finally written) between:

1. Big Bang model of the universe,

2. The UNs global climate model [a],

3. The Bilderberg SSM solar model [b], and

4. The Greenspan/Bernanke economic model for the Federal Reserve [c].

However, the hero in "1984" finally conceded to the overwhelming power of Big Brother [d].

References:

[a] The UN's IPCC Reports on Climate Change

www.ipcc.ch/

[b] Solar Physics 3, 5-25 (1968)

http://adsabs.har...oPh.3.5G

[c] The Federal Reserve

www.save-a-patrio...fed.html

[d] George Orwell, "1984"

www.online-litera...ll/1984/

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09
omatumr
1 / 5 (8) Nov 05, 2011
[b] Solar Physics 3, 5-25 (1968)

http://adsabs.har....3....5G
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (35) Nov 05, 2011
"Your rants, as usual, boil down to:

a) You hate your country.
b) You hate a specific political party.
c) You hate lots of other individuals and groups." - NerdGuy

Wrong again nerdieboy. The only thing I hate is self imposed ignorance and deception. Nothing on your list specifies that.

There are decisions and there are consequences.

Americans have made their decisions and the consequences are a millions of dead, a bankrupt economy, and a culture of ignorance and violence.

Your current path promises more of the same.

Change or die.

Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Nov 05, 2011
"And VD needs to stop posting while infected.
http://www.fourmi...aceguns/" - Otto

Oh look. Otto has found himself a Blog to verify his nonsense.

Here is another...

http://www.unmuse...yeti.htm
mhenriday
5 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2011
Pity that the political situation in the United States is such that troglodytes like Frank Rudolph Wolf have been and contiue to be allowed to prevent NASA from cooperating in any way, shape, or form from cooperating with its Chinese counterpart - to the absurd degree that Chinese journalists were not allowed to attend NASA's briefings on the occasion of Atlantis' final flight ! The Earth's gravity well is more than sufficiently deep to require the cooperation of all interested parties if it is to be overcome....

Henri
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Nov 05, 2011
I believe our snub of them over the ISS has given them "extra" incentive that they wouldn't have had otherwise.
Exactly! And they us as well. Now you're getting it. No one country alone can do this. And spirited competition will get it done a lot faster than one big I n t e r n a t I o n a l committee arguing about who gets to plant their flag where.
No idea why you brought this up. Do you believe you are enlightening anyone?
Sure.
Americans have made their decisions and the consequences are a millions of dead, a bankrupt economy, and a culture of ignorance and violence.
You are myopic. Perhaps your eyeballs are frozen.
we are at the present beholden to this little place called "Russia" for our transportation. Remember them? Not exactly our best pals.
Well they need the money. See how this works? TOGETHER we rule the world. VD hates the US but he does not tally dirty deeds in concert with the other Major Players. Team Empire. They play the Inevitable and Win!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (13) Nov 05, 2011
"And VD needs to stop posting while infected.
http://www.fourmi...aceguns/" - Otto

Oh look. Otto has found himself a Blog to verify his nonsense.

Here is another...

http://www.unmuse...yeti.htm
And coincidentally I was recently reading about this guy:
http://www.michig...gman.htm

Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf
3.2 / 5 (13) Nov 05, 2011
Yes, would you like to hear a song?
Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Nov 05, 2011
Yes I would you to hear a song.

By the way you seem to have a dog growing out of your groin.

Seek medical assistance immediately.
Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf_Arf
3 / 5 (12) Nov 06, 2011
Yes I would you to hear a song.
Hawhaw I'm a dog and I speak better than you-

By the way you seem to have a dog growing out of your groin.
No that is a butt. I was working on my dissertation at the time.
Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Nov 07, 2011
"Hawhaw I'm a dog and I speak better than you." - Arf**6

Probably. I haven't spoken doglish in years.

We would still like you to hear a song.