As China rises, so does the blood pressure of those in Congress and elsewhere who worry about a new threat to US space supremacy from the mammoth nation to our East.
In The Space Review this week, Jeff Foust writes, "[i]n the eyes of at least some members of the subcommittee [that questioned Mike Griffin in the House on March 30th], the US and China are engaged in a new space race, one that America is in danger of losing.
However, Dr. Foust adds, "on closer examination, it appears that many of these concerns are based on misinterpreted or simply inaccurate information about China's space program. Moreover, using the threat of Chinese space capabilities to increase NASA's budget could have deleterious effects for the space agency in the longer term." Jeff points to "often contradictory, confusing, exaggerated, or just plain incorrect" information about the Chinese program as reported in the Chinese state-run and other media. Then he reviews the clearer, cooperative and much less threatening message brought to Washington last week by Luo Ge, vice administrator of China National Space Administration (CNSA). Read Jeff's article.
(And Jeff notes that Griffin, who received an invitation to visit China, will "perform a 30-day unclassified study for the subcommittee" on China's space capabilities.)
Leonard David also filed an overview yesterday on U.S.-China Cooperation: The Great Space Debate.
And more views here: Special Report: Emerging China, Engaging China by Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, in Ad Astra (via Space.com).
By the way, here is a chart of China's milestones in space since 1955 (via Space.com). We've all come a long way.